On Being a Hot Babe (was Re: Hexwood -- Catchup)

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Sat Feb 16 01:10:18 EST 2002

On Wed, 6 Feb 2002 07:28:41 +0800 (WST), Paul Andinach wrote:

>On Wed, 30 Jan 2002, Melissa Proffitt wrote:

>> > > I like it too.  Aside from its being subversive (see above) it
>> > > illustrates just how much love does to change your perceptions;
>> > > Maree, for one, doesn't change much, but Rupert learns to love
>> > > what she is.

>>> I think you have that the wrong way around.
>>> Rupert initially perceives Maree's worst points because he's in a
>>> bad mood and she's caused him a lot of trouble (some of which he
>>> really caused himself), but once he's calmed down and got to know
>>> her better he realises she's a nicer person than he gave her
>>> credit for.
>>> In other words, he came to love her after his perceptions changed,
>>> not the other way around. 
> I'm talking about his perception of her physical traits, not her
> personality.

>Then you're wrong when you say (above) that Maree doesn't change much:
>when Rupert meets her for the second time, she's had something done
>about her hair, and she's wearing clothes he actually approves of.

Been thinking about this for a while.  That's certainly true, that she's not
the scraggly witchy person he saw the first time.  Her heartbreak (I should
read the book again; she had a name for her state and I can't remember it,
Crossed in Love or something?) led her to let herself go--not cut her nails,
not care for her hair, and of course she couldn't afford good clothing.
When she stops looking this way, she goes back to (I imagine) the way she
looked before her boyfriend dumped her.  So it's not like the movies, where
a haircut and contact lenses can magically turn a wallflower into the Prom
Queen.  And at that point, she's still short and a little on the plump side,
or at least she believes she is.  My recollection is that when Rupert saw
Maree as a normal person for the first time, he still wasn't exactly smitten
with her beauty.  And it's that second meeting that I think is the beginning
of their relationship, with the first meeting just an unfortunate
complication.  Neither of them was thinking of the other as anything more
than a chance meeting the first time (okay, Rupert knew who she was, but
he'd rejected her as a Magid candidate and planned never to see her again,
same effect).

The thing is, I'm not suggesting that he falls in love with her *because*
his perceptions of her appearance change.  I'm saying that as he falls in
love with her--because of her personality, because he lets go of his
negative first impressions--her appearance becomes dearer to him.  I had the
feeling that his usual type was more like Zinka, tall and glamourous.  Maybe
it's just because "sleek" is the word that comes to mind when I think of
Rupert; well-groomed, impeccable, glossy hair, etc.  My impression (and this
is not backed up by fact, just extrapolation, so it could be wrong) was that
in gaining so much responsibility so young, Rupert never had time for
serious relationships, and that he'd mostly dated women who were glossy and
attractive too.  I think most of Rupert's pratlike behavior stems from being
a Magid so young; he's a nice guy who needs a little humanizing.  Finding
someone like Maree physically attractive didn't enter his mind at first;
he's first drawn to her contradictory personality and her potential Magid
ability, and only later to her body.

Anyway, it struck me that this change happens all the time in real life, and
I liked that it was reflected in the book.  Maree didn't have to become
tall, thin, and gorgeous for the hero to fall in love with her and think
she's beautiful.

>How much this matters, I don't know, but the change isn't all in
>Rupert's head after he comes to love her.

No, and I'm sure he never does find the scraggly version attractive.  :)

(The description of Maree's yellow claw-like nails fascinated me.  My nails
always start breaking on stuff when they get longer than about half an inch.
I've been trying to remember if I've ever seen nails of that texture on real
people, but can only think of ancient China and Reigner Three's jade nail
shields or whatever they were.  It's probably some kind of Magid trait.)

Melissa Proffitt
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