ponders the ugly truth that, hot or not, looks fade.
Just when you thought life couldn’t get more unfair, consider this fact: beautiful people are not only better-looking than the rest of us but richer and happier, too.
Yes, finally science has found a way to do something the greatest minds on Earth have failed to achieve: explain the Kardashians.
Daniel Hamermesh, a “pulchronomist” (specialist in the economic study of beauty) from the University of Texas, found handsome men earn 13 per cent more on average, and that beautiful women can increase their happiness just by looking in the mirror.
And a Polish university study confirmed this, as neatly summarised by London’s Independent news site: “Goodlooking people tend to be happier – but only when they have been thinking about how attractive they are.”
I came to researching this when I realised I would be writing a column for a beautiful magazine surrounded by beautiful people – and I don’t just mean the person who hired me, who obviously got to where she is through extraordinary intelligence and impeccable taste. I too, of course, know the burden of being uncommonly handsome. Many a time I’ve wondered if my easy road to fame has been the result not of my God-given talent but the sick fantasy of some senior executive obsessed with my tightly sculpted buns. Certainly that would explain why I’ve been asked to leave so many offices. Yet, in recent weeks, as middle age has approached and departed – taking all the furniture with it – I have been forced to confront the fact my beauty is fading. I call it “The Kilmer Effect”. Much of this angst has been caused by my dentist, whom I discovered has been calculating the health of my mouth by backdating it from the estimated time of my death – an ironic equation, given the number of neardeath experiences my mouth has already produced on live television. Even so, there is no better definition of “mixed blessing” than someone saying, “You will probably have most of your teeth when you die.” Well, at least one of us is thinking ahead.
And that is the problem with beauty: the fact it doesn’t last.
This strikes me as deeply unfair. It’s all well and good to have never been hot, but to be hot and then not seems particularly cruel – just ask Val Kilmer.
In my case I was fortunate to have had an adolescence that could generously be described as “grotesque”, only to emerge as briefly shaggable in the mid-1990s, when long hair, power
ballads and sporadic bathing habits were temporarily cool.
The long, slow decline since has prepared me for the worst, including the fact that I may once more be required to wear braces. No humiliation could be more complete.
But it’s for my fellow former beauties that I worry. What will become of Kim and Kanye as the black bar on her nude selfies gradually gravitates towards the knees?
The only fact that matters is that we all get ugly in the end. Or as I say to myself, “You little beauty!”
Joe co-hosts Studio 10, 8.30am, weekdays, on Network Ten.
“It’s all well and good to have never been hot, but to be hot and then not seems cruel”