One of my stepdaughter's favorite pastimes is gossiping on the phone. When she does one of her favorite phrases is "she ain't even pretty." In fact that seems to be the sole defining characteristic for all the people she encounters: are they pretty or not? Nothing else matters. One day I paraphrased a skit by Texan comedian Ron White for her. "You can fix 'ugly.' In fact, 'ugly' is easy to fix. Ladies can lose weight or get liposuction. Buy contacts or get lasic surgery. Get nose jobs and breast implants and viola, beautiful. But you can't fix 'stupid.' There's not a pill you can take, a book you can read, or a class you can go to. Like diamonds, stupid is forever." Her only response was "nose jobs hurt. They have to break the bone." A friend of mine has a preteen daughter. One day the girl was boasting about how pretty she was and her father said "there will always be someone prettier or smarter." It was not intended as an insult or to make the girl feel bad in anyway. The point was that comparing yourself to others is futile. Accept your good points and try to improve your not so good points. Or why even bother? My point in the Ron White skit was not to call my stepdaughter stupid but it was intended to show how shallow and pointless beauty really is. Even if girls are pretty, what benefit can it really have? That you can flirt with more attractive people until you get too old and lose that beauty? I think my stepdaughter will go very far in life if she does one thing first--get her head out of her ass. She is sixteen, she dropped out of high school, was excused from GED classes for bad behavior, and won't help around the house. She is not interested in getting a job, learning how to drive, how to properly clean anything when she moves out and lives on her own, and refuses to learn how to cook her own food. She has no hobbies other than smoking weed and spending time with her bf. She has no skills or talents to speak of. Ironic because her favorite phrase, if you recall, is "she ain't even pretty." The implication of this phrase is that whomever she is discussing is good for nothing and is not even pretty. But how does she know that these girls are good for nothing? What if they volunteer? Or tutor learning disabled students? Many of my friends in high school worked part-time jobs to help pay bills. One of my friends even paid for her family's monthly rent with her own wages. Perhaps these girls have an amazing secret talent. Why would personal character be invalidated even if they were unattractive? This is why I personally don't care what I look like. I think I'm ugly as sin but it doesn't matter because I'm smart, creative, and resourceful. Being pretty will not keep you in high school or get you a GED. Being pretty will not help you get into college or graduate with a degree. Being pretty will not get you a job or pay your rent (unless you're a model). Being pretty has no real world benefits. Best case scenario for being pretty: you gold dig a rich, handsome husband. Impressive win because gold digging has intense competition. Then what? Prince charming has leverage against you. He can lie and cheat on you as much as he wants. He knows you will not leave because you need the money. He is free to abuse you as much as he wants because he knows you will stay. And they all lived happily ever after. My stepdaughter seems to be living in this same fairytale land. She wants to be a lawyer or a CSI even though she can't even manage finishing her GED-hard to say if she will or not because she doesn't even study for it in her spare time. She has said that the only reason she wouldn't get into Harvard University is because she couldn't afford the tuition. She thinks there will always be people to chauffeur her around, she will have maids to clean after her, and has said she plans to eat out everyday. But this will all be paid for with a high-paying job she will magically land thanks to her stepmother-not me but the other one, the fairy one. Or she will be one of the few successful gold diggers who has nothing to offer her husband but a cute face and a bad attitude. If you are pretty, good for you. If not, so what? Either way youth fades and you will be stuck with who you are fundamentally as a person: focus on developing that instead.