EDIT: Should’ve clarified something earlier. This story is not a stand-alone, all-inclusive analysis of male-female dynamics. I took a chunk of something Kelly wrote a long time ago and used it to illustrate the part of my talk where I encouraged guys to look beyond the surface. (see Kelly’s brilliant comment below)

My cousin Kelly (sister of Kyla and President of the Mary Lou Retton Club, among many other Very Impressive Titles) wrote this little story a few years ago. I edited it down (for time) and read it to the guys and girls at the Opposite Sex Convention last week.

They liked it. They got it.


(A bit of context–I cut out the beginning–Kelly works as a DJ at a cool Christian rock station in Southern Florida. Her station had just sponsored a 3-band concert. She had been hard at work all day and was cleaning up the aftermath.)

As I packed up, I hoped the hundreds of autograph-seeking fans would make it snappy.

Then just when the line had dwindled down to a few dozen, a cute female batted her eyelashes. There went my hopes for a speedy exit.

She approached one of the guitar players and asked him to autograph her poster. That seemed simple enough to me.

He flashed a smile I assume was reserved for special occasions—I had spent hours around the dude that day and never saw it. But the instant she sauntered up, gone was the brooding artist I had been dealing with, and in his place… Prince Charming. He was suddenly warm and attentive, and even asked the girl her name. “Hey you” had worked just fine for me, but someone this pretty clearly deserved a real title.

Carrroleena,” she replied. And the earth stood still.

In their defense, two of the bands had traveled from northern states. I suppose this could’ve been the first time in their several national tours that they’d heard a Hispanic accent. If that was true, what happened next was completely excusable.

“Wow,” band guy breathed, “that is so beautiful.” His grin widened. “You’ve gotta say that again.”

Carolina giggled, her cheeks turning a ladylike shade of pink. “Carrroleeena.”

Band guy shook his head in amazement. I thought his cheeks might split open. “Dude,” he said, “come here, you have to hear her.”

His pal slowly glanced up, in no hurry to move from his chair. Then, spotting “her,” he did a double take. And in half the time it takes the average human to blink, he was at their side and all ears.

Several dozen “Carrroleena’s” later, the commotion attracted the attention of some of the other band boys. Soon a whole group of guys stood huddled around Carolina, hanging on her… one word.


“See? It sounds so much prettier when you say it.”

Carrroleena” Call it lack of sleep, but this was getting old fast

“That is so gorgeous. Say it again?”

Carrroleena” I considered hurling a microphone at his head

“Just one more time. Please?” I was about to intervene.

YAY! Her name is Carrrrrrrroleeeeeeeeeeena! Oh my, would you look at the time.

I am sure their interest had nothing to do with her tiny halter top. Or her perfect hips peeking out from above her ultra low rise skirt.

Speaking with the accent God gave you is quite a feat, so I get why seven grown men were so enraptured.

After 13 hours of hard work, I hadn’t heard a single thank-you, yet they were ready to nominate this chick as Woman of the Year because of the way she pronounced her name.

I gave my most encouraging smile to the girls in line behind Carolina. You know, the real girls. The ones whose hair was matted to their faces after four hours of jumping, screaming, and moshing. The ones who had opted for comfortable jeans and old band T-shirts instead of heels and a micro-mini.

Come to think of it, had Barbie even attended the show? She must have been watching the concert from a VIP box I didn’t know about. Or she’d been born without sweat glands.

I silently prayed that the rest of the girls wouldn’t notice the preferential treatment she was receiving, but the looks on their faces said it all: There is no way in the world we can compete with that.

So unfair.

I would love for a points system to be in play when a man is in search of Miss Right. Each woman would receive points for her various skills and accomplishments, and the woman with the most points, not the hottest legs, would win Dream Guy’s affection.

The scoring would work something like this: While Maya certainly knows how to fill out a sweater (100 pts), she has the cooking skills of doorknob. If you marry her, you will starve to death (-25,000 pts). Total: -24,900.

