"Rarely do great beauty and great virtue dwell together"
~Petrarch [Francesco Petrarca]
When I read this quote, I think of all the 'beautiful' people I've known. The prettiest girl in class, the cute jock, the favorite actor: all of which were beautiful on the outside. But, were they necessarily beautiful on the inside?
There is a new television show called "True Beauty". The premise of this show is to put physically attractive people through tests to see who is truly beautiful on the inside. The catch is that the contestants think it's all about their outer beauty. I have to admit, when I first heard of the show, I thought it was a shallow, dumb waste of airtime. But, I watched the first episode on a whim with some friends. I was hooked. I found it so funny! All these gorgeous people were complaining and shallow.
Many of you might not understand how they could not know. I had my doubts too, but after watching, it is clear these people are oblivious to these hidden challenges. One example could be their clothes challenge. In groups of three people, each group had $100 to buy complete outfits for their group. The challenge was to see who looked the best using scant supplies. I was floored when each group used their beauty to get free clothing or discounts. One group went as far as claiming to be a charity for cancer so they would get money from people. The judges put a secret challenge out to test their inner beauty. They positioned a charity sitting on a corner that was collecting donations. The test was to see who would put money in the box. A simple task, but not done by everyone.
Another example is their attitude towards those around them. They make comments about how they are the most beautiful, how the judges think they are gorgeous, and complain about their challenges. I think, seriously? If I was the most beautiful, according to the judges, I wouldn't be bragging about it to my competition! I would still want help from my potential teammates in future challenges!
These are people in the spotlight though. What about the average 'beautiful' person? What about the high school prom queen, or the star quarterback? When you think about those people, do you remember any inner beauty? I've known some pretty girls who were not self-absorbed. They were kind to others, honest, and hard-working. I think that isn't the norm, just like Petrarch suggested.
I knew this guy, let's call him George, who was a school favorite. He was a star basketball player, a star soccer player, and attractive too. All the young girls fawned over him if he so much as glanced in their direction. And he knew it! That's what started the loss of fascination for me. When he knew he was attractive, he thought he could slide by on some accounts. In one home soccer game, he pantsed a much younger player on his team. This might not seem like a big deal, but it was pretty upsetting to the younger player. Imagine exposing your boxers for all your peers and peers' parents to see. Embarrassment would be on my list of emotions. George was suspended. When this was found out, several people couldn't believe it- including myself. Anyone else doing it would have been suspended as well, but it was shocking to see the favorite get into trouble. Virtue, in this case, was lacking from this individual.
Beauty and virtue are hard to find together. Self gets in the way. But, to those I've known who possess both, I am happy to know it can be done. Inner beauty shines through the physical characteristics we find attractive.