Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

A caterpillar metamorphosis into a butterfly in three easy steps.

There’s this TV show that has an actor confront someone on a street–in a college town or medium sized city–and push them into an emergency makeover. Like serious sirens-and-flashing-light-type emergency.

The show is called something like 5 Alarm Ugly. Or, maybe, the Personal 911 or Frump Shaming. Could be 2ugly4Cable or Your Own Real World is Real Unattractive or You Are Awful and Need Help. Well, that last one might be too literal for TV.

Anyway, a perky stylist scopes the mean streets of the locale and accosts people tooffer services that need to be had THAT DAY. Like NOW. No real thinking.  The offer runs out in 5 seconds. So, if you have to get the kids from the babysitter, no. If you have a job, no. If you are going to the dentist, no. But that last one is cool. Clean teeth are always a plus.

The deal includes a haircut and coloring–highlights or Sabrina to Samantha, a professional makeup job and an outfit that befits the current couture. After the amazing transformation, the “contestant” meets up at a (awkward) happy hour with her too perky millennial coworkers or  with her real friends or with her partner and/or their family for the reveal. The reveal is when the former frumptress walks in to a public space to much oohing and aahing. Then there is the requisite tears of joy showering the ugly bug-ling released from her chrysalis.

She is now a beautiful butterfly. She’s lost her frizzy or limp mousey-colored locks. Her skin is now accentuated by the newest products to give the mostest dewiest glow. She dons shoes with heels bringing her stature to new heights and eschews the hum drum baggy t-shirt and jeans of her near past for an outfit that conveys her newly transformed self.

What a cruel show.

Imagine to be selected from the streets of your city as the ugly duckling to be turned into a swan. To be princess for the day because you were obviously a loser before the TV fairy godmother scrubbed you clean.

Isn’t she pretty now, with her new blowout? Her too close set eyes and thin lips totally corrected by the Mac cosmetics? Her most abysmal taste as evidenced from the back of her closet now debugged by that alluring silk blouse and adorbs turquoise push-up bra? Isn’t she so much better?

When I watched the show–back to back episodes–I was curious about the results but was ended up squeamish. What’s wrong with us? Why do we need to fix that which isn’t broken? Why can’t we see beauty with her big framed glasses or last seasons’ clothes?

She doesn’t need fixing. We do. 

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