Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Eye of the Beholder

One of the blogs I read every day without fail is called "It Is a Numeric Life" (you can find it on my recommended link list). It's kept by a medical school librarian who is fascinated by numbers and statistics, and he finds some really amazing figures that can make you sit back and think.

A few days ago, his post was titled, "Breast enlargement enlarge self-esteem, sexuality." According to the statistics on which this post was based, a survey of 84 women before and after breast augmentation surgery showed that their self-esteem increased by 13%, and sexual function by 11% as a result of the surgery.

In my comment on that post (and I just had to comment you understand), I noted that I think this is kind of sad. It's sad to think that a woman would feel so unhappy with her body that she'd feel the need to resort to surgery to try and improve it. We live, of course, in a society obsessed with youth and beauty, and because men generally seem to prefer women with large breasts, breast augmentation has become the most common form of cosmetic surgery.

As I've written in this space before, the old adage is still true: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And the comment made by a comedian years ago is equally true: yes, beauty is only skin deep, but that's deep enough - what do you want, an adorable pancreas?

More than 25 years ago I was living the newly-single life in Germany, and dated my way thorough the female population of (then) West Berlin. My friends got used to seeing me with a certain type of lady - dark-haired, dark-eyed Latina or Mediterranean types. They were then understandably astounded when I ended up marrying a pale German redhead, the exact opposite of the physical type they'd grown used to expecting.

The reason, of course, is that you don't marry at the skin level - you marry the entire person, and I was fortunate enough to find an extraordinarily beautiful, lively, and intelligent lady I could relate to on every level. If specific physical attributes were all that was important, I could have held out for a dark-complected Italian or Mexican girl with gentle curves and hairy arms, but what's the point? In time, our hair turns gray and our once-firm bodies gradually go south...and if all you married for was the physical part, you'll spend a large part of your life being mighty unhappy.

I guess I'm wandering a little bit here, but my point is that we need to be able to be happy in our own bodies. It's one thing to have an unfortunate physical disfigurement that needs to be corrected by cosmetic surgery, but quite another to feel the need for larger breasts because of the perceived preferences of others. I'm just one guy, but I appreciate a lady like my wife who is beautiful on every level - one who is well-educated and a good conversationalist, loves to dance, and makes the most of what she has by dressing well and looking good. I don't think any lady is unattractive unless she chooses to matter how large or small her breasts are.

And let's not talk about us 55-year old guys with gray hair and middle aged guts, thank you very much...

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


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