Wednesday, November 15, 2017

On Beauty (to borrow a title from Zadie Smith)

She walks in beauty like the night, beauty is in the eye of the beautician (as an old friend used to quote), and what has brought me to this rather mundane subject?
      There is a deep insecurity in how we view ourselves or advertising would never have taken such a strong hold on our psyches.  Perhaps when we are most beautiful we are most unaware of its power or like in our adolescence, when we are at our most insecure.  How much time have we spent in our lives grooming and putting on make-up, dieting, obsessing over every detail?  How much money have we spent on the products that promise miracles?  And all of it for nought!
     I recently experienced a barrage of compliments over my hair and appearance.  What’s odd about that you may ask?  Well, I have never been so unhealthy in my life.  I have stage 3 breast cancer and wear a wig.  The wig has been complimented more than my natural hair in any of its incarnations has ever been despite the fact it never turned grey and was a source of pride for me.  
    The conclusion I reach is artifice is beautiful.  We know that from all of the touched up photoshop images that are part of  our daily lives. We’ve lost the concept of what a healthy beautiful person might look like regardless of age.  I stopped to analyze my wig- if I had to keep my hair in that condition, it would require color touch ups and monthly cuts. To the touch it feels dry as a bone.  That instead of a head of healthy hair is what triggers a positive response.  Could it be true- in this society you can be most attractive when you are wearing a wig and at your worst.