Hannah and Papa J

Hannah and Papa J

Monday, February 2, 2015

Katy Perry

Dear Hannah,

As I watched the Superbowl the other day, I was reminded of something I've always hated to remember: that it isn't nearly as easy to dress an ugly woman up and make her beautiful, as it is to dress a beautiful woman up and make her ugly.

My point was proved by a duet between Missy Elliott and Katy Perry.  As far as Perry is concerned, there are few women in the pop industry with as many natural qualities.  Since I was a young man there have always been certain girls that men would rant about, and she's certainly been one of them.  At least, she can be one of them.  There are times when she isn't.  There are times when men go completely silent.  There are times when men begin to laugh.  I believe she can blame her stylist when they do.

Katy Perry is part of the modern wave of model-singers too jealous for attention to remain beautiful for long.  If they're really worthy of our glances one moment, they'll be practically begging us to look elsewhere the next.  Lady Gaga, to my surprise, turned out to be very beautiful -- when she wasn't trying to shock her friends and embarrass her parents.  Beyonce used to be attractive until she decided to "keep up" with the likes of Katy Perry by dressing differently -- like a cheap prostitute.  Nothing is less attractive than an aging woman trying to outsex a younger rival; especially when she mistakes vulgarity for sexiness.  I've never really been attracted to black women, but as a teenager I had never seen a black woman more beautiful than a young Beyonce.  I have seen many outclass her in her undignified age.  Perry has always had a kind of sex appeal, probably because even in her weirdness, she always looked innocent enough to remain voluptuously girlish.  A healthy tint of cleanliness and innocence is essential to any woman's beauty.  The women who attempt to be strange without a solid and natural foundation of girlishness end up looking dirty.  To prove this point, I mention Ke$ha, who has everything necessary to be classified as a model, but who most usually looks like somebody shat on a painting.  You may call her many things, but to call her beautiful, at least for the moment, would be extremely unfair to the women who actually are.

In the quest for attention, Katy's stylists have nearly breached the limits of imagination, and almost always transgressed the limits of good taste. In a world in which artistic liberty mistakes surprise for entertainment, we could expect nothing less.  In my experience, a man reaches a stage of artistic maturity when he's tired of trying to look cool, and wants to look handsome instead.  Likewise, a woman reaches a state of stylistic maturity when she's tired of looking sexy, and wants to look beautiful.  A woman's beauty is something natural and timeless, unlike fashion, which is supposed to be the art of drawing natural beauty out.  Beauty transcends ages to inspire love and lust whether men are wearing top hats or togas.  Not everyone is interested in flappers.  But however Lena Headey dresses herself off the set, every healthy man will admire a Greek goddess or a stately princess -- a Queen Gorgo or a Cersei Lannister (the latter devoid of her horrible personality, of course).  Katy Perry will someday be a laughing stock and a kind of novelty, when men are looking back at pictures of Princess Kate and wishing they had been princes. 

The compliments we receive from true and insincere coworkers may be more numerous when we're constantly changing our style; only some of us are good-looking enough to pull these changes off consistently and successfully.  Some women, mistaking the frequency of compliments with sincerity, and others, mistaking a lack of positive comments for a lack of personal appeal, have been quick to ruin a perfect portrait in the pursuit of something fashionable but unattractive.  I've known many women throughout my life who've changed their hair for the worse, and still gotten many compliments.  I also know a woman whose hair consistently looks like something fit better for heaven than earth, and I've never once seen anyone praise it.  I would feel terrible were she to change it.  I would feel I'd played some role in ruining her beauty.  This is the chief difficulty of marriage, at least for me.  Nobody appreciates beauty like I do -- my heart is so swollen by it, I can barely manage.  I worry everyone would turn on me if I suddenly didn't; I worry a serious and unexpected profession of admiration would be too close to a profession of love.  Maybe this is the same reason why a woman feels she has to change in order to be noticed.  A change in style warrants a change in speech.  Without an adequate outlet, perhaps many are silent because they feel they should be.  It has yet to be proved whether we should.

Either way, maturity in a woman is looking in the mirror and knowing what beauty is, without getting tired of being beautiful and ruining it for something simply different.  My mother, in the 70's, looked like an Indian princess -- almost like Disney's Pocahontas.  In the 90's, she looked like Gene Simmons.  A change in hair (and weight) did it to her.  I advise you to take warning and stick with what's timelessly beautiful -- even if the entire age turns on you and everyone starts looking like Ayn Rand (God forbid).

Your father,

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