Dustin Hoffman Wisdom

Tootsie is a 1982 comedy film starring Dustin Hoffman as a failing actor who turns his career around by auditioning for and winning a female role on a soap opera.

I had never heard of this movie – to be fair it was 10 years before I was born – but I saw this interesting interview with Hoffman about his preparations for his role.

Hoffman decided that if he was going to take on this role, then he wanted to be able to walk down the street dressed as a woman without anyone taking a second glance. If he couldn’t pull it off, he didn’t want the part.

So the hair, makeup, and costume team did their thing, and Hoffman looked in the mirror. But he didn’t like what he saw: an ugly woman. So he asked them if they could make him look like a beautiful woman because where’s the fun in being an unattractive woman? Besides, Hoffman loved his character and he wanted her outside to be as attractive as her inside. He wanted people to be drawn to her so that everyone could see how interesting she was.

But the hair and makeup team basically said, “That’s as good as it’s going to get.”

And you know what? Hoffman started to get emotional because he realized that although his character in the movie was a kind and interesting person, in real life he himself would never have spoken to her because she wasn’t physically beautiful. He would have missed out on getting to know an awesome person simply because the covering wasn’t attractive.

Hoffman: “Talking to my wife, I said I have to make this picture, and she said, “Why?” And I said, “Because I think I am an interesting woman when I look at myself on-screen. And I know that if I met myself at a party, I would never talk to that character because she doesn’t fulfill physically the demands that we’re brought up to think women have to have in order to ask them out.”

She says, “What are you saying?” And I said, “There’s too many interesting women I have…not had the experience to know in this life because I have been brainwashed.”

Like I said in Christians & Dating & Mr. Rochester, beautiful people can be interesting and kind and genuine. But so can unattractive people. Don’t miss out on dating or just being with friends with someone who is kind, interesting, and fun but outwardly unattractive. You are cheating yourself and that person out of a potential lifelong relationship.

Don’t be brainwashed. True beauty that breeds genuine and lasting relationships does not lie on the outside. Thank you Mr. Hoffman for that reminder.

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