May 29, 2008

Pretty or Smart?

So here's the deal. I'm simply nutzo for sewing. Allow me to illustrate. This is a picture of my very first plush creation in January (it's a manatee, awful, but a manatee no less):

And this is the basset hound I made yesterday:

It turns out that practice really does make perfect. I'm unstoppable. But that by no means implies that my life as I otherwise know it simply stopped the second I plugged in my sewing machine.

For example, Pixie has been up to her usual foolishness. She's obsessed with her long hair and insists that it's her one, divine quality. I was attempting to straighten up her hair after a windblown day at the park and pushed her overgrown bangs behind her ear. "Mom, stop that! You're making me look like a short, little man!" I asked her what she meant. "Princesses always have their hair in their faces like this," she said as she raked her bangs back across her eyes and peered seductivly at me from behind the hairy veil. I swear I didn't teach her that.

Which reminds me, I should probably be teaching her more because the other evening my husband Spike asked her, "Pixie, would you rather be pretty or smart?"
"Ooooh, pretty! It's so embarrassing to be smart!"
Ever since then, my bedtime stories have detailed how the princesses use math and linguistic skills to defeat the evil dragons rather than a handy prince. Let's pray to the heavens it isn't too little too late.

My all time favorite answer to the "pretty or smart" question came from my nephew when he was five years old. "Sam, would you rather marry someone who was pretty or someone who was smart?" He replied without a second's hesitation.
"Pretty. Because if they are dumb you can just teach 'em stuff."

So life rolls on at the Flake house. I apologize, (as usual) for the pathetic posting. I'm going to punish myself by making a big batch of turtle stuffed animals this morning. Bwa ha ha ha ha!

Oh, and I'd rather marry someone pretty as well. Spike is a total hottie.


the lunch lady said...

that bassett hound is insanely cute. You are a PRETTY and an evil GENIUS to boot!

Adrienne said...

Hey! You're back! yay!

That is, in fact, a fine basset hound. This reminds me, I need infant appropriate toys! A certain someone (no, jeez... not me!) is in a family way and I need to start stockpiling things to send!

Nancy Sabina said...

Holy crap, Hollywood! That is some serious talent your have developed! Good work!

Mrs. M said...

Hey, you ARE still alive. And sewing to boot. Looks cute. Did you really make that or are you just faking us out to convince your concerned readership to let you off the hook for disappearing?

Watch out for that girl of yours. She sounds really dangerous, especially in another few years!

Colleen said...

Luckily Pixie's powers of seduction are just talk for the time being. When my (adorable, blond, blue-eyed) two-year-old laid one on her, she was horrified. :)

I say why settle for pretty or smart when you can get both!

Janell said...

Its good the mama knows that pretty and smart aren't mutually exclusive. Those vectors are important in dragon slaying!

Your basset hound is amazing!

compulsive writer said...

Put it that way and it's so much harder to answer than genius or beauty (easy, beauty--I'm already decently smart and all the geniuses I know are a little bit weird).

Smart. As long as didn't have to be trollishly ugly.

Hollywood said...

Sorry, Compulsive - trollishly ugly it is. But hey, at least you'd have the wits to talk your way into a man's arms!

Lyndsey said...

ok how much for the hound? That looks like a dog I can actually handle.

Hollywood said...

Sorry, Lynds - the hound was a custom order and it's already been shipped. But I'd be happy to make another one for you. Send me an email at and we can work out the details.

Kels said...

That basset hound is amazingly cute! I just got done housesitting as well as dogsitting for 2 basset hounds... how much did you sell that for? I may consider it for a Christmas present for the gal's 3 year old little girl.

Chicken Little said...

The hound is fantastic. You should definitely sell it in your shop!

Adrienne said...

Also, is that Pixie wearing a veil in the background I see back there? Man, she really IS working the pretty pretty princess angle. If you want, I have a really nice article by Nobel Laureate Christiane Nusslein-Volhard about women in science that ran in a recent Current Biology. I'm sure that would make great bed time reading for her.

Kate said...

I *love* the bassett hound. I look at your animals frequently and wish I had some spare $$ to spend. I love them!
Good to see a post from you :)

jadine said...

Dang it! That Sam-kid stole my answer! I remember asking myself that question when I was a kid (except I had "rich" in the equation), and my answer was usually "pretty"...although I sometimes thought "rich" was better because you could always buy pretty via surgery. Smart never won.

However? Guess which answer I'm drilling into my kids' heads? Yeah: smart.

Wow! I think your creations show marked progress! Of course, I think the manatee is magnificent, so don't think I'm disparaging it!

...a lurker :)

Shiloh said...

Actually, there is a good reason pretty and smart are kept as separate answers. I happen to be pretty and smart ;) The boys who want pretty girls can't handle having a smart woman and the boys who want smart girls don't know what to do with the pretty. It's really a terrible predicament.

Anne said...

Sarah, (re Pretty or Smart)-- once I was on my husband's case for not drinking enough water. Julie said, "Mom, you sound like his mother."
In my wisdom I answered that a wife is a cross between a mother and a girlfriend."
All the while John had just been driving, seemingly oblivious.
He finally responded, "I'd rather have a girlfriend."
I interpret, "Pretty."
Aunt Anne

Anonymous said...

