A Fading Glory

fading glory

Standards of beauty change from time to time and country to country, but when I was a young man, much younger than I am today, I was considered good-looking for my time and place.

I remember the heads of female employees turning as I walked the length of the office to my destination. On more than one occasion, women driving by whistled and catcalled as I walked on busy city streets. All these things I found very amusing and gratifying on some level.

Because I have been objectified—I have been on the receiving end of unwanted attention, been hit on by both men and women and made to feel very uncomfortable—I understand and sympathize with women when this happens to them. I’m not complaining, just explaining.

Growing up, I never considered myself good-looking; instead, I was self-conscious about my looks. As I grew older and had more success with girls and women, I began to gain confidence. This boost led to success in other areas in my life—man’s greatest adrenaline rush is a beautiful woman. Many doors opened for me because of my good looks. I have always attributed it all to good luck. It is a matter of good luck, I suppose, to be blessed with the beauty gene.

But beauty can be a double-edged sword. Plain women are jealous of beautiful women and don’t trust their men around them. In the same way, men often feel insecure in the presence of a good-looking man.

Recently, a younger man worked at the same dealership with me. Every time I saw him, I felt uncomfortable and didn’t really know why. He was extremely handsome and moved with grace, literally dancing around the dealership. I got jealous every time he attended to an attractive customer or even one of our young female associates. I knew it was foolish to feel this way, as if I was in competition with him, even though I am much older and in a fulfilling relationship. When he quit and moved to Miami, I was very happy to see him go.

There is a downside to beauty. To be consumed by it, to waste away like Narcissus from Greek Mythology, is a mistake. Beauty fades and as I age, I sometimes feel like the invisible man. However, the words of Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez are poignant, “Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but … life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.” To reincarnate beauty, it must be tempered by grace, compassion, and love for others.

 

© Benn Bell 2015

Benn blogs at Ghost Dog
He wrote this piece as a rejoinder to my post, Beauty A First Class Ticket.

 

Photo credit: Pezibear/ http://pixabay.com/en/journal-leaves-brown-road-kahl-636462/

 

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35 thoughts on “A Fading Glory

  1. I so identify with this. It is a hard thing when beauty on the outside fades. I too have had the same feelings Ben expressed. I never was jealous or upset with a beautiful woman unless she used it for ill gains. That never did set well with me and I can imagine how in a competitive environment such as sales, how threatening it could be.
    Can you imagine how a beautiful actor must reinvent themselves when their beauty fades? I remember being told as a young girl that “beauty is as beauty does” and how important it was to cultivate the inside as well and not rely on my looks alone. That was the best advice I could have ever been given me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed as important as beauty may seem to be in our world, it is a fickle thing to base our self-worth on because it fades. Who am I when I stop being beautiful by conventional standards?

      Thanks for sharing your experience.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahh wish i took a selfie of the look on my face the moment i realised this was written by a man. Like i literally re-read it again from a male writer perspective. smh… From the amount of attention and money that flows to the most beautiful actresses and models, it’s clear that humans definitely have an understanding of, and a deep appreciation for human beauty.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Lol@selfie!
      @ understanding & deep appreciation for human beauty, okay. Although I sometimes wonder if we realize the degree to which the beauty industry shapes our perception of what beauty means.

      Like

    1. I guess when I think: man, feelings; the content of this post doesn’t come to mind. You hit the nail when you say that we’re all human and feel things. Maybe the difference is how much we’re willing to admit. Kudos to Benn for sharing.

      Like

  3. ” To reincarnate beauty, it must be tempered by grace, compassion, and love for others.”

    This always has been there, hasn’t it?

    I actually don’t even pay attention to anymore beautifully coiffed women.
    As for myself….people now notice me for my health. Never for my beauty…which never existed according to society’s standards.

    I do consider my partner handsome in a rugged, bearded way but funnily he hasn’t quite clued into this fully. What he does do well and knows, is listening to others, including women more fully.. He has a very graceful way of listening and holding long discussions with others. He has a naturally softer voice for a guy..and that alone holds the attention of people.

    Do I get jealous….on the rare occasion I hear of a conversation he’s had with another woman at some cycling meeting or similar, and I know the woman might have been remotely interested based on conversation snippets relayed to me. She would have been meeting delegate or cyclist stopping at a traffic light. However I don’t say this to him….I just say: “Why did she say that??”

