Ever since time immemorial our awe of women’s beauty has inspired men to pens many melodious tomes of prose as ill – advised narratives. I am no exception. To quote the legend that is Hank Moody “I love women, I have all their albums.” In fact some of my best friends are women. I love reading their stories. My very being has been defined in more ways than one by the women in my life. The power of female beauty will remain the stuff of lore as long as it continues to dazzle and change like the seasons as she sways through her sacred, enviable journey through life as the more revered half of the human race. This is a tribute to that journey.
The first hint at her beauty lie in the adorable pigtails and bright party dresses as she hangs on to daddy’s arm and his every word, her world afloat on princess fantasies, frog-prince wishes, candy floss, jumping castles and the simple delights of mud and snails after a storm. She has no worries aside from which hat best suits Barbie. From early on, we are disarmed by the innocence of her gap toothed unconditional smile, her blissful ignorance of hidden worldly dangers and the early intuition into her boundless potential for moulding fantastical shapes from the putty in her hands that is every male in her family. This provides invaluable training for her move into angst and raging hormonal, pimply rebellion.
As a teenager, her soul whirls with uncertainty. Her self esteem is tested and solace is found only in the perpetual dreamland in which she hides. Far away places, magical paces. Anywhere but there where her mother could find her, dictate to her, try and shape her into the 16 year old she never was herself. Her early training in the fallibility of the male make up assures her of extended curfews from her father and nascent woman like radiance attracts a field of roses and awkward handwritten poems from aspiring suitors on Valentines day. By the time her leavers dance has come and gone, and higher education has obliterated any pleasant preconceptions she may have had about young men’s intentions, the real world beckons.
Enter Miss Independent, the all powerful, all conquering her. A whiff of her sweet scent sending ripples through masculine spaces as she saunters by, breaking walls and smashing glass ceilings. She weeds out man-children for sport, identifying the worthy men who will enhance, not break her. Men who have firmly instilled purpose into the grammar of their habits. The kind who will appreciate the heel augmented arch in her foot and the resultant lift in her derrière as much as her inexplicable, spontaneous gravitation towards Sylvia Path monologues and her contention that adults who use the word chillax are not worthy of her attention. But she can also be carefree, have fleeting interests, with laissez fair youthfulness seeping through her pores.
In this mode she is the delight of the mature man. He who is shackled by responsibility and the bonds of time. Her carefree demeanour the perfect tonic for his middle aged unease as he looks defiantly into the sunset of his life.
When the first chilly winds of the autumn of her own life reach her, it is not the surgeons knife that triumphs in an attempt to regain her physical glory, nor is it being reincarnated as a predatory cougar that renews her confidence. She does not cling desperately to her youth. She carries her maturity with the guile of Sonia Braga, the grace of Michelle Obama, the zany frivolity of Tina Fey, and the wit of Maya Angelou.
Her beauty remains the sum of her experiences and selfless deeds. Her currency is her self worth, wisdom and empathy, not her sexuality. It is then, when she no longer has any use for her physicality that her effortless, timeless, ageless beauty shines through. This is the kind of beauty that vanquishes internal conflicts and elicits tributes from warring camps. It moves a neighbour to mourning, it ignites nostalgia for a simpler, more virtuous time and silences nations as it reminds them of the possibilities of genuine beauty and what it really is.
She is once, twice, three times a lady.