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Opening Arguments

Ugly is forever

I've never been exactly all torn up about not being one of the Beautiful People. Now I can even feel good about it:

Beauty is boring. And the evidence is piling up. An article in the journal Psychological Science now confirms what partygoers have known forever: that beauty and charm are no more directly linked than a high IQ and a talent for whistling.

A group of scientists set out to discover whether physically attractive people also have appealing character traits and values, and found, according to Lihi Segal-Caspi, who carried out part of the research, that “beautiful people tend to focus more on conformity and self-promotion than independence and tolerance”.

Certainly, while a room full of beautiful people might be impressively stiff with the whiff of Chanel No 5, the intellectual atmosphere will be carrying a very low charge. If positive at all.

[. . .]

But as soon as you try to grasp the concept of beauty, it disappears. Our convictions about ugliness and beauty are the wrong way around. Beauty is characterless uniformity, while ugliness is fascinating, full of variety and a stimulating challenge. Maybe John Keats was wrong and it’s a thing of ugliness that’s a joy forever. For his part, Proust thought a taste for the ugly was aristocratic, since it suggested a noble reluctance to be merely pleasing.

Translation: People try to be beautiful in the same way, but there are endless ways to be ugly. Or: Beauty is boring, ugly is fun. I've also found that the older I get the less I worry about how I look, which I guess is a nearly universal experience. Not that ugly people don't have a touch of vanity, which I discovered when I was 40 and my beard started turning gray.

Best two quotes about ugliness, evah:

"Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone." -- Redd Foxx

"I once had a woman tell me I wasn't ugly, I was unattractive. I asked her what the difference was. She said, 'Occasionally I will sleep with an ugly man.' " -- A comedian on the Bob & Tom show, Ross Bennett maybe.