External and Internal Beauty – Beauty and the Beast?

Men are fools, as H.L. Mencken points out in his classic “In Defense of Women”.  A woman chooses her husband on the basis of his finances, his intelligence, and so on, according to Mencken.  A man chooses his wife on the basis of her looks.  This surely points to a conclusion that women are the more intelligent sex!

Well, whether you accept that women choose their husbands in this way or not, it seems clear that Mencken’s assertion that men choose wives on the basis of their looks is, at minimum, persuasive.  There are good biological reasons for this, according to Professor Robert Winston.  Men seek (consciously or sub-consciously) a woman that will be a good ‘breeder’  This means having good skin and teeth, lustrous hair, and a hip-waist ratio of 0.7 (ish) – that is to say, where the waist measurement is  about 70% of the hip measurement.  This is true both for ‘curvy’ women and slim women.  Audrey Hepburn and Sofia Loren had very different body shapes, but both had this ‘magical’ hip-waist ratio.   Additionally, men go for a Pythagorean “golden ratio” of measurements in the face.  The ‘golden ratio’ is 1:1.61 – that is where, for example, the width of the eyes is 1.61 times the width of the  gap between the eyes.  This ratio is replicated over and over again in the face of a physically beautiful woman.

If you are inclined to doubt this, look at the behaviour of the ‘alphas’ in our culture.  An alpha male in the modern world is a man with a lot of money (cash is the new muscle, not brains, Prof Winston!).   An alpha female has a face that conforms to the ‘golden ratio’ – that is, simply put, she is beautiful.  Surely footballers and ‘WAGs’ are the paradigm example of this.  All of the footballers are rich.  And all of the WAGs are physically beautiful.  Whilst what men want has not changed since humans first fell out of the trees onto the Savannah, a woman’s desire for protection and provision manifests itself differently in the modern world, compared to the world of the Savannah.  Back in the day, women would go for the man that is the biggest and strongest.  He would be the best provider-protector.  In the modern world, the best male provider is the one with the most cash – footballers!  To be noted, en passant, is that top footballers also have excellent bodies and are strong and fit.  This is the alpha male.  He does not (sorry Prof W) need to be clever – footballers tend not to do so well on that score…

So, rich men choose pretty women.  And visa-versa.  Neither of these ‘Alphas’ seem that bothered about brains, Prof W.  There are exceptions, we guess (probably the prime-mover behind Marilyn Monroe’s choice of Arthur Miller was motivated by his intelligence, but perhaps the reverse is not true…although, if Mencken is right, it is she that has made the wiser choice, so who, really, is the more intelligent?!)

We appreciate that this may not be a popular view, but it is a view that is supported by simple observation.

So, let’s look at our female celebrities.  All of these women are exceptionally beautiful.  Men simply pick the most beautiful woman they can get.  Men like trophies – trophies of ‘the hunt’.   But men are fools.   Doesn’t it rather seem that some of these women are as ugly on the inside as they are beautiful on the outside?  And when it all goes bad and they divorce, what do the men tend to do?  Choose another, younger version of exactly the same type of woman.  Surely, even a fool learns!  Even a fool can become wise!  But…apparently not.

Perhaps it works like this.  We all want a mate.  Whether we are gay or straight.  If you are beautiful, do you really need to be kind, caring, loving, understanding and patient?  Why bother?!  Equally, if one is not beautiful, one might wish (desirous as one is of procuring a mate) to develop other qualities, to increase our ‘market value’.  So we educate ourselves.  We learn patience and kindness.  Now, we are equipped, ‘tooled up’, to get the best mate we can.

But before we run off with the conclusion that we ought to go for plain, kind, intelligent mates, consider the aberrations.

Even if beautiful people are selfish and narcissistic, does it necessarily mean that ugly or plain people are kind and loving?  Sadly not.  It is certainly possible to find a mate that is both plain and unpleasant or selfish.  In that case, you have the worst of both worlds!

Is it possible to find a woman that is beautiful AND kind, easy-to-live-with, intelligent and charming?  Or a man who is rich, fit, clever, kind and funny?  The jury’s out…


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