Ugly Ducks

I forgot to post last night (really, I exhausted myself and kinda fell over), so we can pretend this is last night’s post, and I reserve the right to catpost tonight.

The story of The Ugly Duckling was no consolation to me as a kid when I was the local ugly duckling. The promise of transcendence to super-coolness in some distant future is no consolation for being awkward and out-of-place today, especially when you’re awkward and out-of-place all the freaking time and each day takes forever. The undercurrent of hurry up and grow up, already doesn’t help.*

I wonder if there would be a better variation where the ugly duckling turns out to be a goose, who Carries out on the paddling once her goose powers kick in, exacting vengeance on all the pretty ducks who tormented her while they thought of her as only an ugly duck. (I’ve been advised that Swans can get their beat-down on much like geese.)

If I wanted to consider a less wish-fulfillment ending, the ugly duckling would grow up to become an ugly duck only to find a tribe of similarly-ugly ducks who are awesome in their own right, and don’t regard their ugly traits as ugly at all. Eventually our (now adult) ugly duckling realizes that she likes herself better now in this raft rather than what she would be in that other raft of allegedly-pretty ducks, even if she were to fit that standard of pretty, herself.

Author and sex educator Janet W. Hardy observes this process happens a lot: A (Proverbial) ugly duck often will leave her childhood paddling to discover a new paddling better suited to to her. And then gets to be princess-of-the-ball for a while as all the nice, charming drakes (and no small portion of the other ducks) decide she is the bees’ knees.

Now that I think about it, this probably relates to the thing that happens with anthropologists who go to study contemporary primitives and then go native.

This does mirror Gorilla behavior, where pubescent females are ejected from bands, but strange pubescent females (from other bands) are welcomed in. And human tribes in our hunter gatherer days would exchange young females by the young males performing raids and stealing women. (Usually on the guise of They stole my sister! Let’s go get her back!. The tribes would, conspicuously, never end up with the same young women they started with, probably because a brave mid-raid will find the local-cutie-and-future-bride more appealing than his bro’s sister-who-he-grew-up-with).

All this is to say that when my sweetheart and Problem Machine met yesterday, they got along swimmingly, and it was good reassurance to me that my raft of ducks is a pretty sweet fit.

* It’s also a false sentiment: grown-ups don’t want you to grow into a swan or an ugly duck, but magically transform into a pretty duck just like them. It’s part of their developmental process to come to the conclusion that you’re going to be your own person, and to come to accept that you’re okay for who you are even though you’re not the clone they wanted.

Edits: Style and clarity.

Geeky Afterthought: Were I playing Champions or some other customizeable super-hero game, Duck-Duck-Goose (or just Goose) would be a cool hero concept: a scrappy fighter who also can blend-in with crowds, conceal her identity with disguise and not raise suspicions behind employees only lines. Kinda a normals-level Mystique.


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