Seagulls may not be known as the smartest or cutest creatures around, but we ladies do share something in common with them: we are both attracted to shiny, pretty things. They fly by a shiny piece of metal, let’s say a can, and are utterly captivated by it. We walk past a shiny piece of metal, let’s say a necklace, and we stop and stare through the window. Sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with being a seagull. There’s something about looking at beautiful things that gives us something to want; it makes us feel good and perhaps even lovelier ourselves. It’s a happy distraction from the dreariness of everyday life.
The safe term for it (that is, the one I’m allowed to use by site advertisers but was not how this article was originally written) is “eye candy.” You know what I’m talking about. It’s the images that fill fashion and beauty magazines; all those glossy, gorgeous pictures that incite our desires, and at times, also cause us to empty our wallets. It’s what keeps us online into the wee hours of the night on websites like Endless and Sephora. It’s the gold-flecked deep brown eye shadow; the lacquered red leather pump with the stiletto heel; the most perfect pair of dark denim jeans.
What sort of stunning visions, or “eye candy” if you want, stimulates us varies from woman to woman. It can be anything: shoes, purses, food, makeup, cars, you name it. The common thread is that it is so visually beautiful and compelling that we cannot stop ourselves from being sucked in. It’s what causes us to turn our heads and stare at someone’s outfit; to ask a stranger what lipstick she’s wearing and immediately go buy it; to spend an hour in the Nine West outlet in awe, picking up shoes and putting them back down (or maybe that’s just me). A vision of something we find inherently beautiful entices us, excites us, stays on our mind, and most of all, makes us feel good.
For me, that visual trigger is all of the beauty stuff that actually is beautiful. I’m not into the fashion runway hair and makeup that is meant to stand out but could never translate to real life. I’m not into neon colors, bleached out brows or half-shaved heads. I’m into rich colors for makeup; especially in the fall, like crimson, bronze, chocolate, and emerald. When I saw the Urban Decay Naked Palette in store for the first time, I literally gasped. I’m into pretty, natural-looking skin, dark black eyelashes, and slightly pink lips. Every month, it’s like Christmas morning for me when the new Allure magazine shows up in the mail.
But my absolute favorite, by far, is gorgeous hair; gets me every damn time. I don’t know what it is that draws me to it, but it’s an attraction too strong to break. I love beautiful hair: in real life, in pictures, in movies, and on TV. Whether it’s blonde, black, red, brown, short, long, or in between, doesn’t matter to me. As long as it’s shiny, thick, or generally looking however it seems like it’s supposed to, I can’t help but ogle.
Hair is absolutely the first thing I notice on anyone, and it has been for as long as I can remember. Good hair draws me in and bad hair, admittedly a bit unfairly, puts me off. I tend to be slightly partial to brunettes, but I can go for any shade as long as it looks good. My husband (a blonde, whose hair has now grown to his shoulders) has told me more than once, when I say that someone is pretty, “You’re only saying that because she has long blonde/brunette/red hair! That’s all you see.” It sometimes is. If the hair is really beautiful, it’s almost distracting enough that I forget to look at the rest of the person. Daily, I find myself noticing, appreciating, and wondering how I can make my hair look as great as the woman’s who just walked past me. I stop women I don’t know in public all the time to compliment their hair. It literally brightens my day to see beautiful hair, so why not brighten their day and tell them so?
There are millions of women out there with gorgeous hair of all types, lengths, styles, and colors. Personally, my big three of the moment are:
Blake Lively. I’ve never seen Gossip Girl or those movies about magic pants, but I know who Lively is from the movie The Town (which, if you haven’t watched, get on that. Hello, Jon Hamm). Damn, that girl has the best golden blonde, tousled, “I didn’t do anything but roll around on the beach to get this” hair. I’m not sure if it’s enhanced with extensions or not. If it is, I can’t begrudge her for it because they actually look convincing, unlike the extensions we usually see (yes, I’m talking about Lohan). Lively’s hair is full, messy, and at least ten different shades of perfectly interwoven blonde. It’s freaking gorgeous, and it makes me think “Ooh” every time I see it. If she has a pretty face too, someone should let me know, because I haven’t even looked yet.
Deborah Ann Woll. My love of Jessica Hamby from True Blood has been documented before, but I can’t mention gorgeous hair and leave out this stunning redhead. True, Woll is actually a blonde (!) who admits to getting her stunning shade at home from a box of L’Oreal Excellence Crème (!!) but I don’t knock her for not being natural (and I totally give her credit for being refreshingly candid about the box dye job). That red, especially in the earlier seasons when it was so red, is a shade that demands attention. And so shiny! I truly felt a little sad this past season when they let her get closer to her roots with a gradual lightening to strawberry blonde.
Kate Middleton. The reason for this one should be pretty obvious. That shade of brunette goes beyond rich; it’s downright regal (sorry). Her hair is so shiny and voluminous and healthy-looking, yet it almost seems attainable. It gives me hope. Can I ever achieve that sort of crowning glory (sorry, again)? Of course not. I’m sure ungodly amounts of money go into making that gorgeous mane look girl-next-door glorious. But a little part of me still likes to pretend that I maybe I can; you know, with the right product and some hot rollers. Until then, I pour over the steady stream of pictures and articles about the new duchess’s tresses; clearly, I’m not the only one who’s paying attention.
So there you have it; now you know what my not-so-secret, not-so-shameful stash of pictures, web bookmarks and ripped out magazine pages contains. If I had a Pinterest (is it something you have? Or is it a verb? I digress), it would just be hundreds of images of gorgeous hair, and maybe one or two of pretty eye shadow. Perhaps it’s a little weird that I’m so entranced by hair, but surely there are stranger obsessions out there. After all, isn’t part of the fun of shiny, pretty things the fantasy of something you want but can’t have? Surely, in the scheme of things, it’s not so odd to lust after wanting beautiful hair myself.
The truth is that the world can be a pretty ugly place for all of us, and sometimes, especially for women. It’s pretty dire out there right now, and while beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it’s been a little hard to see lately. Although it can sometimes lead to a little money being spent, looking at pretty things is often one of the few freebies in this world that can make us feel satisfied without having to do a damn thing. Whatever your visual stimulus may be, savor it, own it, enjoy it. As for me, well, I’m waiting for my new Allure to show up; I hear Blake Lively is the cover girl.
It probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that Shauna’s first word was “hair” (truly). She wrote this article when she was supposed to be writing an essay for her English class. Whoops.
[featured images via: Allure, True Blood News, The Informed Servent, and Hair Regrown Naturally]