In reply to yesterday’s column about what’s happening in the Fatosphere, reader and all-around amazing person KSEW brought up this issue:
So with you, KSEW.
Full disclosure here, I have not heard Antoine’s performance. I cannot tell you off hand whether I would agree that he’s amazing or just think he’s a meh singer. I would have to hear him first.
And that’s kind of the point: I would have to hear him. Thus far I have only seen him, and that gives me no indication whatsoever of whether or not he can sing, dance, act, juggle, tame lions, or balance a checkbook.
Why? Because body size doesn’t indicate talent or lack thereof in any walk of life.
Do I enjoy looking at performers I also find physically attractive? Of course I do. It doesn’t hurt my feelings one jot that Johnny Depp and David Bowie happen to ping my pretty meter as well as do their jobs tremendously well. But you know what? I also think Timothy Spall is a pretty darn fabulous actor, and I don’t find him pretty. I don’t care. His job is to act. He does his job tremendously well. The fact that his face isn’t one I want to see on the pillow next to mine doesn’t change the fact that he’s a versatile, nuanced actor who can bring me to tears of pity or of laughter with his performances. Did I care that Warren Zevon wasn’t my idea of pretty, either? No. I loved his voice, his playing chops, and his incredible lyrics. I listen to his albums and hum his songs all the time. Why? Because he was a formidable talent.
In some ways, the worst thing about the ‘but people have to be pretty to be talented’ is the idea that there’s only one way to be pretty or sexy. Me? I can’t sit down and quantify what sexy is. I can’t even tell you how I define it for myself. It happens or it doesn’t. I honestly don’t know if I would lust after Antoine or not. I haven’t seen him in action yet, so I have nothing to react to but pictures, thus far. I might hear him and watch him in action and find him simply talented or not. I might find myself fantasizing about covering him in maple syrup and then cleaning him up… as soon as he’s street legal on this side of the Pond. I don’t know.
I do find David Bowie and Johnny Depp sexy. I find Meatloaf sexy. I found John Belushi sexy. I find Eddie Izzard sexy. I find Avery Brooks sexy. Pretty much the only thing I can find in common between these men (aside from being talented performers) is that they’re, well, all men.
And what about other, more immediately vital aspects of life than entertainment?
Once, many years ago, I was on a jury in a murder trial. It wasn’t fun, and I don’t recommend it as entertainment. Still. Every woman on that jury – myself included – thought the defense lawyer was a very attractive man in a rumpled sort of way. But we decided the case based on the evidence and the theories presented. Not one woman in that jury room thought the prosecutor was pretty, but we all agreed he made by far the better case. We sent the defendant to prison for a very, very long time.
Why? Because it didn’t matter who was pretty, who was sexy. It didn’t even matter that the defendant was a kind of cute kid and very, very young. He was. He was also a cold-blooded murderer.
I shudder to think what the outcome might have been if the thing we were most focused on was the relative sexy of the lawyers.