I have to admit that this never would have occurred to me:
Rare and exceptional beauty is rare and exceptional, but because Hollywood, advertising and other media constantly feed us images of beautiful people, this distorts perceptions to such a degree that many people don’t seem to realize how rare beauty actually is.
Go find your old high school yearbook and go through the portraits of the senior class, assigning the girls to an ordered ranking based strictly by looks, from the most attractive to the least attractive. Suppose that there were exactly 100 girls in your senior class. This means that the 10 prettiest girls would rate a 10, the next 10 prettiest would rate 9, and so forth.
It’s been 45 years since I was in high school — and yes, I do have my yearbook — but class portraits tend to even out the oddities. And there are variables which don’t translate. One classmate who comes to mind had a tendency toward unflattering hair styles, which didn’t do much for her face, but if you started at the end with the penny loafers, you’d discover a killer pair of gams. (Being messed up even then, I crushed on her younger sister, who was about 30 years ahead of her time in terms of sheer adorkability.)
And I’m not sure I’d know what to do were a 10, or a 9, or a 6.5, or whatever, to look my way.
Guys sit around watching a pro football game and, when the camera briefly shows the cheerleaders, guys talk about which one of them is really hot. Dude, they are all NFL cheerleaders. How many NFL cheerleaders are not “hot”? Zero. Or guys watching the Miss America pageant will disparage the less attractive contestants: “Miss Rhode Island? What a dog! Yuck!” Of course, never in his life has this guy dated anyone remotely as attractive as Miss Rhode Island and yet, when she appears in competition against other exceptionally good-looking women — Miss Oklahoma, Miss Ohio, Miss Alabama — the slightly less fortunate Miss Rhode Island is a “dog.” (I use Rhode Island as an example, because the New England states have produced only one Miss America winner — Miss Connecticut, Marian Bergeron, 1933 — whereas Oklahoma has produced six winners.)
Regarding that last point, I’d argue that living here in Soonerland, where the sky is constantly trying to kill you, somewhat sharpens your survival skills, and if you’re less scared than average, you come off as more attractive.
Where I differ from certain members of my half of the species is my refusal to believe, as they do, that I’m entitled to someone rated [pick a number] or higher because [pick a justification]. In general, I believe that all I have coming to me is life, then death, pretty much in that order. Everything else is purely speculative.