September 16: the perfect body

As I flipped through a fashion magazine in the dentists I came across an article about a black fashion model with what Chaucer called ‘gat-teeth’ (a gap between the two front teeth). The general drift of the article was that any kind of model can make it in today’s fashion industry. Mostly the features required to be a female fashion model are big lips, a little button nose and des yeux en amande (almond-shaped eyes). This has been the case for all my adult life. The problem with the button nose is that it is hugely unambitious. It has its tiny perfection and will not ruin a photo in the way a big nose can but the button nose is not taking ny risks, not drawing attention to itself, its own particularity, which you might think would be a plus in an alpha-beauty, though the fashion world mainly looks to draw attention to the clothes, so maybe this neutrality is a quality. Fashion model men come in two guises; the hunky-big man and the waif, though there is a wider range of face allowed for the male. A nose can be big, for example. The idea, I suppose, is that men are allowed to exhibit character, greater specificity than women, which may mean that men can come in all shapes and sizes but it is difficult for women to. I remember once a woman asking me whether the gym I went to still had the instructor with the perfect body. This was a bemusing question. It depends what you mean, I said. No, but you know who I mean, she said. Turned out that the perfect body she was referring to belonged to a tall bloke with glasses who looked and moved like a tax accountant. Thank goodness that, to a small extent at least, beauty and ugliness are in the eye of the beholder. Mostly, as I get older, I am only really moved by beauty when I get to the conversation of the person. I noticed this when I tried Speed Dating once.This does not make me deep. You should hear the conversation I require.