The beauty of imperfection

Marilyn Monroe lookalikes blow out the candles on a birthday cake while celebrating the 75th birthday of the 1950s movie star and sex symbol in a downtown Toronto record store June 1, 2001. /REUTERS

I love old movies, especially the motion pictures from the 1950’s and 60’s. There is always a sense of nostalgia and melancholy, which seems to be extinct in 21st century filmmaking. I guess in the modern world, we have this constant quest for perfection, and something old school is simply unacceptable. 

I was recently plagued by jetlag in a hotel room, while attending conference in the other side of the globe. I was half awake but completely hypnotized by the black and white movie, Some Like It Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe. Although I have not watched many of her movies, it was not difficult to imagine why this woman is a sex symbol, even after her death at the age of 36. She was simply stunning!

Monroe once said: “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it is better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring”. To be truthful, I am unsure I understand what she meant. Besides, what does someone like Marilyn Monroe know about “imperfection” when God had so unfairly created her as near perfection as it goes?

On that note, lets deal with an issue raised a reader who is concerned about a congenital imperfection.


Dear Dr. G,

I am Ravi and I would like to get an advice from you about myself.

I am 36-years-old and has been married to my wife for 8 years.

We have very close relationship and have raised three beautiful children.

My wife and I have very healthy and active sexual relationship.

Although I do not suffer from any form of sexual dysfunctions such as erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation, I feel extremely depressed with myself, as I worry about how my wife looks at me.

Since young, I have suffered from a condition called hypospadias.

My parents told me I was born with this congenital problem.

I feel very sad when I seethe deformity of my penis. The direction of the urine opening of the tip of the penis is facing downwards, and I also noticed the penis has a downwards curvature when erect.

I remember my parents took me to see a doctor when I was young, the specialist asked me not to undergo any operation, as the deformity was considered not serious. The doctor also warned us of complications from such operations.

Although I am now 36, I feel very depressed when I think of my genitalia. I really wish I had had the operation back then.

Can you explain why had this happened to me? Is this condition genetic, and will my children suffer from it too? Is it too late for me to have any operation? What are the complications of the operation? Are they really that bad?

Please advice

Your reader




Hypospadias is a congenital condition characterized by the opening of the urethra (Pee hole) is on the underside of the penis instead of the tip. Although it may sound quite abnormal, in fact it is relatively common and mostly subtle in appearance. The incidence of hypospadias can be as high as 1 in 300 boys  

Hypospadias can present in a spectrum of severities. Ranging from complete curvature of the penis with the urethra under the scrotum to mild degree of fault with opening in the slight underside of the external genitalia. Fortunately, the vast majority of affected men (80%) have only mild deformity (First degree) that is hardly noticeable (Except from the sufferer, of course!)

Hypospadias is technically a developmentally issue rather than genetic, and therefore has it is not passed from father to sons.  The faulty formation of the penile tissues is often affected by excess maternal female hormone such as progesterone. This shortcoming (perhaps not the best choice of word) is also more common in premature infants, as the development of the external genitalia is not complete at the time of birth. Ten percent of the affected boys may also suffer from “developmental arrests” such as undescended testicle and inguinal hernia from childhood.

Most boys with first-degree hypospadias do not need any intervention. However, when the defect is more pronounced, the surgical correction may be necessary to allow “procreative” and “recreational” intentions in adulthood. The correction will involve the removal of the foreskin, straightening of the foreskin and advancement of the penile opening. Such rectifications are mostly straightforward, however, more severe malformation may require multiple modifications. Needless to say, the surgical adjustments will provide improvement, but will never reach the perfection as nature intended. 

In reality, the external genitalia of the male species come in tremendous variations of shapes and sizes. Who is there to benchmark, the standard of the perfect “specimen”? For Ravi’s case, when the sexual and fertility functions are met, is there still a need to pursue for the ultimate cosmetic perfection?

I am not a big follower of fashion, as my fashion sense is probably a good giveaway. I once read a comment made by Mark Jacobs, the fashion Guru: “I don't like photoshop; I like imperfection. It doesn't mean ugly. I love a girl with a gap between her teeth, versus perfect white veneer. Perfection is just boring. Perfect is what’s natural or real. That’s beauty.” 

With that in mind, I think it is your inner beauty is what you should focus on rather the “under the waist” beauty. In life, our imperfection is what determines our uniqueness. You never know, Ravi’s unique curvature may give him an unfair advantage between the sheets!

> The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.
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