What Is Beauty?

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I guess they’re what you would call “goth girls” with their black pants and zombie-like faces. One had a skull and crossbones tattoo. Another had a mohawk. I was in Penny’s looking at shoes when they walked up to a very nice looking petite girl with auburn hair, a girl who really didn’t look like she belonged with them. Their blue and purple hair almost made me laugh and their heels made then five inches taller. But I guess she knew them from school. They laughed as they looked at the swimwear on the manikins, what little there was to see. I noticed one of them looked at the purse she had picked out and shook her head. “You must be kidding.” I wanted to yell at her “No! It’s perfect for her!” It was a conservative brown that matched her hair. Of course, the honest truth was she didn’t need anything else to make her beautiful.  She definitely didn’t need makeup. She was an angel. As her girlfriends put that common sense purse back on the rack, I asked myself “Is this what peer pressure looks like today?” What purse would they now pick out for her? I didn’t have to wait long to find out as one of them handed her a black leather-looking purse with spikes sticking out of the sides. “I don’t know,” she said as they put it on her shoulders. She glanced in the mirror and managed a halfway looking smile of approval. They threw it in her buggy and kept on walking around the store. Poor girl. It’s got to cost a fortune.

I looked back down at the men’s shoes and tried to find a pair that were “hip,” but didn’t make me look like a teenager. And then it dawned on me how lucky I was that I was able to pick out my own shoes without anybody else’s opinion. Whatever I chose, it was my style. I was not trying to find the trendy styles for men today. As long as they’re comfortable, functional, affordable, and don’t draw attention to my feet, I’m a happy man. I surely wasn’t trying to look like the guy on the cover of GQ or Muscle and Fitness. Just trying to be John. Plain old John.

But did this poor helpless girl know how beautiful she was without the leather purse and spikes? Did she know she didn’t need to waste her money on that to fit in? And oh my Lord, I hope she was not trying to get the attention of a boy – because it will definitely be the wrong boy. When she looked in her mirror at home, what did she see? Did her father ever tell her she was beautiful?

I found a pair of shoes I could live with and walked over to the shirts. They just don’t make them like they used to. What happened to “Made in the USA?” I spotted the girls again as they walked through cosmetics. “Oh, please Lord. Don’t let them force one of their zombie paints on her.” As it turned out, it was perfume. I can only imagine what it smelled like. Now I thought if she could only break free from them she might make it home looking like a breathing human being. Instead, they walked over to the piercing corner. I winced. “Oh, please Lord, don’t let it be a nose ring.” That was all I could take for one evening of shopping. Dad, if you have a daughter, please tell her she’s beautiful. Because if you don’t, somebody else will.

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