It may have been during one of my habitual late night meme deep dives, but I recently discovered, to my total shock and dismay, that all people are supposed to have a “side.” Not “a side” in the eventual war against capitalism, or “a side” as in an evil twin who causes mayhem by night, but a better side of their face in terms of appearance.
My world was shaken.
I had, of course, heard people in films talking of their good sides, but I’d honestly assumed this was all a joke! No one really looks that different from one side of their face to the other, surely? And if they did, how on earth did they decide it?
Looking back on all of those weird studies men have done about the perfect face, I noticed they tend to focus on symmetry as they key indicator of attractiveness. Thus, the having of a "side" is an admittance of asymmetrical facial imperfection, something I’m clearly unwilling to do.
No, seriously. In spite of what it may seem, this isn’t a piece entitled “My Face Is Perfectly Symmetrical, Stop Me And Ask Me How.”
I’m sure my face is as asymmetrical as they come.
But I definitely don’t have a preferred “side.” I am sometimes required to take pictures of myself for my job, and I still don’t know which side is better. If I’m being totally honest, I tend to do with whichever side is less afflicted with adult acne.
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My general objection to the having a "side" argument, is that I genuinely tend to prefer the weirder side of people’s faces. I know it’s a super annoying, Tyra-Banksian thing to say, but slightly offbeat, unusual faces are my favorite kind. The general preferred “side” for people is the one that’s less “flawed” — or, if you rearrange your thinking, plainer and blander. The bump in your nose or slightly lower eyebrow or patch of freckles aren’t something to be avoided, okay?
Now I’m all for confidence and letting people (especially women) do what they want regarding their own appearance.
I don’t think having a “side” is necessarily dangerous or problematic in itself. But how that side is chosen, and how the decision of one superior side is enforced can be. For example, sure, prefer your bland side by all means. But know that your opinion on your face isn’t a universal truth, and bolster your feeling of confidence in your non-side, too.
Your whole face makes up you, and I really promise you look fine.
And since discovering I’m supposed to have a side, a less obnoxious person than I would perhaps find themselves with a whole new thing to worry about, looks-wise. If an alien arrived on earth and was told that most of the population prefers the way one side of their head looks, they’d probably think it was pretty crazy. And that should tell us that this is a phenomenon at least partially created by silly humans, and not something we should spend too much time focusing on.
Which brings me to a more all-encompassing point about human appearance.
How much of what we don’t like is borne of our own brains? Because whatever isn’t has been put there by an external force. I think that’s pretty frightening.
If no one told you that something is considered ugly, can it really be considered ugly at all? Until you know one side of your face is worse, aren’t they both equally perfect? Sometimes, blissful ignorance is the only way to survive the weird-but-sometimes-wonderful beauty world. I encourage you all to try it.