Every day we see them,
In all the magazines,
They don’t look like anybody,
We’ve ever really seen,
They make us feel so ugly,
But now it’s time to stop,
They don’t look like that either,
Without the aid of Photoshop,
So, love your love handles,
Love your double chin,
And your receding hairline,
And all your saggy skin,
See your folds and creases,
In a whole new way,
Love Your Love Handles
by: Mitch Benn
It’s Not Fair
I am not a looker. I never have been. I was not “hot” in college. I was not a “handsome young man.” I’m pretty sure I didn’t win any beauty contests as a baby. I was a bony, skinny, scrawny teenager. I graduated into a pudgy, lumpy, bumpy adult. I have, you will note immediately, a big nose. I have gaps in my teeth, a ruddy complexion, and an aspiring double chin. My butt sticks out too far and, as a sort of hilarious joke by God (that trickster) my belly has expanded as a counterweight. I did not get my brother’s good looks nor my Grandpa’s stature (He was 6’ 3”). I am never gonna make the cover of GQ. And I am OK with that …now.
There is a time in our lives, though, when we certainly lament our genetic deficiencies. Adolescence is the worst, of course. Just at the point in our lives when we are most desperate to impress people (read that as the opposite sex) our bodies start doing weird and unexpected things. No one on the planet is crueler (more cruel?) than other teenagers. If we are not in that tiny club of genetic lottery winners, the cheerleader with the blemish-free skin or the football quarterback with the muscles and the freakish good looks, we begin to view ourselves as outcasts – garbage, to put it bluntly. We start to think that this is a judgement from an angry and arbitrary god, the jock god, if you will. We somehow start to think that we deserve this, that we deserve less happiness than these pretty people. Some people spend their whole lives in a kind of funk because of this phenomenon.
The Ugly Silent Majority
I am no Pollyanna. I understand that happiness is not distributed evenly on this cursed planet. I am willing to concede that some people are going to have an easier time of it by virtue of the height of their cheek bones or the slimness of their waist. Research demonstrates that the tips you get as a waitress have a great deal more to do with the color of your skin and the size of your breasts than the skill with which you do your job. I am prepared to admit that the “pretty” people will probably always have an easier time of it. What I’m not willing to concede, and you shouldn’t either, is the idea that they deserve more happiness than you or I. More to the point, I do not believe I, nor you, deserve less happiness because we have crooked teeth or little boobs (big boobs in the case of men) or acne. And the plain fact is – we have got them on the numbers.
Mitch Benn’s song, which I quote above, has another verse which set me to thinking the other day. It goes like this:
We feel like we’re abnormal,
But that’s ridiculous cause,
There’s maybe a couple of hundred of them,
And there’s six and a half billion of us.
That is the point. Look around the airports, and the parks, and the malls. We have the numbers. We are the ugly “silent majority” searching for a ski-slope-nosed, droopy-cheeked Nixon to lead us. Uh, ok, well he’s dead. But the point is that we, the big-nosed, overweight, uni-browed troglodytes should run this country. We should demand our share of happiness. We should redefine what beautiful is. The pretty people are the genetic anomaly and yet they have been able to perpetuate a state of, for lack of a better word, apartheid, on the rest of us.
Rubens and the Evolution of Pretty
Looking back through history there has been some evolution of “pretty.” Many of us, the gravitationally challenged, cling to the notion that in the days of Rubens “fat” was the standard by which women were measured. Plumpness was a sign of health and vivaciousness. His ladies were beautiful and confident and desired and, you know what, they looked like real women. Even in ancient cultures fertility icons were invariably statues of voluptuous women.
The ideal of beauty represented by the anorexic blond is an arbitrary creation. It has no more basis in objective reality than too-wide lapels did in the seventies or leg warmers did in the eighties or Kardashians do today. And while I would never be so callous as to call Jessica Alba ugly (it’s not her fault she looks the way she does) I will say that beauty, like many things, is a pendulum that can swing too far and hurt people. So, maybe beauty was once defined as something other than emaciated blondness. I hope it was. If so, I’m afraid that boat has sailed. So I say it’s time to swing that pendulum back the other way or sail that ship back into port or whatever metaphor applies best here. When the majority of human beings live their lives feeling “ugly” it is time to redefine “pretty.” Sorry pretty people, majority rules.
