Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Beauty, Eh?

Alas! Girls do worry about what our faces look like until the age we actually have to start worrying (i.e. when we're old enough to have teenage daughters), and then we sort of don't. Middle age brings grey hairs, sags and lines but often a confidence that few woman have as teenagers.

From a 39 year old's perspective, women in their teens and twenties look radiantly beautiful, unless they do their best to wreck their beauty with weird make-up, fake tans, scary piercings, tattoos, too much booze or drugs, and too little sleep. Really, all a young woman has to do is eat sensibly, go for walks, wash her face, brush her teeth, put on a smidge of make-up, hide all evidence of underwear, remember to smile occasionally and she's positively lovely.

I hear your feminine shrieks of doubt and protest. Okay, okay. There is also something we think is an objective appraisal of female beauty, and it has stringent rules. Women all know what women are "supposed" to look like: big almond-shaped eyes, straight little noses, gently tapering jawlines, bow-shaped lips, medium-sized breasts, long legs, tiny waists, slender arms, shiny silky hair... Waaah!

Fortunately, most men do not limit their concept of beauty to this. YES! Very few of them read fashion magazines. The ones who do usually aren't the ones ripe for falling in love with you anyway. One of the very loveable things about men is that they are stubbornly attracted to what they are attracted to, and it is hard to talk them out of it.

"I prefer a woman with some flesh on her bones," wails one Italian man I know. When he goes to a bar or club full of slim women, he is disappointed.

What, does he mean flesh, He likes fat? How can he like fat? I mean, nobody likes fat. Fat is...well, let's face it, a certain amount of fat is feminine. No fat means flat breasts. Most women do not look like adolescent boys, and most men are not, in fact, attracted to adolescent boys, although one might suspect that most fashion designers are. This should make you think twice about a beauty standard based on their ideas.

If you have that kind of power, you might want to sit a captive straight man down with a fashion magazine and ask him which clothes and models in it he likes best. If this can actually be done, it might provide you with all kinds of revelations. (I'd rather try to shampoo a cat, myself, but you never know.)

Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that most men do not carry around a checklist of what women are supposed to look like. They feel attracted to girls without being able to tell you what "beautiful" means or why they think a certain girl is attractive. They just do. Yay, them!

The dark side of all this is that there is no point pursuing a man who does not think that you are attractive. Women discover that men get more attractive the longer we know them and the nicer they are. Men, though, seem to be less flexible. Really, it's best just to get out there and keep your eye peeled for the men who sneak interested peeks at you.

Sometimes men can be confusing about their attentions. Are they just nice, or are you the kind of girl they find attractive? Fortunately, men sometimes give out clues as to what images rule their submerged sexual consciouness. Take one man I know, who loves old films. He is a big Rita Hayworth fan. One of my red-headed friends had a big old crush on him. He used to come to her place to watch Rita Hayworth movies. Frankly, I thought it was only a matter of time before he seized red-headed her in his Rita-Hayworth-loving arms, and I was right.

I've often thought it could be helpful to ask men who their favourite Hollywood actresses are. However, whenever I've remembered to ask, I've always asked a German man, and he has always said "Sandra Bullock". I've often wondered if this is because of her looks or because she, in fact, half-German, but I've never dared to ask. Anyway, making a man think hard enough about his feelings to come up with his favourite Hollywood actress is enough work for one day.


aussie girl in australia said...

This is very, very true. I have long given up trying to understand why men are attracted to the women they are. Very frustrating when you see men you are friends with going for women that are SO not the sort of women they should marry! But as you say, the heart wants what it wants.

On the other hand there are many times I have not been attracted to a man when we first met but then later fallen for them as I have got to know them. Just one more example of how women are different. Thankyou again Seraphic for pointing out such an important difference between men and women.

catholicismrocks said...

Hmm, from a thirty-nine year old's perspective? Should I be wishing you happy belated birthday?!

theobromophile said...

LOVE this post! :) It's one to give to my sisters.

Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that most men do not carry around a checklist of what women are supposed to look like.

And the ones who do have that checklist are to be avoided at all costs, even if you match up to some (or all) of the items.

(Please, learn from my mistakes on that one!)

Seraphic said...

Aussie Girl: And vive la difference! Men would not be as interesting if they were just like us.

Cathrocks: No! I have been 39 for quite a few months now. It was 38 when I got married though, so that is the number I usually throw around at Singles who say "Here I am 24 and still not married! If I'm still Single at 25, I wil DIE."

Theo: I agree that men with checklists are a little weird. I once had a guy at the gym, who had been interrupting my workout for weeks with dumb chatting, tell me that his perfect woman was blonde, blue-eyed and "of the right ethnic group." The right ethnic group was "German or other Aryan", and I was like, A) ick B) why are you bothering red-haired Irish-faced me, then?