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How do you define physical beauty?

Posted by Nirmala N.

I admit that I generally agree with the old truism that "beauty is only skin deep." In general, my estimations of a person are based on less superficial qualities, which in turn influence how I think about their physical beauty.

I've noticed that as I've gotten older, I have a much broader definition of physical beauty than I used to. Whereas I once bought into conventional notions of what is considered beautiful (and my, was I a stringent and often harsh arbiter of judgment), it's the quirks and unique qualities that tend to stand out to me, and I really don't think I have one single definition of beauty.

But in general, sparkling eyes, an open smile, clear skin, and a contemplative demeanor are things that I tend to find beautiful. How about you?

Answers (4)
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Well I think this is an intimidating topic and perhaps that is why others have not (yet) commented.

Physical. You specifically say physical. Okay, I'll play.

Agreed that getting older has seasoned my definitions. If I reflect back to my high school days (which I prefer not to do) all the girls I fancies were quite Arian - blonde hair and blue eyed. Ah how times have changed.

I suppose my tastes have diversified. I now seem attracted to slim, fit women with dark hair. Of course a nice smile, a twinkle in the eyes, and clear skin are all very appealing. But over the last decade or so there have been many different looks that I've fancied.

I find kempt people, those who are well groomed, those who practice Saucha to be quite attractive. But my definitions have evolved (albeit only slightly) over time. I've learned to appreciate people of diverse appearance and background.

Gordon--oh, I didn't mean for it to be an intimidating topic! I think all of us have quite unique definitions of beauty that sometimes don't coincide with popular notions. I was simply curious as to what a community invested in the idea of health from the inside out might apprehend something like beauty. I'm sure that a lot of us have some negative associations with the words (particularly women who've too often been hit over the head with the supermodel ideal that's ubiquitous in pretty much every form of media), but I am also interested in how our ideals and values can sometimes shape our idea of what is beautiful. For instance, I am often drawn to people who have a soothing, gentle presence--they tend to be graceful and move almost effortlessly, which lends them a poise that I find beautiful. Now, people who don't value gentleness might not necessarily find the embodiment of such qualities attractive. I think that what we are drawn to and what we find beautiful, therefore, often ends up saying a lot about us.
I understand what you're saying about being drawn to people who have a gentle presence-no matter how a person looks, if they have a welcoming presence, wide, interested eyes that tell you that they're really listening to what you say, attract me. They come across to me as the kind of people who I'd want to be near.
Hi Kristen--yes, I feel exactly the same way. I guess in some ways, the kernel I was trying to get at was not WHAT we find beautiful, but how we define beauty in general. For instance, we can find plenty of different kinds of people beautiful, but what's the overarching idea that kind of ties them all together? For me, it would be something like gentleness or grace.
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