Beauty

Plato said “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” meaning beauty is subjective. We each find different things attractive, but there are some societal standards. Being obese was once a sign of wealth and surplus, today the preferred image is, in Tom Wolfe’s words, “starved to perfection.” One thing I find beautiful is a person who is comfortable with themselves. Confidence is wonderfully sexy.

Men in general find women attractive, the standards are still based in evolutionary values, good mates will make babies. Wider hips for easy birthing and larger breasts implying ample nursing (untrue if you didn’t know, breastmilk quantity is not dependent on the size of the breast). Breast size is almost universally seen as the measure of a woman, even my beloved Emma (who had rather large breasts), would make disparaging remarks about flat chested women.

My own taste in women seeks a different beauty, even though each successive wife has had larger breasts than the last, it was mere coincidence. When I met Lieve on line (without seeing her) she described herself as “ample.” I thought she meant she was heavy. I see a beauty that is not skin deep, in fact having nothing to do with skin. It is the soul which shines through and captures my attention, which is why I have been involved with women of every body type and ethnicity. My “type” is “real.” I may prefer certain noses and shoulders, but the sparkle of a gentle soul is what attracts me.

Two stories captured my attention the other day. A stunning contrast just inches apart on my Facebook page. I will start with the story of a beautiful woman.

I attended High School with Gail Chovan, who survived breast cancer the year before Emma had pancreatic cancer. Photographs of Gail, proudly bald from chemotherapy, helped Emma approach chemo. That is not all of Gail’s story, she carries the soul of a warrior in the body of a ballerina. Her children, the twins Zelda and Creed, were born with congenital toxoplasmosis, and have severe medical issues. Had these children been born in a different home they could not have the resilience growing up with a Mother such as Gail imparts. Last year Zelda was in the hospital again, for about six weeks. When the nurse came into the room and said Zelda would be released that day, Zelda pulled the intubation from her nose and said “Let’s go!”

Recently Gail participated in Lily Mandelbaum and her mother Elisa Goodkind’s “The What’s Underneath Project,” a series of videos focusing on self image. If you are disturbed by mastectomy scars you may want to close your eyes near the end of the video, but you should listen to Gail’s story.

Beauty, strength, and talent all in one body. Precisely what you would expect from Gail. She doesn’t need to meet anyone’s standards, because her standards exceed them.

The other story is about Mayra Hills, who goes by the name “Beshine.” I might find Mayra beautiful, if all I saw was her face. She has a nice nose, deep eyes and pleasant lips. Most people probably don’t notice those features due to her “enhanced” breasts. By enhanced I mean ten litres of saline each, a bra size of 32Y, and she’s planning to increase the size again this year. The only thing of which I am certain is she will be spending more on back surgery than breast implants as she ages. Her first impression fades fast, as she claims in recent interviews to be 27, yet she was born in 1983. I’m not sure why she would choose to lie about her age at 32, it appears she is not happy with who she is. I can’t imagine going through such crippling surgery (she can’t tie her own shoes) for any reason other than she thinks this is beautiful. She certainly elicits a second glance, but usually it is so people can see what they’re laughing about. She says she loves her breasts, but she obviously has some difficulty with reality. I wonder where her real breasts are? Did she start out large and just obsess? There are few career openings for someone with her disability, and the revenue from porn will certainly drop beneath the level of her medical expenses as she continues to remodel herself.

What we find to be beautiful says more about ourselves than the objects of our desire. What a person does to appear beautiful says more about them than the final product.  Gail is beautiful with or without her breasts. Mayra would be vacuous with or without her breasts.

Attraction, were it logical, would be based on characteristics that will last as long as the relationship. Having written that, I can see it is. Gail and Evan are a life match. Mayra’s fans will disappear as she ages, because beauty may not be skin deep, but attraction to that type of beauty is.

 

 

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2 comments on “Beauty

  1. Mari Collier says:

    I think it Tweeted. I hate to blow your theory on big hips. I am a straight up and down woman. I birthed my first one in less than eight hours and the second in less than four. I only screamed once (didn’t know what was going on) in both births. My neighbor had the huge hips on an Italian woman. She nearly died in child birth. My mother rejected anyone as ugly even when they possessed physical beauty. I believe in both types. Some people are physically beautiful, but if they are rotten inside, I avoid them. I prefer tall men with broad shoulders and large hands. Of course, I still think my husband was the most handsome man around.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mike R says:

    Beauty. Big topic and well done with your own reflections. As I’ve gotten old and my body shows it, I find myself reflecting more on beauty than I used to. Beauty is indeed in the eyes of the beholder. I suppose that I have come to dwell upon God as the beholder. What is beauty to Him? Similarly, what is truth but that which is real from His perspective? As I read through the Song of Solomon I reflect upon the fact that there are some standards of beauty given for a lover. But they are all made by the observer.

    Like you, I think of beauty as something that arises from within and shines externally. I don’t deny that there are people that most of us would say have great physical beauty. Of course, so much of that passes with time. I suppose it is God’s final word on the matter.

    There is beauty in nature that teaches us far more than we can learn from within. How it is that we find a rugged mountain range, for example, as beautiful (not that all do)? I can only conclude that we are moved by its majesty, the very immensity that eclipses our puny beings.

    I have known beautiful women who would never pass the muster of even “plain Jane” looks. Indeed, some might find them unattractive in terms of their appearance. The beauty shone from within. And there are those with great external beauty, in the world’s standards, that upon glancing upon their inner self, are not beautiful at all.

    I have often found exceedingly beautiful women to be intimidating. I don’t know why that it, I suppose I will have to leave that for long sessions of psychotherapy someday. Is it that I believe myself unacceptable? And I have ofttimes allowed that me to unfairly judge those who are physically blessed. I remember treating a 16-years-old young lady who came to me with an awful burn to the back of her hand. It was so deep it required grafting and the grafted skin was taken from her upper, inner thigh. Leg skin is not hand skin, of course. And grafts rarely replace the look of the original. One of the nasty things that grafted leg skin does is to grow hair profusely. And darkly. Keep in mind that this was the sort of female that could easily attain the status of a model or movie star. Platinum blonde hair flowing to her waist. Skin the color of ivory. Face of a goddess. I recall the first time I removed the bandages, as she had not yet seen the graft. There before her was what was grotesque, when compared with the rest of her. I expected her to have a horrible reaction but to my surprise (and shame) she did not. She examined it more closely and after a while asked me if her hand would work normally. I told her that in time, with enough work, it should do fine, and added that the graft could be later improved with plastic surgery. She smiled and reflected on the fact that she was fortunate not to have lost her hand. Needless to say I truly had not seen the real beauty in his young woman. Yes, she was gorgeous physically. But her physical looks didn’t hold a candle to her inner self.

    Liked by 1 person

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