Thursday, 10 February 2011

Okay, bear with me, this is going somewhere...

I confess.  I have a terrible weakness for Scotsmen.

I like them swarthy and impish….

Neil Oliver (BBC)

Bronzed and muscled…

Kevin McKidd (BBC)

Quiet and sensuous….

Denis Lawson (BBC)

Skinny and slightly mad.

David Tennant (BBC)

I even like them scrawny and foul-mouthed….

Peter Capaldi

 Or just plain wrecked.

Ken Stott

Although even I have my limits….

Gregor Fisher as Rab C Nesbit
 Something that struck me as I was drooling over Neil Oliver’s latest offering last night is that watching television or film is the only occasion when it is acceptable to spend an extended period of time looking at someone.  Just think about it – if you spend an hour or so staring at someone going about their daily life, you’d get had up for stalking at the very least.

I was having a conversation with a friend about sexual attraction the other day, and she commented that as she gets older she find that she is able to look at men in a purely aesthetic way.  It is possible for her to appreciate what she called ‘the beauty of youth’, the sheer beauty of a young man, without any element of lust coming into her perception.

I am lucky.  Being a Libran with a distinctly visual bias, I have always been able to do this.  I can see heartbreaking beauty in just about anyone I meet.  Last year, when I was drawing studies for a series of caricatures, I was almost moved to tears by a snapshot of one subject.

Most people don’t do this, however.  They equate beauty with sex.  Yet people who would never dream of going to an art gallery to look at Michelangelo’s David will spend vast portions of their waking hours staring at beautiful people on the TV.  Has the visual media become the only channel of aesthetic appreciation we have left in our society?

That said, I appreciate that beauty is subjective.  Few people would agree with my selection of what I deem to be attractive men shown above.  (And I confess to more than a smattering of lust thrown in here.)  But what about this self portrait of Rembrandt?  He may be old and pouchy-looking, but look at the eyes.  Isn’t he beautiful?
National Portrait Gallery Website

Next time you are watching the news, or out and about in the street, take a few moments to see the beauty in other human beings.  Who do you think is beautiful?


  1. Right, so I have to effect a scottish accent, do I?

  2. nah, just get one of these