Monday, April 19, 2010

Je Ne Sais Quoi: Beauty Begets Beauty

Hello friends, and Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend! I did some shopping and gardening and baking, and feel fairly refreshed for this week, which is good because I have a lot in store for us (including another FREE GIVEAWAY and a NEW COLUMNIST!). But before all of that, I was thinking this weekend about one of my favorite all time movies, Strictly Ballroom. Have you seen it? It is quirky and absurd and full of color and romance. The story centers on the frumpy Francesca who transforms into a beautiful and graceful lady floating across the screen. Naturally there is an evil step-mother, some fancy ball-gowns, and a prince charming.

Apart from the dancing, which I LOVE with my whole heart...
and dream of someday gliding my own slippers across a ballroom floor wearing diamonds and pink chiffon on the arm of a gentleman...

Ahem--as an aside, this will never happen because a) I don’t have the time or the physical stamina to learn ballroom dancing, and b) there’s NO WAY I could convince my husband to dance with me and there’s little chance he’d let me tango with another I will have to continue living vicariously through Francesca...sigh.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes--apart from the dancing, the thing I love about the movie is Francesca’s transformation.
Of course it is incredibly cliche to have a makeover scene in a movie (I can instantly think of at least another dozen films that have an ugly-duckling-turned-swan-story), but I just can’t resist the appeal. There is something so timelessly enticing about a woman who finds her strength, and then watching as that strength slowly transforms her appearance. Because it reminds me that beauty begets more beauty.

We all hear a lot about the value of inner beauty, and so I won’t delve too deeply into that here. But what I will say is that a woman blossoms when she discovers her special talents, or awakens to love, or overcomes fear. Her physical body actually comes alive. This, naturally, leads her to want to care more for her appearance, which just perpetuates her confidence. And the cycle continues, gaining momentum, until she’s too radiant even to look at (okay, maybe I’m going a little overboard here. That could get scary...).

The trouble, of course, is that we know this principle and yet don’t always apply it--especially in the reverse. The other day, for instance, when I was writing this, I was wearing a hideous combination of shiny acrylic pajama pants in a lime green, a threadbare purple shirt, thick wool socks, and my hair knotted messily on top of my head. It was four in the afternoon and I hadn’t even taken a shower yet. Why? Because no one was likely to see me that day. And perhaps because I was also hormonal and not “feeling very pretty.” And, if I’m honest, I was also a little frustrated that some of my plans weren’t working out the way I wanted, which might have been impacting my self-esteem a bit.

In other words, my appearance was reflecting my emotions. Now, I’m not too worried about having one shower-free-p.j.-day every once in awhile, but I know that I can’t make it into a habit. But the truth is that keeping up my outward appearance will help me to resist the lure of low confidence and hormonal tyranny--like an unlikely weapon to ward off unwanted enemies. Messy hair and shiny pants, however, have little effect on making me feel better. Because if beauty begets beauty, than you can be sure that blah begets blah. And I certainly don’t want blah taking over my life!

So what I’m trying to say in a roundabout way is that our emotions and our looks are intricately linked whether we admit to it or not. And though this link isn’t exact science, I’d rather just acknowledge the principle and invest in beauty--both inside and out.

Starting with throwing out those lime green pants.

What do you do to ward off the blahs? Share by posting your comment below!


  1. Hormonal tyranny! That cracks me up! And it is so true! And I usually spend Sunday afternoons beautifying - long baths, lots a primping and usually a few glide-bys in front of Matt until he notices.

  2. I spent this weekend doing a fair amount of preening for the Spring... Stuff like painting my toenails, applying self-tanning lotion, etc. etc.

    Oh the stuff we do for beauty...

  3. i wear heels to the grocery store!


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