Charlotte Rampling says, in ‘rules of engagement’ this weekend past in the New York Times magazine, that everyone: ‘if you’re ugly, you’re ugly and if you’re beautiful, you’re beautiful. There is no comparison.’ After a certain age, she says, people don’t look at you. They look at youth. You can’t not look, because it’s so beautiful and it’s so sexy. That fades after a certain time, she continues, and that’s quite a difficult thing when it goes.
Why is it difficult when ‘it’ goes? What is this ‘it’ which goes or decides beauty?
I remember being at Sorbonne, and meeting a Beaux Arts student with whom I shared movies, chats, walks etc for the sheer joy of ‘discussion’. For me, as for the many french I met/meet, discussing is a truly beautiful art, and Parisians do it with panache! But before these shared moments, I remember him saying me and other friends from the Law faculty that i had such a ‘beautiful mind’. Without hearing what my voice sounded like! Or if I had any matter when I spoke. My law-school friend asked him” how do you know she has a beautiful mind? What did she say that you decided that?’ and he couldn’t answer intelligently. The few words which sputtered from his avid eyes were ” I can tell tell.” But what could he tell by only looking at me?
Beauty is indeed in the eyes of the beholder, but it is a shallow beauty that looks no further than the dewy, youthful skin nof the beholden. It doesn’t look beyond the lips or visage or body. Is that why media/academia are always urging muslim women to unveil? Are muslim women then not ‘beautiful’? Or hindu women who cover the head with the saree?
Sadly, we are taught to judge intelligence by the look. For the french , presence and presentation are everything, and I agree, to a certain extent. But beyond that, there’s is such a beauty. Beauty NOT dictated by time, and one which becomes more and more beautiful with age. Like good wine.