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Beautiful Women, Tricky Characters

vicki hinze, beautiful women, tricky characters, writing

 

BEAUTIFUL WOMEN, TRICKY CHARACTERS

 

By

 

Vicki Hinze

 

We love to read about beautiful women about as much as we like reading about the rich and famous.  Yet many writers tend to write beautiful women as though they have no issues with their looks.  This isn’t just unrealistic, it’s shallow, and it gives readers little to hang their hearts on in the reading.  We all know everyone has issues, including beautiful women, so let’s get real in depicting them.

 

When a girl is on the precipice of becoming a woman, she can show promise of beauty physically, and well might already be stunning.  Odds are, with a few choice exceptions, she doesn’t see herself that way.  To her, her looks are normal.  She’ll fret over this and that to do with her looks, find herself lacking.  Yet when heads starting turning, she’ll note it.  Her awareness is triggered by others’ reaction to her.

 

Now that sounds like a totally positive thing.  One in which she can grow confidence and esteem, an appreciation for her appearance.  But it can also generate angst, especially in others’ reactions.  She well might internalize that those turning heads are doing so for a “flaw” not in appreciation.  Guys are sometimes intimidated; and it’s not at all uncommon to hear that the prettiest girl in class at school, or in college, lacks dates.  That guys are reluctant to ask her out or to even approach her.  Then there are those other girls who are envious and jealous and accuse the beautiful girl of being stuck up or full of herself, when the truth is she probably isn’t; she’s reading the unspoken, negative feelings toward her from those girls and shies away from them.  She feels their rejection and reacts to it.

 

Get a little older and the beautiful woman, now accustomed to turning heads and long looks, stores little weight in either.  What she does weigh is the irritation and frustration of proving she’s not empty-headed.  That she has a brain and she does use it.  Many assume that because she’s pretty, she’s dumb, and that puts her in the position of constantly feeling as if (whether true or faulty perception) she must prove her worth.  Prove that she’s capable and able and skilled.

 

At times, she might resent her looks, downplay them, hide behind glasses or bad hair or sloppy dress.  She might adopt an extremely rigid posture—using clothing or posture to camouflage her looks.  She wants to be taken seriously and tells herself that when she’s thirty, then people will know she’s more than a pretty girl with an empty head.  That her brain is not only engaged, she’s bright and well able to function on her own.  Depending on how intensely her mind is ignored, she can become angry, seething at the constant misperceptions—and still the guys tend to stand back because her air is as off-putting as her looks are intimidating.  Assumptions abound that she’s all that, and those assumptions remind others that they’re not.  So they avoid as a self-preservation (and rejection avoidance) mechanism.

 

Older still, around forty, something happens and everything changes.  One day, say, she’s in the airport lounge sipping a cola and having a stranger conversation with an interesting gentleman.  Two young women come in and she notes she’s lost the man’s attention.  For the first time, she is aware that she isn’t holding a man’s attention, and she sees him watching the young women.  She notes the very moment that he gets this distant look in his eye.  She’s torn.  Half of her is upset that she had and lost whatever it is that generates that distant look (she’s very familiar with it), and half of her is relieved.  Maybe now she won’t feel the need to constantly prove herself.

 

There’s a new freedom in finding oneself ordinary.  Also a new vulnerability.  New creases in the skin are noted, that extra five pounds of weight.  The beautiful woman now either has a makeover to enhance her appearance or revels in her new found freedom from her looks.  If not before, now she is aware that the outward beauty is fading, and she focuses more deeply on what remains.  Inner beauty, wisdom, and the big questions in life.  Mortality becomes more than a term her parents discussed.  She’s seeing it become relevant in her own life. That’s both a blessing and a curse in her eyes because it arouses both joy and fear and dread.

 

Later still, she recalls that time in the airport and all the lessons she’d learned from it surprising detail.  She reflects on her reactions to the experience and is either amused or dismayed.  Ah, youth wasted on the young crosses her mind more than a few times.  And one morning, in her quiet time where in abandon she thinks what she will, these memories tease her and quiz her:  What exactly was that distant look in his eyes?  What did it mean?

 

 And finally the answer comes.  When he saw the two young women, he appreciated their youth and vitality—and it triggered memories in him of his own youth.  The time when he was physically in top form, turned heads, was stronger and held women’s attention.  It wasn’t just appreciating two pretty women, though that is part of it.  It was a mental reminiscing of his own life, his own youthful experiences and his reactions to them.

 

And the beautiful woman smiles or frowns on realizing this, depending on how she’d responded to her own fading outward beauty.

 

Beautiful women don’t get all the breaks, they don’t have all the fun, and they don’t transition through life’s stages unscathed.  Some handle the stages well, make a relatively smooth transition from outer beauty to the beauty within—to wisdom.  Some have a very bumpy road.

 

Whether smooth or bumpy depends largely on how the beautiful girl views herself and her worth.  If she is valued as more than a pretty face from youth, odds are she’ll transition those stages smoothly.  If she feels all she is, is a pretty face, she’s going to have a rough time.  A traumatic time.

 

The circle of life takes its toll on us all.  That’s the key point to remember.  That and that outer beauty fades so we’d better instill, develop, nurture other assets and from the inside out—in ourselves and in our children.

 

One last thing to share on this is perception.  Let me illustrate.  Once there was a couple.  Others’ immediate perceptions were that he was a really good-looking guy and she was plain and ordinary.  How in the world, some would ask, did he wind up with her?

 

Then people got to know them.  He was arrogant and overbearing.  She had a sweet and gentle spirit that soothed and comforted.  And soon in those who knew them a shift occurred.  They wondered, How in the world did she wind up with him?

 

The physical perception shifted completely.  He wasn’t so beautiful anymore because he acted horribly.  She became beautiful because of her nature.  Perhaps this is the root of beauty being in the eye of the beholder?

 

Have you ever met someone who was gorgeous but just plain mean and you caught yourself wondering how you ever thought they were gorgeous?  Or someone who didn’t appear beautiful but became so as you got to know them?

 

Perception of beauty is a powerful thing in life and in fiction.  Don’t ignore it.  It’s often far more interesting and definitely more compelling than the physical attributes, and it can carry an enormous amount of story weight and conflict.  Lots of strength there to do the story’s heavy lifting—to do life’s heavy lifting.

 

Beautiful women—beautiful people—have challenges, hang-ups, and concerns just like everyone else.  Unfortunately, far too often those things aren’t taken seriously . . . because the people are beautiful.

 

Think about that a bit.  Think about struggling to be heard, understood, appreciated.  Think about having to work twice as hard to be considered half as good.  Think about your excellent performance surprising everyone—no one expected you capable of it because you’re beautiful.

 

We all have internal and external challenges and conflicts.  Yes, all of us.  And the nature of them is what makes beautiful women (and men) tricky characters.

_____________________________

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© 2014, Vicki Hinze. Hinze is the award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is Down and Dead in Dixie. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s online community: Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact. www.vickihinze.com.

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