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Beauty and the eye of the beholder April 17, 2008

Posted by Raul in personal life, random thoughts.

I know that the phrase is “the beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. But the thing is, I didn’t want to write specifically about that. I wanted to speak to the fact that there are different eye beholders. Let me provide you with some context. I was reading 24Hrs.ca (shocking, I know… but anyway…). One of their best columnists is Siobhan Rowe, in my humble opinion. While she had some caustic and wonderfully incisive posts in the past couple of years, she seemed to spend a few months writing more “fluffy”, less punchy stuff. But she’s back with a vengeance with her story on breast enhancements and the reasons behind why women do it.

The basic premise she puts forward for readers to consider is whether looks should be the currency women trade on (if I understood her point correctly), and she suggests that looks should be less relevant as the person is more important as a whole. This brings me to my own experience and I could also point you to other personal journeys of bloggers who have often spoken about body image, self-confidence and that sort of thing. However, I think that if they choose to share their stories, you’ll hear from them, not from me, I want to respect their privacy.

Anyhow, here’s my story and my take on the “beauty in the eye of the beholder” concept. I modeled (men fashion) for a few years while I was in undergraduate and almost right out of high school. Modeling seriously increased my self-confidence for many reasons:
– I was always very well dressed (well, I studied chemical engineering, so it wasn’t all that hard to be the best dressed in the classroom).
– I was always up-to-date with male fashion comings-and-goings, which also meant that I had other interesting topics to talk about with people.
– I was given the chance to practice my Italian.
And, of course…
– I was in really good shape (which was also the result of my intense volleyball and dancing training).

Now, one of the reasons why I quit (and basically the MAIN reason), you’d be surprised to hear, wasn’t my studies. I always managed to have very good grades even with all the work that modeling entailed. No, the reason behind my quitting modeling was that I had been asked to have plastic surgery in my nose. Now, I recognize that maybe in my early years, I wasn’t all that happy with the nose I had because it didn’t look straight or pointy enough. But as time has gone through (and as more and more people have been fascinated with my physical features), I’ve realized that maybe I wasn’t seeing something in my own physique that other people were seeing. Maybe my nose wasn’t all that bad. So I learned to like myself the way I was (and the way I am) by appreciating what I had been given as a “vessel” to use my friend Phaedra‘s words.

I am *very* happy with the vessel right now. I recognize that sometimes I feel that I’m not photogenic enough, or that I’ve gained weight. But I still command a good degree of self-confidence, and I still am able to attract a lot more people than I thought I would. Why? Well, here’s the thing… I am not sure it’s because I am all that cute or that I’m super hot. I think it’s because INSIDE I have a good heart and that somehow shines through. And I’m not being conceited here, I’m just being honest. I think that I have a lot of pretty hot male and female friends. But do I really care that they are considered physically attractive? Not really. What I care for is that I love them and I value them REGARDLESS of their physical appearance.

Yes, I have a lot of great friends, both bloggers and civilians, whom I consider super hot, but (and this is something you all have to keep in mind), I consider them hot for what is INSIDE them. The OUTSIDE is pretty much irrelevant to me. I don’t care if you are tall, short, curvy, skinny. If I love you, I love you regardless of what you look like. And I know for sure that if my friends love me, they love me regardless of whether I weigh 170 pounds (which I do know) or 150 (which I did when I was modeling).

So, coming back to the modeling story, and as a closing note, I quit modeling ages ago, because I refused to conform to the standards of “traditional beauty”. I refused to get a nose job, I refused to remain skinny, and I don’t regret a single thing. If people love me, they’ll have to love my personality, my brain. My body is a nice vessel to contain it all (again, using Phaedra’s metaphor of the vessel) but I think it is the inside that counts, not the outside. So, really, I think beauty is not dependent on the eye of the beholder, it is intrinsic within us. We just need to find it.


1. Marina - April 17, 2008

I’ve never equated physical beauty with how I associate with people be they friends or strangers. I think you’re absolutely right – it’s all internal and if you’re an ugly person inside, regardless of how gorgeous your vessel is (I love that metaphor), you’re never going to have the same results as someone who is truly beautiful inside. Over the years I’ve come to realize that if I believe in myself and am comfortable with what I look like and who I am, I come across with much more energy and charisma which seems to attract people. It took me a while to figure that out but now that I know “the secret”, I’m out to let everyone in on it!

2. Maktaaq - April 18, 2008

Re: “bloggers and civilians” – I usually think in terms of bloggers and “laymen,” but I like “civilians” better. Sounds as if we can step in when there’s some disaster involving mutant lifeforms and save the world for the “civilians.”

As for what you wrote, I think you’re such a cheerful person, your happiness is pretty infectious. πŸ™‚

3. miss604 - April 18, 2008

Re: infectious happiness
Like I said, my mom loves to read your comments on my blog and your blog for the simple fact your sweetness and cheer is infectious. And while it’s not all roses and happiness all of the time, you always manage to see and portray the positives in any situation. For that, I think you’re super freakin’ HOT πŸ™‚

4. Keira-Anne - April 18, 2008

This was a great post, Raul. What I love most about reading other peoples’ blogs is the real stories that are sometimes shared. Though the currency of physical appearance shouldn’t be the currency on which we trade on, it’s very unfortunately become a part of today’s society. Why that is, I’m not sure. I find that far too many people, particularly in a metropolis such as this one, are fixated on looks and what it can get them. In my opinion, it’s no longer “fashionable” to be traditional or to have grassroots values. It’s late and I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with this, but nonetheless, as I stated above, I find it very admirable of you to post something such as this. We all think you’re hot for your own unique reasons!

5. isabella mori - April 19, 2008

raul, you’re beautiful because you GLOW! i haven’t known you for a long time but i suspect that this is a permanent glow – something which does come from inside.

i have a nose story, too. i have this, um, aristocratic nose. when i was 14, i had to go to a ear-nose-throat specialist for my tonsils. after the examination, he said to me, you’re quite pretty but you should do something about your nose! after nearly 40 years, i still relish the outrage that i felt. this was MY nose, godammit! telling off this stuffy, self-important doctor was great fun πŸ™‚

when i lived in paraguay, i also once refused a spiffy job offer because it would have required me to wear nylons.

conventional beauty is often conformed beauty. conformed is booooring.

and part of YOUR glow comes from the fact that you’re not boring πŸ™‚

6. Raul - April 19, 2008

Thank you all for all your kind words and comments. I share my experiences because I make better sense of the world through the eyes of other people, and your comments have been extremely insightful and sweet. And that is entirely priceless!

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