The Perfect Face — a short story

Posted on 2018 October 28


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Where there is perfection there is no story to tell. — Ben Okri

“Hey, sweetie, long time! Glad you could make it.”

“Thanks for inviting me. How long has it been?”

“Since college.”

“That long? Well, it’s great to see you in person, not just on Facebook. And you look beautiful.”

“Thank you. Getting enough food and drink?”

“Oh, I’m stuffed. And glad to see you finally got married! You always wanted it.”

“Yes. I’m so excited!”

“Where are you going on your honeymoon?”

“South Pacific!”

“Sounds beautiful. Your husband seems very nice.”

“He is.”

“I’m surprised you decided on a man who’s, well…”

“Not that handsome?”

“I didn’t say that! But you always dated really good-looking men.”

“He doesn’t have the perfect face. But we women aren’t all body-focused like the guys. I’m much more interested in his personality. And … there’s some science involved.”


“Yes. Researchers showed pictures of faces to people, all different kinds of faces — ugly, pretty, in between — and asked them to rate the pics for attractiveness. The ones people chose as most beautiful were composites of the other pictures. The most perfectly average face has the best proportions. Nothing too big, nothing too small. Just right.”

“Interesting. So how does this relate to your new husband?”

“There’s an app that analyzes an image of a person’s face and shows all the places — nose, ears, forehead, eyes — where that face deviates from average. Then it analyzes an image of your own face, and then … it combines both faces, and you can see what your children might look like.”


“So in the app I entered photos of me and him. And I found that all the flaws in my face are perfectly balanced by the opposite flaws in his. My chin juts out a bit too much, but his recedes. My eyes are a couple of millimeters too far apart, and his are a bit too close together. Our faces exactly complement each other.”

“Wait! That’s why you married him?”

“Of course not! I married him because I fell in love with him. He smart, funny, hard working, successful, always good-natured. Also, and I didn’t tell you this … under that tuxedo is a killer bod, and he’s fantastic in bed.”

Woo-hoo, girl! So … why obsess about the photos?”

“It’s not obsessing. It’s practical. If our faces have the opposite flaws, in our offspring the flaws will cancel out and the children’s faces will be perfectly average. In other words … our kids will be gorgeous!