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Bartosh

Beauty’s only skin deep — that’s deep enough

At the risk of getting an angry response or two, I must ask one very basic question:
When are women going to learn?
I’m not talking about the kind of learning provided by institutions of higher education. These days there are more females graduating from college than males, or so we’re told. Even if that isn’t entirely accurate there’s no denying women aren’t being denied their right to receive instruction and are deriving plenty of benefits from it.
And many of them have absorbed enough teaching to become doctors, lawyers and CEOs. Good for them.
But if understanding transplants, transfers of ownership and multibillion-dollar business transactions doesn’t baffle them, why can’t these same ladies comprehend something as simple as what makes men tick?

They obviously remain perplexed because if they weren’t they wouldn’t keep acting surprised whenever they witness guys acting in unflattering ways, which would be most of the time. Women think they can train men in the manner of Pavlov’s dog, assuming we’re as smart as canines or at least as obedient.
We’re neither. We’re wholly predictable, though, almost never deviating from our genetic script. And what that script tells us is to be as shallow as a politician’s conscience when judging members of the opposite sex.
Newsflash: Guys notice all pretty women, including those who wouldn’t dream of returning the gaze even if she and the leering fellow were the only two parties in the same room. Advertisers realized women’s captivating effect decades ago and decided to make attractive females one of three surefire ways — along with babies and furry little animals — to get consumers to pay attention to commercials about, well, anything.
It’s the cuteness factor and it’s always been in place. That includes in sports, where good-looking female athletes achieve notoriety regardless of accomplishments — think tennis player Anna Kournikova or 1970s golfer Laura Baugh, both of whom had plenty of admirers in spite of their lack of success.
Anybody who believes we’ve advanced as a society and no longer think in such Neanderthal terms, however, is mistaken. That was recently proved again when an Asian volleyballer was deemed “too beautiful” to play for her country.
The story about 17-year-old Sabina Altynbekova ran on several Internet sites. She is competing in the Asian Under-19 Volleyball Championships, an event normally given less thought by media members than a daily luncheon special but suddenly of great interest because of Altynbekova’s presence.
I confess I looked at photos of her, although only briefly lest I draw too much attention to myself for dawdling. But while her attractiveness could be described as better than average, Altynbekova is not “too beautiful” to play volleyball.”
According to the various stories, the problem is that Altynbekova’s looks are overshadowing not only her own play but that of her teammates. One paper in Kazakh reported that “fans just stare at her and they are not following the championship anymore.”
Another outlet coaxed this quote from Altynbekova’s coach Nurlan Sadikov: “It’s impossible to work like this. The crowd behaves like there is only one player at the championship.”
Think Bill Belichik says the same thing about Tom Brady?
Altynbekova’s actual volleyball skills were rarely mentioned in the stories about her, but that’s no shock. She’s obviously good enough to be playing on a prestigious team, but would her abilities have set her apart if she looked more like Pete Rose instead of a fair flower?
We all know the answer to that.
But before anyone gets too huffy about me addressing this point and trying to give credence to the beauty-is-only-skin-deep theory, let us consider something else that occurs annually and masquerades as “sport.” I’m talking about the World Naked Bike Ride, which happens every June somewhere in the northern hemisphere.
The name pretty much describes the activity, although clothing is optional, as is body painting. The WNBR is supposedly conducted as a way to “promote positive body image” and “bring attention to people-powered transportation.”
Yeah right.
Since it’s a coed event, chances are very good that most guys enter in the hope of pedaling alongside a naked lady for a while because that’s a sight not seen too often in a public setting. Women are generally reluctant about removing clothing around an audience, whereas guys will do the same with no more than a drunken friend’s dare serving as motivation. And, luckily for all concerned, the men quickest to go the au naturale route are ones who appear to be six months pregnant.
But let’s get back to the Altynbekova situation. Instead of bellyaching about the attention she’s getting those around her ought to embrace it because they can bask in the reflected glow. As opposed to performing in anonymity once again, the players and their sporting efforts are getting publicized.
Don’t worry about the means if the end is justifiable.
Besides, if the volleyball is good enough maybe a lot of people will continue to watch after Altynbekova is no longer a part of it and begin to appreciate the abilities demonstrated by all the players, not just statuesque ones. Who knows — perhaps because of Altynbekova volleyball will develop a much larger worldwide male fan base and the sport won’t need a “too beautiful” ambassador to promote it.
If we’re not careful guys everywhere may soon discover a sense of depth within themselves and realize there’s more to women than what meets the eye. And before long all men will stop being crude, barnyard-like creatures and start using their brains as the dominant body part in determining what makes a woman truly beautiful.
On second thought, naaaahhhh …