The Basis of Cuteness

APEC Philippines

Sebastian “Baste” Duterte must be the real reason his father won, because he seems to be coming out on top when it comes to the list of sexiest presidentiable sons. For a very short list, the choices of attractive presidentiable children are – surprisingly – not all awful. It wasn’t a desire for change, after all. We simply went and voted for who had the best-looking offspring. Ha! Busted.

Intelligence and personality can only get a person so far if they happen to be short on the looks scale. It’s been scientifically proven that being attractive  is what gets you even farther. More often than not, vapidity is forgiven if one is beautiful; the ones who’ve won the genetic lottery get to coast through life easier than the rest of us normal human beings. Arguably, life is easier for the good-looking and we all learn this lesson early in life. Why else are jocks and cheerleaders high school royalty?

It doesn’t matter what country you live in, people will always go gaga for a good-looking leader.  Take my adopted country. It’s been the younger brother of the USA for years, constantly chafing in its shadow. Canada is highly globalized, advanced, known for a stellar healthcare program, a member of the G7 and has one of the largest economies in the world. We can do the same things the US does, only better and with less fanfare. (Yes, I’m biased.)  Yet for everything Canada has achieved – and the achievements have been many – it feels like the moment the country swung into the global spotlight and really won the day was when The Right Honourable Dreamboat Justin Trudeau was sworn into office as Prime Minister. By some mystical method of osmosis, through him Canada gained a huge amount of cred, officially cast off its image as a gentle, dweeby nerd and became a rockstar in the process. Thank goodness, because before he came along the most famous Justin the country had produced was Justin Bieber, and we really needed to do something to atone for that mess.

Everything Trudeau does is framed in the context of his looks. He can put together a cabinet composed of equal numbers of men and women, fight for LGBT rights and welcome Syrian migrants,  it’s still going to end with an unspoken “…and he’s pretty, too!” In a culture where women are objectified way more than men, it’s a nice change of pace. To his credit, he takes it in stride.

Meanwhile, things aren’t quite as fun across the border. When Donald Trump, a blowhard billionaire with weird hair won Super Tuesday and became the pre-eminent presidential front runner of the Republican party, the Canadian immigration website crashed. Coincidence? I think not. Some got verbal about moving to Canada if he wins.  Some will say it’s more about how he lies about everything than how he looks, but you and I know the truth. Imagine going from a cool, suave cat like Barack Obama to the perpetually orange demon imp that is Trump. No wonder they’re thinking of packing their bags and getting the hell out of Dodge.

It’s not in the national psyche to gloat too obviously about anything, but Canadians certainly get a lot of satisfaction in seeing other countries gush over our current Prime Minister.  We are all suckers for attractive men in power. This is not a big shock, because good looking politicians are quite few and far between. Before Justin Trudeau came along, the most visibly macho guy in power was Vladimir Putin riding shirtless on horseback.When former PM Stephen Harper visited the Philippines, I enjoyed seeing him ride a jeepney, but Justin Trudeau didn’t even have to do that. Have you seen him fill out a barong tagalog? The man is  a master.

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