Michael St. Amand: Slave to Vanity
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Slave to Vanity | Richard L. Tooke

The Western World is a Slave to Youthfulness, which insidiously leads to being a Slave to Vanity.

We all remember the internet video of John Edward's combing his hair to the song:I Feel Pretty. Devastating. But could any of us survive such a marriage of music and our performance before a mirror each morning?

Inside all of us, male and female, we feel that our beauty and youth is hidden beneath our unacceptable outer appearance. The prince inside the beast of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. The frog prince. Narcissus, who was fated to fall in love with himsef at great peril. Gustav von Aschenbach 's love for the Polish youth, Tadzio, leading him to the barber that tinted his hair and brought the appearance of youth to h's chee'.This led him to ignore the signs of death all around him in Venice, staying on longer then he should have, parading around Venice with his false appearance of youth, hoping to attach Tadzios attention. We all know that he died on the beach at the Lido with Tadzio in his view as a young god with a halo of sun behind him.

There was an episode of the TV series (1962-71)THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES (yes I was one of those who relaxed after work to watch this trifle) when a country cousin visited them in Beverly Hills. When they took her downtown, she inquired as to where all of the men were? A male in her environment without a beard was a boy. To maintain a youthful appearance, whether we know it or not, that is the underlying reason most men shave their face each day, including myself, and women periodically shave their legs and under their arms. Depilatories and waxing are common for even the very young today. In many civilizations men have shaved, not only their face, but their whole body. However, in this country hair free bodies are everywhere, not just in advertisements, but all around us. I certainly remember as a child we would snigger at women who had hair under their arms and on their legs. Seems like a natural part of their bodies to me.

Look closely at people on TV and in magazines, none have blemishes. Their skins a smooth and youthful, the hair on their heads are luxuriant and plentiful, and their bodies are slim, no matter what their ages. That is to what most of us aspire.
When arriving in Naples-on-the-Gulf fifteen years ago, I astonished to read these words in a local magazine: Who is your plastic Surgeon? Really!

We look down on those who indulge themselves with the extraordinary means they take to feed their vanity to recreate who they have never been. BUT - beware of saying NEVER ME, for inside all of us there at least a little bit of Gustav von Aschenbach.

Richard L. Tooke





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