I’ve often wondered what this idiom really means. It’s been said that it refers to someone who’s pretty on the outside but not on the inside but I’ve wondered what is it, really, that makes a person pretty? Is it possible that how we are on the inside – or that the potential of who we are to become – is part of what drives how we look on the outside? But what about people who are truly ugly inside regardless of a beautiful exterior. Then again, who’s to say what’s truly beautiful?
I’ve often wondered if people would help me as much if I was ugly, if they help me more now because I am skinny, what would happen if I got fat again, and things of that sort. Certainly not so if I was ugly towards them, but what if I wasn’t pretty to look at too? Would that matter? In today’s society at least, I definitely tend to think so and that makes me wary of asking for help. Are people helping for good or for good looks? Does it matter to you? I know it does to me.
Asking for help has always been hard for me, partially because I’m a woman and was raised to be no damsel in distress. Also because I’m a woman and there are certain expectations – no one wants a desperate girl in need of help. No one wants a girl who’s not pretty, who’s not smart – but not too smart, funny but not goofy, classy but not snooty…the list goes on and suddenly I sound like the Barbie movie that I have no interest in seeing. Funny though, I hear that it’s got some good underlying messages underneath its Petpo Bismol pink nailpolish. I don’t know, I haven’t seen it. I do know though, that I always feel like asking for help is the wrong question.
Why is that? I’m not sure entirely, but I do know a few things that are contributing factors. For one, if I ask for help, and it doesn’t work / whatever’s getting fixed isn’t fixable as per the person helping or more help is needed than expected, I seem ungrateful or demanding. I try very hard to be neither. If someone is helping and I find a way to fix things, or an alternative solution that may work better for me, or makes more sense, then I’m a bitch, people are sick of hearing me talk about it, think through it, process and learn myself instead of doing what they told me in the first place. Just ask my ex how he felt about the hot tub (he couldn’t fix it…I did, with help from lifelong friends and one of his friends whom I knew from town). I should have spent the extra $$ to winterize and deal with it later. I actually got my head bitten off about that more than once to just stop talking about it because he was sick of hearing it if I wasn’t going to take his advice anyway. Two things to know about me – 1. I rarely do what I am told. 2. His advice was wrong. #SorryNotSorry
That’s just a recent example, but there’s examples a million miles long throughout my life where I’m an ungrateful bitch, or I won’t do as told and how would I know better? Just because my father worked on cars, clearly as a woman I am a moron and can’t know what that means (wrong, Dad taught me well, and while I’m well out of hands-on practice, I’m pretty good at diagnosing shit and finding things like no, not an antifreeze leak, a fuel leak at the fuel coolant on the driver’s side rail…or rebuilding the 1980 sled motor 2x, by myself). I’m so sick of being told by men aged 18 – 80 that I’m no mechanic, what do I know? Well, I’m no fool, I’ll tell you that.
So, hey, easier to just not ask for help.
When I do ask for help, and offer to be there to assist, or watch and listen and learn, or keep you company, I’m “in the way.” I don’t need to be sitting there watching, men can work without me there. No reason I can’t just GTFO out of the garage and let the men do what they do best – dismiss me and tell me I can go. You know, the garage I own. In the house I bought. That has only one name on it…. mine. But hey, I’m a girl, what do I know?
I know that a few decades ago that wouldn’t even be possible – a house in a woman’s name with no man?!?! Oh *GASP*! The HORROR!
So, hey, easier to jut not ask for help.
I’m always skeptical when I do ask for help. Will it get done in time? Will it get done right? Am I allowed to help? Show thanks? Or is other stuff expected from me? I am a girl, after all. And then those times that I do actually do stuff myself, I get made fun of for being a “tough guy” or a “man-hater” or stupid for not letting a man do it I the first place.
You know how awesome it is to be told that if I just dated that person longer, he’d have “my whole place fixed up.” Uh, dude, you hung a pre-hung door with help from a friend to impress me. Wow. Hugely impressed. (To be fair, I’m not mad at anyone for that, only at myself for tolerating any of that rhetoric for more than a minute – I know better, and I damn sure deserve better.) That’s right, the rest of the shit around here I do (mostly) myself. I clean. I cook. I pay the bills. I manage the household. When the dryer clogged at the water lines intake and again inside the feed to the detergent, I opened it up and fixed it myself. When the tractor broke and round bales still needed to go to the horses, I pushed them out myself (sometimes with help too but more often on my own), and when that is too much, a neighbor was able to help me and I, in turn, help them out too. When I needed to get out of debt and a shitty farm situation, I found a place to rent that was a means to an end and did just what I set out to do. When I needed a new place with a somewhat spotty real estate history due to that shitty farm situation in NJ, I figured it out.
I am so sick of hearing that I should just let a man do it.
Does that mean I don’t ever need help? Oh hell no. There’s plenty of times I do, and I am damn sure that I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today if it wasn’t for the help of many men – and women. That’s what friends are for. But it takes a while to get to where I trust you to help me. It takes a while to be a friend long enough that I know the offer of help isn’t to impress me. Yes yes, you’re a mechanic, carpenter, electrician, handyman, etc. all things I am not. I get that, I would hope you’re better at all of those things than I am. Just like I’d hope that I’m better than you at marketing strategy or consumer psychology or any number of other things I am good at. But shit, does that mean I have to be talked down to about the things I am not an expert at? Because for fuck’s sake, I’m a woman, not a lost god damned dog or an illiterate fool.
I often wonder if I wasn’t pretty, if people would still help me.
I work really hard to be beautiful on the inside, because that’s what really matters. I never saw myself as pretty anyway, and as they say, pretty is as pretty does.