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Thursday, December 22. 2011
The Death of Pretty
Lots of things drive men, but few are as powerful as the animal instincts which create the attraction between a man and a woman. Many times I've uttered the phrase "Yeah, she's hot" with other buddies of mine. But I've never stopped to consider the differentiation between 'hot' and 'pretty'. Hot is an attraction, a magnet and promotes a desire which is usually more salacious than meaningful. Pretty is also an attraction, but requires thought and consideration. Pretty has lasting qualities. Hot can be fleeting.
I thought this article, forwarded to me by a female friend, was a terrific summation of the difference. I differ from the author in that I'm all for 'hotness' at the right time and place, and in limited doses. Hotness shouldn't be the only selling point. One of the problems of hotness is that it can be too easily revealed to be a charade.
One benefit of pretty is that it can be made to appear hot (as the Olivia Newton-John example points out). It can be stepped back, if necessary. Sometimes, however, hotness is just a veil and we are going to be disappointed with what's really there. The Legends of Micronesia often utilize themes of this sort, people, ghosts and gods who improve their appearance to entice people and promote a disastrous end.
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 10:30 | Comments (25) | Trackbacks (0)
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Going by the article, I would immediately come up with Emma Watson, both in character as Hermione Granger and in her personal appearances. She is lovely, she has a nice figure and the innocence described, and she projects that innocence even in the Vanity Fair pictorial with the pink ruffle suit.
Hermione has been handled very well by the producers of Harry Potter, indeed all the young characters have been. Hermione has been pretty all along, often because her character has only twice made specific efforts to be pretty (the Yule Ball and Bill Weasely's wedding). Many people have commented on the wonderfully brief scene when Hermione, in her first grown-up dress, comes down the steps to the Yule Ball. It's a marvelous representation of a girl becoming a woman with a considerable distance to go yet.
Long post but it's your fault, bringing up such a topic. I don't think pretty is dead. It didn't die in the '60s or the '80s and I don't see it moribund now.
I have noticed a language difference:
Men refer to THAT being hot,
and SHE as being pretty.
To a large degree, yes.
I think the similarity on this point is raised in the article - hot is a consumable.
What's different is, as another commenter mentioned, "That's Hot!" is not "She's Pretty."
Yes, I've noticed that tendency as well. "Hot" as an object and "pretty" as a person. "Desirable" may be either.
This is highly individual, but the glasses on our young lady say "Pretty" to me, but the thong says "Hot". I prefer panties to a thong.
When I was a teenager I was infatuated with Phoebe Cates.
She could be hot when she wanted to - but she was always PRETTY. So pretty it hurt to breath when I saw her.
My teenage mind went relationship fantasies with her - unlike the simple carnal fantasies with women who were only hot.
Yup - Phoebe was one of my favorites, too.
Always had a thing for Teri Garr, too. Few people remember her little turn on the original "Star Trek", but I think they spelled her name Terry Garr in the credits.
Teri Garr had a mildly revealing and attractive scene in John Denver's "Oh God" and she was a pretty secretary on "Courtship of Eddie's Father".
Phoebe Cates, yes indeed, much sweeter than many of her co-stars in various movies.
Barbara Eden as Jeannie, of course. The list can go on for yards and yards -- Jenny Agutter comes to mind as well.
Jenny Agutter! How could I forget "An American Werewolf in London" or "Logan's Run"!
Yes, Jenny was very pretty.
But, the defining "pretty" versus "hot" question is -
Ginger or MaryAnn?
MaryAnn. No question.
It seems a cliche, but pretty women who don't know they're pretty are hot.
And yeah, MaryAnn, definitely.
Ms. Agutter was delightful in both American Werewolf and Logan's Run. She was at her most vulnerable, her most innocent and sexy, in "Walkabout", in my own opinion.
I adored MaryAnn. There's a checkout girl in a grocery store where I shop, tall and slender and wears glasses, probably 17-20 years old. I think she's quite pretty, in the sense we're using, and partly because I doubt she thinks she is. Of course I'm too old to approach her and married anyway; I find myself hopeful that a shy young man will have the nerve to form a happy relationship with her. Worked eventually for me.
I feel more pity than lust for thong wearers, they look like they have an all day wedgie.
The young reader is very pretty, I have a weakness for lasses in glasses. Dirty feets though.
"She was at her most vulnerable, her most innocent and sexy, in "Walkabout", in my own opinion."
Yes, yes, yes. I had a foolish crush on Jenny for a few years after seeing that movie when it released.
Jan Smithers in WKRP is another I wasted many an idle thought on. She was pretty, though hidden behind glasses. But yet gave hints of a particular hotness.
Out of curiosity I must expose my cultural ignorance.
"Ginger or MaryAnn?"
As presumably we're not talking about Ginger Rogers, whom, come to think of it was pretty hot herself.
Ah, dear, some of us are showing our age. Ginger and Mary Ann were the two single women on the "3-hour cruise" of the Minnow that lead to shipwreck on Gilligan's Island.
In the story, Ginger (actress Tina Louise) was a movie star and Mary Ann (Dawn Wells) was a farm girl. Both were nice-looking but Mary Ann's character was played as innocent and uninformed while Ginger was played as a sophisticate.
Thank you, Geoff. I was out of the country and otherwise occupied during that period. Though I do remember the name of Tina Louise, vaguely, as being something or another.
So where do 'cute", 'beautiful", and 'gorgeous" fit in?
It appears that at the end of the day, adjectives are just being used as a substitute for the good old 1 - 10 rating system.
Livestock Judging 101. heh.
Just a while back, the raging pop tune lyrics were: "Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?" And hasn't changed much since then. Has "Men don't make passes at girls who wear glasses." gone by the boards as well?
Asked my son what the difference was. He's 17.
"You don't date hot girls a second time."
Feebs, I think that a rating system is separate from what the discussion here is. I'm not sure where "hot" would be on the scale of 1-10.
Certainly gorgeous would be a 10.
Another key element of hotness is attitude.
A 7 who thinks she is a six is almost always hotter than an 8 who thinks she is a 9. To be hot...there has to be hope.
Futile, soul crushing hope. :)
I respectfully have to submit Donna (Laura Prepon) from "That '70s Show" as exceptionally pretty
Interesting comments. The first thing that came to mind was the discussion about the mother from "A Wrinkle in Time":
"Maybe if I weren't so repulsive-looking — maybe if I were pretty like you — "
"Mother's not a bit pretty; she's beautiful," Charles Wallace announced