(If you missed Part I, click here).
A few years ago my cousin asked the following question on her blog (I apologize that there is no link, but the blog no longer exists): If you could swallow a pill that would make you just a little bit dumber, but would also ensure that for the rest of your life you would have a perfect body, would you take it?
The answers that came from her readers horrified me. Woman after woman after woman responded that yes, she would take the pill, without hesitation. Some said they would take several. Women were lining up by the dozens, willing to hand over a piece of their brains for a smaller pant size. I've never gotten over it.
But it's such a revealing insight into the world we live in. None of these women were longing to be "kind" or "compassionate", or even to be "beautiful"; they were longing to be "hot." To look attractive in yoga pants and a tank top and to have bodies free of stretch marks and cellulite. The focus on "hotness" diminished them as women, just as it diminishes real beauty, because any measure of true beauty must involve soul -- without soul, we are discussing nothing more than flesh.
And yet, here we are, living in a world where the first commodity of dating is "hotness". Everyone is searching for their John Willoughby -- someone with whom they can share intense and immediate chemistry and then live their life together in the heat of raw passion. This is why sexual contact is the first ingredient in nearly all Hollywood romance; it's the ultimate testing of "hotness". Instant sexual compatibility (complete with fireworks) is expected if a couple is to make a suitable life together. Everything else, including total incompatibility of values or lifestyle, is overlooked on the road to "Happily Ever After." (After all, what is more Hollywood than Nice Girl meets Hot Jerk, Hot Jerk changes his ways -- presumably permanently -- for Nice Girl, and then they ride off into the sunset together?)
This may work in Hollywood, but a dating formula that doesn't require you to disregard physical attractiveness when it is bonded to jerkhood can lead to nowhere but unhappiness. (If a "hot" guy acts like a pig, you can still think he's hot and still delude yourself into thinking you will be the one to change him. Hence the thousands of women who date and marry "bad boys" who treat them like dirt, beat them up, and demolish their self-esteem). But, when there is focus on true beauty, attractiveness is increased by good and kind behavior and diminished by poor behavior. Thus, a woman who focuses on true beauty protects herself from the inevitable heartache that results from chasing after "hotness". She may end up with someone who is handsome, she may end up with someone who is plain, but she will always end up with someone who is "beautiful."
Can hotness without kindness, passion without true beauty, truly be fulfilling? I say no. Surely the passion of melded bodies cannot compare with the passion of welded souls (those who are one in heart and purpose and for whom kindness is the first rule of interaction). And surely hotness cannot compensate for emptiness of soul.
Remember, there is no such thing as a "beautiful" jerk. And no "hot" jerk who will help you earn your Happily Ever After.