Maybe I’m one of the cool ones

I usually assume I’m the one who is failing a little. Like at wearing those particular gigantic earrings with that particular purple spotted dress. And at conversation. I’m probably the one who isn’t quite quick enough, or is a little too eager; just the slightest bit miscalibrated. In Manhattan, I’m the one who is always missing the trend by a hair (or every single hair). Oh, we’re wearing jumpsuits now. Wait– we aren’t anymore? But I got this purple spotted one for 80% off! It’s true, I always get the cheap version. I’m not willing to commit completely. I don’t have faith in fashion the way so many people seem to.

I read about faces. About the ones that men prefer most. The ones that babies prefer most. The ones that both men and babies rate the highest, while having a beer. There’s all this information about averages. People gravitate towards the generic. Those even, flat features composited from a hundred thousand other sets of features on a computer in a lab where sex scientists stare at screens with faces on them all day (feeling worse and worse about the way they look), those are the ones people on the street choose, when they’re handed the leaflets and asked to identify beauty.

I have a face that refuses to be average. It refuses to be dull. It runs yelling in the opposite direction. It’s yelling, “I’m free! I’m free!” It’s delusional. It doesn’t fit in.

But for most of my life, rather than coveting typical beauty, my gaze has paused on other striking faces. I glance across Megan Fox and Jessica Alba and all of the Playmates and stop on Rosemary Dewitt.  Meryl Streep. Queen Latifah. That girl with the awesome nose who turned out to be a cylon in Battlestar Galactica.

(Apparently her name is Rekha Sharma. source)

I like different bodies, too. I’m tired of everyone being so skinny. In college, the photo that stayed on my wall for all four years was a cut-out from a magazine of a full-bodied contemporary dancer. I don’t know her name. I don’t think I ever did. Hollywood would definitely have called her fat. She was rounded, gorgeous, and graceful.

There are all these women who are daringly, elegantly, fabulously different-looking. And those are the ones I admire automatically, instinctively.

But I imagine that I am not like them. I have the striking, strange features, but instead of setting me glamorously apart, they hinder me. I perceive myself as impeded by my own genetic boldness.

And then sometimes it suddenly occurs to me that maybe I am cool. Maybe I’m one of the cool ones. Maybe other people spot me on Amsterdam Ave in the high 80s and think, “That girl really knows how to rock a big nose!” Maybe they like my outfits. Maybe I’m a secret role model. Maybe I’m daring without even knowing it.

Once in a while, I see myself for a split second– unadulterated by 24 years of being me– and I think, “Nice. She is unique.”

Uniqueness is something I value. Something I am attracted to. Something I respect. And I am it. So maybe my cheap purple spotted jumpsuit is just the beginning of a new trend. Not that I have one. But if I got one, maybe it would be.

(This baby is judging your face. source)

*  *  *

Un-roast: Today I love that my hair is light brown but my eyebrows are almost black.

17 Comments »

Kate on December 28th 2010 in beauty, being different, new york, nose

17 Responses to “Maybe I’m one of the cool ones”

  1. Christin@purplebirdblog responded on 28 Dec 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    I love that that baby is judging my face, lol! I was truly excited when I could see the beauty is other curvy women, because it was then that I could start to see the beauty in my own curves. My face is plain, but my smile is warm and I love that.

  2. Kate responded on 28 Dec 2010 at 12:40 pm #

    A warm smile is an amazing thing

  3. Ashley responded on 28 Dec 2010 at 1:01 pm #

    I have come to admire and appreciate beauty of all kinds. I have my own preferences, but I have learned to have those preferences without putting down any other body type of feature.

    “I’m tired of everyone being so skinny.” I’m not entirely sure what you meant by this. Are you just tired of skinny people in general? Or are you tired of the admiration for skinny people? Either way, I assume you meant that statement seriously since it is in bold. Skinny people exist and they are beautiful. So are round people and everyone in between. I know there are times when it seems like that’s all the world cares about, is skinny, and I can completely understand why you might be tired of that. There are things about other standards of beauty that I get sick of as well, but I don’t pass judgment on those who posess those features or qualities. Instead of worry so much about what everyone else is looking at and admiring and allowing myself to feel threatened by that, I just accept that that they are beautiful and that I choose to prefer other features that are different and just worry about that. I might also point out to my family and friends on why I admire those things and maybe they might see what I am talking about.

  4. Kate responded on 28 Dec 2010 at 1:06 pm #

    @Ashley
    I bold stuff for aesthetic purposes on this blog all the time, not just because I’m serious about that particular statement.

    I’m pretty thin, and I think lots of thin people are gorgeous. I meant that most people who are admired for their looks are skinny, and I don’t like that trend.

    Hope that clarifies.

