Feel More Pretty

by Hugh O. Smith

There’s a great place in my neighborhood where I sometimes go to write. It’s one of those fancy gourmet supermarkets with a great selection of food, comfortable seats with plenty of room to spread out, free Wi-Fi and plenty of outlets to plug your laptop in. One of the great things about this place is it’s never packed. Only a few people go there with any regularity so you end up seeing the same faces all the time.

Except the other day I arrived and there was someone new. Sitting at a table typing away on her laptop was a fierce drag queen. It was a chilly day but she was dressed to impress in a short skirt, tiny midriff baring t-shirt with a form fitting fur jacket over it. On her feet were a pair of pink, sparkly, sequined heels that added at least three inches to her already formidable height. Her makeup was impeccable and not a hair was out of place.

Like I said, fierce.

I fired up my computer and got to work, chuckling to myself as I noticed most of the folks in the room casting sly glances at her. The more I tried to work though, the more the words seemed to elude me and I found myself, like my neighbors, stealing glances at the drag queen busy typing away on her laptop and paying the world no mind. Now, I lived in New York City for almost three-quarters of my life so seeing a man in drag is nothing new. My neighbors on the other hand didn’t seem to have had that kind of exposure. I live in a small community in a New Jersey suburb and a drag sighting is pretty rare.

I tried again to write my post but after a few minutes I deleted it all again except for the title – I Feel More Pretty, about my daughter’s first pair of high-heeled shoes. She arrived home the other day fresh from a shopping trip and ran inside to show me her new shoes. Immediately she put them on and began to walk around the room, her steps tentative and unsteady at first but getting more confident as the minutes passed.

Practice session over, she proudly put them back in their box. “Why do you like those shoes so much honey?” I asked.

“They make me feel pretty Daddy,” she said

“You’re already beautiful you don’t need shoes for that.”

She gave me a look one would give when explaining an easy concept to a simpleminded child.

“I know Daddy,” she said. “But the shoes make me feel more pretty.”

I thought about her words as I stared at the blank computer screen. Feel more pretty. [pullquote]Isn’t that what we all want? To feel more…something. To be more…something. [/pullquote]Don’t we all want to line up who we feel we are inside with the reality of who we really are? Inside, I am an author. I have a library of books inside just waiting to come out. In my mind I’ve been on the best sellers list for years and signed thousands of books. The man dressed as a woman only a few feet away from me wanted to do the same thing, to line up his internal self with the external.

Feeling more and being more takes two things. Courage and action. Sometimes it’s as simple as trying to walk in a new pair of shoes or sitting ass in seat and starting to type. Sometimes it’s as hard as walking out into the world a whole different person and trying to ignore the stares.

Courage. Action.

Here’s to us all feeling more pretty.

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