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Pick Your Pretty

SO I did a book club call last night – V fun group.

One of them, Nora Lindberg, wrote some Haiku in response to A GROWN-UP KIND OF PRETTY.

This one was my favorite:

What kind of pretty are they-

Hair pretty, smart pretty, or Mom pretty?

Tough pretty wins every time.

I tried to decide which was me. LORD knows I can’t claim any kind of hair pretty. Mine gets cut maybe once a year and has all these gray strands. I mean, er, all these VERY EXPENSIVE SILVER SINGLE STRAND HIGHLIGHTS. *cough*

Nah. It’s fulla gray and I don’t care, lala. I am 45 years old and I don’t even know how to blow dry the stuff properly. My idea of hair is, “It is good to have some.”

I keep it relatively clean and when I remember, I rub it with this random defrizzing product I found on a grocery store discontinued product rack. It was 90% off, so I bought jars and jars of it. I’m not sure it does anything but it smells nice, so in it goes.

I tell Scott all my pedicures are basically FREE because I am just spending the money any decent God-fearing woman would have long ago put into her hair.

I have a THING about foot pretty. I need soft feet with cheery toes to look at during yoga or I become discouraged. But foot pretty didn’t make the Haiku so I abstain from claiming it. (Although I HAVE it, ya’ll.)

I think mom pretty requires a willingness to accessorize than I currently do not possess. Mom Pretty loves itself a colorful scarf, don’t it just? Mom pretty smells like vanilla? I am not sure. What IS mom pretty? Are you it?

I try to be tough pretty, but I amn’t tough. I am made of squashmallow and tofu. I am amorphous and bendable and easy to wound. I am working on this, as it is boring and ridiculous to let any old grouse with a poor social filter or a grudge wander by and ruin my day by being a buttock.

But! I DO think I am smart pretty. My BRAINS are quiiiiite fetching, thanks. They run fast and hot and I feel that were you to crack my head and take a peek, you would find an abundance of gray matter, arranged in a charming pattern of swirls.

What kind of pretty are YOU? Any of the four, or some other kind? And if you pick mom pretty define it. I may decide I am it, too, if I can be it without having to change my earrings or run more carpool days.

43 comments to Pick Your Pretty

  • Smart pretty. Though every time I show how pretty I am, either someone tries to prove they are prettier, or calls me a smart…butt.

  • Mom pretty, definitely. Laugh lines, wide lap, covered up and mostly in my right mind.

  • jess

    Hair pretty, right here. The secret for me is a good round brush, and I can blow out my hair to a gorgeous shine. Downside being not feeling as pretty with wash n’ go hair . . . . blowdrying takes WORK, y’all. And work isn’t fun first thing in the morning.

  • Dew

    I can claim Vacation Pretty. I am very, very happy when I am on vacation. Happy and relaxed because I’m not responsible for any decisions beyond what particular activities will increase our happiness and fun. On vacation in Bath was the only time a non-relative and non-paid-hairstylist spontaneously told me I was pretty, snd that was also when i was the most happy, so I am confident that my pretty and my happy are intimately linked. 🙂


    Ok, wait, I can choose … I am tough pretty. Because tough doesn’t mean you aren’t wounded once in a while, in fact, I’m wounded fairly frequently … but it does mean I can endure almost anything.

    One day at a time, one minute at a time, one school year at a time, one pushup at a time … I can endure. I’m tough pretty.

  • Melody

    OMGosh! Please tell me that is your cat in the trailer going to the fair! I am smart pretty and sometimes hair pretty cuz my hair gets complimented the most. It is curly. I put shine serum in it and let it dry. I cannot be bothered to style it. Yuck.

  • Michelle-Who-Is-Shelley

    Definitely not hair pretty or tough pretty. If there was an athletic pretty then I would pick that – but there’s not. I think Mom pretty can be different things. I think one version of Mom pretty is a youthful appearance and attitude. A kind of light that shines out of you when you are with your child. I might be Mom pretty.

  • Anna Elliott

    Okay, so I’m going to go ahead and claim mom pretty. A month ago, I would not have. A month ago, I would have said that mom-pretty involved WAY more scarves and pearl earrings than I have in my life. But then, a month ago, I had a second trimester miscarriage. I have two older girls (3 and 6) who never knew we were pregnant, and for the last month, I’ve managed not to let them know that anything at all is wrong. I’m not taking credit, mind you, this is all really just God’s grace. But I no longer think of mom pretty as involving pearl earrings or scarves. Mom pretty, for me, means being patient and upbeat and cheerful for my girls through the long days of our usual homeschooling routine, no matter how much I want to lie down and cry. Mom pretty means keeping the simple fact of how much I love them in front of me all the time, no matter how sunk a mile deep in grief I feel, and knowing that I don’t want to make them sad by telling them what happened unless I absolutely have to. And so far I haven’t had to. (Though I will someday when they’re much older). A month ago, I don’t think I would have claimed tough pretty, either. But every day, I’m trying to live so that maybe after all I can.

