“(Our baby’s name) is not pretty, but at least she is kiao (smart),” my mother-in-law said. She says this often to anyone who will listen to her.
While many mothers may feel scandalous for their own babies are called ugly or not beautiful, I’m not like that. In fact, as I look at my baby, I’d have to admit the fact that she really is NOT beautiful in the purest sense of the word.
For one, her eyes are small and chinky. They look like flat almonds with none of the charm.
Her nose is a bit wide and flat. The holes are not cute and dainty. In fact, they’re quite big for a baby. My mother is shocked on how loud our baby snores. “She’s like YOU!” my mom would say as a joke.
Her hair is thin and unruly. There is no order to her hair. It brushes to the front and goes to all directions.
If she’s not wearing a pink dress, she looks like a boy. When we walk in the streets, people look at her and say, “Annyong” because she looks Korean.
My baby is only beautiful when she smiles. When she smiles, her eyes crinkle upwards and her mouth flashes the cutest smile you’ll ever see. Unfortunately, she doesn’t smile unless there’s reason to do so, so most people just get to see her b*tch face.
But my husband deems her cute.
“At least she is a cute baby,” he would say as he showers her with kisses. “I know when a baby is cute or not, and thank goodness she’s cute.”
Honestly, I don’t get it.
I don’t think our baby is THAT cute. Not like her cousin who is half-white and half-Chinese. With her large eyes, fair skin, flushed cheeks, and pursed lips, Jessica is C-U-T-E. If there was a baby pageant, our own baby won’t even pass the preliminary rounds.
Then again, I was not cute as a baby. Relatives would kid me as the “Ugly Duckling” who never transformed into a beautiful swan until after puberty. Nobody at school chased after me, and as I buried myself in books, many of my prettier classmates busied themselves in turning down date offers from boys.
I’m glad I somehow turned out decent. As a child, I had no charm and none of the beauty. But I was a studious well-mannered kid, so it’s not as if my parents lost out.
I think my daughter and I will share the same fate.
She is not pretty, or beautiful.
But she is cute, and charming.
She smiles at strangers for no reason and obediently grabs your hand to pay her respects when asked. She waves at people hello and goodbye and will dutifully follow you wherever you go.
I have hoarded books from Amazon.com to gift her an early love for reading. I’ve enrolled her to a nursery that exposes her to the written word and songs. Even at 13 months old, she is curious, independent, and wonderful to be with. Adults huddle over her and coo.
So it’s fine that she’s not pretty or beautiful.
As the most recent Miss Universe competition has shown, beauty can only take you too far. After awhile, you need to back it up with some personality, heart or brains.
I don’t mind that my daughter is not pretty or beautiful.
I just want her to be kind-hearted and do the right thing.
I don’t mind if she doesn’t join beauty pageants or become a model.
I just want her to be normal, and healthy and happy.
I don’t mind if guys don’t chase after her until she becomes an adult.
At least, she can focus on school and herself, and become a better person regardless on what other men think of her. Besides, her daddy don’t want her married off easily anyway.
I don’t mind if her cousin is prettier than her.
If my daughter is smarter, then I’m happy.
And yes, I will tell my daughter all of this. I do it not to ruin her self-esteem but to boost it. I will tell her, “My daughter, you will not top beauty contests and guys will not beat your door. But you are much loved and are wonderful and it’s important that you let your personality and brains shine through. You need to know and embrace who you are, and you need to show the world what you an do, instead of just showing off what you look like.”
“My daughter, your non-beauty is a gift as it allows you to enhance your other gifts. So work hard and do everything to deserve people’s acceptance and respect. Always do the right thing. I love you.”
And she will give me a sweet hug and go back to her books.
That’s my girl.
On a related post, Dayanara Torres explains why Miss France won
Torres added that all of the judges were looking for a different kind of beauty queen to represent the Miss Universe Organization, one with more personality rather than just physical beauty.
“When you arrive at an event where the Miss Universe is going to be, you want to find a person that’s accessible and not just a robot or with an attitude. You don’t want that,” she explained. “You want somebody that’s more human and who’s going to touch other people. Because when they talk, people are going to listen.”
She added that Mittenaere’s strength lies in her natural appeal and eagerness to help other people.