Oct 17

Iowa’s Pretty People

Have you noticed recently how many good looking people are walking around Iowa these days? I mean, it’s significant. We’re not a state known for our beauty, or our attention to beauty for that matter. If I ask friends from out of state what Iowa means to them, I might hear something like Big 10, corn, or hog farms. I usually hear something about elections as well. Maybe some people might say Wizard of Oz, which shows how little they think of us since that’s in Kansas.

We’re not one of the beauty states. This isn’t trendy New York or sexy California. We’re not even a half-and-half state like Florida where at least one region is sunny and attractive. We’re a state of farmers.

And yet, I can’t walk across the street in Des Moines anymore without running into a real knockout. And I’m not just saying that about the women. I mean, some dudes are rocking it. Did we have a meeting and decide to suddenly be trendy?

Maybe Iowa always had this. I grew up in a small town, and maybe it’s just the shock of the big city wearing off, or coming on after a long, long delay.

Or maybe it’s the slow but steady creeping in of the coastal culture, the expectations of the pretty people from afar that we brush ourselves up nicely and look our best or better for…I don’t know, just in case someone turns the cameras on.

Maybe it’s those cameras. Everyone has one now. Maybe we’re all just more self-conscious that any moment we could end up in a stranger’s photo montage, and who wants to be memorialized forever in the background of someone’s photo with bedhead and a dirty t-shirt on?

The truth is, I just don’t know. I wonder if it has something to do with the cosmetic surgery people getting a stronger hold in the culture. That used to be something only rich, bored housewives did, or celebrities (more of those coastal types!), but now, we seem just to accept that a colleague might go away one weekend and come back with a new set of lips.

That may be extreme, but we certainly no longer bat an eyelash when someone comes in with artificially long eyelashes or an artificial tan sprayed on in the middle of winter.

I’m not even sure if that’s a good or a bad thing. Maybe we should celebrate how we can make ourselves look better, a “look how far science has advanced” sort of thing. Tans in the winter, new lips, new…everything. We’re approaching a sci-fi moment where we really can make ourselves look like anyone we want.

That’s a pretty cool idea, so I’ve decided I can be cool with the fanciness Iowa is taking on. If nothing else, all these pretty people will give us something new to stand for. And no one’s going to confuse us with Kansas anymore.