Is Beauty Enough? | Luke Francis
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Is Beauty Enough?


Beauty in a woman is a like a backstage pass. It is valued because it is scarce, being as rare as a Kimberley diamond. Well…at least it used to be. You see, as far as I can tell, and I consider myself to be expert in these matters, it’s no longer enough to be beautiful. The reason? Abundance.

I’ve never been a woman, nor do I suspect that at some point I might want to be. I don’t see any Bruce to Caitlyn type of transformation in my cards. I’m ok with the bits that I’ve got. They cause me inconvenience at times and I confess that I’m not always in control of them, but by and large I’m safe in my sexuality. Being male is a game I know how to play.

With that said, I can see that there is a certain upside to being a woman. I like the idea of having a door opened for me every so often. Of being the first to have my order taken at lunch, or to enter a lift when the doors open. Of being on the last life raft as it gets lowered into a frothy sea.

I envy the breadth of choice that women have. Fashion, cosmetics, hair care – whatever the domain, women have it covered. If fashion alternatives for the respective sexes were measured in terms of land mass, women enjoy the expanse of mainland Australia while men are confined to the prison island of Tasmania.

To the average male, women’s fashion is a buried city upon which an archeological dig is taking place. Every now and then a fragment of an earthen-wear pot surfaces, or a rusted coin with a hole punched through it’s centre is kicked over in the dust. Camisoles, Halters, and Fascinators are terms that lie hidden in the dirt, revealing themselves by chance, if at all.

Most men cope with this disparity. They have no interest in bridging these gulfs. But of all the advantages that womanhood brings with it, surely there is none greater than that which is afforded to them in the game of love. The burden of the chase is a heavy one, and I envy the fact that in most circumstances, the fairer sex does not have to hunt.

Yes, there are men who have an easy way of it and for whom a look or a wink results in a meal, but for those of us whose plumage is of a kind that fails to catch the eye, and I hold myself among their rank, we need to rely upon our baser instincts.

For men like us the game is one of subterfuge and guile. We need to camouflage ourselves and tread lightly, hunting downwind so as not to cause alarm. We are used to going without so our effort is great; our commitment to the chase resolute. It’s exhausting work best left to younger men.

The more beautiful the woman, the stronger the impulse to chase. Some men are immune to beauty. I am not. It is as intoxicating as Grappa and as maddening as Absinthe; scrambling the brain and rendering the poet mute. It has the feel of softened leather and the smell of a just lit match.

Beauty in a woman is a like a backstage pass. It is valued because it is scarce, being as rare as a Kimberley diamond. Well…at least it used to be. You see, as far as I can tell, and I consider myself to be expert in these matters, it’s no longer enough to be beautiful. The reason? Abundance.

The laws of demand and supply have shaped civilisations ever since we shed the body hair, learned how to walk on two legs, and figured out that living in groups increases our chances of staying alive. There has always been a demand for beauty. I suspect this will never change. What has changed is how much of it is around us.

Rather than it be the result of chance, beauty has become the result of toil. It is suddenly attainable. With the right means and underlying bone structure, it can be bought as easily as a mink coat from Macy’s at a black friday sale . The right blend of nips and tucks can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. Turn Susie homemaker into Susan Sarandon. Throw in a Nutri-Bullet and a trainer and you have the body to match.

With attainability comes availability, and here I come to the issue at hand. Beauty is not as rare as it used to be. The diamond mine is suddenly turning out more diamonds. There are more precious stones on the market. Beauty has become commoditised and like any commodity, it’s value is determined by it’s availability.

Look at the Oscars; that great capstone of American pop culture. While the members of the academy try to separate the great from the good, the real show is on the red carpet, where women, many of them talented, pout and spin and deliver rehearsed lines to the world’s media, desperate for their approval and to hear that they look beautiful. And they are. Every single one of them. That’s the problem.

As in life, the women who attend this event are looking to stand out from the crowd, but how does one stand out when the whole crowd is beautiful? What distinguishes a woman if beauty is no longer the measure by which she is judged?

Character. That essential quality for which there is no common measure. That special blend of ingredients that compels people to seek out your company and sit by your light. Unlike beauty, character is enhanced with age; it’s taste sweetened by tragedy and glory alike. It can’t be bought or sold or inserted. To have character is to stand out from the crowd. It is the only way.

My advice to any woman who is admired for her looks is to enjoy it. Enjoy the attention. Luxuriate in it as if it were a milk bath, for as surely as that milk will sour, so too will your physical beauty.

Rather than wait for that day to come, start now. Become the all rounder. Learn a language, go on adventures, travel to unheard of places, wear the same cloths for a week, drop acid. Each is a line of thread that will colour your tapestry. For there are men who see beauty in these things.


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