“Oh my God. She is SO adorable!”
I don’t have to look up from the cereal box I’m studying to know which of my three girls she’s talking about.
“Where does she get that strawberry hair? And those big brown eyes…” the woman’s voice trails off as she stares, becoming almost hypnotized by my daughter’s striking features.
“Actually red hair is a recessive trait, so my husband and I both had it somewhere down the line.” I try to be polite and pretend like I haven’t had this exact same conversation 10 minutes ago, one aisle over. I will probably have it at least once more before I leave the grocery store. I look over at my other two daughters, with their caramel hair and lighter eyes. They both resemble my husband and me. But my middle daughter looks like a cartoon cherub. Almost too cute to be real.
The comments about her looks started the day she was born, with the nurses fawning over her, and continue to this day.
Everywhere we go. Seriously. Everywhere.
She’s just … well I’ve never seen a baby so perfect!
She should be in a magazine!
She’s the cutest one of your kids … and she knows it.
Don’t get me wrong – all your girls are beautiful but that one …
All three of my girls have had the same teachers, but my middle daughter got away with things the others didn’t. Everyone makes assumptions about her personality because she is adorable. “Wow, what a little sweetie, and so smart!” they’ll say as she picks her nose in church.
She gets selected for speaking parts in plays, engaged in more conversations, and when I go to blogging events, she is always pulled over by the PR people to be in the pictures.
This all is new to me, a face that stops people in their tracks. As Amy Poehler would say, my currency is my personality. What that means is when I was single I hung out near the restroom until my friends scored free drinks, then popped out of nowhere and became the designated talker to drive the poor man away.
Don’t get me wrong – being slightly below average-looking isn’t all bad. I had to develop a personality to make friends, my parents never worried about me announcing I was pregnant in high school, and over my lifetime I figure I’ve saved thousands of dollars on pageant costumes. But let’s face it – life is just easier for beautiful people. Dating, making friends, even finding jobs. In 2013, Business Insider reported a study that found attractive job applicants were 24% more likely than unattractive people to receive a callback for a job interview.
However, it has had some drawbacks with my daughter. I’ve had people offer to buy her (I think they were kidding, but catch me on the wrong day and I may consider an offer) and ask if they could take her picture (ummm, no), and I’ve even caught people discreetly video taping her (they are now resting comfortably in shallow graves).
I’m not sure what my parenting role is here. Of course I appreciate the compliment, but I don’t want it to go to her head or, even worse, for my other two girls to develop a complex about their own looks.
Do I downplay it?
Wow! She’s so cute!
Meh. I’ve seen better.
Play up my other daughters? Hold them up by the scruffs of their necks, pull their lips back and display their healthy gums like show dogs? But look at the shiny coat on this one!
I guess for now I’ll just continue to smile, say thank you and explain basic genetics to total strangers. However, one day I’m totally teaching them how to use teamwork to score free drinks.