Beauty Under the Microscope

936full-hedy-lamarrThe plan was simple.  Having written a couple of heavy-lift articles in the past few weeks, I figured I’d ease-on-down with a “twinkie” that entailed little more than picking five or ten drop-dead gorgeous gals, a few handsome men and settling for an easy-going fluff piece.

That was the plan.  Unfortunately, the plan began to morph, taking on a life of its own…partially thanks to some strange conversations with Pamela.  (Hint:  no matter how many decades you spend with your mate, never forget that men and women are different creatures.)

 The first topic?  Pretty innocuous.  What constitutes “good-looking”?   Even at the tender age of… silver-haired maturity, I was absolutely positive that my ganglion had sufficiently solved this simplistic question several decades ago.  As it turns out, I was wrong and sometimes that’s a good thing.  Old questions bubbled up, things I’d long ago stopped trying to figure out.  Sooo…are you ready to take still another plunge into a topic you’re certain you already know about?

046-ava-gardner-theredlistgene TierneyExtreme Beauty:  In the back of my mind I had about 10 or 12 sure-fire candidates: Heddy Lamarr topped-the list (and kicks off this essay above) followed by Gene Tierny and then Ava Gardner…the unholy triad.   Ms. Lamarr, by the way, still tops the hyper-chart (for me) with sheer staggering star power and lethal good looks.  And yet…want to hear a quote from Heddy?  “Modeling is easy.  You just stand there and look dumb.”  You see, Heddy Lamarr was also gifted with a genius mentality, unconcerned with her looks.  She generated inventions which helped to win the war, gave her patents to the US government…didn’t sell them.  She is, in no small way, the reason why we have smart torpedoes and cruise missiles.  You gotta love her if only for that.

Ava Gardner?  Old movie entitled One Touch of Venus, black & white but GREAT.  As a little kid, watching that movie, I imprinted on her for what the essence of female beauty really is.   Gene Tierny…  They said she’d walk onto the set and everything would just stop.  All men turned into mumbling idiots.  That’s power.

mel and Anne

Beauty and the Beast :  The Mel Brooks Strategy.

Don’t know how much you know about this amazing, yet highly unlikely couple.  The story fascinates and as you will see later, inspired me with a strategy I hadn’t considered.

Anne Bancroft (Anna Maria Louisa Italiano) was a superb actress, also turn-and-stare gorgeous…but there’s more!  She was funny as hell and LOVED to laugh.  When she met with Mel Brooks, (little short, homely Jewish guy) Mel was smitten.  Better than that, he had a vision!  Anne Bancroft would say, “I’m heading downtown to the hair dressers.”  Mel would say, “ am I!  I’ll drive you there.”  Anne would say a day later, “I have to drive over to the gyno for a visit.” Mel would say, “Hey!  I’m headin’ in that direction.  I’ll drop you off…pick you up, too!”  Another woman might have been annoyed.  Another woman might have told him to get lost.  But Anne recognized the value in a man who could make her smile…and laugh all her life.  They had a long and successful marriage.  Lesson:  For all of us, who were born…not-so-handsome…not-so-gorgeous...there’s HOPE!!!  Truth is, many a gorgeous gal spends an inordinate amount of time alone.  Men are intimidated.   Other women want to hiss and scratch.  Being good-looking might have some drawbacks…


handsome guysMen are CLUELESS as to what Women find Handsome in a Guy. 

This is a topic where Pamela and I, even after hundreds of years of marriage, can not get it straight.  We never even agreed on which Beatle was better looking, but then things got a lot more complicated.   It seems that women are attracted to nice looking men…BUT…they don’t want them prettier than they are.  I have no concept, no clue whatsoever, as to why throngs of girls wiggled and gasped at the feet of the Stones…early years, later years or really later years.  They were, in my opinion, a rather homely, scruffy-looking bunch from the get-go.  These guys pictured above are the exception.  And, you can include Matt Bomer, Pierce Brosnan and well…I’m not going out of my way to advertise for them.

kissingerAnd yet,  I understand that for decades, Henry Kissinger (good Lord!!!) was pursued by ultra-gorgeous models and starlets.  Henry Kissinger???   With the exception of the guys above, I have no idea in hell what constitutes a good-looking guy.  I, for one, always took the Mel Brooks strategy.  What you don’t have in looks, try to charm them out of their panties.  Make them laugh and giggle as you try to figure out how to get that bra strap undone.  Laughter works…I know that much…but it’s work.  Each day, I have to think of some new way to make Pamela blow her coffee.  It’s an uphill battle.   Combing my hair one way or the other?  Not so much.

3 beautiesThe funny thing was, after looking at the trio, the next seven or so fell into a weird category.  Gorgeous, sometimes incredibly so, but…something is happening.  Again…this is my essay so I’m running with my taste.  Yours will differ and that’s how it’s supposed to be.  Morena Baccarin is up in the top-middle position, but…  Who???   then there’s  (double who?) a gal who was Miss Universe and whose looks could kill from 100 paces.  Then there’s Penelope Cruz, Jane Seymour (early years),  Joan Collins (early years), Sherry Jackson, Michelle Pfeiffer and on and on towards infinity.

