Details Magazine, December 1993... "Pretty Vacant"
Has this ever happened to you: You're walking along and you see the
most beautiful woman in the world. You and everyone else stare at her.
She is incredible. You immediately put your hand to your head to check
if your hair is doing something stupid. If she looks your way you want
to be ready. But you know better. She's way out of your league, pal.
No way, there's nothing that you could offer her that hasn't been
offered to her by a legion of men before you. There's nothing you can
do or say. You might as well not exist. You're nothing, you're a peon,
a speck on the horizon. You didn't think you were inadequate before she
walked by. Your mind was on other things. But now you feel like the
lowest of the low. You suck.
Then your ego comes out of the corner swinging. Who the hell does she
think she is? She's got to be stuck up. Easily an airhead. She
probably only likes rich guys anyway. Well, they can have her. You
wouldn't give her the time of day. You wouldn't talk to her if she were
the last woman on the planet. Who needs her? Not you, you've got a
life. Oh yeah-and she's a bitch.
Later you go to the gym and hit the weights. You will be the icon of
rock-hard masculinity. The beautiful women of the world will have to
beg for your attention. It will be so satisfying to yawn in their faces
and tell them that you have other things to do. Much better to stand
alone like Clint. You are the misunderstood man, the lonely warrior
staring into the abyss. You walk home feeling like De Niro in Taxi
Oh yeah, the other scenario: You see a beautiful couple. You scope the
woman first but only for a millisecond. You immediately check from head
to toe in great detail the worm she's with. The poor guy's in need. In
need of what? In need of you pounding the snot out of him so she can
see that you're the man for her. What does the guy have that you
don't? You look at him for signs of otherworldliness. Nope, he's just
a guy. But he's got something beautiful, and you can't help but look.
He catches you looking at her and he gives you a slight smile. He knows
you hate his guts. He's loving every minute of your fury.
If only you had the beautiful girl on your arm. Everything would be all
right. Other guys would wonder what you had that they didn't. You
would be able to hold it over their heads. They would want to kick your
ass. By mere association with this beautiful creature you would
transcend your mortal status. You would be someone. You would play it
off marvelously. It would be striking back at the world. You would rise
above the masses. You would also be using someone else as a status
For women, looking good is a huge industry. As long as there are the
Beautiful, there will be those that want to get in on it. Then there
are the Professionally Beautiful: the models. Models are seen as
celebrities just because of their looks. What a shallow trip that is.
I saw the cover model of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue on
Letterman once. She had done nothing but get in a bathing suit and show
up to a photo session without getting hit by a car, and here she was on
nationwide television. Her interview with Dave didn't last long. She
had nothing of interest to say. Finally Dave looked helplessly at the
camera and said, "Okay, now what do we do?" It put the whole thing in
perspective for me. Not to say that she was stupid. Not to say that
beautiful women are brainless. But just because you have good looks, it
doesn't make you automatically noteworthy beyond the fact.
The idea of a "supermodel" is hilarious to me. She wears super makeup,
she has super looks. When I listen to Cindy Crawford talk on television
I find her relentlessly boring. The idea of talking about putting goop
on your face is right up there with a three-day seminar on paint-drying
techniques in the Midwestern states. I find her boring, and that alone
makes her unattractive to me. But I'm sure old Cindy means well and
doesn't wish to harm anyone. It's not as if I'm constantly dodging her
phone calls. In my thirty-two years she's never called me once. You
neither? Oh, well. We'll survive.
What a mean industry! As soon as you don't look a certain way, you're
out of there like they never knew ya. Naomi, invest in real estate
before you start showing lines!
What about the beautiful? Aren't they people too? Don't they have the
same insecurities and fears that all of us generic ones have? Sure.
I know a woman who is a staggering beauty. Anatomically crippling.
It's not her fault. It's just the way she turned out. There's nothing
she can do about it short of dressing in a sack, and even then-wow, what
a sack. When I walk with her, tires screech. Personally it scares me.
I asked her what it was like being so beautiful. She took it as an
insult at first. I told her I really wanted to know. She said that she
gets threatened a lot. She gets told that she's a bitch by people she's
never met. She has been physically assaulted a few times by men. She's
been hit on by her dentist, neighbors, teachers, you name it.
What happens to her is an interesting spin on where society's at. If
you have something someone else hasn't got, you are admired, worshiped,
and hated. All at the same time. Those who are "beautiful" lose a lot
of their human rights. They are expected to be sheepish with wolves and
grateful to those who compliment them. They are supposed to be gracious
and good-natured about the way they are treated. They are supposed to
be objects: something to be looked at and wondered about. Do they eat
the same food as other people? Do they get lonely? No way, they're
beautiful. Beautiful people are never lonely because everyone wants to
be with them. Some people see beauty as some kind of talent, like the
talent of a musician or a painter. What a burden.
In a way I feel sorry for my friend. She takes a lot of undeserved shit
from people. She also happens to be one of the kindest and most
sensitive people I've ever met. She knows several languages and has
great taste in music. These attributes make her attractive to me.
I asked her what she likes in a man, in order of importance.
Intelligence, a sense of humor, and kindness were highest on her list.
She said nothing of how Mr. Right looked. I asked her about that and
she said it would be great if he was handsome, but it wasn't all that
important. Maybe that counteracts what gets said when the normal guy
walks by with the stunning woman. One guy says to the other, "He must
Who do beautiful people spend their time with? Other beautiful people?
Or do opposites attract? If you were the beautiful woman looking for
real companionship and you paired up with a beautiful man, you might
feel competitive. You might see this guy trying to outshine you. Or
think maybe he just likes you because you make him look good. Maybe the
average looking guy has a more reasonable grasp on things: He's less
hung up on hair gel and more into real things. Maybe a normal guy would
be a relief compared to a hardened industry type. Hey, average guys,
there's hope for you yet!
Recently I spent some time hanging out with two rather well-known
musicians. I watched several beautiful women come up and basically hand
themselves over to these guys. They could have had their pick. I had
never seen anything like it in my life. I asked them if that happened
often. One of them said yes. He didn't seem too thrilled about it. I
asked him why. He said that beauty didn't mean a whole lot to him at
this point. He was interested in something more substantial than good
It seems that the beautiful might be at a disadvantage. They have a lot
more to prove than "real" people. Bruce Springsteen is a common-looking
guy. People like him because he's "real." What if he were beautiful?
Would he be one of the untouchable ones? The reason why people never
took Duran Duran seriously is the reason they believe in Tom Petty: He
looks like a goon, he must be the real thing.
I believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I bet supermodels
look in the mirror and see a disaster on a regular basis. I'm sure the
beautiful woman that you're building up the nerve to talk to has days
when she feels she looks like the bottom of her shoe. Everyone trips
out about the way they look. You know it won't last forever and you
can't take it with you.
Walking in the dark caverns of your imagined inadequacies is what time
spent in hell must be like. When we see someone we find "beautiful," we
sometimes pull out a checklist of what we think are shortcomings in
ourselves. It's always easier to hate other people for what they have
than to hate yourself for what you haven't got. I've done it and so
have you. Friends, it's time wasted. Looks aren't everything. And
besides, there's not a damn thing wrong with the way anyone looks.
And the note at the end of the article:
"Rollins only looks in the mirror to perfect his I'm-so-sensitive