Spread the Love

Spread the LoveSo, once more, It’s SPREAD THE LOVE season at the high school where I work.  Student Council is on a Valentinesque drive to make everyone feel warm and fuzzy and loved.


SPREAD THE LOVE? It sounds like a communicable disease prevention program.  I tell student council every year that their tagline is a cautionary STD ad. But they are too young to remember those late-night televised public service health announcements that aired right before the networks closed down — announcements couched in such carefully vague, dire and ominous tones that one never quite understood the warning (at least if one was a 14-year-old babysitter trying to stay awake).


Thankfully, the SPREAD T-shirts they cooked up this year are a bit more tasteful than the last batch, which featured a stick of butter. We won’t go there.  The graphic on the front of the new shirt is a big pink heart with pink birds flying out of one broken side.  Looks sort of like an aneurysm to me.

All this, to introduce my main topic:  a large homemade inspirational poster — badly painted — hanging in the school hallway, which reads, PROVE EVERYONE WRONG.  YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

Now, I may be personally insecure and knee-jerkily defensive, but my take on that message is, “Everyone here agrees that you are ugly as sin.”  Is this a warm fuzzy thought?


I look around the teeming hormone-laden hallways and see so many nondescript girls who’ll one day be really handsome women. But right now, they’re trapped in a social system that only recognizes pert little cheerleaders or willowy Victoria Secret model wannabes.  I want to pat them all on the back and assure them it gets better, or that one day they’ll be middle-aged and beyond caring.


And just how is one supposed to “prove” one’s beauty?  High school girlers (a word my son coined years ago which has become part of the family lexicon – somewhat embarrassing when I use it in public) do so with too much make-up and big hair and skimpy clothes and by taking up with mouth-breathing young men whose knuckles scrape the ground and whose physical conquests are legendary in the junior varsity football locker room.  Girlers just don’t realize that real beauty comes with age and from within.


Then again, those of us who nod sagely and say that real beauty comes with age and from within don’t technically have it anymore.