He’s Got The Look
“Daddy, you’re so pretty!”
This my daughter, Princess, exclaimed to me this evening as I was donning my requisite work finery. Mrs. AP sat on the bed, grinning ear to ear as she wholeheartedly agreed. Mrs. AP had been discussing this very topic with me very recently, noting that the specific word “pretty” was used in description of me by an overwhelming majority of people seeking some method of delivering the opinion of my looks. I smiled and chuckled, absolutely unwilling to disagree with the angelic face of Princess as she grinned up at me. I tousled her hair and hugged her close, basking in the warmth that can only come from the glow of a happy and loving child.
What prompted this exposition from her? Granted, I had just come from the shower, wherein I trimmed and shaved face, chest, arms, underarms, and groin. That fact notwithstanding, by the time Princess came running into the room to embrace me I was already clad in underpants, socks, and work trousers and was in process of applying deodorant; hardly a position inherently imbued with beauty or grace, I’m sure. Nevertheless, Princess is not prone to falsehoods nor false modesty, much less false praise. When she speaks truth issues forth from her in a way that would embarrass the most ardent of monks. Thus I wondered, in that moment, what it is about me that brings forth these claims of me being pretty?
I’ve oft said that beauty is more than just the physical representation of a person, but that the physical is not a portion that can, nor should, be summarily dismissed without consideration. As such, it is with the physical that I begin my self-assessment to uncover this beauty of which my dear Princess daughter speaks.
I begin by looking at my frame. I’ve grown and aged with this frame, expanding in height, width, and depth in parts over the years. When barefoot and standing at attention my height clocks in at a lofty 5 feet, 6 inches (167.6 centimeters). By all accounts this height is below average for an American white male. On this frame currently rest 210 pounds (95.25 kilograms) that is admittedly rather well distributed among (as measured by a tailor) legs a scant 27.5 inches (69.85 cm) long, a waist of 36 inches (91.4 cm) around, a chest of 44 inches (111.7 cm) around, a neck of 17 inches (43.2 cm) around, and arms measuring 30.5 inches (77.5 cm) in length. In summary, I am short and broad, and pack a great deal of relative muscle on my frame; muscle growth alone due to my job over the past year has seen my shirt size increase from a Medium to a Large.
Thus we have my frame, in all it’s statistical wonder. Is it a wonder, though? Mrs. AP says it is, with just the right amount of comfortable padding over well developed muscle, and I admit there is no better expert in the matter of judging my looks than she. She’s had me by her side nearly constantly for over 30 months and she still visibly flutters when my clothing is shed, so there must be a great truth to what she says. But is there more than just my frame that could contribute to this beauty people claim? What about my face and head, hair, etc?
Unlike the rest of me, I’ve not had my head measured for a fitting, but judging by how few pairs of sunglasses Oakley makes that fit my face without torquing the frames I can say fairly confidently that I have a large head, on which sits a face that resembles the pointed oval found on the Nintendo Wii characters. Adorning this pointed, prominent chin is a goatee, above which sits plump lips that Mrs. AP claims are made perfectly for kissing and … other things. A well trimmed mustache sits on this upper lip, above which protrudes a blunt-curved nose with a small bump on the ridge — a result of a broken nose at age 7. My cheeks have only the slightest of puff right now (mostly from excess weight) but are otherwise lean with cheekbones well defined; my jawline is neither square nor gaunt, but is instead a nice in-between resembling an asymptotic curve. From this face protrude ears of normal regularity, albeit the left placed ever so slightly higher than the right. Above hazel eyes that change color depending on mood sits a moderately heavy brow and bold eyebrows. In turn, above these eyebrows stands a 2-3 inch brow that furrows in anger or creases in laughter. Atop this all is fine hair, dyed a deep red, that falls in German curls and Scottish waves beyond my shoulders to the middle of my back.
Yet surely this face atop this solid frame is not enough to inspire my Princess daughter to proclaim me pretty. Surely there must be more, something I cannot see. Perhaps that is the answer; this beauty she sees lies beneath. Yet even there, I question. I have been through darkness and despair. Even in my kindness, which Mrs. AP says is sometimes too great for my well-being, I still sometimes suffer those questioning moments of being worthy of this wonderful new life I’ve built around me. I concede that things are immeasurably better than I imagined 3 years ago, before Mrs. AP and I found each other. I recognize that the damage done by 7 years of a slowly destructive relationship left scars that will take a great amount of time and care to heal. Yet I try, aspiring to be a good father, a good partner-and-future-husband, good lover, and a good provider. I look at Mrs. AP and our family and know that in them I have found the love, support, and inspiration I need to become the best version of me I can be.
And there it is, my introspection leading to the understanding that Princess was right.
“Daddy, you’re so pretty!”
Stay SINful, friends.