by L. G. William Chapman, B.A., LL.B.

It is effortful not to tilt one’s head and smile when arresting one’s eyes upon the freshly scrubbed and beaming face of an innocent child. Likewise the fresh face of a young and especially attractive person can have the same magnetic affect. Nature loves a winner and when it comes to winning, good looks are no booby prize. For those of us past youthfulness and who as a result prefer to avoid reflective surfaces, it can be one of life’s unexpected rewards to discover the bounty of the cosmos expressed in the sanguine features of vitality characteristic of a young and winsome person. Beauty has such an inescapable authenticity. It is virtually impossible to divert one’s eyes from it. It is a priceless commodity for whose arena there is no charge of admission.

Thankfully for us all the quality of the treasure we adore is different. Not everyone’s view of beauty is considered ideal. What for one person is captivating is for another not so. Certainly there are those whose appearance is so universally artistic and profoundly meritorious that most would not deny it being a thing of beauty. More often than not the appeal is the balance and harmony with nature, though always subjective. Nonetheless there have been attempts throughout history to establish a classic look interestingly involving mathematical dimensions such as symmetry and proportion. It is also believed that the model of beauty oddly derives from the “averageness” of one’s features, the less likely one’s appearance is markedly different from the sum of the total.

The word beauty evolved from the Greek word meaning “hour”, the implication being that beauty is aligned with the ripeness of one’s age, which nicely captures the beauty that can be found in both a baby and an elegant octogenarian. Be that as it may, I find that elegance does not compete with the verve of a fresh face. To pollute the idea of outer beauty with the necessity of inner beauty is in my opinion equivalent to retailing the product in a new package.

A fresh face can come at a cost. When the bloom is gone, the flower is cast aside. For some who have been lucky enough to be endowed with visual appeal, the loss of it through misfortune or attrition can precipitate unwelcome consequences. The loss of beauty and its collateral advantages of personal attraction can unleash devastating results if the person has not acquired other skills of association and social interaction. Even when not dissolved, beauty presents a standard of comparison which can invite enmity and lead to discontentment.

Inevitably even the fresh face becomes common-place. The analysis of time always points to the defects of nature. Time, no matter how little of it may have expired, is an exhausting fuel, one which leaves its own less flattering patina instead. Much of the draw of a fresh face is its mere novelty. How quickly we become heedless of contemporary beauty! Yet no sooner does one fresh face fail to attract than another passes by. Nature is generous in its provision of moments of beauty.