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If you could choose to be born with one of the following attributes, which one would you pick?

Beauty?
Brains?
Amazing athletic ability?

This is a conversation, that myself and my girlfriends had the other day.

It seems pretty straight cut, that most people would pick brains, and indeed, I picked brains initially, but then Friend No 1 asked what if I could stand being super-intelligent, but ugly as sin (yes, I know, beauty is in th eye of the beholder, but whatever), and this made me pause.

Friend no. 2 tried to quote a stat from somewhere that apparently proved that beautiful people were usually more successful than ugly intelligent people. (She couldn’t name her source, so I’m assuming it was something she read in OK! magazine.)

I think she may have had a point. No, seriously. Political correctness be damned.

Anyway, I changed my mind, and picked beauty. I know, I know, and me a bordeline feminist too.

The thing is, being born beautiful is a much more useful attribute, because instead of working hard for success, I could simply marry a successful man. Or sleep my way to the top. *g*

Shallow much? Unfortunately, not shallow enough, because I suddenly remembered how much dumb people piss me off, and went back to brains.

Which one would you choose? And don’t be afraid to be shallow, I certainly wont be judging you for it. *G*

21 Comments »


  • loonigrrl
    September 3
    9:44 am

    This reminds me of A Spell for Chameleon (the first Xanth book) by Piers Anthony in which Bink meets a stunningly gorgeous but incredibly dumb woman, a seriously ugly but very intelligent woman, and a third woman of average attractiveness and intelligence. His preference is for the average woman. It turns out that they’re all one and the same-thus the title of the book. And he marries her.

    I don’t think I’d be happy with any decision I made. If I chose beauty, I’d want brains. If I chose brains, I’d want beauty. *flips a coin* I’m going with beauty. No, wait! Brains. Ackkk!

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  • Brains.
    Brains last.

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  • Dawn
    September 3
    11:36 am

    I think I’d have to go with beauty. But then stupid people do my head in – but if I was beautiful and stupid, I wouldn’t know I was stupid and I wouldn’t know if anyone else was stupid either. So I think I’ll go with beauty.

    Make any sense to you?

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  • eggs
    September 3
    11:37 am

    Brains are better. The problem with beauty is that people have often made judgments about your intellect, opinions, morals, etc, before you have even opened your mouth. If you are plain, at least people will give you a chance and wait to hear what you have to say before judging you to be stupid/a bitch/shallow/etc.

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  • Beauty. Drop-dead gorgeous, of average intelligence, with a good heart and a great sense of humour.

    ‘But you’re already all those things, Jaye!’ you say. ‘Pish-posh!’ I demure fetchingly. *gg*

    Seriously though, that would be my choice. I wouldn’t want to be a shallow, self-centred, dumb, gorgeous bitch.

    Neither, to be honest, would I want to be superintelligent, but dog-butt ugly. Think about it, how others would relate/respond to you– that could be a setup for a whole life-time of serious screwed in the head baggage.

    Your friend is right, years ago 60mins or 20/20 did a special on the whole beauty phenomenon (based on some scientic study). They sent a ‘good looking’ person in for a job then an average/not so good looking person, ditto to apply for an apartment, and some other set-up. Quite consistenly the goodlooking person came out on top, and mostly it was based on assumptions/perceptions. Peeps thought the gorgeous one was more accomplished, smarter, etc.,

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  • I’d take Amazing Athletic Ability, which could also translate into lots of money and I’d always be in great shape plus all the money I’d make I can use to buy beauty from the plastic surgeon. šŸ˜€

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  • Beauty fades in time. I hope by the time I am retired and sitting in a rocking chair as a little old lady, I still have my brains and my humor. I hope never to be a looker with half my brains missing. What would you have then?

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  • I’d have to go with brains. Just because as katiebabs said, beauty fades. So does amazing athletic ability.

    I know… *G* I’ll take a page from Eve’s book. I’ll use my chart-shattering intelligence to become uber rich and then I’ll hire a personal trainer and get at least a little athletic and then a cadre of plastic surgeons to make me beautiful.

    Actually, though, I think I’d rather just stay as I am. I’m not gorgeous, but not ugly. Intelligent enough, although I’m lazy with it. Not super athletic but I can take my kids on a hike without my asthma killing me now. Which is an improvement. šŸ˜‰

    One thing I would like, though? To be a little less ‘not skinny’. Don’t need to be skinny, but dang, what I wouldn’t give not to have to fight my weight so much.

    edited for typos, as always.

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  • I’ll just quote Helen Mirren because I sure wouldn’t know about beauty or brains:

    ā€¢ When asked whether being beautiful has been an advantage in her career: “Well, no, actually it can be a terrible disadvantage. Because you’re not allowed to be intelligent if you’re a woman with big t-ts and blonde hair.”

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  • Well, being a not-incredibly-attractive woman who was labeled as ‘gifted’ in school… it was no fun in high school, but ultimately I’m very happy this way. I ended up with the awesome super-intelligent, successful, romantic, amazing husband, fun work, and cool friends. I don’t think being pretty would have made that much better, but being dumb definitely would have been a turn-off for my husband and friends, and would have made it a lot harder to do the independent sorts of work that I do. So yeah, I can honestly say I’d rather be smart.

