Monday, July 7, 2008

On beauty*

There is a famous song in French in which the singer wishes he was, if only for one hour, very beautiful, even if it meant being completely dumb (somehow in France it is impossible to be both attractive and smart, but it’s a whole other subject).

When I was younger, I often wondered what it would be like to be insanely attractive. I wondered what kind of life these people had. Did they always get exactly what they wanted ? Did they hang out in the street with the constant knowledge that mere mortal people would stop breathing for a second when they walked past them? Did they wake up in the morning thinking Holy Shit, life is great, I am good-looking ?

As years went on, I was lucky enough to meet a few very beautiful girls. Girls that were modeling or asked to model all the time. Girls that randomers would stop in the street just to tell them how hot they looked. Girls who could get you in any trendy club, no matter how long the queue was.

And for the last 5 and a half years, I've been sharing the life of a beautiful girl. Madame Red is so gorgeous indeed that I sometimes blame her for the bad traffic in Rome. Surely at least one accident a day is due to a driver catching a glimpse of her and consequently driving his car right into the bus in front of him, causing mayhem for a couple of hours.

In Seville, as it happens almost every week, two guys in a bar asked Madame Red if she was a model. She didn’t blush, she just smiled and said no. She is used to it, that’s her life.

Beauty, really, is a strange thing and it has many powers. (One thing, though, is that it’s not contagious. As much as I tried, I never caught it. Beauty, I am afraid, shuns me.)

Back in Rome yesterday, we went to Campo di Fiori to have a drink. At some stage Sasha Pivovarova and a male friend of hers sat down at the table just in front of us. Now, this girl is the face of Prada. We’re not talking about someone beautiful, we are talking about someone who incarnates beauty. Someone who gets paid because she is beautiful. Someone whose face appears on Vogue.

I was going to see, at last, what kind of life these people have and how people around them behave.

And what I saw somehow surprised me. No one stared at her, no one cared that she was there, no one batted an eyelid.

And this got me thinking. Major, I told myself, this girl gets the kind of reaction you get when you show up at a place. And then I thought of the propositions the Sophists used to make. (What ? I can’t show off a little bit ?). And so I wrote my own:

1st premise: People don’t give a shit about beautiful people when they see them (as proven by Sasha)
2nd premise: People don’t give a shit about me when they see me (as proven everyday)
Conclusion: Therefore, I, the Major, am a beautiful people.

I’ve always liked these Sophist dudes.

*I'm borrowing the title of Zadie Smith's novel. A very disappointing novel, but a novel all the same, a novel with abeginning and an end, a novel that she wrote on her own. How do these people do it?


nuttycow said...

I have no doubt that you, Major, are one of the beautiful people. If Mdm Red is married to you, you must be. Beautiful people attract beautiful people you see!

Anonymous said...

i'm with nuttycow... i bet you're one of those beautiful couples!
and that girl in the picture looks like she needs a good meal!

The Major said...

Thank you both. But don't insist I won't put up any pictures!

Caro said...

I love Jacques Brel. He wasn't good-looking and it didn't do him any harm...

But if as I imagine that is indeed you in Madame Red's facebook profile picture then you are indeed a very good-looking couple.

The Major said...

Caro: no it's not me, it's just a randomer that she thought would look ok on the picture.

Caro said...

That's exactly what I was thinking.