Beauty And The Beastly Mirror

Seeing beauty in the mirror is often hard in a world of such beastly tragedies. But admit it -- you do look for it there. Or at least hope for it there. Not necessarily drop-dead-gorgeous beauty, yet at least some modicum of same. But chances are you don't. Dermatologists tell us not one in 50 like our face.

Exactly what is there in a face that qualifies it as beautiful...?

That one simple question is mother to a thousand complicated answers. The beauty of a face varies by gender, age, era and region. I shall now be so bold as to venture a brief theory on each:

* When it comes to the female of the species, the history of human culture seems to focus on the eternal trinity of hair, eyes, and lips. Full flowing hair, deep large eyes, and full curved lips are almost always the sine qua non to the subject. [See Hedy Lamar, Sandra Bullock, and Diane Lane for details]. Now when it comes to the male, women are far more forgiving, and therefore hold their heroes to looser standards [For details see 'attractive men' ranging from Brad Pitt & Tom Hanks all the way to Tommy Lee Jones & Bob Dylan]

* When it comes to the aging process, the male gets another break. Everyone knows older women such as Madonna & Cher get wrinkles whereas older men like Harrison Ford and Paul McCartney get distinguished. Say what...? I'm not sure who made this rule, but here guys get a big fat unfair pass

* When it comes to the era, rules are scrambled. In the ancient world, beauty such as Helen of Troy & Cleopatra was probably 20 pounds thicker than today. Even in the Victorian world of the Bronte's & Sarah Bernhardt, beauty was still 5-inch thicker waists. And not only for the distaff side of the equation. Somehow, ever since the skinny-minny Flapper Era of the Twenties, skinny has remained vogue

* Finally when it comes to the regions of the world, well, here all the rules change! In parts of Africa, elongated lips and flattened ears are a measure of beauty. In parts of the Middle East muscle rather than makeup counts. In regions of the Far East, smaller is always better. You can't pick where you are born; you simply have to learn the rules of the local game and play the hand you were dealt

Back to those dermatologists. Their job includes trying to protect your skin, and yet they are the first to tell you: What appears on the outside will tell you very little about what's going on in the inside...!

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