Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Beauty Lies with Strangeness.

(The title is a paraphrase. What Shakespeare actually wrote was ‘Beauty lies with kindness.’ I can’t disagree, but it seems to me to describe a soft form of beauty. For the purpose of this post I’m not concerned with the soft form, but a sharper, more compelling form. I’m not concerned with what Shakespeare wrote either, but what somebody else wrote.)

So, this is a transcript of an email I sent to probably the most beautiful woman I ever met:

Beauty always has an element of strangeness.
~ Baudelaire.

In the essay, he went on to say that a certain amount of strangeness is the very thing which defines beauty. He suggested reversing the proposition and considering whether it would be possible to imagine a commonplace beauty.

Thought you might be interested.’

And do you want to know why I sent it? Well, it’s like this:

I always had the sneaking suspicion that she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever met, but I couldn’t come up with any rationale sufficient to propose something so outlandish, subjective and unquantifiable. She was certainly physically attractive, but that isn’t enough to justify the B word, is it? Nothing like enough. (Pretty girls are ten a penny; the cheap TV ads are full of them.)

It was when I read Baudelaire’s essay that the penny dropped. Now I understand why she’s probably the most beautiful woman I ever met. And that’s why I sent the email. See? I'm not expecting a reply.

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