• Lucia Joyce


Footless hippie phase

I genuinely do not believe there is a being on this earth with zero cuteness. Call me a radical. But I think cuteness is more like a spectrum everyone is on, than an all or nothing situation.

It took me very little time to find something cute about every kid in my class in the first grade. Sure, you had your textbook blonde boy cuties and girls whose ladylike prettiness seemed to already be blossoming (Nikki Dougas - who sat in front of me and turned around each day to ask me how to spell things--freaking cute). But the boisterous, brown skinned twins: Theo and Greg, with their round glasses and round faces, registered just as cute to me. As did both Stevens: one a developing class clown, the other a blue eyed angel who was older and had maybe already failed a grade (this didn't stop me from choosing him as my official first grade crush).

My teacher, Ms. Schurmann, who later became Mrs. Harden, with her short curly hair and rosy glow, and the occasional day that she would hide a tiny squirt gun behind her desk and shoot us with water when we were facing the other way--objectively cute to me, before taking into account the way she introduced creative writing to us every Tuesday, or read A Wrinkle In Time in its entirety out loud to the class. She was as cute as the yellow chicks we raised in a glass incubator, one of which pooped on my new Mickey Mouse dress--adorable.

Even Mickey, one of the special needs kids, with his fly red and blue matching sweat suits, bright brown eyes and tan forearms--a day never went by that he didn't seem sweet, even when his emotional outbursts got the better of him or his short attention span caused a class ruckus. Underdogs were always freaking cute to me. So were the boys who ignored me, and the girls who bullied me, and the substitute teachers we treated like foreign villains, and the scary older kids who made fun of me on the bus. I didn't openly address their cuter qualities-I didn't have a death wish or anything. But I clocked them with very little effort.

Cuteness gets claimed by sexiness and commercial hype too much in my book. Cuteness, to me, is this sweet innocence we just can't outgrow, however we might try. Cuteness also overtakes us in our old age, when we get to go back to our childlike routine of sleeping, eating, and revering our hobbies as rituals, when it becomes ok to drool again, and move at a slower, more intentional pace, and laugh wholeheartedly at a fart joke, and talk to the birds as we feed them. Cuteness can be part of sexiness, but it doesn't have to be. It's a kind of pure appreciation for everything you are: all your mistakes and wins up to now and everything you strive to be. It's a positive quality you can't shake. Even those old evildoers in corporate towers and private political luncheons were babies once: wordless, squishy, bumbling dummies trying to get their point across by pointing excitedly and chewing relentlessly with their wet, useless gums. I look past their sad tweets and press conference manipulation and see silly, screaming toddlers, upset to see others playing with the toys they worship. Maybe they'll be sweet again some day... hunched over crosswords on dusty porches, or babbling confidently from their deathbeds. Sorry if that's morbid, but we're all humans here.

I'm pretty f**king cute, if we're being honest here. Not, like, 3 year old Loosh with her square bangs, high pony, bright colored onesie, and baby button nose. But like a happy 30-something who nurtures her inner 3-year-old and barrels infinitely toward new kinds of fulfillment. A goofy, bronzed girl with a hundred different laughs who talks to her houseplants like babies, gets lost in bunny GIFs, and patiently observes the spiders and leaf bugs she catches in glass jars in the house and sets free in the yard. There is no one she won't try to charm with a cute comment and a funny face. She might downplay it to stay out of trouble, but she always has and always will think you're pretty cute.

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