He always said to her, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Wear makeup. Don’t wear makeup. I don’t care. You will always be beautiful to me.” So, she went barefaced since her mocha skin was fresh, dewy, and flawless.
She was pleasantly plump. So what? There’s more of you to hold, he’d tell her.
She cared about the world, and spoke loudly and boldly about climate change, banning plastic, animal rights, and being vegan. She waved the activism flag and he stood next to her – proud and willing.
Then his career went through a stratospheric rise. He went from being yet another MBA grad in mid-management to the ‘chosen one’ in the company. Whether they wanted to or not, whether they could afford to or not – they moved up. They moved up in homes, positions, and lifestyles. They became members of clubs they never had the time to go to, sent their kids to private schools that the kids hated, felt alone and lonely in, hosted parties, and invited people they barely knew, and the ones they did know they hated. Because…he was climbing the corporate ladder. They made cocktails, and mocktails, and ate caviar and filet mignon even though a double cheeseburger with fries from McD’s is what they both yearned to snarf down.
Because…well…they were the Robertsons but HAD to keep up with the Joneses.
Soon…her bare face was too bare, he said. Why don’t you at least wear some makeup? Maybe some lipstick, or eyeliner? Did you see Trisha the other night? Andy’s wife? She looked ‘hawt’!
So, she started to apply makeup.
Then the ‘more of her to hold’ just became…more.
So, she dieted, worked out all the time, ate a celery stick for lunch, and was constantly hungry and angry but hey…she was a size 4 now. It was all worth it.
Her bold stance that he’d once loved now became an embarrassment. She spoke up and said loudly that billionaires should be taxed…when her husband’s bosses had just become billionaires themselves. She spoke against Wall Street bankrupting the middle class while her husband worked in a hedge fund.
It started well. All you need is love they’d told each other. And they probably meant it then.
The love now turned to – all you need is a house. And a car. And another car. Then the second house. A vacation house. Money in the bank with at least a 10% interest rate. And a retirement fund. And a travel fund. Ivy college funds for the kids. And…
They once said…beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That beauty is skin deep.
But then the beholder started to have a lot of requirements and expectations. Do you have a double D chest? Check. Do you have perfect skin? Check. Blond hair. Check. Blue eyes. Check. Are you a size negative zero? Check.
OK. NOW beauty IS in the eye of the beholder. And NOW beauty IS skin-deep.
Really though, it did start well.
Roopa writes essays, opinions, humor, and fiction. Her fiction, satire, and creative non-fiction essays are published on Outlook, A Thin Slice of Anxiety, Writer’s Blokke, Kitaab, Eksentrika, Women’s Web, and more. She now has a weekly opinion column on Elephant Journal. Her humor is published on Slackjaw, Frazzled, Greener Pastures Magazine, The Haven, and more. She refers to herself in the 3rd person, is fiercely competitive, and f*cking loves and hates amazing writers. Check out her gems at www.themessyoptimist.com
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