Is Beauty Wasted On The Beautiful?

beautyI am someone who isn’t unattractive, nor do I cause people sleepless nights as I haunt their dreams with my unobtainable brilliance. I am average, I “get by” and 80% of the time I’m happy with that.


But there is always a girl you envy, no matter what the situation.  School, College, Work; there will be a girl that nags at  your thoughts, taunting you daily with her willowy figure, perfect hair and creamy skin.  In her presence you will shrivel up inside, your skin will drain and you waddle off down the corridor feeling like a sad, fat hippo.


But there will come the inevitable moment that a drip of conversation will dribble between you, the drip turns into a flood and before you know it you are tentatively acquainted with goddess-woman.  And the more you get to know her the more you realise she is as, if not more, insecure than you are.


I have met plenty of these doe-eyed and sad beauties. There seems to be something that intrinsically links beauty with a kind of pathetic weakness. Maybe being beautiful is a bit of a burden and something not a lot of people can live up to.


“Well I could live with that!” I hear you all cry.  But before you get obsessed with envisioning yourself as the new “Joan” of your office, take a peek over at the geeky quiet girl.  So she has a pair of glasses that don’t suit her, she never bothers with make-up and her skirt is just a little too calf skimming to be considered flattering. But whereas beauty girl seems to have everything, geek girl lives a much more fulfilled life.  She has her friends, her hobbies, her books and her TV shows.  And she is always, always good at stuff.


The office beauties I have known must have risen at about 5am each morning in order to perfect their hair, make-up and outfit. Breaks and lunchtimes were spent picking over the latest diet fad, or in the loos applying even more slap and lacquer.  Conversations were routine and filled with the traumas of their relationships and how they were desperate to get back with guys that had dumped them months ago for being “too needy”.


Geek girl on the other hand sits in the sun reading her books, or chatting to her friends.  All she worries about is whether her latest short story, illustration or invention will be picked up. Her life is full and her boyfriend, who shares all her interests, will adore her.  Beauty girl, contrary to popular belief, isn’t even on her radar.


I have always struggled with the question: Would you rather be beautiful, or be good at something? For all the years I have spent scrutinising myself in the mirror, looking at my backside from every conceivable angle and buffing my thighs until they are red raw I would wholeheartedly have yelled: “MAKE ME BEAUTIFUL!” But now, as I hurtle towards 30 I realise that if I had been one of the beautiful people my life would be starting to end.  I’d probably still be pining over someone that never loved me, and I’d still be tottering out of some club at 3am wasted and alone.


As it is, and no matter how clichéd I sound, it feels like life for this averagely faced person is just starting.  From now on I am going to try to stare at books and art more than my own reflection and let go of “ideal images”.  They say youth is wasted on the young, but I think beauty is wasted on the beautiful.  All hail the geek girl I say, and long may she reign, quiet and happy.




  1. Stef says:

    Oh my lord Hannah but you are a gorgeous woman! You have the whole package! When I started working with you I didn’t know you but thought “PHWOAR, who’s that bit of crumpet?!” and wanted to vote you as the most hottest lady in the office (I didn’t because I was new and scared you might think I was a mentalist). You are a sexy brained sexy faced bit of hot! And naturally so! Which is the best bit!

    The girls obsessed with image are literally that, just an image. Once they take off their inch thick make up I bet they look totally different(and are probably better for it)! They’re too obsessed with their face and to actually be a proper interesting person, which is why (for a lot, not all) their relationships are based on if their boyfriend pays for them when they go out for dinner, how many diamonds they get for Christmas and how wrong it is if their man isn’t a “man man” who treats them like a turd.

    You are a rare gem and if I were a man I’d be checking out the geek and thinking I wanted to inspect her with my PKE meter. Watch out! ;)

  2. Ruby says:

    I quite agree!

  3. Anonymous says:

    A beautiful girl isn’t just what’s on the surface and it doesn’t necessarily mean the girl who spends the most on her hair, make up, clothes and overall appearance. There are so many beautiful, hot, or even pretty women who are smart and have interests, they just balance taking care of themselves along with it. You’re over-stereotyping women to only two categories: the beautiful, vapid princess who does nothing but slave over her beauty and subsequently feel so much insecurity over it and the smart, funny, cute “geeky” girl. This isn’t Mad Men, and this isn’t the 50s, your stereotyping is extremely out-dated.

  4. Hannah says:

    Thanks “Anonymous”,

    I totally get your, well made, point. However, I wasn’t talking about “vapid” beautiful people, I was talking about the “sad” ones. I was talking about women who DO spend all their time and money on looking good (and nothing else but) beacause they feel they have nothing else to offer. I can see how some of my argument (and it is only an argument, a peice about there being ugly/clever ugly/stupid beautiful/clever beautiful/stupid would be pretty pointless) comes across as out dated, but the miserable fact is there ARE still women who feel this way and it would be niave to think all women live in a kind of post-feministic bliss. I have known perfectly intelligent women who have cut ALL ties with people because they tagged them in a less than flattering picture on FB. These women base thier whole existence on the way they look, so much so, that such a photo is seen as a personal attack on them. This is, like I say, sad.

    But I do agree, having read my post back, that there is room for more balance and more clarity.

    Thanks for your comment