SF Curbed has taken it upon themselves to run a contest for the physically “Hottest SF Broker” in San Francisco. I’m not nominated (as far as I know) and I didn’t nominate myself. I don’t and wouldn’t want to participate, despite the value of back-links from a site with Curbed’s google juice. I don’t want this post to come across as sounding like it’s being written by a bitter and short freckle-faced boy with husky jeans and an acne problem who once cried in the corner of the middle school gym because none of the girls wanted to dance with him. Some parts of that were an accurate description of me at one time in my life but my middle school crushes were boys, not girls. You can make your own judgements about how much of the rest is true and how much is artistic license.
As a professional Realtor in San Francisco, I honestly and truly believe that the “hottest” Realtors are the ones that can actually get the job done in a timely manner with competence, grace, communication, and professionalism. While we can argue that this is just a fun and harmless competition, I actually have some more serious concerns about it…
We live in a culture that glorifies youth and beauty as being more valuable than just about anything else. As a result, perfectly beautiful individuals that don’t conform to society’s expectations about stereotypes end up with self-esteem, self-confidence, and body issues that in extreme cases turn into mental health disorders like anorexia or bulimia. And even for those individuals that don’t end up with eating disorders or enormous therapy bills, the championing of pretty over smart inevitably creates a little voice in the back of our heads that causes needless second-guessing, self-doubts, and personal grief.
It might have been conceived as a silly public relations stunt designed to drive pageviews and generate advertising income for the site, but I will bet you $100 that someone will read about the competition on Curbed SF and come away with a new round of self-doubts, self-loathing, or otherwise question their competence and confidence. Which is a shame because while competence and confidence can be faked on the outside, they can only genuinely come from people with beautiful hearts and souls – two items which are invisible to everyone but cardiologists and your personal “higher power.” And yes, Realtors have souls and hearts. Well, 99% of them at least.
Here’s my antidote to what feels like a narcissistic, shallow, needless, and ultimately hurtful competition:
Dear Women-of-a-Certain-Age and Men-starting-to-go-bald,
You’re beautiful. You’re beautiful because you wake up each morning and decide to try your very best despite not fitting into a cultural stereotype that says that the most valuable women are the young ones with large breasts, skinny waists and faces that resemble plastic Ikea cabinets. Men – you too are valuable, worthy, and handsome despite the paunch at your waistline and the hair that seems to be shifting from your scalp to other strange places, like your ears or your back!
You’re more “hot” to me than any “pretty little thing” because you have come to the realization that the only person in the world that can give you permission to be “hot” is yourself. You might use a little more makeup than you used to, or you might toss a bottle of Rogaine in the shopping basket stealthily concealed by a Sports Illustrated magazine. I understand. We all have our secrets.
You are beautiful because you give your clients your attention, time, professional advice and bring to the proverbial table your professionalism, your grace, and pragmatic attitude. You are beautiful because you’ve learned to stop worrying about the things you can’t control – like what other people think of your ass – and focus on the things you can control, like your market knowledge, negotiation skills, or sense of humor.
You’re beautiful because you rise above shallow articles trying to drive pageviews. You’re beautiful because in a judgemental world you’ve learned to “Keep Calm and Carry On.”
So go enjoy that cookie. Take a few extra days off the exercise routine – if you have one. Tell that doubting inner voice to Shut Up!
I believe you’re beautiful and I hope you do too.