The Beauty Trap

The other day my friend and I were talking about a lady we have known for decades. She was, and still is, a great beauty of our times. She is well spoken, lovely, graceful, poised, but also a crashing bore. Spending time with her is being part of a photo op, all long, graceful limbs and perfect smiles. She is a pleasure to watch but does she make good company? …err…zzzzz…snore…

Have you seen the movie A Mirror Has Two Faces with Barbara Streisand? It’s a beautiful love story. In the movie, Streisand is not much of a looker in the traditional sense but has a mother and sister who are drop dead gorgeous. When she finally figures out how to look stunning, her sister warns her. I don’t remember the exact words but they were something on the lines of “now that you’re beautiful you’re trapped, because from now on whenever you’ll enter a room, you’ll always be on the lookout for someone more beautiful than you.”

We all know what she means to a certain extent. Standing next to the hottest girl in school, or the pretty colleague who catches everyone’s eye as you saunter past unnoticed. Of course we are constantly bombarded with scientists who come up with ideal proportions of beauty. I mean, don’t these people have anything better to do? Add to that unsolicited advice on weight gain and loss, comments on dark and fair complexions, curly and straight hair. Don’t these people get it? That beauty isn’t what you look like on the outside. I mean it may leave you spell bound for a while, but if it’s not supported by other qualities (that I will come to later), it lacks longevity.

And if you think about it, there are many women who aren’t beautiful in the traditional sense but still considered great beauties: look at Coco Chanel, Wallis Simpson, Kate Moss and Gisele Bundchen. You know what beauty is for me? A genuine smile, a great posture, the confidence to wear and carry off everything with ease, kindness, generosity, modesty, intelligence, playing the fool, the ability to make anyone laugh till they have tears streaming down their eyes, great conversation, real talent, pride in being good at something no matter how small it may be, but most of all being a happy person. Because think about it. Of all the things in the world it’s happiness that is the most beautiful. Who wants to hang out with a sad sack anyway?

So step away from the trap of physical perfection. After all, you will lose it at some point. Groom yourself, enjoy great skin and hair, workout and take pleasure in the fruits of your labour, but don’t let that be your raison d’être.

Here’s the trailer of the movie. Watch it if you have the time:

Lead image: Helmut Newton taken from Pinterest/IdeaFixa

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