After my post the other night, "Pretty and Beautiful," I have been trying to tease out what I find beautiful.
Uniqueness. The late great Amy Winehouse was beautiful in spite of all of her issues because she always came across as unabashedly her totally-unlike-anyone-else self. Uniqueness is not always beautiful (there is also unique horror, and unique evil), but it goes a long way.
Humor. Many of the people in my life whom I consider beautiful (male and female) have active senses of humor. As Jessica Rabbit said about Roger, I love them because they make me laugh. There is a particular type of humor that appeals to me: sly, intelligent, occasionally self-deprecating, and aware of the absurdities of the world. These people understand -- and appreciate -- irony.*
Compassion, gentleness, warmth, intelligence, curiosity, critical thinking skills, fierce determination, emotional strength... the beautiful people I know have most (or all) of these. Not all the time, but enough that I cannot help but notice and admire them. Not that they are perfect: perfect people are not interesting. They have flaws ranging from insecurity to obsessive pursuit of given objectives** to anal retentiveness to flightiness to a tendency toward crankiness to occasional "fluffiness." I am willing to overlook these, as they overlook my insane disorganization, inability to follow through, and almost pathological self-doubt.
I am also a sucker for people who write well.*** Staunch insistence on proper grammar and adamant refusal to use "leet speak," or whatever the abomination so many people use in texting or IM is called, makes my pulse beat a little faster. I am also captivated by creativity, by the ability to take nothingness -- paint, light, metal, ideas -- and turn it into art.
Beautiful people know that the world is a complicated place, while understanding that there are things on which compromise is not possible. They are willing to recognize -- and more importantly, admit --when they are wrong.
Note: not politics or social views. The beautiful people in my life range all along the political spectrum.**** I don't think all of them are right on everything, but then again, they think I'm dead wrong on some things, too. They like me anyway, as I do them.
Because they have so many of these characteristics, I have a feeling that the beautiful people in my life would enjoy talking to each other. (Once all of them that are shy got comfortable.) I keep having fantasies that they could be drawn together in one room. (Preferably playing "Apples to Apples.")
I think it would be a simply amazing party.
A beautiful party.
*That would be irony in the true sense, not in the Alanis Morrisette sense.
***On the purely physical side (because like every one else I occasionally can be shallow that way), I find I have a pronounced weakness for people with blue eyes or a Southern accent, or both.
****I have to confess that a few people I heretofore had thought of as beautiful became Tea Partiers and birthers in the past few years, and they dropped off the list. I do not have trouble with conservatism per se -- I have some self-identified conservatives on that list -- as long as there is a minimum level of intelligent thought behind it. The birthers and Tea Partiers don't pass that test. I still love these people, but I tend to view them with sad bewilderment.