posted by dave on Friday, October 28, 2005 at 7:53 AM in category ramblings

I imagine that a lot of people, even those who won't admit to it, have seen the movie Shallow Hal starring Jack Black.

For those of you that haven't seen it, or who have repressed the memory of it for some reason, here's a summary from

Following the advice of his dying father, Hal dates only women who are physically beautiful. One day, however, he runs into self-help guru Tony Robbins, who hypnotizes him into recognizing only the inner beauty of women. Hal thereafter meets Rosemary, a grossly obese woman whom only he can see as a vision of loveliness. But will their relationship survive when Hal's equally shallow friend undoes the hypnosis?
I watched this movie, for the second or third time I guess, last night.

I suppose that, like most people, I'm a lot like Hal. The first thing I see in another person is their physical appearance. At that point, there's usually either attraction or there's not.

I also suppose that, like most people, I wish I could look beyond the physical and see the person within. This can happen, and has happened, but only after I've spent enough time with the person to get to know them better. This makes me shallow, and I know it. I don't like it very much, but there it is anyway. I don't even want to think about how many wonderful people have been absent from my life simply because I wasn't initially attracted to them.

I used to think that Hal was given the perfect gift. The ability to see only the inner beauty (or lack thereof) in a woman from the very beginning.

There was a time when I thought I'd been blessed with that gift.

I looked at her and, though she was quite beautiful, I hardly even noticed that. What I did notice was that she sparkled. Call it inner beauty, call it her soul, or her aura, call it whatever you wish. She was the most beautiful person I'd ever seen. And she could have had the face of a troll - my assessment would not have changed one bit.

Was this love at first sight? I didn't think so at the time. But I'd never experienced anything like it before, so what did I know? Whatever it was, it was important. She was important.

Those of you who've been reading carefully know that this, this so-called gift wasn't, in the end, a gift at all. It was a curse. For meeting her was like having my picture taken with a very bright flash. Her light seared into my flesh, into my heart, and even though the source of that light is long gone, I've been partially blind ever since.

Afterimages of her float through my consciousness, and at times I cannot see anything except the memory of her beauty.

Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever be able to see anything clearly again.

Sometime I wonder if I would even want to.

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