THIS exegesis concerns mainly girls, or is at least sparked by a study of the species.

Not that I know much about the subject but, for the purposes of this column, I'm an expert.

My expertise began when I read claims by an academic that ordinary-looking "plain Janes" were happier at school than popular and attractive girls. Professor Carrie Paechter, a top expert at Goldsmiths College in Londonshire, concluded that sociable and successful pupils often had the worst problems because of pressure to stay ahead of the pack.

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Not only that but members of the cliques they inhabit are likely to turn on each other. How awful it all sounds.

I must say my praise of "ordinary" is qualified. The Socialist politician and tabloid tittle-tattle target Tommy Sheridan often used to refer to "ordinary working-class people".

His aim was to liberate them from their oppression and so forth. But I often thought the epiphet "ordinary" somewhat demeaning in this context. Imagine addressing a packed hall (probably in the last century, right enough) and saying: "I have come to free you, the ordinary people."

At one time, ordinary people were thought to travel on the Clapham omnibus. A later variant of this featured Mondeo Man, a crucial target for the mercenary organisations known as political parties.

But I'm conflating two ordinaries here. The ordinariness of the girl scenario outlined above was essentially about looks. And here, I fear, it's also a mixed blessing.

Beautiful people do get better service and more smiles from the lieges. But they also get gawped at and, I must say, I wouldn't like that. Ordinary is, I suppose, a middle way between gorgeous and plug-ugly (see byline picture).

For some, it's an insult. For others, it's a state to which one aspires.