Eloise, though built like a beluga whale (-100 pts), excels in a variety of areas, including wit, temperament, housekeeping and common sense (50,000 pts). She also has the ability to hold meaningful conversations on topics other than this week’s shoe sales (5,000 pts). Total: 54,900.

Eloise is obviously the victor. But this type of scoring system would never work in the real world—because of who’s keeping score.

Before you write me off as bitter, hear me out. It isn’t Carolina’s fault that she’s cute and curvy. Sure, I have insecure moments. But overall, I can handle not being the hottest woman on earth. The problem is not pretty women.

The problem is men.

People love to say that true beauty is found on the inside. What they don’t tell us is that men don’t have x-ray vision. Men are visual creatures. They take notice of the packaging long before they can see the attractive qualities underneath. So your noble character is no match for perfectly sculpted thighs and short shorts.

I’m not man-bashing here. I like guys, and that’s how they were created. But the scale is tipped so far in favor of the gorgeous minority that the rest of us might as well pack it in and join a convent. Talk about pouring a truckload of salt on the gaping wound of average looks.

Thanks for sharing, Kel! You rock!

18 thoughts on “carrrrroleeeeeena!

  1. Kelly

    Wow. Wow. I’m glad I can’t jump through the computer. Marla you, or maybe Gabe?, wrote something awhile back related to this, I can’t remember. I just remember respecting Gabe’s opinion. Maybe Marla you wrote and he commented?

    I have no pity for anyone, really. It’s so cliche, but beauty IS in the eye of the beholder. I mean, obviously our society skews that. However, I’ve been the “bigger girl” for the majority of my life…I still get hit on, I still get leered at. Of course my esteem gets weakened when the guy I find attractive doesn’t feel the same way. But honestly, if I had been a cute, skinny girl, I would have been a major jerk growing up.

    It’s late and I’ve lost my purpose. I guess I just wanted one of the “ugly” girls to speak out. Fat and happy. And who the heck cares at the end of the day? Jesus loves me, this I know. 🙂

  2. Sally

    I am not sure it matters, what I mean is that who is good looking or not is a “smoke screen for our selfishness”. We are all super selfish. Good looking or not – insecure or confidante. Our selfishness works it ways out in many ways. When we brush up against selfishness, sometimes we are surprised. But should we be? Maybe it is for our good? We are here to be servants so that means sometimes we will be treated like one.

  3. Angela

    As someone who recently got married, at the age of 34, please believe that it is WORTH THE WAIT! I’m not one of those women who got married at 19 telling you that. I have been in a wheelchair since I was 17, and I despaired of ever finding a godly man who would see me for a real woman. But, I waited and prayed, and my Prince Charming found me! He is so good and kind and tells me every day how beautiful and desirable I am to him. Keep waiting and praying!

  4. jess

    just a real quick thought—jay, when i read your comment, what stood out was “more outgoing” . I’m not saying girls aren’t superficial–there are some; BUT, I’m thinking “more outgoing” might have played a bigger part than your new look.
    I think Jack Black is a-dor-able because he’s…so…outgoing. 🙂
    I think we can’t generalize everything…but….that was my reaction so….

  5. Marla Taviano

    Thanks for chiming in, Jay. You’re right–girls aren’t blind. And that would stink to be a guy who’s not sure he’s “good enough” for a certain girl.

    I remember chatting with a guy friend in college about “who’s in whose league.” I was shocked to hear which girls he considered to be in his league and which ones he thought were out of it. We definitely saw things differently.

    I can rattle off about 40 (or 60) couples I know where the girl is very lovely to look at and the guy looks like Jack Black on a good day. I might be able to think of one (or two) couples where the homely girl snagged Hugh Jackman.

    Either good-looking girls outnumber the guys by a mile, or girls(in general) aren’t as concerned with looks.