    Somehow he doesn’t seem to clue in though.
    He just has a natural style of persuasion, whereas a quarter of the time, he considers himself a hermit and no one listens to what he says. Or I should say, he doesn’t take himself too seriously in terms of his “powers”.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, duh me, now realizes the post was written by a guy.

      Brings me to recent, shocking discovery a month ago when I looked up a guy I had crush on in high school. He was tall, football oriented and girls liked him. In my class.

      Well, he was running his inherited family business (which was already over 50 yrs. old when he took over the helm in his early 30’s)…when he was charged for raping a young woman at some hot tub business party in his 40’s. In reading the court case (I was a law librarian so it ain’t hard to read through..), I believe the woman…because she went to the hospital within a few hrs. after the incident, to be examined, etc.

      So this is the extreme when beauty becomes corrupt narcissitic, use of power and leading to abuse. I discussed this with my partner. He thinks that the case and charges got lowered because the guy had influence locally. And he thinks the guy already exercised violently on other women in the past. But they just never, spoke up/laid charges.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, yes it was written by a guy 😉

        What an unfortunate story. One doesn’t have to be handsome to act ugly though. People aren’t always what they seem, and sometimes they change.

        Like

    2. @a very graceful way of listening, isn’t that what women want? Someone to pay attention . . .

      Lol, some people are happily unaware of their effect on others 🙂
      And this can be rather attractive as well.

      Jealousy can be rational and/or irrational. It sounds as if you don’t have anything to worry about, Jean. Thanks for sharing.

      Like

        1. Interesting@ men usually swing between extremes when discussing how people perceive their bodies.
          I have always thought that girls, women & teenage boys had the deepest insecurities about their bodies. I guess because we all desire to be admired, we’re all vulnerable in different ways.
          Ife, thanks for answering my question. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Well-written. I used to want to be beautiful, but over time I realized the wisdom, wall-flower benefits of being okay. Cute is good enough for me. The jealousy thing is unfortuantely, real. I don’t think I could ever trust someone who was considered too handsome and even if I could, the women…oh the women.

    I worked with a man who was easy on the eyes and he hid it behind his glasses. Almost embarassed by it. Was extremely careful to hide his face when he was cleaning his glasses – he was newly married and I’ll forget the picture he had at his desk, with his wife and him slow dancing – she looked shocked. She was rather plain so I always imagined she was shocked ot have gotten him. I could be wrong, but her facial expression always made me wonder….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lani, I appreciate your openness.
      The women…oh the women 🙂 I dunno, I mean if he weren’t extremely handsome, he might have wealth, power, influence, charisma, etc, in good supply, and any of these things could draw the women… oh the women 😉

      The story of the man who hid his attractiveness behind his glasses makes me smile, aw. I don’t subscribe to ‘apologizing’ for what one has been blessed with. However I think one should be gracious and aware of the pitfalls and responsibilities that go with what one has been given.

      Lol @ the photo of his wife, maybe it’s your active imagination! 😄
      But I think she might hear comments like, I wonder what he saw in her, etc.

      Being comfortable and at peace with how we look is a life-long journey for many of us in this beauty-obsessed world.

      Btw, any man that looks at the mirror more than I do isn’t likely to get a pass mark in my book!

      Thanks again Lani. Benn uses his pen well- he’s got us really talking 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Appreciate Benn’s honesty and the reminder that objectification happens to men too as does the benefits and costs of beauty. Also appreciate Benn sharing his feeling of competition with the other handsome man.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. @honesty, me too. Our insecurities are universal.
      I think that his explanation about the objectification he endured as opposed to his complaining about it, speaks volumes about who and where we are as a society . . .

      Like

    1. I enjoyed reading a man’s perspective.

      Vulnerability ranks high in my book, right next to slaying dragons and rescuing me from the evil castle, lol 😉

      Yes, Robin, it’s a man’s world 😦

      Like

    1. When I think of people being objectified, I always think of women. It’s interesting to read and infer what Benn’s reaction to being objectified is. He says, “I’m not complaining . . . ”

      You are beautiful in your essence. Way to go, Tessa!

      Like

    1. I found Benn’s vulnerability endearing- the insecurity & accompanying jealousy in the presence of a younger and perhaps more attractive man. However, he’s found virtues that give beauty longevity. Yes, interesting.
      Thanks Ope.

      Like

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