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Aspects of Beauty


What I want to do next is try and make a list of all the different aspects of beauty. Of course here, even more than usual, I'm speaking only for myself.

  • The face is one of the most beautiful things there is. There are a million little things that contribute, but, unfortunately, I can't tell you what they are—most of them I'm not even consciously aware of, and the rest are hard to describe, like when the upper lip is raised and curved just so.

    Of course, other people have thought about this, and done studies, and identified some of the factors—at least, some of the factors that many people have in common. Recently I happened to see a report on one such study online (Beautycheck). It is worth looking at. The computed ideal face is certainly beautiful, but I wouldn't say it's the most beautiful face I've ever seen—which makes sense if you remember that the face isn't my ideal, or anybody else's, it's an average of several different ideals.

  • Hair is beautiful, too, although of all the aspects it's probably the least important. (As evidence, I've seen women who were stunning even with crew cuts.) I find long-ish hair, straight or slightly wavy, most beautiful, and I have a bit of a preference for dark hair over, say, blonde (which I guess means I'm no gentleman).
  • Skin is very beautiful. It's most beautiful, I think, when it's smooth (not, say, rippling with muscles), fine (with small pores), and has all the same color. If the color is pale, or maybe peachy or rosy, so much the better; a little bit of a tan goes a long way (though I'm sure others would disagree).
  • Then there's what I like to call “good shape”. (The name amuses me because it's also a technical term from the game go.) Here's a little parody from Doorways in the Sand that's apropos, and not as widely known as it should be.

    Lobachevsky alone has looked on Beauty bare.
    She curves in here, she curves in here. She curves out there.

    If a woman has wide shoulders, a narrow-ish waist, and wide hips (but not too wide), and all the right curves in between … that is beauty! There's also something about the muscles and bones in the shoulders that can be very nice, but, again, it's hard to describe.

  • The beauty of a nice ass is the same kind of thing as good shape, but is important enough, I think, to count as a separate aspect of beauty.
  • Ditto for the beauty of legs.

I think that's everything. I know there are some obvious things I haven't mentioned, but that's intentional, as I'll explain now.

Breasts, in my opinion, are not especially beautiful. If they're small, they're nice enough, I guess, but if they're large, they're positively grotesque. No doubt others would disagree. For me, though, breasts are only correlated with beauty: if I can see a woman's breasts, then I can probably also see plenty of skin and admire whatever good shape she has.

The same, only more so, holds for the pubic region. It is not only not beautiful, but actually a bit ugly. On the other hand, it is strongly correlated with beauty, and, indeed, with other more pleasant things. It can also be an object of interest because it's strange and different.

Thus, if you're interested only in pure beauty, a little bit of clothing is a good thing; a little bit in the form of a string bikini is just about perfect.

I wondered whether graceful motion is an aspect of beauty, but in the end I decided it's probably not. Here, a thing is beautiful if it's specially recognized by the male visual system, and it seems to me that graceful motion is beautiful because it presents a kaleidoscopic display of other beauty, not because it's specially recognized in itself. (On the other hand, I can easily imagine that some kinds of motion might be specially recognized—like, say, a particular way of walking.)

When I checked the spelling of “kaleidoscopic” in my dictionary, I noticed that the etymology makes the word even more appropriate.

Gk. kalos, beautiful + eidos, form + -SCOPE.



  See Also

  Liking What You See
  One Thing Leads to Another
  Reverse, The

@ August (2003)