The Inner Face

Think about the notions of beautiful and ugly. In particular, the way that the people you love become beautiful in your eyes. It reveals something about the different things we pay attention to depending on whether we’re regarding something new or something familiar. For most examples I discuss in this post, I will refer to people, but later maybe I can explore how this might apply to things as well.

A related aside: many years ago I had a brief conversation with a woman I had just met that evening. I honestly no longer remember where and when, or even the rough context of our meeting. At a friend’s party is about as far as I’d be willing to venture. In any case, the conversation was about wrinkles on your skin, in particular on your face. She was fretting about them. Now, I have always been dismayed by what I perceive to be a general and pervasive anxiety about the effects of aging that affects women, in particular, acutely.

People should be comfortable with the lines time draws on their faces, because those lines aren’t random cruelties of aging. They are directly caused by the expressions we put on over the course of our lives, In that sense, they are our personalities made manifest.

But this post isn’t about the whys and wherefores of the aging complex and gender. I just remember that I offered her a viewpoint that I hope I can maintain as time begins to show on my skin: that people should be proud of the lines in their skin, because they are a history of their emotional life. As my friend L. once said, “we’re made of the same stuff as everything else.” End aside.

When you look at someone unfamiliar, by definition, you can only see what’s on the surface. What strikes people as beautiful or ugly in an initial impression are the aesthetic markers — symmetry, ratio, cultural norms, etc. Sometimes familiarity with people can grow very quickly, but it’s a process. This surface-only perception is even more primary when a person’s expression is neutral — at that time, all you can see is the prettiness or ugliness of their “outer face”.

So, what’s the “inner face”? You can’t see it all the time, at least at first. When it’s visible, it sits on the landscape of the outer face. It is the thing that you find either beautiful or ugly in people that you know. It’s the collection of expressions that, because you are familiar with the person, you associate with traits of theirs, positive or a negative. A furrowing of the brow when they are concentrating that you associate with their pleasantly contemplative nature. A tilt to their lips that you associate with an unfortunate tendency they have to think of themselves as superior.

The inner face is a dynamic manifestation of who a person is. After a while, you may stop seeing the outer face of some people completely. Even when you regard the most neutral image of that person, you are still seeing that face’s potential.

To bring the aside back around, aging kinda puts your inner face on the outside, as time etches into your skin the evidence of all your expressions.

And the Other Cosmetic Shoe Drops

Back in August I posted about an ad for mascara that I thought was ridiculous. I said

I think my feelings about paint-on false lashes can be captured with this made up ad copy: “Beyond foundation… face spackle!”

Well. I suppose I should have expected this:

Face Spakle

Face Spakle

Yes, Laura Geller sells Face Spackle, Eye Spackle, and Lip Spackle.

Ok, I admit that I’m a makup bigot. I think that the right amount of makeup that a person should wear is “none.” I just mostly think people look better without it. But I’m not trying to bang that particular drum right now, I’m just saying — face spakle just doesn’t sound like good marketing. You shouldn’t associate anything that is meant for your face with somthing that is applied with a trowel.

Thanks to F. over at The Holophusicon for the tip.

Yoga for Sarah Palin

Ah, the intersection of Yoga and Politics.

I’ve been checking out what yoga podcasts there are online. There were like 30 listed in the iTunes directory alone. One of them is titled “Tara Stiles Yoga.” I’m not ready to endorse it as the best yoga vodcast out there, I’m not really done checking out the scene. But it is definitely the one with the most political satire.

Who butters their quesadilla?

Ruby Tuesday has done a lot to look better recently, I’m told. Not that I’d know, since last night was the first time I’ve ever been in one. But the mojoto was fine, in fact it came with a stick of sugar cane in it, an this avocado quesadilla was really good. Only… one of the things on this plate is a dollop of butter. Huh? No, I didn’t try it. Yes, I’m knocking it.

The Secular Humanist Pantheon: Introduction

Say you’re a Secular Humanist, like the BeliefNet Belief-O-Matic says I am. Despite your complete lack of faith in any deity, or indeed any kind of supernatural force, you might nonetheless from time to time find youself doing something resembling praying.

It’s almost always during a particular kind of moment, when nothing you do can effect an outcome you desire. And it makes sense for that to be the case, because if there was something you could do, you’d be doing it, instead of just praying. You know no-one’s listening. You’re completely confident that no effort of will on your part can in any way change what will happen. And yet still, you find your thoughts completely consumed, even if briefly, by a mantra: “please, please, please, let X occur.”

I found myself wondering about this the other day. If you are praying… then to whom?

Actually, I’ve thought a lot about this question since it occurred to me, but the full report on that line of reasoning is for another, more serious, post. This post is about a frivolous and yet effective answer.

It all started when one day, as I waited on an NYC subway platform for a train. There I was, thinking “please, please, please, let a train come soon,” when in a flash, it hit me – I was praying to the deity of NYC public transit, the great and powerful (and capricious) M’Ta-A. (That’s pronounced “mm-ta-aah”.)

So now you know. When you’re on a tight schedule, and your 1 train downtown pulls into the 72nd street station, and there’s a 3 train just waiting for you across the platform, and you have been favored by M’Ta-A. If you mutter thanks, M’Ta-A hears it. And should you find yourself assed out in Queens at 3am waiting for the G, you know who has forsaken you.

Mike Doughty sure knew it, when he wrote Thank You Lord for Sending Me the F Train.

Thus was revealed to me the notion of the Secular Humanist Pantheon. Now that I know, it’s so obvious, and as a Pastafarian, I already worship one of the supreme lords of this pantheon.

In future posts I may elaborate on the members of this pantheon.

Eat it all

The real-deal soft-serve ice cream that Carl’s (in Fredricksburg, VA) serves up from almost antique-looking ice cream makers is awesome. However, I always find it disturbing when my food tries to tell me things. That cone says “EAT-IT-ALL”.