Toronto
3 min

Give me an ugly duckling

Swans are nutso

Credit: Xtra files

Let’s face it. Homos set trends. If it’s big now, chances are we did it first. Makeovers – we did makeovers when straight men could still have flabby man breasts. We did do-it-yourself renovations when straight women were busy getting their groove back. We did Sex And The City when the only Cosmopolitan anyone knew about was the Helen Gurley Brown variety, with the boobage on the cover.



What 19-year-old lezzie didn’t get some frosted highlights or a full face of makeup from her gay guy pal? Sometimes the results were more drag queen than “Dancing Queen,” but we tried.



We were the first to make beauty a commodity. Also unfortunately, the first to place huge value on youth. But we were also the first to say you can be fabulous no matter who you are, no matter how old you are and no matter if you come from Windsor. (Although there are certain hairdos that may need years to grow out. Someone needs to invent a hair product called perm-be-gone, but I digress….)



But that part seems to have gotten lost when the idea went mainstream.



And mainstream it has unfortunately gone. It isn’t pretty. It’s like watching suburban folks at a wedding dancing to “YMCA.” It’s like taking moccasins and putting heels on them, or the honky-izing of rap music for street cred. Headline: “Hillary Duff and rapper Crazymuthafucka to record duet.” Something gets lost.



What started innocently and with some context, like the whole beauty thing, is appropriated by the masses and the mall, and what results is well, you know where I’m going. It’s inevitable. I can’t be stopped. Where else could I be going but… The Swan. It’s the dreadful new makeover show-gone-mental in which women first get a complete plastic surgeon’s overhaul and then compete in a beauty pageant. The point being it turns an ugly duckling (offensive) into a swan (even more offensive).



I think my dental hygienist summed it up best when she said, “I didn’t think they were so bad to begin with. The one girl. Just cut your hair, go to the gym, get a nice dress.”



You just want to scream at the TV, “Honey, love yourself!”



It could be that simple.



Besides, do the producers not know? Actual swans are cuckoo. They’re meaner than Madonna before Kabbalah. Who wants to be that? They’re more nutso and tightly wound than a ballerina convention.



Here’s how a day in High Park by the swan pond usually goes. “Oh, look at the pretty swan.” Beat. “It’s coming this way.” Beat. “Run!”



So if that’s beauty, I don’t know what to tell you. I put forth a premise here and now that I hope catches on. I say if homos are going to set trends, let’s set this one. Ready? Come on, we did it with disco, the Caesar haircut and Cher. Let’s make this one chic: There is no such thing as ugly.



After all, beauty isn’t geometry. It sure isn’t what pops out from under the bandages after the facelift and eye-job. Eek.



At least with our start-the-trend obsession about beauty, there was the accompanying requirement that haunted or haunts all of us – the need for (and the struggle with) self-acceptance. Being hated by a huge portion of society can be a plus! It forces you to look inward to resist the fact that since disapproval is all around, it somehow seeps in, like the song “A New Day” by Celine Dion. You don’t necessarily realize that you accidentally know every word, but somehow you do.



What is this trend run amok coming to? Did the woman who used to host The Weakest Link really need a facelift? Did Barry Manilow? Were they that much more fuckable 20 years ago?



I’ll tell you something else, if you’ve ever found yourself in Beverly Hills near a back alley where people come creeping out of the back door of a plastic surgeon’s bandaged up, being helped toward their car, looking like Gollum sipping a juice box, you’d think twice.



Am I the only one who thought Nicole Kidman was still pretty hot in The Hours? She was Nicole Kidman, but with the writing talent of Virginia Woolf. That’s foxy.



And yet everyone talked about her fake nose. I swear, after hearing interviewer after interviewer ask her about her prosthetic nose, I’m surprised the nose itself didn’t get out of the makeup assistant’s carrying case and run down to the TV studio just to give someone the finger.



And yet in the same year, Adrian Brody won the Best Actor Oscar with an actual nose twice the size.



Maybe different is actually okay. But we learned that a long time ago.



Let the trend begin.