Fiancee S.'s birthday was last week. We had a small dinner party to celebrate. I made two hand-tossed pizzas, one "white" (cheese, garlic, sweet onion, olive oil), one "regular" (with onions, pepperoni and peppers), that were well recieved. In attendance were two of Fiancee S.'s bridemaids, C. and J. with their spouses and children.
While in the presence of three lovely women, I found a thought or two straying to the idea of female beauty. I find the concept more and more elusive as I grow older. I think young men in their teens and early twenties have a stronger, more horomonal idea of beauty. The image can generally be summed up in some well coiffed cross between a Cosmopolitan cover and a Playboy centerfold. It is some magic mixture of light and shadow, well-styled hair, and an impossibly curvaceous, well toned body.
If that seems like some sort of fantasy, it is. Basic experience shows that reality is a lot more unkind. Body parts bulge and sag, and their movement do not necessarily possess the agile grace that Cosmopolitan or Playboy might suggest. The suggestiveness of lingerie is a mere costume. There are no perfect bodies out there; everyone has their flaws compared to a media generated ideal. These flaws grow more apparent to me with the passing of time, destroying any illusions I once had about the power of physical beauty.
If love and age have taught me anything, beauty is something more. It is about a certain kind of chemistry and constancy that exists only in relationships. It is the embrace of the energy that comes from another person... that you are truly appreciated by that person, and the completeness of the sharing between both of you. It is revelry in seeing and enjoying how someone else interacts with others, and how they show their creative self. It is power and passion of their sexual selves. It is the gentle touch of a cheek, and fingers run through the hair. It is as much a warm gentleness of spirit as it is appreciation of the curve of a breast or the color of an eye.
Now does this mean that I disregard a woman's physical attributes entirely? No. I haven't cultivated a Buddhist sense of detachment to that extent, yet. I just find it interesting that something that was once so seemingly simple is now so complex and elusive.
I also write this, knowing that Fiancee S. will read it. Sometimes she sells herself short when it comes to how beautiful she is. She shouldn't.
on 2004-01-12 at 12:49 p.m.
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