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Hot versus pretty? Whats the difference?

Recently somewhere deep down an instagram feed there was this interesting question...Are you mature enough to appreciate someone else’s beauty without questioning your own? It was thought- provoking to say the least. And this question might not seem relevant for men at first, but just replace the word ‘beauty’ with ‘fitness’ and we have something for everyone. 

While the range of what we feel could be sheer jealousy and rage to a mild regret at not being that attractive/fit/glowing/young (insert your own bug word here) ourselves, its hard for us to view another in our vicinity without feeling a small stab somewhere. Its also probably why its easier to be crazy about celebrities and stars. They are unreal in their good looks and grooming and its so far out of our league that we don’t feel we need to compare. And how we love to find their feet of clay when we glimpse them at airports, looking normal and sleep-deprived like other folk. “You know, she’s got really horrible skin ya! Poor thing!” or “He’s super short!” 

Being female has its own stressors and some things feel like hard-wiring. In traditional structures women have been pitted against each other based on their looks and have had to compete for favour. Its a world that we’re born into and many of us do successfully turn on its head with positive messaging and sisterhood. We celebrate our friends for looking their best and help them get there, learning things together. There are limitations of course, (as long you aren’t taking extreme steps like cosmetic surgery) but there is only so much prettier one can get. Conventional beauty, the one that comes from having symmetry in one’s face, a mix of grooming and genes, has nothing whatsoever to do with being hot. And reclaiming a word ‘hot’ is important. Its not about objectification or purely about physical endowments. ‘Hot’ is about impact upon another. It lies in the possibilities about someone else. One doesn’t need to take action for those possibilities to exist either. 

So what makes someone that kind of attractive? Pause for a second and close your eyes to think of the last person you felt like that about. Okaay---welcome back from your daydream! So is it possible to unpack what got you there? Sure they may have been good looking. But I assert that was secondary. What is primary is less evident and more below the surface. It has to do with intangibles like an ability to laugh easily, or a smile that reaches their eyes. For each of us there is something personal in what we find attractive about another. Two things however, seem to be universal: a person who is comfortable in their skin, at peace with their body the way it is, who’s actions look deliberate rather than jumpy or unsure, whether its as small as picking things off a grocery shelf or how they greet someone to whom they are introduced; those kinds of people always exude confidence and that is attractive. The other universal is a person who is present, who listens keenly. Most people only listen with half a ear. As we nod vigorously at something someone says, our brain may already have begun a trip elsewhere. We’re good at pretending though and all of us get by most of the time. But when someone really listens, they give a gift of their attention and that is incredibly attractive.

So while on the one hand we chase dreams of beauty with the latest lotions and make up techniques, the paradox is that to be attractive and wanted, its taking our attention off ourselves and cherishing others that does that best. 

Throw us a line in the comments to tell us if you agree and what else is on your ‘hotness’ checklist!

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