‘Reasons to be Pretty’ (Carly)

'Reasons to be Pretty' by Neil LaBute

From: Play

Type: Dramedy

Character: Carly works as a security guard in a warehouse, a job she got because she was pretty, not because she has an aptitude for it. She’s afraid that her life will always be defined by the way she looks but she’s sincere and honest and tries to be a good friend. She’s married to Kent and the stakes go up when she finds out she’s pregnant, is

Gender: Female

Age Range: 30's

Summary: Greg, Kent and Carly work in a warehouse; Steph is a hairdresser all in their 30’s they are trying to come to terms with life in their dead-end jobs. There are hook-ups and breakups and struggles to keep friendship alive, but this play is mostly about the power of language and listening.

More: Buy the Play

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CARLY: I’m very attractive. I am. I’ve always been that way but it’s no great big deal to me—if anything, it’s worked against me for most of my life. (Beat.) It’s about this (Points.) My face. I was born with it, people. That’s all. I have been given this thing to wear around, my features, and I’m stuck with it. And yes, over the years it’s gotten me things, I won’t lie about that, dates and into clubs that I really wanted to get into or smiles from my father . . . but as I got older it suddenly became a kind of, I dunno what, but almost like a problem. A real bother that I don’t have any control over. (Beat.) Listen, I’m not stupid, I know I should be thankful, that I should pray to heaven and be happy that I’m not scarred or missing an ear—I know girls who hate, I mean, despise their noses and mouths or the fact that their eyes are too far out on their faces . . . I don’t have any of those problems and I’m happy about that. I look in the mirror and I see some beautiful woman looking back at me; my worst day, a line or two, a little pale or whatnot, but a really good face in there. Smiling. I’m not saying that I don’t understand how I got lucky in many ways, I do get that, I do, I just want folks to comprehend that beauty comes with a price, just like ugly does. A different one, of course, and I’ll take what I’ve got, but I’ve cried myself to sleep at night because of who I am as well, and you should know that . . . (Beat.) I hope my baby’s OK,—did I mention that we found out it was a little girl? But I really hope she’s no more than pretty, that’s my wish. That she’s not some beauty queen that people can’t stop staring at because I’d hate that for her . . . to be this object, some thing that people can’t help gawking at. ‘Cause if she is— born like I was, is what I’m saying—if she ends up with a face that is some sorta magnet for men, the way I’ve been . . . I’d almost rather it was a situation where she was oblivious to it—not blind or anything, I wouldn’t wish that on her, but close. Some sort of oblivion that gets pasted over her eyes so she can go about life and not be aware that people are cruel in many ways. . . not just with their words but with the ways they look at you and desire you and, and, and . . . almost hate you because of it. (Smiles.) I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to get all heavy or anything, but I do think about it sometimes. My shift at work’s kinda long, you know? It is . . . so I’ve usually got some time on my hands to, you know. . . whatever. Think, I guess.

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