The Pursuit of Happiness. And Beauty Too.

I can remember NEEDING to buy some new Levi’s.  It wasn’t a matter of life and death, it was actually worse than that.

I was 19 years old and I had made a name for myself sporting Bugle Boys and Z.Cavariccis.  All of that changed when Kurt Cobain’s Pep-rally from hell derailed my previously unblemished half-decade of fashion excellence.

If you weren’t alive in 1991 you have no idea of the seismic shift that Seattle’s rock revolution brought to America’s youth culture.  Imagine placing everything bleak about bad weather, failing industry, thrift stores and Tacoma into an urban blender and then hitting the frappe button.

The result was a hybrid of heavy rock and punk that crushed pop radio and tore pants that were tight around the calf straight off the body of M.C Hammer and A.C. Slater.

Levi’s capitalized open this new movement by Launching “Silver tab Denim”, a brand of jeans that was tailored to fit loosely from the thigh to the ankle.

They were charging the then unheard of price of $40 per.

I knew then that I had to lose any jean that featured a number in the name.  Wide-Leg jeans were going to be my ticket out of fashion exile.

I grabbed my check book and hit the mall.  $150 dollars later i was rolling with my Silver Tabs, a pair of Doc Marten Lows, and a flannel with a grey sweatshirt hood sewn on the collar.

I was convinced that I looked as awesome as Soundgarden sounded.

What’s crazy is that as “good as I looked”, it didn’t really change any of my interactions with other people.

I still got into fights with guys,

I still got dumped by girls,

I still didn’t get along with my parents.

It probably wouldn’t surprise you that I wasn’t alone in this.  This is because “looking good” has very rarely translated into actual, long-term success for anyone really.

Which brings me to Kim Kardashian’s 72 day marriage to NBA “bubble”-r Kris Humphries… both of whom look really good.

Since none of us really know them, or every mind-numbing detail of their troubled relationship,  it’s difficult to extrapolate much from their marital collapse that could be helpful… except maybe this:

Assuming that beauty and fashion will bring us happiness and success is as dangerous and misguided as believing that having a great body will equal sexual fulfillment.

Both of which are things we believe, regardless of whether or not we are willing to admit it.

This is why we are not only obsessed with the pursuit of “putting it all together”, but also with the people we believe actually “have put it all together” or “are very well put together”.

Isn’t this the only reason any of us know about the Humpdashian union and dissolution in the first place?

It’s not like either of them have been celebrated for anything other than appearing to have everything we desire located in all of the places we desire them.

Beautiful bodies and beautiful faces,

Beautiful homes in beautiful places,

Beautiful cash and social graces.

This isn’t to say they don’t actually have some admirable character traits or talents that they could be celebrated for, it’s to say that our interest in them is actually as superficial as we believe them to be.

We  celebrate them because, until Monday afternoon, they were our proof that you actually can have it all… if you are willing to put the right amount of work into your abs, glutes, bank account and free throws.

Now they unfortunately serve as a reminder that our preoccupation with fantasy is actually a fantasy in and of itself.

Even if we weren’t looking for a sign to tell us that the bridge we are speeding toward is out, this public disintegration of beauty and fulfillment ought to serve as the alarm to hit the brakes and pull a U-turn.

There is no amount of beauty and success that can make up for our:


Even if we are wearing great genes.

3 Responses to “The Pursuit of Happiness. And Beauty Too.”

  1. Sharon O November 2, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    All so true, thank you for these thoughts.

  2. Jay T. November 2, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    If only I still fit into my old Silver tab jeans…

  3. Jon November 2, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    Those Silver Tabs were money!

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