Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Published 10:40 am Monday, March 20, 2023

Dear Aunty Pam,


I just had something awful happen to me and I hope you can help. I’m a 35-year-old female and have always felt OK about how I look until last week.

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I was at a continuing education class for my profession and during lunch break, I was chatting with two women that I had been sitting next to, who were friends. One of them said, “OMG, you look just like our friend, Lily!” and then her friend said, “You’re right, she does look a lot like Lily.” The first woman just kept going on and on about how I could be Lilly’s twin sister and, to be honest, she was going on so much about it that I started to feel a little weird.


Well, it turned out that Lilly had been in the conference room down the hall from where we were, and the one girl that had been going on about me looking so much like her grabs Lilly and drags her back to introduce us. I don’t know what Lilly thought but I was horrified because Lilly was really unattractive. She seemed as embarrassed as I was. We said our polite hellos and chatted for a moment before I got out of there and drove home and cried most of the way. Now all I can think is that I must be really unattractive to other people and feel so depressed.


Any words of wisdom?



NOT Lilly


Dear Not Lilly,


I think we’ve all had this sort of experience at one time or another, and it indeed can be disconcerting. Especially when you’re introduced to somebody’s best friend who supposedly you look “exactly like” and it turns out to be a forklift driver. Named Ted.


I don’t want to talk about it.


Moving on…OK, look, clearly you and Lilly share some sort of similar features but really, c’mon, woman. You said before this incident you felt ‘OK’ about your looks, and only after you’re compared to someone whom you, and perhaps only you, find to be unattractive, your world falls apart. Looks are completely subjective, you know that. Surely you’ve read comments about movie stars at the end of articles, or on social media, and you can’t believe these people are talking about the same person. For example, Meryl Streep, early in her career and at her most radiantly beautiful, was told to her face by a producer that she was “too ugly” for a part she auditioned for. Seriously? Meryl Streep? So maybe Lilly isn’t really so unattractive—maybe just your perception of her is.


At the end of the day, it’s about how YOU perceive yourself. And perhaps having a bit of empathy for Lilly might make you more attractive to everyone.


Cheers, dear!


Aunty Pam