Are we obsessed with the word PRETTY? Am I pretty? Is she pretty? Is he pretty? Is it pretty? Are we all pretty?
The more I type the word pretty, the more it feels like I misspelled it, but my trusted spellcheck would tell me if I had.
During my extended Turkish summer I learnt a new game called “Güzellik mi Çirkinlik mi?” which translates roughly as Beauty or Ugliness. My father explained how the game worked, and I know you may think it is weird to learn this from your father at the age of 27 but in my defence one of our key players was my 4-year-old niece Lidya.
The rules were easy: if you are chosen to go first, you decide to either ask to see everyone do a “pretty” face or an “ugly” one. Then you choose the person that you think embodied the expression the best, and then it is their turn to either make everyone pretty or ugly.
I really doubt that guidance counselors or child psychologists would recommend this game, but to be honest playing it with someone so young and less exposed to media and social norms was very revealing.
We form an idea of what is attractive and what is not very early on, and these ideas are very resistant to time and age. The 56-year-old granddad, the 27-year-old uncle, the 4-year-old girl and any other willing souls, all pulled similar expressions.
I still think that I had the ugliest face in the game but that will never ever be published on this blog (also my camera-phobic family would not take the photo).
Then again, never say never.