In the 8-ish minute 6-ish block walk to the yoga studio, I have continually seen more “perfect” people in one small space than any other city I have been to. Just today, I saw 3, and I wasn’t even actively looking. They just crossed my path. Thats a lot. Thats 22.5 per hour, if my math serves me well.
Now of course, there is no such thing as a perfect person. And also, a seemingly perfect appearance is in no way indicative of a perfect or happy emotional state. And, what I deem as perfect can be vastly different then what you deem to be perfect. However, I do think that the media has a huge influence because it perpetuates an ideal and that ideal is thin, elegant, graceful, well dressed, put together, symmetrical. And even if its not well dressed (there is a lot of “looking fashionably dirty/messy/justrolledoutofbed) its still a thin person who can pull that off in a way that is seen as socially acceptable.
Now what exactly are these perfect people of LA that I stumbled upon? Well, they are generally small. If they are tall, then they are thin, but if they are shorter, they are petite and cute. They also have sculpted arms beneath that billowing shirt which ruffles in the breeze to reveal some sculpted abs. I’m sure that all these people have back dimples. They’ve also got narrow hips and muffin tops are no where in sight. These skinny people wear skinny jeans. (What came first, skinny jeans, or skinny people? Why are they even called skinny jeans? Is it because they are exclusive to one type of person who can wear them?) The perfect people of LA put effort into their slightly disheveled appearance. Manicured and pedicured. Lip gloss. Some natural looking eye shadow. Tights. Skirts, dresses, and heels. Cup of coffee in hand. Ray-ban sunglasses. And what do these people, who can look at the world through their Ray-Ban glasses, do all day? Do they have jobs? What do they do to maintain themselves looking so pretty and nice? Or is it just natural for them to have a 20 inch waist and glossy lips and tousled (yet not tangled) hair? Is their life as perfect as how they look?
Seeing all there perfect appearances (that do not mirror an internal state) still has a negative affect on me as a viewer because of the association thin and perfect=happy and content with life. As I sit here typing away on this blog that probably very few people will see, I’m munching away on some chocolate, and wearing sweat pants because I don’t like the way my tummy hangs over the waistband of my notskinny jeans. In my mind I am thinking that those perfect people don’t even want or like chocolate, so they don’t eat it everyday, so they can wear whatever they want. My life is also far from perfect as I try to figure out how I fit in to the bigger picture that is the world. But these perfect people have found their purpose, which gives them that glowing skin and radiant look in their eyes (if they take off the ray bans). I get tired and feel lazy sometimes and lack motivation. But not those people, they are always active and going and doing things and being artsy and finding inspiration in life.
None of the above associations are necessarily true of course. These perfect looking people all have their own stories and struggles and hopes and fears and issues they are trying to navigate through. But because they look a certain way, well, I think that their life must also be a certain way. Its a constant struggle to remind myself that there is no correlation between looks and being content. And if I wanted to appear “perfect” I could very easily do that by upping my exercise, cutting out sweets, spending some time in the mornings putting together outfits, wearing some makeup, and sitting in a cafe sipping at a cappuccino while I type instead of munching on chocolate and wearing these darn sweat pants. Then maybe others would look at me and think I lead a perfect life, when in reality I would be sacrificing bits of myself in order to appear like I was perfect and therefore happy.