Am I Beautiful?

If I had to answer that question, I’d probably hesitate slightly, then say “yes” with a fair degree of confidence, having quickly run through the target v. actual comparison in head. In my case, “actual” would mean continental dress size 36 (max); clear, slightly tanned skin; fine, fresh blonde streaks; freshly pedicured feet and – in terms of fashion sense – always up to date. That’s how I see myself. And I can live with that.

But ask my husband if I think I am beautiful and you’ll get a completely different answer. That’s because I don’t moan to him about minor things in the “unplucked eyebrows” league, but about my unchangeable self.

My excessive amount of laughter lines. My height (or lack of it, which means I am unable to bang my head anywhere). My mouth, which refuses to pout, even when I experience a major setback. My feet, which are far too big. My neck, which is the opposite of swan-like.

My whole being, which I have to come to terms with.

My husband would say that I get far too stressed out and that although I am beautiful, I am an over-perfectionist. Nobody is perfect, he always tells me.

Sometimes I find myself thinking that perhaps I could be the first one to disprove that.

It’s fairly easy, after all, to get injections for laughter lines. Or to have your lips plumped up and combine that with a longish holiday in the South of France...

But I would still have to live with my continental size 39 shoes and my mere one metre 60 in height, and a neck that always forces me to roll a polo neck down twice. And if I can manage that, then what’s the difference?

In a world in which virtually everything is possible, perhaps courage is what makes the difference. On a bravery scale of 1 to 10, a visit to the hairdresser’s including a new, black short hair cut scores a maximum of 3, but leg-lengthening the Chinese way, by contrast, scores 11.

At the end of the day, I don’t think I’d be brave enough. That’s why I’ll continue to choose clothes that conceal the fact that I’m wearing a push-up bra underneath and don high heels that shrink the length of my feet by about 7 cm. And in high summer, I’ll only remove my loosely tied scarf at the edge of the pool.

My husband, meanwhile, knows all these tricks and often can’t stop himself from laughing. When he does, I feel as if I’ve been exposed and I have to laugh, too. No wonder I have so many wrinkles! Perhaps I should at least make an appointment for a consultation....

Regards, Ann LePitt

Ann LePitt, 38, is a freelance columnist, and on many days she is happily married. She lives in Cologne with her husband and her dog and regularly shares her view of the world as a woman with readers of the BABOR Journal.