  • I would claim smart pretty, but I am not in the same league as you are, so I can’t claim it. I am most definitely not toe pretty, and Heather Cook is much more tough pretty than I am. That leaves me mom pretty or hair pretty, and I am not mom pretty. I will claim hair pretty although I do very little to my hair, but it normally looks good despite my lack of effort. 🙂

  • Anna — I think you can go ahead and claim tough pretty, too, which, according to the poem, is the best kind that always wins. I am so sorry for your loss.

    M who is S, I declare it to be so. Athletic Pretty exists now. You are it.

  • DebR

    I picked Smart Pretty for myself before I read the rest of your post. I had to. Growing up, I was the “smart” Keeton girl and my sister was the “pretty” one which we both agree was fairly obnoxious and difficult on BOTH of us, but if you hear it enough you start to believe it. I still think she’s the pretty one (you know PRETTY pretty!!) although she’s also very smart, while I think my brain is much prettier than my outside.

    PS…In reading this over, before hitting the “post” button I feel the need to add that it was NOT my parents that stuck those labels on us. They always made me feel like they thought we were both pretty and both smart. But certain family friends and extended family members stuck those labels on us a LOT. Ugh. People just don’t know what they do to kids with their words, albeit sometimes with the best of intentions.

  • Karen V

    I think “Mom Pretty” can be anything you want it to mean. Because when I hear mom pretty I think about a small child telling their mom how pretty they are. And everyone knows that small children have no real frame of reference and therefore think their mother and ALL her qualities are the most pretty thing ever! So I say that every mother is mom pretty 🙂

  • Andrea

    Mom pretty makes me think of mom jeans, so it doesn’t sound good at first…but then I think about my Superman’s 5 year old self saying, “Mommy, you are so beautiful” with absolute sincerity and not a hint of irony, and so then it’s the very prettiest pretty. I agree with Karen V–it’s every mom. That said, it is my most fervent wish to be smart and tough pretty. I want, only once, to overhear someone say, “That Andrea, she is totally badass.”

  • LINDA you absolutely qualify for Smart Pretty. You are Smart Pretty all day long. I will grant you Hair pretty, too, my lord. It is a THICK GORGEOUS WATERFALL of enviable hair.

    Hey Linda, you know what else? That Andrea? She is totally Badass.

  • cakeburnette

    I am tough pretty and smart pretty…and can one be witty pretty? I crack myself up. And my sister. We crack each other up. Although sometimes we laugh so hard we fall into “laughing ugly,” so maybe not so much.

    I am NOT mom pretty or hair pretty because I usually can’t be bothered to even COMB my hair (which also has the VERY EXPENSIVE SILVER SINGLE STRAND HIGHLIGHTS) or wear non-sweatpant-type clothing.

  • I am definitely hair pretty. My hair (almost) always looks good…I take care. Hairdresser, every six weeks WITHOUT FAIL. If I roll out of bed and go to my trainer, I put on a hat and tuck everything in. Nothing else works for me. Sometimes I can be mom pretty, but not consistently. Sometimes I’m tough pretty, but then my kids make me cry. I used to feel smart pretty when I worked, but I’ve been reduced to a chauffeur and toilet cleaner, and bumbling blogger. So hair. I can always count on the hair.

  • Jennifer Kepesh

    I don’t know what kind of pretty I am, but whatever it is, it isn’t photogenic. Sigh.

  • I used to be hair pretty, but over 40 happened and now it’s just not so much. I’m going to claim mom pretty because I think of mom pretty as someone who can take control of a situation, calm everyone down, make sure everyone gets what they need, AND make brownies at the same time.

  • I am definitely not hair pretty – I’ve never known what do with with mine either, other than – eh, let it grow and wash it regularly and pass a brush through it from time to time. If I’m feeling particularly ambitious or fancy, I’ll take a straight iron to it to help tame it a little.

    Smart pretty, yes. That’s the only kind I think I’ve felt consistently in life. I spent many of my young years feeling pretty starkly unattractive, but I always felt good about being smart.