Oh, Shiloh, you are so RIGHT. Pretty gets in the way for guys who worry about having someone take their woman away; they go for okay looking and great personality. The gorgeous girls are often left holding the bag, especially if they're smart AND gorgeous. A double threat. Think about Princess Diana. Not so smart, but so gorgeous it totally stole the spotlight from her husband, who was more into personality than looks, obviously (Hello...Camilla?)

I think the most threatening trait in a woman from a man's perspective, the single most, is to be smart, fearless, pro active and assertive. Men don't like that. They seem to like submissive, cute, little, dependent things. And those who worship them. Am I wrong guys? This is the impression I get from careful observation. Tell me if I'm wrong!

For ladies, we often shy away from really handsome men for the simple reason that we don't want the chick bait hanging out to be stolen from us. We just need a faithful, healthy, not-butt-ugly provider and friend. No six pack needed. No football history need shine in your past. Bring home the bacon and be nice, and you're set.

I'm stayin' anonymous on this one...

Hollywood said...

Uncle John's a total scoundrel. What would all these men do with themselves if they were married to girlfriends?

As far as the price of re-making that hound, I hate to say it, but I wouldn't do it for less than $45. It's a pretty big project and he's good sized. I bet that will shut up all you would-be buyers. Sorry.

Hollywood said...

All joking aside, I'm happy to disagree with you on that one, anonymous thanks to my hubby who totally values brains in women (and obviously a good dose of beauty as well since he picked me ;). Beauty alone is fun for the first five minutes but when you have to get down the to nuts and bolts of actually having a functional relationship, it fails pretty fast. Marriage is a ton of work and if a woman needs to rely on her hubby every step of the way, the relationship is doomed. Spike is always saying how glad he is that I have so many hobbies and can figure out how to solve problems on my own. Self-sufficiency and co-dependency go hand in hand for marriage and any man with half a brain has to know that.

B said...

Aw! Love the animals. Cuteness! First time on your blog - like it. Pixie's my nickname :) So that rocks too!

Anyway, the whole pretty/smart debate's been on my mind lately too. I have a boy, but my husband's bro and his wife have a five year old. When I'm around I can't help but notice how often my SIL tells her daughter she's pretty. I mean, not that she shouldn't tell her that. But I think it's at least 2 or 3 times an hour...however I've never heard her tell her she's smart. It just makes me worry a little. But I don't have a little girl, so who knows.

Great topic! :) Cute sewing projects!

Anonymous said...


that is an interesting comment. funny thing, though. i don't need someone else to tell me i am smart. i find it patronizing. i know exactly how smart i am. i do, however, like to hear that someone else thinks i am good-looking, since it's in the eye of the beholder and all that. (i really can't tell by looking in a mirror whether i am good looking and i don't think other people can either--it's just to hard to view yourself objectively.)

as for whether men find smart assertive women threatening: i don't think they do. i think a lot of women who are overbearing, selfcentered, self absorbed etc, think of themselves as smart and assertive, hence the confusion. (not saying that the particular person who made the comment is, of course, since i have no idea who you are.) most guys absolutely LOVE a truly smart girl. and even more than that, they LOVE a girl that is really, really funny. extremely hard to find, though. it's girls that have to show you they are smarter than you (and if they have to go out of their way to convince you of it, it's a dead giveaway that they aren't 96% of the time), don't need you, know how to do stuff better than you, etc., that grate.

i guess what it boils down to for me is that i like women who are comfortable and happy with who they are, regardless of how smart/pretty they are. insecurity/dishonesty is incredibly unattractive. if someone is really truly smart, confident, etc., i always like them. if they act like they are trying to convince themselves that they are, its repulsive. and once again, i am not saying that any particular commenter has that quality (since i don't know any of you). just a general observation.

Anonymous said...

Sorry. I think most of your animals are freaky lookin'. No offense. Plus, your diseased hearts gave my kids nightmares. Thanks a lot.

Hollywood said...

Hey, if everyone liked 'em they wouldn't be cool! At least that's what I tell myself.

LittlePaintedPolkaDots said...

What an adorable little creature! Yes, both Pixie and the Basset Hound! Did Pixie like her tutu? I've been dying to know. From one pretty girl to another, have a great day! ;)

Rachelle said...

Barbara Manatee.... you are the one for me..... sent from up above.... you are the one I love....

You need to put J.R.'s picture up here. He is seriously cute, and sooooo many folks wanted to take him home while we were in Utah. I hope I sent some business your way!

Kelly said...

Get this book to read to Pixie

The Well at the End of the World by Robet D. San Souci

It's a good one about just this sort of thing!

Elizabeth said...

Things I love about the Basset Hound photo-
1. The Basset Hound toy which is so cute!

2. Your adorable toddler looking at the Basset Hound.

3. The glimpse of princess/bridal veil behind the Basset Hound.

4. The Golden Books on the table.

I found you from Charlie at MS&L (the Weight Watchers thing)-nice to "meet" you!