“I hope you aren’t having to buy those for yourself!” Two dozen pink roses slid across the scanner as he said it.
“Oh, I am buying them for myself” I laughed.
“Pretty girls like you should never have to buy their own flowers!” He winked.
The first rule of being a pretty girl is you don’t ever talk about being a pretty girl.
Pretty girls aren’t supposed to say they are pretty. It somehow negates her prettiness once she is aware it is there. Remember all those songs like “She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful”? Excuse the poor grammar for a second and lets discuss. We love that girl – the one who is beautiful but dumb as a rock or so damaged emotionally that she can’t possibly see it herself – she needs the man to tell her. Isn’t that endearing? Isn’t that what we like? We like pretty with a side of self-hatred. We like to discover it for her.
Didn’t you know? You are too pretty to buy your own flowers. You must not have known.
So what happens when a woman knows she is beautiful? Or at least knows that others find her beautiful? What happens when she doesn’t need the men to tell her, doesn’t need anyone to tell her that she shouldn’t ever have to buy her own flowers? Or better yet – what if she doesn’t fucking care?
It is not lost on her that someday, none of us are going to be “pretty” anymore.
There is power there. I’m inching my way to that summit. Spent a lot of my life averting my eyes, but on days I need that boost I know I can lift them and they will be met with that look. Sometimes it is a burden to be seen. Sometimes it feels good. And someday it will be gone.
I bought my own fucking flowers and brought them home and arranged them the way I liked them. I set them on our kitchen table. The next morning I got up with my husband, man who has seen me in all states of both pretty and decidedly unpretty over the past 16 years. I was wearing sweatpants and a baggy t-shirt, remnants of yesterday’s mascara under my eyes, creases worn into my skin from sleeping the night before, my hair unbrushed – my usual state of being these days. My son wanted to touch the roses, my daughter wanted to turn them in the sunlight that streamed in our window to make sure every petal got the attention it deserved.
“You know,” I said to my daughter, “I bought those for myself.”