Where have all the beauty marks gone?

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I found one beauty mark in the entire issue. But it might just be misplaced ink. I’m unsure.

The new Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue arrived in the mail today, greeted by the inevitable groan from the wife. She hates the damn thing with a passion.

As do I.

That said, I am a curious person. So I opened the 220-page magazine searching for one magical thing, and one magical thing only: A beauty mark.

See, back when I was a kid growing up on the mean streets of Mahopac, N.Y., I had a brown, pin-sized protruding beauty mark (or, ugh, mole) beneath my left nostril. I spent years upon years upon years upon years hating the thing, a fact my brother came to gleefully understand. Hence, why he bequeathed upon me the nickname, “Mark.”

Because of this (the beauty mark, the nickname), I became hyper sensitive about beauty marks. I noticed them on everyone, tried to hide my own. I found them to be ugly and disgusting. Who would want to date someone who looked like me … a guy with a brown piece of skin flapping off his face. By the time I was, oh, 23, I was smart enough to grow a goatee that hid my beauty mark from public sight. When I was about 30, I had it removed for good. Praise Jesus.

Somewhere along the line, beauty marks came to symbolize ugliness and, oddly, meanness. Just think of the myriad Disney movie villains. Think of the witches. So many of them featured moles and scars. As for the heroes and heroines—clean faces across the board. White as snow.

Bad. Mole.
Bad. Mole.

Oy. I’m babbling. As much as I love SI (and I do love it), I hate the damn Swimsuit Issue. And, in the beauty mark department, this year is particularly bad. I skimmed from page to page and model to model. Literally, no one has moles, scars, marks, scratches. Hannah Davis, the new cover model, is either airbrushed to absolute death, or spent her formative years learning to scrub beauty marks from her body. Oh, wait. Timeout. I found a photo of her sans touching up. She has (gasp) imperfections …

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And that’s just it—we all have imperfections. Scars, marks, receding hairlines, veins, cuts. Those are the things that make us physically unique and different and, just maybe, beautiful. I, for one, would be scared to meet someone with skin as perfectly unblemished as the women of Sports Illustrated. Actually, not scared. Confused. Perplexed. Because it doesn’t exist, and probably shouldn’t exist.

Mark knows.