I once overheard a couple of wealthy guys talking. They were evidently used to flying first-class, which is something about which I personally know nothing—
(That is, apart from the kind stewardess who had mercy on me when I had a migraine on a transatlantic flight. Not only I, but the two seat partners between whom and upon whom I was dangerously close to throwing up, are forever in her debt for letting me have a first-class bed seat and a nice blanket with which to cover my head for a few hours.)
But back to our two gentlemen. “How was your flight?” asked the one.
“Fine,” answered the other. “The leg from LA to DC was a bit ‘lackluster’, but they made up for it on the way to Frankfort.” That word, ‘lackluster’ caught my attention. What did that mean, when flying from coast-to-coast? What, pray tell, was a “lustrous” flight? As their exchange unfolded, I became aware of some things to which, as a mere pleb, I had not heretofore been privy.
Apparently, people who ride in the front of the plane feel themselves to be entitled to be wowed. By this, I do not merely mean entitled to competent service and a broader selection of drinks and menu. They expect the stewardesses to entertain them, pander to them, flirt with them, make them feel special. They want fireworks. Anything less would be deemed—lackluster.
Dear me. First of all, where do I begin to peel apart this weird entitle-mentality? Secondly, thank you, Jesus, for making me a pleb.
And, Mr. Wow-me, take some advice from Aunt Phoebe. It’s an airplane ride, buster. You should be thanking God you weren’t born in pioneer days.
The Temptation of “Wow me” Profiles?
Yet, isn’t this a temptation to which we singles who frequent online dating sites are unfortunately all too subject? As we swipe through the images and profiles, how many of us, consciously or not, are thinking, “I want to be wowed.” This is code for “I need help getting over myself.”
Okay, okay, yes. I’ve been guilty of that. Mea culpa. I too have needed help getting over myself, in the context of online dating, and in all kinds of other contexts.
In my defense, in real life, I’ve been utterly smitten by men who were not all that lustrous: moderate cerebral palsy, intermittent depression, terrible eczema. A good personality and a good sense of humor make up for a multitude of “issues.”
But we who frequent online dating sites are often tempted by the same demonic mentality that overtook our two gentlemen. “I’m paying for this, and I expect to be compensated. So, you better wow me.”
Perhaps merely boorish to adopt such an attitude on a flight. Deadly for those of us who desire marriage.
Do Ugly People Have an Edge?
Johnny Soul suggests they might. He croons:
If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty woman your wife
So for my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry you
A pretty woman makes her husband look small
And very often causes his downfall
As soon as he marries her then she starts
To do the things that will break his heart.
Now, for those among us who are in fact “pretty ladies”, don’t let this become another reason to despair. But let’s be honest. There’s some reality worth considering here.
I once met a woman for whom I felt SOOO sorry. She truly was one of the homeliest women I have ever seen in my life. She still holds a record on homely, but she was awfully smart and kind and easy to be with.
Much to my surprise, I found out that a very smart man, not bad looking himself, had set his heart on her. I attended their wedding. She was without a doubt the chubbiest, homeliest bride I’ve ever seen. They now have five beautiful children. They’ve been through the ringer with difficult pregnancies, financial challenges, and other problems.
But they like each other. They have intelligent jokes. They do life together. Lackluster? Hardly. Isn’t that what we are all dying for?
To See What No One Else Can See
He saw something in her that no one else could see. I think that’s a grace that we would all do well to pray for. “Lord, give me eyes to see what no one else can see.”
Saint John Paul II offered a mild remark to that effect, backed by years of experience with married couples, in his seminal book “Love and Responsibility.”
… a truly great love sometimes develops from modest material. But such a great love can only be the work of persons and — let us add here to complete the picture — the work of Divine Grace. […] There is no need to be dismayed if love sometimes follows tortuous ways. Grace has the power to make straight the paths of human love. (p. 140)
So as we begin a new year, and many of us are still hoping for this to be “the year”—maybe put your “Wow me” expectations in the sidebar. They are doing you no service. You just might not know what you are missing.