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  • Sam
    September 3
    3:54 pm

    I would go with brains also. I would hopefully then be able to figure out how to fix the other things…if beautiful but dumb, chances of figuring things out goes way down…

    And ditto katiebabs; hopefully when I’m old, gray and saggy/wrinkly I’ll still be able to think and laugh…

    Sam

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  • vanessajaye
    September 3
    4:13 pm

    Actually, though, I think Iā€™d rather just stay as I am.

    Well, yes. That would always be my first choice. I’m pretty cool with *me*, flaws and all.

    But heck if I’m going for beauty I’d like the type that ages well/gracefully. The good bone structure and fine complexion, etc. Where the fine lines add expression and character, etc to the face, and you’d still have all your teeth and your hair would still healthy/thick, but just turned to a wonderful glossy silver/white.

    Just like if I was going for brains, I’d want to stay sharp well into my old age and not slide into senility or dementia.

    Or if I was going for atheltic ability I wouldn’t want to be set upon with crippling arthritis later on in life.

    And I wouldn’t want looks to be the only thing I had going for me either, because there’s nothing sadder than someone holding on so desperately to their hey day, years later.

    I didn’t think from the original question that if you chose one thing, you’d be lacking in the others. I figured the thing you chose would be above average, and the other things would be average (not below/lacking) or meant that you forfeited other desirable characteristics (ie, sense of humour, kindness, etc)

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  • Well, I have the brains this go around. I wouldn’t mind knowing what the world looks like from the beauty side of things.

    I’ve seen both the studies and the popular media programs on the advantages people with above average looks have and wouldn’t mind a piece of that.

    Shallow? So be it. šŸ™‚

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  • Jenns
    September 3
    4:32 pm

    I’ll take brains.
    With brains, I can earn the money to make myself beautiful (hello, plastic surgery).
    And, as Bernita said, brains last.

    Guess this means I’m totally passing on the amazing athletic ability. Sigh. Oh, well.

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  • Beauty is short-lived and only skin-deep. Physical ability tends to wane, too, but now we’re finding that brains don’t always last a lifetime in top form.

    I want to be all three. I’m greedy.

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  • The thing with beauty is that, with the exception of a rather minuscule percentage of the total world population, it fades, and quickly. Which means that the ‘perceived’ advantages won’t be there for long.

    With hard work, athletic ability can last longer–go, Dara Torres!–but in most cases it doesn’t last either.

    Intelligence, on the other hand, stays with you for much longer (on average and barring disasters). I’m all for that.

    Of course, offer to make me look like Michelle Pffeiffer and I’ll probably pounce without a second’s hesitation šŸ˜€

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  • Throwmearope
    September 3
    7:55 pm

    My mama had average intelligence and was a drop-dead good looking woman. (I, of course, had to take after my dad.) I’m way smarter than my mama, and way uglier, too. But, hey, I got her amazing breasts, so I can’t complain. In the past, big brain, big boobs, it was a workable combination for me.

    My brain not as good as it was when I was a pup, but I think it’s sagging a lot less than my breasts.

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  • I find intelligence incredibly attractive and sexy in a man. Or woman, for that matter, beauty notwithstanding.

    A man who looks only for beauty, not brains, is deserving of what he gets, in my opinion. šŸ˜‰

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  • Definitely brains. I could pull the strings of all the stupid people, who would be too stupid to know that their strings are being pulled. I’d make lots of money from the manipulation and be able to fix whatever part of me I wanted.

    Shallow, party of one, you’re table’s ready…

    No to athletic ability–I detest sweat. The only thing I run for is a Pier 1 clearance event and the “Hot Doughnuts Now!” sign at Krispy Kreme.

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  • Beauty was my first choice, but then I zeroed in on athletic ability because I’d be in tip-top shape–which is beautiful AND smart.

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  • I think your friend definitely had a point. It’s a sad reality that beauty will get you undeserved privileges. People often tend to treat beautiful people nicer, hence giving them more confidence and optimism, and usually success. Not to say that beautiful people can’t be unhappy or unsuccessful but I think in the general sense, beauty tends to find more success than ugliness.

    And who defines beauty and ugliness? I don’t think any one person, so I don’t mean to generalize here because I do believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that it is also plural and varied.

    And inner beauty is so much better than outer beauty anyway so I’d prefer to have brains. I think intelligence and goodness enhances someone’s natural beauty anyway and if that person happens to be conventionally ugly I tend to see them as being lucky in a certain sense because they know that the people who gravitate toward them are the people who have no ulterior motives and put no value on physical beauty.

    Although, to be honest, I have touched upon the shallow bones in my body sometimes when I think how much harder life would be to be atrociously ugly (in the physical sense). Not that I’m gorgeous but I have no huge physical abnormalities and I just think it would make life harder and it would make it harder to make connections with people. Maybe I’ll have to accept this challenge in another life and let my soul grow some more. ^_~

    End note: I don’t generally think we live in a shallow society. I think shallowness is a natural human instinct which is beneficial in some ways but that the media and other sources can encourage its negative side.

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