    And mom pretty – I’m working my way toward it! I just had a conversation with my husband last night about how I think I might be experiencing the “pretty bubble” for the first time in my life. You know, like they talked about on 30 Rock for those of you who are as tv-obsessed as I am: the bubble that pretty people live in where everyone is nice to you and does things for you and you don’t even realize that not everyone is treated that way? Only I have the “pregnancy bubble.” I’m 28 weeks along with our first, and only in the last week am I suddenly very obviously with child. The guy at the coffee shop last night (where I was ordering my very non-controversial non-caffeinated tea) almost fell over his own feet in his eagerness to be pleasant and helpful. It’s a whole new world, y’all. So maybe that’s almost-mom pretty?? 🙂

  • Hubby shaves his head and the boys’ heads and the dog’s whole body. So I joke I get the entire family’s hair budget for myself. I rarely use it though. I miss pedicures. I haven’t had one in years. I’m going to have to rectify that soon.

  • I am matchmaker and observer pretty. Everyone I meet NEEDS to know someone else I know. I meet people and introduce them to others. I have never matchmade anyone romantically but I have introduced readers to authors, entrepreneurs to marketers, like to like, and opposites to opposites. I make great introductions.

    And I observe really well. My grey matter swirls sieves out all the oddities and I rearrange them to make a magazine-cut-letter ransom note to the world, with clever metaphors and occasional pretty language.

    And for the external, I am hair pretty from the back. I once modeled for a spiral perm company. Only my hair is naturally curly and very pretty from the back.

  • Fran

    There are some days when I am hair pretty. It’s waist-length, and filled with all the pretty metallics: gold, copper, bronze, more than a little silver and platinum. When it’s brushed, even crazy meth lady stops babbling long enough to compliment it.

    It’s also a pain in the patoot, but that’s a different point.


    Mostly I think I’m smart pretty, but that may be because I surround myself with smart people. I know lots of odd things, but whether that’s smart or not is anyone’s guess.

    I’m not now nor was I ever nor will I ever be June Cleaver. I’m not the cookie-baking, calmly patient, sparkly house mom. I’m the one who dresses up with the kids, who will stand back with clenched jaw and fists and let the kid get his heart broken, and who will listen. It ain’t pretty, but it’s me.

    I don’t know about pretty, but under all the flab and fluff, I know I’m tough. Been there. Lived through it. Can still smile and love.

    Can I be book pretty? I’m good with books!

  • Ruth

    Foot pretty, definitely! I can’t ever live in a cold place where closed-toed shoes are required for a good part of the year; it would hide one of my best features too much. And I’m calm pretty. I do not freak out when people all around me are creating chaos or losing it. Though I do cuss when things calm down.

  • Most of the time I can convince myself that I’m smart pretty. But when photographic and mirror evidence clearly indicates any thoughts of pretty are delusional, I reach for red wine pretty. The more I drink, the better I look…until the next morning.

  • Tanya

    As an aside: I love that Nicole is Hair Pretty from the back.
    Another Aside: Anna – you also get to claim courageous pretty, add that to your list.

    Now to the point: I am all those pretties and more. Every day, sometimes every hour, I am a different kind of pretty. Some days I am hair pretty, and most days at some point in the day, I am smart pretty. Although not a mom, I am motherly to my work team and my nieces and nephews, so I very rarely but sometimes get to claim Mom pretty. Some days I am tough pretty, but some days not so much. I have had moments of athletic pretty and moments of foot pretty. I have also had moments of Superhero pretty. I am ALL AROUND pretty. And I bet ya’ll are, too.

  • Linda J

    TOUGH PRETTY period. I have had so much happen through the courses of my life that sometimes I think if it were ALL put into a book no one would believe its all true. I have survived and endured more than I care to remember but as long as I have God I can handle it.

  • Andrea

    hee!!! Joss, you made my day!

  • Kacie

    Mom pretty is living in pajama or yoga pants 24/7, having pureed food, snot, or other body fluids deposited randomly about your person (having been put there by the most ADORABLE creature that came from your very own loins–and you not caring that said child has done this), while stepping in cat vomit on the kitchen floor and STILL having your hubby willing to give you a kiss when he walks in the door at the end of the day instead of running for the hills at the sight of you. I’m working on that look…

  • Melissa

    I am hoping for funny-pretty with a smattering of calm-pretty thrown in. If I can claim wise-pretty occasionally, I call the day a success.

