Posted in Thoughts

The Eye of the Beholder

“You know when sometimes you meet someone so beautiful, and then you actually talk to them, and five minutes later, they’re as dull as a brick. Then there’s other people, and you meet them and you think, ‘Not bad; they’re okay.’ And then you get to know them, and their face just sort of becomes them, like their personality is written all over it. And they just turn into something so beautiful. Rory Williams is the most beautiful man I’ve ever met.” – Amy in Doctor Who, “The Girl Who Waited”

Have you noticed that in your life? I have. The second part especially. There are lots of people in the world whom society would not deem beautiful. Yet I find that when you get to know good things about someone, they slowly become more attractive. The closer I am to somebody, the prettier/more handsome/etc. they seem. I don’t think I’m the only one who does this. How many movies are there where the guy thinks the girl he likes is beautiful before anyone else does?

Benedict-Cumberbatch-War-Horse-Photoshoot-benedict-cumberbatch-32651060-2250-3000My favorite famous person example of this is British actor Benedict Cumberbatch. Even aside from his fantastic name, the man’s adorable. He gets second place on my nonexistent list of most attractive actors. To sort of quote Aladdin, “He’s got these eyes that just… And his hair! Wow. And his smile? Ahh…”

But I didn’t always think that. Nothing really struck me about him the first time I saw him in something. Really, he’s kind of odd looking. All angles, tall and lanky (which I realize you can’t tell from this picture), rather pale. Strange. Not society’s typical definition of masculine beauty.

But his eyes change color. Even I can tell he’s a brilliant actor. He seems like a sweet person (with his flaws, of course, and yes, I realize you can’t really get to know someone by happening across information about them on the internet). He’s gradually worked his way nearly to the top of my nonexistent list, and probably the real lists of many other girls.

Yet he says in an interview, “I see the same problems I’ve always seen when I look in the mirror.” And here we come to the point of this post. Why is it that we can find the most strange-looking people attractive, and yet still think we’re not beautiful at all?

With people we know and love, we can find beauty where society might not see it. We know ourselves very well, but we can’t do the same thing. And we can’t believe anyone else could see us as beautiful. In all those movies about the guy thinking the girl is beautiful, how often does she agree right away? Well, I haven’t done a scientific study on the subject, but I would say hardly ever.

I don’t have an answer for the why. And I’m not trying to say that what you look like is more important than who you are. And I’m not digging for compliments. But I can say this: if I find “ordinary” people I love beautiful, what is stopping them from thinking the same thing about me? And on days when my hair won’t cooperate, or my shoes don’t match my sweatshirt, or one of those problems I see in the mirror is bothering me, that can be a very encouraging thought.

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