Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Ugliness of Beautiful


If you ever pause to look into the subject of beauty, you're sure to come across volumes of books and essays about symmetry, sexual markers, and the cultural aesthetic. Basically you'll learn that we tend to base physical beauty upon those attributes that we find in balance to the eye and within the norms of the society we live within. What is beautiful to one culture or in one generation is not necessarily beautiful to another, though we like things to be in order.

At least because of the cultural standards, you'll find people locked in stiff competition with one another all with their aesthetic eyes focused on merely leveling the playing field...falling within the norm. If one guy is wearing a fauxhawk and an Affliction shirt then suddenly all guys are as soon as the girls seem to respond. And if one girl is rocking the blonde hair she just bleached and a new Prada bag then you're sure to find other girls shopping for bleach and Prada.

If it sounds like it all gets pretty boring after a while, then you're right. It does. But just like my beloved Surfer Girl, some things become iconic. Some looks are almost archetypal. Of course, therein we fall all too easily into the trap of prejudices.

Beauty is a trap all its own. Just ask any beautiful girl how hard it is to meet a guy that looks beyond her lovely facade. Why do you think so many pretty girls like that hook up with jerks? In part, its because the jerks at least seemed real. They didn't appear to pander to the pretty face like all the slack jawed nice guys.

More and more, I don't meet that many people anymore. I go out and meet something...maybe someones illusion of confidence; perhaps a hapless semblance of control masking some inner anxiety; a judgment for something I have never done. But I might as well be making my rounds in Macys chatting up the mannequins. All of these 'beautiful' people are just so busy playing the role they think their culture demands of them that they have buried their humanity and everything that is genuine and authentic about them under bad shirts, layers of makeup and shoes that are one size too tight.

It's not that I can't play that game myself. I just dont really want to play that game. I'd rather just be myself then jumping about 'peacocking' with ridiculously outrageous hairstyles and overly energetic dance moves shouting 'Look at me! Look at me!' at the top of my body language. Believe me...that sort of dancing has caught up with me. I just don't know any better when it comes to dancing. Don't hate me...because I'm dancing.

Usually when I meet a pretty girl in this culture they have me dissected and figured out before I have introduced myself. It usually has something to do with whether or not I am dressed up or not and whether or not I look like every other guy in the place. Am I on the team?

I sure hope not.

I just cant stand the idea of being like everyone else...or like one of the robots trying to be like everyone else. That's not how Beethoven did it. That's not how Napoleon did it. And that's not how I do it.

I confess. I have one Affliction shirt. An ex girlfriend of mine bought it for me because it had an angel on it. Honestly, I love the shirt. But now I'm conflicted. I guess I'll still pull out my Dallas Cowboys shirt on game day. I am from Texas after all. But I just like the team. I dont even live in that state anymore. At least its honest.

Something has corrupted beauty. Originally, beauty was also a mark of wisdom, intelligence, faithfulness, good nature, innocence. Kittens are beautiful. Babies too I hear. But now almost all hope for inner beauty is readily discarded because people equate beauty with sexual and social power. Perhaps it is a kind of power. But it is not the kind of power that lasts. And it is not the kind of power that matters.

Narcissus was drowned by his reflection.

Some of the most beautiful people I have ever known were the most insecure. That's not a strike against them. I loved a few of these people. But the beauty we esteem that belongs to the culture isnt ours to begin with. Its better to be our best and look for the best in everyone we meet.

Believe me, I appreciate beauty as much as anyone. But mannequins dont turn me on. Real people do. If I wanted to chat up an image I guess I could do a Google search for Hudson Leick or Kristanna Loken. I think Hudson and Kristanna are the bees knees. But I've never met them.

I met supermodel Claudia Schiffer once. In person, that girl has to be one of the most beautiful girls I have ever seen. And I remember her that way. Because she was also one of the warmest, most genuine people I have met.

If beauty is really, cultural bias aside, just symmetry, then it follows that for a beautiful person to be truly beautiful - whats on the inside has to match whats on the outside.

I'm tired of the walking dead, the shadows of television actors, movie stars and sports figures. It's an empty world out there, when its just an image.

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