Oh how I love the word pretty. It sort of means not very much when you talk about a woman, maybe something along the lines of “Well-presented, with a symmetrical face.”
But when you’re talking about men. Then it seems to express everything I want it to.
A pretty man is attractive, like a picture. You could stare at him for hours, but there’s no indication that there’s anything below the surface. A pretty man is slightly boyish, slightly androgynous, generally dreamy. He isn’t automatically sexy. Sometimes the joy is just in the sheer aesthetic qualities. The artistic formal elements, line, form, shape, seem to merge and create, through simplicity, through sheer randomness in thousands of pairings of chromosomes, over millions of years, a form indescribably wonderful.
Pretty is a light word. It trips easily off the tongue, the two short syllables floating up like bubbles into a blue sky. It means something trivial, a shallow sort of feeling, the opposite of the intense, brooding passions of hot and sexy.
Pretty is a precise word. Use it in the wrong place, such as to describe someone with a Y chromosome, and, in the little echoes of that little word, the tables of ‘objectification’ and attraction crash to the floor of the temple of heteronormativity.
Pretty is an innocent word. It liberates and sanctions. Something pretty cannot be bad, or shameful. It is a word that has nothing to hide, everything to give.
Pretty is an empty word. It can be laden with whatever intent you need it, it is an opening for so many questions. It is the start of a dialogue.
N.B. I. This is mostly based on some extra thoughts from my last post, that I considered squeezing in there and then thought deserved their own, highly linguophile post.
N.B. II. Yes, I used an extended biblical metaphor. What’re you going to do about it?
N.B. III. You know when you say a word loads and it starts to distort and loose all meaning? Totally happened while writing this.