You so pretty

These are the most common opening lines I get on every online dating site.  “Hi Gorgeous,” or  “Beautiful smile.” No, I’m not gorgeous. I may have a beautiful smile and I have the dental receipts to prove it, not to mention the yearbook pics that garnered me the nickname “metal mouth” that I hope no one ever finds when I’m famous. But I digress…

Perhaps it’s because men don’t know what else to say. Maybe they think it’s flattering and will prompt me to respond. I’ve responded with “I’d like to hear that I’m intelligent” several times. In those cases, I’ve gotten puzzled responses, and one guy told me to f*** off.  More frequently, I’ve gotten crickets. Or blocked.

It reminds me of a song from a story I was obsessed with when I was a child — Cinderella.  Oh, not the one by Disney with beautiful animation. I’m talking about the one I still have on VHS (look it up millenials.) It featured soap opera star Vic Damon as the handsome prince and a very very young Susan Sarandon as Cinderella. And the tackiest backdrops and cardboard props. I made my friend Susan watch it with me during a bout of nostalgia, prefacing the screening with “this is the best version EVER.” She couldn’t look at me for weeks after that. Not to get into the sexist tone of the whole story premise… ok maybe later. The point I’m trying to make is this — do we seek someone who is attractive for the sake of attraction? Tinder may say so. Or is there more? Or is it this, the lyrics from my favorite song from my favorite adaptation of my favorite musical ever:

Do I love you because you’re beautiful,
Or are you beautiful because I love you?
Am I making believe I see in you a girl too lovely to be really true?
Do I want you because you’re wonderful,
Or are you wonderful because I want you?
Are you the sweet invention of a lover’s
Dream or are you really as beautiful as you seem?
Am I making believe I see in you a man too perfect to be really true?
Do I want you because you’re wonderful,
Or are you wonderful because I want you?
Are you the sweet invention of a lover’s
Dream or are you really as wonderful as you seem?

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Oscar Hammerstein Ii / Richard Rodgers

Gosh, they left out the verse about “Are you so smart that it doesn’t matter anyway? Or are you only beautiful and that’s ok?

And, enjoy:

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