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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”

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