‘Beautiful’ vs. ‘Pretty’ Which Do You Prefer?

July 19, 2013  |  

I don’t know if I was on my third or fourth mimosa, but all I remember is that I was on the brink of spitting it out. The woman sitting across from me was telling me about her boyfriend and how he rarely gives her compliments beyond “pretty” or “attractive.” Mind you, the girl is stunning, drop-dead gorgeous really. Yes, she had full-face makeup on, but anyone in his or her right mind could tell she didn’t need it. She was one of those girls who put on makeup as a hobby, something she liked to do.

I tried to understand where she was coming from when she said her boyfriend meant well.

“It’s just that I always end up looking a certain way. He already knows that I’ll look good regardless.”

But, what happens when he sees other women on the street? Someone with allllll that T&A? “He’ll point out how bad they are.”

One of the things that happen when someone compliments me is that I tend to think about all of the other words they didn’t say. It may sound crazy, but when someone says I’m attractive, for example, I think, well, what makes me not considered “pretty” or, dare I say, “beautiful”? Is it a certain color that I have on that’s not reflecting my eyes? Is my eyeliner off? Is my T-Zone shining brighter than a diamond? Yeah, I know you should love yourself and not search for external validation, but we’re all people who look at and see each other everyday. How someone sees you matters, whether others want to believe it or not.

“I wouldn’t want a guy who doesn’t know me to call me beautiful,” another friend of mine said. “He doesn’t know enough about me to really define what it is that makes me so.”

She isn’t exactly alone in the way she’s thinking. I’ve heard many people say they like receiving a “pretty” every once in a while, even “gorgeous,” but someone telling you that you’re sex y too soon suggests that they just want to get some. While someone saying you’re “cute” is just off-limits and disrespectful.

“Uh. No, I’m not 5,” my friend said, matter-of-factly.

So, is there truly a difference between “beautiful” or “pretty,” or do the terms just end up being convoluted? Are they just words that all mean the same thing in the end? Beauty and outer appearance are constructions we create for ourselves (and others) every single day. But, just as much as you loved your NARS blush on Tuesday and hated the sight of it by Friday, beauty defined by others is constantly changing. As cliché as it sounds, beauty really is in the eye of the beholder and it has nothing to do with you. There are so many factors that define how we see others. From our parents’ appearances to the cutie we had a crush on in the second grade, what we’ve seen and what we view as acceptable or even “beautiful” has a lot to do with what pleased our eyes in the beginning before we even acquired a daily makeup routine.

I’d argue that the opinions of others do matter, but only up to a certain point. Your validation should ultimately come from you and how you feel internally. We all have days when we’re not feeling “beautiful” or even that “pretty,” but know that there are others who define you as both.

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