If you examine the statistics, as a country we’re all getting heavier (fatter) but our young girls are getting prettier…or just possibly they’ve learned the 85 tricks to making your face look model-quality.  Sooo… is “pretty close to gorgeous” pretty common?  Yeah, it really is.  Drop in at any high school, grocery store, or make-up center.  There’s some heavy- duty artillery there.  But then, scrub off the make-up and teased hair and everything else and you just might not be able to recognize your own daughter.  They really got good at this!!!

aaaa sheltonBeauty Where You Least Expect It:  The gal you see on your left is Phyllis Shelton.  A beautiful woman now, she was best known a while ago because she was Elizabeth Taylor’s double.  For a number of scenes, you may have been looking at Phyllis.  If you GOOGLE her name, you’ll see many side-by-side photos of her next to Liz.  It is there where Ms. Taylor suffered a bit in my opinion.  Slightly coarser features than Phyllis, thicker nose, not so fine-boned.  You probably saw her on cigarette commercials…on a swing with flowers, modeling for Revlon and all kinds of things.  How did Pamela and I run into her?  When my mom died, we had to trek to New Jersey to get her estate settled.  We had interviewed three realtors that day.  Very nice, personable women.  Hard to choose.  Then Phyllis drove up and it took thirty seconds to make the choice.  No, not by her looks, but by her personality which actually exceeded her still striking looks.  Did she do a good job?  Oh…you bet!  We’ve become friends.  She is a pistol, a lady and still breath-taking.

1352748722_jennier-lawrence-640How Much Magic is in the Make-up?  Well, the short answer is: a whole lot.  Just to make the point, 3.5 seconds on Google and I had several dozen examples.  The funny thing is, if I were to separate the befores from the afters, many of you, including myself would be hard put to figure out who they were looking at.  Make-up is, in many ways, as effective as a nerd on Photoshop.  I actually, as in literally (and I know how to use that word) saw a slice of pepperoni pizza transform into a beautiful woman in the span of six or seven Photoshop swipes.  If a pizza can look that pretty, we’re all in trouble.  Seriously, though, I wonder about girls who always appear decked in make-up, what happens the morning after in the shower, when the guy finally meets who he’s been dating.  Is it the same way with guys?  ….Not so much.  George Clooney won’t suddenly look like Mick Jagger when the spray hits his face.

aaaa pam with flowersDo People Look Better, Once You Get to Know Them?  Yes…and No….depending on whether you like them more…or less as you get to know them.  Each day Pamela becomes more beautiful to me.  She’s firey, funny, sexy, sometimes scary, the best editor I’ve ever had and a terrific artist.  Best of all, she puts up with me!!!  In this shot, she is just on the cusp of deciding whether to hose me down or not.  The expensive Nikon around my neck saved me at that particular moment.


8 Responses to "Beauty Under the Microscope"

  1. Carol Pilis says:

    People are all the most beautiful when they let their inner beauty shine and make others feel cared for and worthwhile.

    Carol P.

    • Henry Harvey says:

      Hi Carol!

      Well, we’re in 1000% agreement on that one. But…the reality in life is that there is inner and outer beauty. Inner beauty is much more important, but outer beauty is a fact of nature. The Elephant Man was a beautiful individual on the inside…..not so much on the outside.

  2. I read your article and enjoyed it, though I noticed a certain bias as to the hair color. The only blonde you show is a before and after with your make-up observations. Are you trying to tell us something?
    Angie T.

    • Henry Harvey says:

      Hi Angie,
      There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that there are thousands, perhaps millions of beautiful blondes on the planet. And we are awash in cliches like “Blondes have more fun.”, countered by the unfair label: “dumb blondes.”
      Having said all that, yeah you’re right. I’m biased…not against blondes but toward brunettes. My mom was a brunette and a beautiful lady. That probably had something to do with it. And 90% of the gals I’ve dated have been brunettes. We all have our personal preferences. And……as we age, most, if not all women become blondes for obvious reasons. And…then there are the fiery red-heads!

  3. Samantha Browne says:

    I like your choices of actresses with their classic good looks, especially the fact that they are all brunettes. Being a brunette myself, when I was a little girl, blondes were mostly featured on TV ads. I remember asking my mom what could be done to give me blue eyes and blonde hair. She told me just to wait until I got older, and that almost all of the famous beauties in history were brunettes, then she rattled off a long list of names. I am glad that I never went blonde (no one has ever called me dumb).
    Beauty is so over valued in our country,
    much more than brains, innovation, or kindness. Beauty is only your “bait” when you are dating. Looks alone can be hollow. To quote Judge Judy, “Beauty is temporary, dumb is forever”.

  4. Henry Harvey says:

    Helloooo Samantha! I’m going to try to run a little “interference” for you so all of your blonde girlfriends don’t poison your Fritos. Physical Beauty is temporary….yes….for EVERYBODY. If you only married your mate for physical reasons, you’d better start sniffing around for other things to attract each other. I like your idea of beauty being bait…..but I wonder…can’t inner beauty be a bait as well?

  5. Debbie says:

    I would like to expound on the concept of beauty from within. Two women come immediatelu to mind, Frieda Kahlo and Janice Joplin. Frieda has always been described as homely, I don’t think so. She was incredibly lovely. Janice, well just take one look at her face when she was really feeling the music, she was transformed. I think some women, glow from within, and you just can’t help but look at them. There are certain men as well. I know what it was about Kissinger, it was his power and he exuded it. Again, some men have that something, and it is damned attractive. Lastly, and I am not trying to blow smoke up your skirt, you and Pam glow with that inner something. I’ve known the two of you for a bit but before I knew either of you I couldn’t help but notice, something drew in my eyes and I have never looked away since.

  6. Henry Harvey says:

    What a great article! Phyllis Shelton is my cousin and the mold was broken when she was born. She’s beautiful, intelligent, dynamic, creative, and unstoppable!

    Love to her!

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