  • Aimee

    Sometimes I am hair pretty, if I bother to take the time with it. Which I usually don’t. I am frequently smart pretty. But most of all lately I am tough pretty because I have to be. For me tough pretty is getting up and facing each new day without my husband and writing partner. Tough pretty is getting up and putting on clothes and makeup and jewelry like armor, because there isn’t enough armor in the world to protect my grieving heart. This wouldn’t be the pretty I would have chosen, but it’s the one I’ve got.

    Anna, I am so sorry for your loss. I am sure you are mom pretty, but you are tough pretty too.

  • Anna Elliott

    Oh, Aimee, I am so, so sorry for your loss, too. I know exactly what you mean about putting on clothes and makeup like armor. Waterproof mascara has been an excellent investment for me these last weeks. It’s true we often don’t get to chose the kind of pretty we get, I love what you say there. And yet it is kind of beautiful in an upside-down way, that we CAN turn getting through these hard times into a kind of pretty and not just a slogging through. You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers

  • Kim

    I was always “the smart one” so I guess I am smart pretty, although really? I’m not all that smart in the ways that count. Book smarts and trivia are very little help when navigating this crazy life.

    I mother a delightful, challenging teenager with special needs, and putting her needs and desires first ALWAYS means that I’ve earned my mom pretty designation. (Ooh! And I have scarves! And pearls! And a wheelchair-equipped minivan!)

    I am a Cancerian, so I have a tough outer shell and soft, marshmallow insides that are easily wounded. I often cry. I also kick butt as an advocate for my kid (and for anyone else that needs my particular skill set), so I am claiming tough pretty. (My spiked flats and the hammered buckles on my boots give me an edge here, too.)

    I spend waaaaayyyyy too much money on my hair. It is my one indulgence. I love it ~ it falls in soft waves and layers around my face, and the color is almost the exact shade I had as a 10 year old. I’m claiming hair pretty, even though I have to work at it.

    I’m 44 years old and I look no older than 43 on any given day, so I’m also claiming middle aged pretty. I’ve earned every line on this face, and every scar on this body.

  • Les in az

    I am starting a brand new job after teaching Jr. High for 13 years…so I am claiming tough pretty, but only because I intend to smile and fake it until I make it!

  • Me? I’m Smart Pretty for sure. HAZ BRAINZ. WILL USE. Or something. Currently I use my brains to teach my kids and occasionally other kids in our homeschool groups.

  • Martha

    I am book smart pretty in that I am a reader. I am perseverence pretty in that I have endured a whole lot of crap and I’m still standing. I’m trying to be kind pretty, but sometimes that’s really hard, because I am also sarcastic pretty. The two don’t go together that well all the time.

    I used to be hair pretty and that was all I had going for me (I thought). Now that doesn’t matter… I want to be brave and strong pretty now.

  • cakeburnette

    How much do I LOVE these comments?

  • Elizabeth

    Tough pretty here. Definitely. Had to write a letter to a home seller, telling why, even though we were not top bidder, we should end up with the house. Didn’t put in ALL the challenges of our life. Edited heavily, so we wouldn’t sound like miserable wretches, had the shocking realization that being out of work with gum on the carpet is not actually the worst of my problems.

    Anna, Linda J, and Martha, I hear you!

    I think there should also be a love pretty for those of us who are not moms. When we love sacrificially someone who cannot love us appropriately back, somehow, beauty emerges. My mother-in-law was definitely love pretty as she dealt with my father-in-law.

    We got the house.

  • Mom pretty. I have this delicious big soft tummy (8.5 years after the last delivery) and my kids love to cuddle up to it.

  • PS And I’m feet-pretty, too. Like you, I need my toenails twinkly for yoga.

  • y’all are so pretty in all the ways. too many great responses to reply to. 🙂 To whoever made the smart sister/pretty sister comment – my sister likes to say she’s the smart one and I’m the pretty one. We’re identical twins. Ow.

    I’m decidedly not hair pretty. The children I love so much aren’t mine, so not mom pretty. Smart pretty I could see, but I wouldn’t say it’s my defining characteristic.

    Tough pretty? Yes. My life has been defined as a string of WTF moments. I’m still here and better than ever. When people I love hurt, I genuinely want to take the burden of all their pain, because I know I could endure it for them.

  • I think you have THE prettiest posse ever. . .love these comments!

  • Amy-Go

    You are smart pretty. I am tough pretty. Julie O is mom pretty. I think she IS the definition of mom pretty, actually. So.

  • Linda J

    P.s. mom pretty is the woman who will hunt the ends of the earth for the creep who hurt her kid and not rest till justice is done!