  6. Cousin Kelly

    Well I’m a girl, so I can’t speak (or write) for dudes. 🙂 It’s true, some girls are superficial and refuse to date less-than-gorgeous men. But I hardly know any girls like that. There are exceptions to every rule, but if we are talking our basic make-up, women are *generally* stimulated by touch and words, and men are stimulated by sight.

    For me, attraction is 98.9% about personality. Mmmmm, ugly, nerdy boys. Be still my heart. 🙂

  7. Jay

    Ok, time for a dude to step into the fire here. With all due respect, it has been my experience that women are just as superficial.

    In all honesty, I’ve experienced this firsthand. When I was in high school, I was a bean-pole and kind of shy. 6 feet tall and I weighed around 160 lbs. Fast forward to when I was 20-21. I had worked out and now weighed around 195 lbs, was more outgoing and suddenly when I went out with friends, I found women easily moving towards me with the same kind of look Carrroleena was giving guitar dude. Now that it’s 20 years later and I’m overweight, I suspect that if I were suddenly single, I wouldn’t have women flocking to my side.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying anybody here is incorrect. But let’s be real here. You take a guy that looks like Jack Black and another that looks like Hugh Jackman, put them together in the same room…who are women going to be drawn to first? And why?

    I used to be friends with guys that were TERRIFIED to ask a woman out or even approach a woman because they were certain they weren’t good looking enough or because they didn’t drive the right kind of car.

    Like I said, I don’t disagree, but I just wanted to point out that such feelings exist over on this side as well and that us men see that same kind of behavior from women.

  8. Elizabeth

    I can see both sides of this. I used to be the one all the other girls hated for being all cute, but now I find myself so annoyed with the pretty girls, especially the ones that intentionally take advantage of it. It helps to be reminded that men are made to notice the outside first, but let’s be smart about that. Don’t complain about being noticed when you’re dressed like a hoochie mama, but don’t complain not being noticed when you’re out in your flannel pajamas.

  9. Cousin Kelly

    Oh goodness, there are a whole lot of women left out of this story, Morgan. This little snippet wasn’t intended to encompass all of womankind or every male/female interaction issue out there. This is just a very small portion of something I wrote quite a while back. There was a much bigger point to it (in its entirety), but Marla uses this snippet to illustrate one particular point. By itself it *does* seem like the ranting of an ugly, insecure chick who hates pretty girls. Heeeee. 🙂

    I’m not the hottest woman alive, but I’m really happy with my looks, and I do get hit on very regularly, so I know how women feel when they’re ogled and whistled at. It’s annoying. And insecure, jealous girls are just as annoying. The story wasn’t intended to be “woe are we who are ugly.” It just relates to men being visual, and the difficulty of navigating that. That was the point. And in Carolina’s defense, she was shy and giggled nervously the whole time, and looked pretty uncomfortable. Her outfit was small, but sadly, here in South Florida, it would probably be considered modest by the masses!

    My apologies to the hotties who are offended by my story!!! 😉

  10. Marla Taviano

    I see your point, Morgan. But, unfortunately, you’re not going to get a lot of sympathy for being gorgeous.

    When I was in 6th grade, I used to come home from school crying. Kids were making fun of me for being smart.

    As “painful” as that was (and it really did hurt me), was being dumb a better alternative?

    Would you rather be homely?

    I think you’re right though–I have friends who say that being beautiful can feel like a curse.

  11. Morgan

    I understand exactly what you are getting at here, but there is a group of females left out.

    The ones that constantly get hit on, that have to deal with jealous girls, who understand how to get what they want IF they wanted to.
    and here’s the real kicker
    some of us don’t use it unlike caroleeeeeeena.

    Some of us actually get tired of constantly saying no to charmers because they really don’t want to date anyone right now.

    Some of us have learned to never turn around when you hear anything that remotely even sounds like a whistle.

    Some of us would like to just move to a remote island where there are no men.

    So the grass is not greener on the other side ladies.
    You have my word!

  12. Rachele

    What a great story, message and cry to the men of the world who only look at external beauty. More stories like this should be everywhere!!!

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