Skin Deep

I have a confession to make.

I'm not proud of it.

I've told a couple of people, but for some reason, it's difficult to put it in writing.  Not that I can't find the words, but y'know ... once things are written down, it's more difficult to deny them.

But there's really no denying it.

(sigh) ... Here goes.

I think Paul Ryan is kind of cute.

Yeah ... that Paul Ryan, the congressman from Wisconsin who has become the darling of the Republican party after writing that infamous budget proposal that basically dismantles MedicareThat Paul Ryan.

Also, the Paul Ryan who a friend described as "looking vaguely like a Muppet."  My friend meant this as a dig, but I agreed with her - in outcome if not in intent.  He does look sort of like a Muppet ... in the sense that he's, well ... kind of adorable.

I've always had a "thing" for guys with sad eyes.  Paul Ryan is probably the poster boy for sad eyes.  When he frowns, he looks very sad indeed, and even when he smiles he looks like he could use a hug.  My boyfriend has sad eyes.  So does David Duchovny, who was my principal celebrity crush of my youth.

And now I must make it clear - I abhor Paul Ryan's politics.  As I was writing the above paragraph, the more principled voice inside my head was screaming at me, "And when he kicks your Grandma in the gut, what does he look like then? Huh??!!"  If I lived in Wisconsin's 1st district, I would not vote for Paul Ryan; in fact, it's safe to say that I would actively campaign against him (and could conceivably contribute to his next political opponent's campaign, should s/he have even a slim chance of winning).  I know what I believe in, and I have very strong convictions.  I absolutely know where I stand.

But I wonder: what's happening to me when I'm paging through Time Magazine, and stumble upon a full-page image of this guy, vaguely reminiscent of a Muppet, but also somewhat evocative of Superman - and I find myself staring at it.  And staring. And staring just a moment more, willing myself to turn the page, reminding myself of why this guy is the personification of everything that's wrong with the overprivileged frat house that is the modern Republican Party, but unable to deny myself another moment gazing at someone who can't be that bad, c'mon just look at him, isn't he cute??!!

Eventually, I do turn the page, but I continue to berate myself.  If I were a better person, I say, my repugnance of this man's value system would trump the pleasing arrangement of his features and render him downright homely.  But clearly I'm not this paragon of virtue I will myself to be.

And I'm reminded of all the guys I've been attracted to in the past, guys I've developed actual crushes on - only to get to know them (oftentimes by dating them) and discovering that their sad eyes, great teeth, and square jaws did not translate into the gentle-hearted, strong-but-silent, full-of-integrity personalities that I had assumed they would be.  And I think about all of the wonderful people I'll probably never get to know because upon first glance, they look sort of ... mean.  Or stuck-up.  And I wonder where I (we?) evolved this tendency of assigning personality characteristics to people based on facial features and body type and how we might possibly learn to evolve our way out of it.  And like most things that lead me down these winding roads inside my head, I'm left with more questions than answers.

But I do know this: Paul Ryan is dangerous.  Even if he is kind of dreamy to look at.

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