  5. Valerie responded on 28 Dec 2010 at 2:21 pm #

    I freakin’ love my nose! I used to not like the giant bump on the top that was almost witch-like. I used to think about how creepy it would be to have someone shave that part of bone off. I used to think about how I would look without it…not like me. Did I not want to be like me?

    I decided a long time ago that I love my evil witch nose and my vampire fangs and mega-forehead. So, I tend to seek out girls that either look closer to what I look like and that I find completely awesome or girls that are even more “exotic” looking.

    It feels like a secret club sometimes. Like we’re cool and awesome looking in a way that those other girls could never be.

  6. Carly responded on 28 Dec 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    Kate, you are definitely one of the cool ones! ;)

  7. Mme Wong responded on 28 Dec 2010 at 3:27 pm #

    Like Valerie, I’m drawn to people with interesting noses, undoubtedly because mine is also out of the ordinary. Interestingly, I was never aware of my nose until a boy started commenting on it, in an akward kid-like attempt to tell me he liked me, which would have been cute had we indeed been children, but this was college. Let’s just say he didn’t quite endear himself to me by his Cyrano de Bergerac-flavored comments (although we are still friends to this day, fifteen odd years later). Nonetheless, this episode actually made me aware of my nose, and in later years it became an element of pride for me. An interesting nose adds so much character to a face! I actually hope my daughter inherits my nose (although it’s still too early to tell) so she can join the ranks of strong proud-nosed women!

    P.S. Kate, I must add Anjelica Huston to your list of beauties.

  8. Kate responded on 28 Dec 2010 at 3:44 pm #

    @Mme Wong
    Additions are always welcome!
    And I love that you want your daughter to inherit your strong nose. That made my day, actually. Because I always hope that my potential children, especially my daughters, will have easier faces than mine. But your hope is much better.

  9. zoe (and the beatles) responded on 28 Dec 2010 at 6:44 pm #

    uniqueness is something i admire greatly, too. i look for and tend to see the beauty in all types of faces and bodies.

    and i’d like to say i was a little different right off the bat, too. at least in terms of appearance. i had a massive (literally) red birthmark in between my eyebrows. it stayed there until it, quite magically, faded away at the beginning of middle school (something i am incredibly grateful for). i was never teased (how this happened i am still not sure) but it definitely helped make me stand out. and it helped shape who i am. i’m quirky and weird just like that birthmark! and, while i’m still struggling to accept certain parts of me, i love the person i am and i love just about every bit of my body. it’s unique, after all. no one else has it but me :)

    unroast: today i love the fact that i woke up and did nothing to my hair. it just stayed all bed-heady in its low side ponytail. i love when it does that.

  10. Another Emma responded on 28 Dec 2010 at 8:25 pm #

    I tend to feel like I’m the one a few beats behind trends and other women, too. But, like you, some days I think “well, maybe today I’m the one that people are admiring for my casual, breezy confidence and ease of wearing a great outfit”. I like those days.

    PS. No cakes yet, but this is what I will put them on ;)

    http://anotherringcoming.wordpress.com/2010/12/27/let-us-eat-cake/

  11. Rachel responded on 28 Dec 2010 at 11:01 pm #

    Kate, you’re definitely cool, so cool that on the train back from seeing you I have to read your blog.
    Having a unique look means the people who love you must appreciate you for who you are and not because you look like so-and-so. Of course when you think about it any two people look more alike than different and our common features are cool too.

  12. Kate responded on 29 Dec 2010 at 12:07 am #

    @Rachel
    Thanks!!
    It’s also true that because we all really do look so similar, we have to emphasize tiny details like noses and skin color in order to distinguish ourselves from one another. Silly humans.

    It was great to see you!

  13. Kate responded on 29 Dec 2010 at 12:09 am #

    @Another Emma
    Nice cake.

  14. Ellie Di responded on 29 Dec 2010 at 11:37 am #

    I’m attracted to the same things in faces and bodies – strangeness, non-genericness. Then I look at myself and see the same problems – I’m strange but not beautiful. But sometimes I can sneak past myself and get that precious flash of “looks good” when I see it all in the mirror.

    It’s always strange to read someone else writing out my own thoughts…

  15. Jessica responded on 04 Jan 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    I have always battled with feeling awkward because of my bigger nose but now I embrace it and I love it. It is what makes me who I am! I would not recognize myself and love myself any other way! :)

  16. Emmi responded on 16 Mar 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    My dad has an epically big nose and it’s given me a fondness for them. Mine isn’t much like his, but I wouldn’t mind if it was.

  17. Anna responded on 03 Sep 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    I admire my older brothers nose, because it’s so skinny and long. He says it’s largeness means he has superpowers xD, mostly because he gets tired of the comments on how large it is.