Through my grimy mirror I stare into my deep-brown eyes and ask myself, “Why are you so goddamn ugly?”
Nothing about my face is inherently ugly, besides maybe a few blooming patches of acne. There’s just something not beautiful about it. I consult Ken, Barbie’s beautiful male counterpart, for help. He states in Toy Story 3’s Ken’s Dating Tips, “Make sure you highlight your strengths. Solid ride. Solid physique. Solid hair” (Disney Pixar, 2010).
The closest I’ve had to any of those features was in sixth grade. A girl with big, bug glasses and cyan braces complimented me on the snow in my hair.
It wasn’t snow. It was dandruff.
I’m not fazed by the fact that I’m receiving beauty tips from an inanimate doll. A “solid physique” would give the most results in terms of attractiveness (Disney Pixar, 2010). I aim for Ken’s jawline, sharp enough to slaughter several farm animals.
WikiHow tells me that puckering my face like a fish helps to develop a jawline. Unfortunately, it’s no longer socially acceptable for me to go throughout my day with my face puckered.
A strict family friend isn’t pleased when I come downstairs and greet her with the grimace. My fish-face turned into a painful scowl as I began to lose all sensation around my mouth. Her disapproving stare pierces my heart and several other vital organs. Utterly defeated, I run to my room and shut the door.
Since the jawline plan failed, I think about working out. I stare at the large, pink container in the corner. Inside lie several monstrosities: dusty bricks, clothing irons, plastic drawers, and crusty dog leashes taped together to create exercise equipment.
The last time I used them was last week. They fell apart in the middle of the exercise, and a stack of 14 bricks fell to the floor from 3 feet high. My mother rushed in and started shooting rapid-fire Spanish at me for making so much noise. Her eyes then locked onto the equipment she had never seen before. I just kept saying it was a school project and not the result of a seventeen-year-old’s crippling insecurities.
I collapse on my urine-stained floor.
Ken is just a doll. Advice comes from real people.
A friend of mine told me that in order to pick up a girl he’d “text back and forth with them for a while and eventually ask if they wanna hang out” or “make a move” at a party (Paul Kinkopf).
Unfortunately, the only party I was ever allowed to go to was in seventh grade. I didn’t even make it to the party. I had my clown costume on, and I was ready for my mom to drive me to the Halloween-themed gathering, but the car wouldn’t even start.
After about half an hour I cried because I felt so stupid in a fuzzy black afro with a belt tied around my forehead.
I’m assuming that my friend got girls’ numbers from parties because the only girls I have in my phone are my mom and an old middle-school friend I haven’t seen in years. I rule out his advice.
I browse my phone for videos of drag queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race; they’re considered beautiful. I land upon a makeup tutorial of Detox, a season 5 contestant. Throughout the video she shrieks, “Oh my god, you guys, I’m stunning!” (Logo, 2016). In the comments section, LKTSimmer states, “But like, she gives me so much confidence like stop” in reference to her shrieks. She doesn’t even have her makeup on, and she howls about how beautiful she is.
Next, I watch the performance “Dragometry” in which Chi Chi DeVayne sings, “You may be shaped like a bumblebee, but you’re beautiful girl. Just love your body” (Logo, 2016). I end with a video of season 10 contestant Miz Cracker stating that “as a performer [she’s] wild. Barbie on bath salts” (faux_queen2, 2017).
I stop to think about how these queens love themselves for who they are. They’re confident not because of their costumes or their makeup or their wigs. They’re confident because they choose to be confident.
I listen to Selena Gomez’s “Who Says” and violently lip sync. As she sings, “I'm no beauty queen. I'm just beautiful me” I stretch my legs out as far as possible and try to do a split (Selena Gomez).
My mother walks in, and I act natural. I’m kneeling in front of my grimy mirror and look at her calmly as Selena continues singing, “Who says you’re not perfect? Who says you’re not worth it?” (Selena Gomez).
“What are you doing…?”
“I’m practicing… for a school project…”
“Come down for dinner…”
She leaves, and the rest of “Who Says” plays. Before I go downstairs I read a fortune cookie slip taped to my desk. “You and your wife will be happy in your life together.” I smile. I’m only ugly if I choose to be ugly.
However, I’m still not sure why I keep the slip taped up. My wife is going to be a man.
Faux_queen2. Miz Cracker Entrance. Instagram, filmed by RuPaul’s Drag Race, 20 Mar. 2016, www.instagram.com/p/BghDVOFhvw3/?hl=en.
“How to Get a Chiseled Jawline.” WikiHOW, 2018, www.wikihow.com/Get-a-Chiseled-Jawline.
“Ken's Dating Tips: Tip # 24.” Youtube, uploaded by Disney Pixar, 14 June 2010, www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=17&v=9eqJ3KKiO2U.
Kinkopf, Paul. Texts to the author. 17 Aug. 2017. GroupMe Chat.
LKTSimmer. Comment on “Drag Makeup Tutorial: Detox's '80's Business Woman' | RuPaul's Drag Race | Logo.” Youtube, uploaded by Logo, 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=KswERuWYOeQ.
“RuPaul's Drag Race (Season 8 Ep. 4) | 'Dragometry' New Wave Performance | Logo.” Youtube, uploaded by Logo, 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVoy1m14RBQ.
Selena Gomez. “Who Says.” Revival, Hollywood Records, 2011. Youtube, uploaded by SelenaGomezVEVO, 4 Mar. 2011, www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzE1mX4Px0I.