Sven Jorgenson: Excuse me, is there something wrong, young pretty girl?
Audrey Horne: They found my friend Laura… lying facedown on a rocky beach… completely naked. She’d been murdered.
Audrey, Audrey, Audrey Horne. So pretty. So capable. So aware. Do you think she knows how pretty she is?
When I was 16 I got arrested. It was on purpose; a friend of mine was attempting to run away and since we fit a similar physical description I agreed to pretend I was her and get picked up by the cops as a diversionary tactic to buy her some time. While handcuffed to the plastic chair in the holding room and waiting to see how events would unfold, the police officer who had arrested me began to criticize my appearance. “Why do you shave your head?” She asked me. “Why do you dress like a boy? You’re such a pretty girl. It’s a waste. You could be so beautiful and you look like trash. Why do you do this to yourself?”
“I don’t want to be pretty,” I told her, “I’m a person.”
The officer shook her head and continued a well-warranted lecture on how I Really Should be Doing Something Good with My Life Instead of Drinking Underage and Running Away and Getting Arrested and Shaving My Head so I Look Like a Boy or How Will I Ever Expect Anyone to Love or Respect Me if I Don’t Love and Respect Myself.
The lesson that I have learned over the 13 years since that time is this: There is absolutely nothing you can do to prevent people from judging you by your appearance if that’s what they want to do. No amount of head-shaving, makeup-avoiding, or baggy clothes-wearing will prevent a bunch of assholes from telling you you’re “such a
incapable, idiotic pretty girl”, or stop strangers from telling you to smile, or keep EVERY freaking dude you hook up with from asking you if you know how beautiful you are. “Oh! Am I? Wowsers! Thank you for telling me, I think my sense of self-worth just got bigger! Let’s talk about it some more! Let’s talk about it FOREVER, or until three months from now when you suddenly realize I’m a human being, which is way boring and ugly compared to this pedestal that you fabricated and then stuck me on, and then you can feel weird about all the great things you said to and about me because you didn’t really mean them in the first place, did you, and you can just kind of creep away from me backwards until you disappear! Bye!”
You can’t prevent it. But you can own it and you can use it. If someone unsolicitedly tells you you’re pretty, do you know where they are? In the palm of your hand. Just a short inch away from your little finger. Isn’t your little finger cold? Don’t you just want to wrap someone around it?
Working the perfume counter.