Approximately 42 mh

Millihelen, n. That quantity of beauty required to launch one ship.

Samantha BrickSamantha Brick, forty-one, drew over five thousand online comments for this Daily Mail article in which she echoes an old Pantene ad tagline: “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.”

I admit to having read only a relative handful of those comments, but one common theme seems to be that they hate her for thinking she’s a looker. Based on the available evidence — see photo and click to enlarge if desired — I’m willing to accept Roxeanne de Luca’s judgment here, up to a point.

[F]or a normal woman (i.e. one you are likely to encounter while walking to the supermarket), she’s lovely, and for over 40, she looks damn good.

The smile looks somewhat forced to me, but otherwise, I’ll go with “damn good for over 40,” if nowhere near, say, Helen of Troy.

The key here, I think, is “supermarket,” since I have previously admitted to scoping out the babes in the frozen-food aisle. On any given Saturday afternoon, there’s probably someone at least as high on the millihelen scale as Samantha Brick, somewhere within the Homeland at May and Britton, and while she’s not going to pay any attention to me — odds are she’s spoken for anyway — I am always grateful for the view.

Well, almost always grateful. Somewhere in this sea of pulchritude might be someone like this:

There is a certain type of middle-aged woman who is just so unhappy with her lot in life that she’s not going to rest until every other woman around her is miserable, too, and her prime targets are younger, successful, well-proportioned, happy women.

And Lewis Grizzard isn’t around to take them off our hands anymore, either.



  1. McGehee »

    5 April 2012 · 9:48 am

    one common theme seems to be that they hate her for thinking she’s a looker.

    If her story is true, the truth is they hate her because men keep giving her reason to think she’s a looker.

    And since I’ve never spontaneously given a strange woman flowers or bought her anything more than a drink as a means of introduction — and that, many many years past — I’m probably not in a position to rule on the veracity of her story.

  2. fillyjonk »

    5 April 2012 · 10:48 am

    Getting free stuff because you’re a “looker” isn’t so much a problem, as trumpeting to the world, “Oh, poor me, I’m such a ‘looker’ that I have no female friends because I make them look old and ugly by comparison” is.

    (Disclaimer: I have never been given free stuff because of the way I look. And frankly, I thought that whole “attractive women get random men giving them stuff” thing was a myth.)

  3. Roxeanne de Luca »

    5 April 2012 · 11:56 am

    Perhaps I should have spoken in more specifics. I know some absolutely delightful – beautiful inside and lovely on the outside – women “of a certain age”. They are a joy to be around, happy in their own skin, and wonderful role models.

    A month or two ago, however, I called up one of my friends and asked her what I was doing, or what impression I was giving off, to cause a lot of women who are older than myself to be so nasty. My friend then asked if they were women between about 45 and 60, and said that those women are miserable in their own lives, angry that they aren’t young and hot anymore, and determined to make everyone else around them as miserable as they are. Once they are about 60 or 65, they understand how petty they were being, know that life is so short, and calm down. But until then, whoa boy, watch out.

    but one common theme seems to be that they hate her for thinking she’s a looker.

    Again, they want her to be as miserable as they are.

    For the record, strange men do not lavish gifts on me, either. (My current boyfriend, however, does his best to make my house resemble a florist shoppe.)

  4. CGHill »

    5 April 2012 · 1:50 pm

    I tossed this question over to a woman in her fifties, who allowed that when she was younger, she was indeed quite lovely, and considered it a valuable tool in her utility belt; today, she has, um, other tools at her disposal. She didn’t seem particularly perturbed by being no longer “young and hot.”

  5. fillyjonk »

    5 April 2012 · 3:33 pm

    I think if one has other tools in one’s toolbelt (so to speak) the loss of youth and hotness matters less. (I’m feeling more mournful about my apparent loss of ability to walk extremely long distances carrying heavy equipment without becoming tired)

    Also, I never believed myself to be even remotely hot, so you don’t mourn the loss of something you never thought you had.

  6. Andrea Harris »

    5 April 2012 · 10:25 pm

    People used to tell me how pretty I was when I was a kid and it squicked me out so much I tried as hard as possible to be invisible. I don’t know how other women can stand that sort of attention.

  7. Francis W. Porretto »

    6 April 2012 · 4:49 am

    Hm! Charles, I think you’ve given me something to write about.

  8. Francis W. Porretto »

    6 April 2012 · 12:31 pm

    And here you go.

  9. Tatyana »

    6 April 2012 · 9:45 pm

    Ahaha, someone is a bad loser, I must say.

    FJ, you are absolutely right: if by 30 a woman does not accumulated anything besides her looks to distinguish herself, she is stuck with being miserable, bitter, a bad loser shallow and petty. Well, some of us, blessed with common sense, understood it in bygone days of youth…I remember one of MY friends, chatting about some handsome but rather stupid guy, exclaimed: OK, one might be charmed by his looks into going to bed with him – but what would one talked about after making love? The conversation with him will ruin everything! I remember that simple thing making a big impression on 18yo me.

    Chaz, you are very generous, calling the sack of potatoes (with one rather clumpy – serving as a face) on a pic a “damn good for over 40”. But we all know what a perfect gentleman you are.

  10. CGHill »

    6 April 2012 · 10:04 pm

    I have a weakness for spuds. Ask my doctor.

  11. Tatyana »

    7 April 2012 · 12:37 pm

    …and a weakness for carrots (see Zooye Deschanel’ legs for illustration).
    and for game pate with cognac-soaked raisins (see Angie Harmon, her whole person.)…and for M&Ms (such as whatsaname the Friday’ fame teenager), and for cheese (see the cheesy J.L Hewett), and for arugula& radishes (see the Ferrari-backed MsHeiress) …and for a rather distinct olfactory presence of fish (see…oh hell, just see this ).
    In fact, you prefer the full food pyramid. Your doctor should be proud.

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