The Problem, as Always – Fox News
“Pretty” today can be ascertained by what is on TV. TV “news,” in particular seems to be leading this march away from meritocracy and toward bimbo ascendancy. You will get a whole lot farther today in “news” with big boobs and tantalizingly crossed bare legs than with hard work, good reporting, and brains. Don’t know what I mean? Tune in to Fox and Friends any random morning to get the idea. You don’t even need to turn up the volume. In fact, absolutely don’t turn up the volume. Better yet, tune in to the Fox News show Outnumbered and again, preferably, turn down the volume. You will notice some striking similarities in the 4 color-coordinated female “hosts.” Hint: It’s not their erudition or education or journalistic excellence. Fox has been the driver of this trend, like so many other harmful trends, since their debut in 1996. Sadly the other networks have fallen in line and cut their skirts shorter and shorter. From Lara Spencer’s vapid Betty Boop routine on Good Morning America to the nauseating spectacle of Savannah Guthrie sitting in the same chair formerly occupied by Barbara Walters, Jane Pauley, and Katie Couric on the Today show, this diminishment of Q and A in favor of T and A should be an embarrassment to our culture. Edward R. Murrow would be spinning in his grave. If we could hook a fan blade up to his corpse and prop him up in front of “The Kelly File” we would go a long way toward solving global warming.
But I Digress
My purpose here is not to decry the state of journalism in this country but to decry the unfairness that “looks” trump talent and hard work across the spectrum. Fat people, short people, and “ugly” people on TV are relegated to comedy relief, if they are relegated to anything at all. We must change that in order to open up new opportunities for the repressed majority called “us.”
What To Do
So, what do we do about this sorry state of affairs? How do we use our advantage? First of all, we don’t give away any of the power we have. Don’t give your hard earned money to Christi Brinkley for her Ab Stretcher, or to Cindy Crawford for her Skin Smoother or to Shaun T for his Paunch buster Polka DVD’s. We all know that the only thing that makes you skinnier is giving up bacon and, for God’s sake, it’s just not worth it. And we should know, if we don’t, that the only way to look young is to be friggin’ young – or to make a deal with the devil. (I’m looking at you Dick Clark. Oh, yeah, I guess the devil finally got him.) Also, don’t go see movies with “hot skinny young starlets” in them. If it doesn’t have Melissa McCarthy in it, boycott it. And, you know what, boycott her, too, as a traitor. What is she thinking, losing all that weight. Where is her pride?
Next, we have to organize. If Wayne LaPierre and the NRA can run this country of three hundred eighteen million people as their own private fiefdom and the AARP can spook legislators into a buffalo stampede by saying BOO! what could 317.9 million ugly people accomplish if we just voted our self interest and actually ran for office. And we already have a start in politics. Bernie Sanders is not exactly a GQ model and Mitch McConnell doesn’t have enough chin to put on a pillowcase.
We will call our group SOAP – Society Of Average People or maybe HISS – Homely Individuals Standing Strong or, how about UGLY – United Group of Lummoxes and Yahoos. So, lets get SOAP rolling. I’ll be the President (or Benevolent Dictator if you will) and we will draft a few of our talented brethren who have become famous to do PR for us. I envision a PSA starring Steve Buscemi, Dawn French, and Sandra Bernhard. In fact, why hasn’t somebody put them in a movie together already? That would be awesome!
Here’s a Modest Proposal for the twenty-first century; let’s round up those feckless, shallow, phony-boob-bearing, Escalade-driving, wheat-grass-chugging, sit-up-doing, little twits and turn them into Soylent Green (Google that one, youngsters. Who said Charlton Heston never made a good movie?) In honor of Jonathan Swift, our campaign will be called Eat the Pretty Ones and we will get a good New York advertising firm to market it for us – and then we will eat them, too. After all, if we are going to lift up and celebrate the persecuted big-boned American public we are gonna need a reliable protein source.
Finally, we need to heed the words of Mitch Benn. Love your love handles. Love yourself. We are who we are. We look like what we look like. We deserve to be happy. After all, our contribution to this world is just as important as, say Paris Hilton’s, isn’t it?
by: Dustin Joy
Love Your Love Handles – Full Lyrics
Every day we’d see them, in all the magazines
They don’t look like anybody, we’ve ever really seen
They make us feel so ugly, but now it’s time to stop cause
They don’t look like that either, without the aid of Photoshop so
Love your love handles, love your double chin
and your receding hairline, and all your saggy skin and
see your folds and creases in a whole new way, starting today
Some people try their hardest, to make all our lives hell cause
They’ve all got moisturizers, and diet drinks to sell
Don’t have to ask permission, to be heard or seen
Don’t need to make excuses, for being a human being, so
Love your love handles, love your laughter lines
Cause every one’s a medal, for all the happy times
Love your bumpy eyelids and your wonky nose, so everyone knows
All of our imperfections, all our asymmetry
They’re an important part of, what makes us you and me
Who cares what someone looks like, long as they have their health
Be good to everybody, starting with yourself, cause
We’re not all supermodels, we’re not all movie stars
Most of us look exactly, like what we really are
We feel like we’re abnormal, but that’s ridiculous cos there’s
maybe a couple of hundred of them and six and a half billion of us
Love your love handles, love your crooked teeth
Cherish that wobbly tummy, and whatever lies beneath now
Love your fuzzy nipples, and your droopy chest, and all of the rest
Love your love handles, love your dimply thighs
Lanky, dumpy, scrawny, whatever shape or size
You’ll find you can be happy and comfortable in, your own skin