The Tribune - Spectrum

, April 28, 2002

Ugly face of beauty
A.J. Singh

PROBLEMS of a beautiful woman begin before she can hardly understand a spoken word. As a baby she is cooed over, dressed with excessive care and kept unusually clean and fresh. The first words she hears describing her are "adorable", "pretty" and so on.

As she approaches adolescence, unless she has a well of inner charm and a large amount of scepticism, she is surrounded by boys ó and in many cases despised by girls.

Many parents of beautiful girls add to their woes. The becomes a sort of jewel, a thing to be displayed to others to be admired, a mysterious object to be protected and trained.

The blossoming girl becomes aware that she is different, something set apart through no effort of her own. She comes to know that her outward appearance can be used both as a snare or a weapon, depending on her whim. In developing her major asset, she sits before the mirror, content to stare at her own loveliness.

She begins to think of herself as a sort of untouchable goddess who can do no wrong and to whom the world owes homage. She finds little time and little need to develop her inner capacities. How is it possible when the maintaining of her hair, her eyes, her figure, her clothes, her nails are so demanding? Naturally she does not mature. She views old age as a horrible spectre.


If, however, the femme fatale has brains and chooses to use them, she compounds her social problems. Those who are envious cannot eliminate her with the comment "beautiful but dumb" and so they dislike her more. Her achievements are written off as a part of her beauty, not her hard work.

The years roll along. The pretty baby becomes a beautiful adolescent. And then a full-fledged, colourful, radiant butterfly ready to face love and marriage. Beauty, however, like possessing a great fortune, raises in the mind of the owner the question, whether she is being loved for herself or her external veneer.

"Beauty is only skin deep", she is warned but who takes the time to search beneath? Was the marriage proposal made because this man really loves her "for better or for worse"? Or for just as long as her face remains lineless and her figure supple?

Not only has the beautiful woman been spoiled, over-protected, unsure of her intrinsic worth but she has been fawned on by men for so long that she cannot tell sincerity from infatuation. She has been flattered, prepositioned, pawed, overwhelmed by gifts until she cannot differentiate between gestures motivated by love and those that stem from her own sex appeal.

The living Venus, unfortunately, does not attract the man with whom she could be the happiest. The conservative male with his feet on the ground refuses to be the moth that flutters around the flame because he knows he might be hurt. He is fearful of publicity and, being a male, does not want to be a shadow behind the sari, salwar or skirts of his woman.

No wonder our Venus finds her man, very likely a poor mate, in terms of her psychological needs. She is still unsure of herself and questions the motives of her husband. She only knows that she is beautiful, possibly used, very likely disliked, possibly an ornamentation and very likely dispensable.

Placed in such a scenario, she is pulled between the desire to have children and the need to stay slim. The passions of her body contradict the cool calculating mind that has been developed over the years.

If she is spoiled and ego-centred, her newly born baby may be rejected in many subtle ways. She may resent the child as a time-consuming, loud little scene-stealer. This is not new.

If the child is as handsome as the mother, the adult feels competition and fears possible defeat. If, however, the youngster is less attractive, the world makes the comment, "Isnít it too bad, that she didnít inherit her motherís beauty."

A beautiful woman dies twice ó the first time when she begins to notice the wrinkles. A closer look at the case histories of externally beautiful women, reveals that they are more to be pitied than envied, for real, lasting beauty comes from within. Women with wit, good humour, a sense of compassion and interest in others are always the happiest and stable family makers. They do not fear the wind to chafe their skins or the years to leave their marks on their psyche.

It is Bacon, the English essayist, who summed up everything about beauty: "Beauty is as summer fruits which are easy to corrupt and cannot last; and for the most part it makes a dissolute youth and an age a little out of countenance; but if it light well, it makes virtues shine and vice blush." "Had the nose of Cleopatra been a little shorter," wrote the French Philosopher Pascal, "it would have changed the history of the world".

Cleopatra was the most beautiful woman of the world in her time, and the Queen of Egypt (63-30 BC). She was loved by two most powerful Romans of her time ó Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. But in the end she had to commit suicide. She once uttered these words. "If there is one single reason for my loneliness it is because I am beautiful".

So is every woman who is born with perfect face and goddess figure into this world with so many rocks in her path that she can easily stumble into a morass.

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