Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Studies apparently show that people perceived to be more beautiful by others have more symmetrical, balanced faces. This report suggests that symmetrical people smell better, too.
So I guess I am ugly and stinky, cuz I ain't symmetrical.
One way I know this is because at our local science museum, there's a gizmo that takes a picture of your face and then duplicates half of it so you can see what your "symmetrical" face looks like. Both sides of my face, when doubled, look very different from one another. (Here's an online tool, The Symmeter, you can use to try this at home. In an effort to make you feel better, it will show you how some celebrities--aka Beautiful Symmetrical People--look when halves of their faces are doubled too. Helpful Note: quality and hilarity of results are dependent upon how you "adjust the centerline.")
Another way I know that my face is not symmetrical is that it is obvious in any picture of me (and maybe to those of you who look at me everyday) that I have two differently-shaped eyes. One is round and one is almond shaped. I like them both equally, though one gets droopier when I am tired (even my droopiness is not symmetrical, alas).
And finally, I have one ear that sticks out markedly farther than my other ear. This ear, my right one, is my Flop Ear.
I am not sure when my parents first noted that one of my ears was looser feeling and stuck out, but early on I began sucking my left thumb while I used my right hand to flip my less-cartilaginous right ear. As it became more of an object of attention and affection, my ear became known as Flop Ear.
You can come over right now and look at, as well as pull on, both my ears for proof. My left ear bends closer to my head and willfully snaps back against it when it is flipped. The other ear...well...flops. And sticks out more. My parents claim that my right ear must have been folded over in the womb. I guess that's possible, if fetal me stayed tucked in one position longer than any baby who inhabited my womb.
I have never been at all self conscious about my Flop Ear. But the thumb-sucking connection to it became problematic, and when I was four, my parents offered me an incentive to quit sucking my thumb (I believe I was permitted to continue flipping my ear): If I relinquished my habit, they would buy me the doll I coveted. So I quit cold turkey, just like I stopped being OCD on a dime in middle school when my parents suggested I should go see a psychiatrist about my problem, which included vacuuming my room everyday (seriously, that was a problem, folks? Could I have that problem back now?).
It turns out I am highly suggestible to behavior modification. I earned that doll and I never even licked my thumb again (of course, it occurs to me now that I could have faked quitting, gotten my doll, and then sneaked the thumb sucking, but I was either too honest or that was too complex of a plan for me to pull off back then).
But the point of this story is that my new little brand-new niece has a Flop Ear, as her father proudly pointed out to me recently. It's a cute ear that sort of bends out of shape by itself, because it's looser than the other one. My brother is now convinced there is a genetic mutation for Flop Ears that might appear randomly in our family.
All I know is, my niece is not symmetrical, because of this ear. And yet my niece is undeniably beautiful.
There's hope for me yet. But I think I'll tackle my stinkiness first.