Osho talked about it: the double edge sword of beauty. It's like a magnet. It attracts and it repels. Beauty that is. We are instantly drawn to it, in all its guises, most of all, to the beauty of the same or other sex. We wish to dive into it, be worshiped by it, to devour it. We want to be a part of it, period. By searching out beauty, we ourselves become beautiful. It's being beautiful by association.
However, and that is a big however, we are scared of beauty all the same. We may initially flock to it like the proverbial moths to the flame, but once the initial connection has been made, fear makes its entrance. For suddenly, we find ourselves wondering how to match up to this vision, to this luminescence sitting in front of us or lying next to us. We have been raised up to meet the pedestal, and we are at the moment precariously holding ourselves erect at the edge of the platform.
Now the question forms: Do we really wish to be a part of it? How much work will the upkeep entail? What does this heavenly creature want from us? Can we keep up the initial interest? In short, what is now expected of us?
Beauty in some, or in Osho's words, many cases, repels, yes it does. It's fear of losing face. It's fear of having reached the holy grail of physical exaltation, of being associated with an Adonis, with an Athena, but to not be able to keep it. This must surely have been some unholy spell this divine being is under. He or she will wake up soon and see all the other beguiling options all around and what will that mean? Finito la musica.
It's the fear of loss that makes beauty this double-edge sword. In this day and age especially. We live in an era of calculated obsolescence. So many enticing possibilities await upon a swipe or a click or a glimpse, whether in the virtual or actual arena. The thing with beauty is, once we've basked in its interest, in its attention and affection, it is hard to return to the grey guard of the ones looking in from afar. It's the draw of the ring: My Precious. It is mine and mine it shall remain.
Beautiful people carry power. The power to be seen, to be admired, to be instantly of interest to others. Physical beauty can wipe away character traits that in a normal looking person would immediately end up in the losing column. Being beautiful is precious currency. We can't help but feel enchanted by it, 'ensorceler' would be my preferred word choice in this instance. Beauty makes us feel on top of the world, it makes us feel like we just hit the jackpot. If a beautiful person pays us any mind let alone shows interest, we feel like we've just been catapulted and ushered into this most exclusive of clubs. We've arrived.
Unless there is beauty to be found inside the self, this initial boost in self-confidence, self-esteem, self-worth soon deflates and becomes a terrible burden to some. What will others think when they see us together? Will they think that he or she could have done better? Will the beautiful partner soon smell the bacon and realize that what they found attractive at first is really not that great and 'look at all those beautiful people around'? Why limit the choice?
The outside danger, the perceived danger, starts moving in, invading thoughts, twisting emotions, creating scenes, engendering weird confrontational or aloof behavior. A vicious cycle ensues. Every time we are around people, the nagging thought erupts. What is he or she thinking? Do they really want to be here with me? People aren't looking at me. This must be confirmation that I am not good enough for him or her.
Songs advised to not make a pretty woman your wife. This seems to suggest that beauty is about leverage and power and as a partner, you want to be the one positioned at the higher end, the one who wields the sword of beauty. You want to be the person who feels they can leave more readily if things aren't working out.
So, what is the moral of all this? Should one be with someone of comparable physical appeal? Should the more beautiful end of the palette be left aside for fear of a backlash? How much does physical beauty really matter after the first few dates? So much more enters the equation. Surface beauty only goes that far, right?
Then, why be so scared of beauty? It's skin deep as they say. It's nothing that was actually earned and it's something that is ephemeral in the end. Beauty, external one, cannot be safeguarded and kept. With that in mind, maybe the fear of being with beautiful people will lessen.
The way we are raised is the way we approach adult life. My mother was all about external beauty, still is all about external beauty. To her, it is a sign of privilege, of status, of exclusivity, of elitism. Beauty means you have a trump up your sleeve. She made sure that I looked my best (according to her taste and standards). She insisted that looking your best is a must. No one wants to be seen or associated with a slob, with someone lackluster, with someone mundane. So, my childhood and adolescence is how I explain my healthy fear of beauty and simultaneously my extreme attraction to it.
Beauty is an inside job. That's what matters in the end. We are as beautiful as we feel. Kindness makes beauty. Thoughtfulness makes beauty, generosity makes beauty. So many things make someone beautiful in someone else's eyes. Beauty in nature is not belittling. It arrests the senses without diminishing the witness. There is enough of that to admire and be a part of. So, why fear beauty? Why erect a monolith of adoration toward fading physical features? It seems absurd...and yet, the pull endures...