I admit this one was my own fault. I had completely forgotten about the email I had received last Friday, informing me, and not really leaving me with a choice, about lunch yesterday with a friend of hers who is the Chief Executive Officer of some event management company. As I knew that this had nothing to do with work — or my work, at least — I conveniently let it slip from my mind, and agreed to have lunch with someone else.
So when I was reminded of this lunch meeting yesterday morning, I balked; I didn’t want to have lunch with a social-climbing parasite even if she was quick to mention that her CEO friend happens to be the brother of a very prominent political figure — failing once again to see that name-dropping makes absolutely no impression on me — and I refused to bail on the other person I had agreed to have lunch with. Even the single best excuse I could come up with, which, God forgive me, involved death, couldn’t stop her. Finally, in my exasperation and knowing that she was well aware that all I ever do at events is deal with the press and emcee, I said, “Why don’t you bring your events team along?”
She rolled her eyes and hissed, “Have you seen my events team?”
I’ll grant that the women in my office can’t help the way they look, but when the significance of her reply had sunk in, I was rendered momentarily speechless. Because there she was, belittling the way they look, denying them their job, and essentially whoring me out, all in one breath. Needless to say, I was now more determined than ever not to go for lunch with her and be paraded around.
Yesterday someone said to me, “The world thrives on people who suck. Someone’s got to suck in order for the rest to move up!” As cruel as it sounds (in his defence he was quoting someone else), there’s also a ring of truth to it. And the other cruel fact is that this is also true of physical attributes, made ever clearer by a certain pigtailed girl who, if she had been older, would probably have taken a harder fall. This does not take away the fact that many people are in their positions because of brilliance alone, as the Managing Director of RHB Investment Management has proven, but the greatest injustice is that many others are in the position they’re in because of the way they look; talent is merely an afterthought.
So then what is beauty? Some people say beauty is all about symmetry. Some say it is youth. The media also strongly promotes beauty as barely being able to tip the scales. The salesgirl selling whitening cream say beauty is defined by a fair, flawless complexion. But what happened to inner beauty? Grace? Personality? Intelligence? Elegance? Apparently it’s all gone out the window, and now beauty appears to be the weapon which both men and women are wielding to get themselves ahead in the world.
“That’s just how the world works,” someone else told me. “What it appeals to and what it’s based on. Basic human-slash-animal instinct.”