Of course there were many times, especially when I was young, that I wished I was remarkably handsome. It’s natural to desire such a fantasy after striking out too many successive at bats. A man gets tired and frustrated and sometimes wishes things were easier. The disdainful and dismissive female expressions of disinterest, or even annoyance, or having to deal with the apathetic flakiness concerning plans you assumed were set in stone. It’s tough being painfully average. Plain. We don’t call men “plain.” We use that adjective for women. Men are just…average. Luckily, for men, within the wide distribution of male appearance, there is a gluttonous span of acceptability of men’s nuanced appearances because man is able to overcome aesthetic shortcomings with a good dose of humor, smart-assedness, edginess, uniqueness, and of course, the master male quality of all, confidence. Still, a handsome guy works a lot less and there were so many times I just didn’t feel like working so hard to get nothing.
As an average-looking guy, the good news is you have a lot less to uphold. If you’re average, you’re already swimming upstream, but as the saying goes, the higher they fly, the harder they fall; the corollary being the lower they fly, the softer they land, to wit, average-looking guys have very soft landings. We’ve never dazzled with our looks, we’ve never possessed innate social prestige. We had to work hard for everything. As an average guy, aging, well-nurtured aging, may actually improve your presentation. Age can transform the average 20-year-old into the dashing 50-year-old.
In this respect, I’m thankful I was not a terribly handsome man, because by my present age, I would have flown so high that the approaching ground would lay waste to the handsome face I once had in youth.
I thought of this when I saw a photo of the alternative 90s heart-throb, Keanu Reeves, make an unimpressive entrance into the fickle badlands of Cannes yesterday to promote The Man of Tai Chi, his directorial debut. What happened, Keanu? This is not the skinny leather-clad boy who held a motorcycle helmet in one hand and the waist of a cute girl in the other at the Mayfair (now Gelson’s) Market on Franklin Avenue when I lived in Hollywood in the mid-90s.
Dude, you flew too high.
We’re about the same age, but I had a fraction of your looks when we were young. You are crash landing and I’m just coasting lazily toward the ground because frankly, I didn’t have far to fall. Now you play by the same rules as I do…namely, you’re getting by on your money and fame, neither of which I have, but now your prestige owes nothing to that face.
But the gap is closing, So long superman!