Sunday, 23 March 2008

On beauty

The other day I walked into a Body Shop with the aim of buying lipstick. Hilariously, one of those make-up artist that seem to hang around every other shop these days insisted on assisting me. I've managed to avoid them so far, but not this time. After critically studying my face, he asked me sternly what kind of lipstick I'd like. My reply (matte! I bloody hate lipgloss!) displeased him greatly. "You should wear gloss, you know. Your upper lip is way too small compared to your lower lip. Gloss would make it appear bigger."
I was torn between laughter and annoyance. A part of me wanted to yell, "My ancestors were famous for their deformed lips! One of them couldn't eat properly because, as a result of incest, his lips and his chin were seriously deformed!" There's even a Wikipedia article about the medical condition.

I ended up mildy telling him that I rather like my lips just the way they are.

It got me thinking about beauty though, and perfection. I thought about people I consider beautiful and none of them are in fact beautiful. It's the imperfections that make people attractive, isn't it? I'm paraphrasing Brett Anderson here. To be honest people who try to look perfect scare the hell out of me and I can't help but sneer at the endless pictures of teenage girls and boys fascinated by their own self-portraits in a helpless attempt to reach that ideal.
When Lisi and I discussed men the other day we both agreed that attraction is more or less random and we like it that way. Nothing is more creepy than being attracted to carbon copies of one's beauty ideal. Isn't it always a tiny detail that makes one person appear beautiful? I mean, I've had people tell me that they really liked my eyebrows and fingernails and I myself last felt seriously attracted to someone quite impossible in part because of that person's chin. Beauty is nothing.

I tried to think of famous people I find beautiful in one way or another and it was actually really hard to come up with some. There are boys in bands, there's Keira Knightley in Pride & Prejudice where she's possibly at her most imperfect, all bad hair and wonky teeth.

Peter O'Toole didn't really look that great in real life, more like...average. But still!

Kings of Convenience. Glasses. And red hair. Erm?

A Madonna by Raffael. The only real beauty there is, and that is a goddess!

No beauty whatsoever in Franz Ferdinand, but a lot of other things!

Then again, let's be honest. Beautiful people also scare me because, as much as I'm content with myself, I wouldn't consider myself beautiful and thus think they're out of reach anyway. However, at the end of the day I'm perfectly fine with that. After all, attraction really is random. There are only a few really important things and amongst them are 1) hands, as there aren't many things that disgust me more than people who don't cut their nails properly, eww, 2) nice hair, which is obvious, and 3) good trousers, which I shouldn't really talk about.

Or maybe I'm just disillusioned because all the people who I met and thought were beautiful in one way or another turned out to be pretty disappointing as persons. And most of those who, when Lisi asked me if they were good-looking, I said, "Well, objectively no", about turned out to be really great.

Oh, I'm rambling. It's just that everything's really falling into place right now and Γνῶθι σεαυτόν (Gnothi seautón, know yourself) has never worked better.
Here are two pictures of Lisi and me from last week. I introduced her to the wonderful, if confusing world of the Department for History's library and we had breakfast afterwards.

She looks positively wanton. Not my fault, I assure you.

This picture is flawed in so many way, I just had to post it. It's flashed, out of focus and I'm obviously really getting worked up over something or other. ha!

I'm still not over the Franz Ferdinand phase. It's rather awesome and I'm seriously happy with it.

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