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06 August 2011 @ 12:44 pm
Show Me, Show You  
Last night, I was talking to frostfire_17, and she described someone as "classically gorgeous."

I pointed out that I had no idea what that meant. I wasn't kidding. I really don't. Best Beloved has given up on me on this score; she has instituted a series of rules to keep me from getting attacked by a mob because I accidentally describe a celebrity as, for example, "oddly stretched" when that person is, in fact, the apex of beautiful perfection. (Sample rule: If I think a man looks like any member of the rodent family, he is in fact exceedingly attractive, and I should not share my opinion with others until I am sure they don't have pitchforks.) But I have always had the belief that if I simply looked at enough pictures, I wouldn't have this problem. (I have no problem, for the record, knowing what I mean by gorgeous. But I want to know what other people mean, too.)

Since I had a willing victim right there, last night I asked Frost to name some classically gorgeous people. It went sort of like this (names redacted for reasons that will become clear):

Frostfire: There's always [name of person].
Me, studying the results of a google search: He looks like a man who really wants to sell you expensive real estate, even though he was up all night doing lines off Aaron Sorkin's ass.
Frost: But when he was younger - okay. Never mind. How about [name of other person]?
Me: Seriously? Look at his Wikipedia photo!
Frost: Oh my GOD. Don't use the Wikipedia photos. Go to Google Image search like a normal person.
Me, managing to whine in text: But then there's too many pictures.
Frost, patiently: But I am going to tell you which pictures to look at. Okay, got it? First one, last one on the first row.
Me: ...How can those possibly be the same person?

At that point, I decided to call the experiment on the grounds of keeping Frost from hating me. But I still want to know what other people mean by gorgeous. I've just learned that what I need is for people with functioning Gorgeousness Determination Circuits to let me borrow their brains.

So, this is where you come in! If you have a functioning GDC and some time on your hands, that is. What I want - what I very very much want oh please oh please - is for you to pick out a specific photo of a famous person, one that you think embodies the term "classically gorgeous." (I am avoiding all other kinds of hotness for the moment, on the grounds that I am very easily confused, especially when looking at pictures.) Then post it here, so I do not get distracted by the plethora of images of that person on the internet. (One thing I learned last night: the more famous you are, the more truly awful photos of you there are in the world.)

And please remember to include the name of the person, because it's not like I will ever have a clue otherwise. (This is why I give up on "Post hot pictures!" threads. For one thing, I am never sure what kind of hot the posters mean. For another thing, I never have any idea who the people are, which makes it - confusing. Am I looking at the same person over and over? Or are these all different people? What is going on? Why do the pixels mock me? And then I have to close the tab or start ranting on street corners.)

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comments.
Lithyhalcyon_shift on August 6th, 2011 07:59 pm (UTC)
When someone says "classically gorgeous" to me, I tend to think, like. Plump women in old paintings? Or possibly that the person has a symmetrical face?

But I don't think that's what they mean, so I guess I'll go with Elizabeth Taylor.

macey muse: demolitionmacey_muse on August 6th, 2011 08:07 pm (UTC)
I have come to the conclusion, through many years of confusion and calling people by each other's names, that I am pretty much functionally face blind. Thus I recognise the 'but ____ is really hot!' argument above XD I can never tell! The people I find hot frequently aren't, to generally accepted standards. It's all in personality and actions rather than face. So I am of Absolutely No Help wrt your question, but much sympathy!
MsSamyXmssamyx on August 6th, 2011 08:07 pm (UTC)
 Michael Fassbender 

Mark Strong

Off the top of my head. Sorry that you only get links, on a weird connection. Disclaimer: I have a Thing for personalities, and these twos characters tend to be attractive ones. Still think their classically gorgeous.
Proactively Untwist Octagonal Hippopotamus Pants: morgana - not your mother'sdramaturgca on August 6th, 2011 08:14 pm (UTC)
Amy Adams
starfishchick on August 6th, 2011 08:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Amy Adams
Yes, I was going to say Amy Adams as well.
Re: Amy Adams - butterfly on August 6th, 2011 09:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Sylvia: Gasp!rheasilvia on August 6th, 2011 08:16 pm (UTC)
I call your GDC and raise you an OABI...
Well, personally I think the problem is that the version of Gorgeousness Hollywood wants to sell us right now is pretty damn plastic and fake.

I think everyone has their own versions of gorgeous, and the fact that the US entertainment and advertising industry wants everyone to subscribe to just one version (and that this is a version of beauty never actually found in nature) does *not* mean that the GDCs of people who can't see this Official Artifical Beauty Ideal as gorgeous is somehow off.

Not to mention that beauty is also culturally determined, and all that.

But anyway, since that discussion is not actually one you were wanting right now, and despite the fact that my own GDC does not often overlap with the OABI of Hollywood...

One pic of a celebrity I consider classically gorgeous, coming right up.

Audrey Hepburn:

Edited at 2011-08-06 08:18 pm (UTC)
Petapetslife on August 6th, 2011 08:23 pm (UTC)
Re: I call your GDC and raise you an OABI...
Oh yes!
Re: I call your GDC and raise you an OABI... - rheasilvia on August 6th, 2011 08:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: I call your GDC and raise you an OABI... - fenris_wolf0 on August 7th, 2011 03:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: I call your GDC and raise you an OABI... - rachelmanija on August 6th, 2011 08:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Proactively Untwist Octagonal Hippopotamus Pants: white collar - hat porndramaturgca on August 6th, 2011 08:17 pm (UTC)
Matt Bomer
A pink plastic crypt that fits in your palmfiveforsilver on August 6th, 2011 09:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Matt Bomer
My sister and I saw him in Chuck and we thought he was pretty unattractive. Then we saw him in White Collar and he grew on us, but it was because we loved Neal. If we hadn't seen him in a role we liked so much, we'd still probably find him unattractive.

It just goes to show how relative it all is, I guess...
Re: Matt Bomer - syredronning on August 6th, 2011 10:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Matt Bomer - greyminerva on August 6th, 2011 10:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Rachel M Brown: Takeshirachelmanija on August 6th, 2011 08:22 pm (UTC)
Just one? Hmm.

I have to say, classically gorgeous makes me think "stereotypically aristocratic Anglo person." Or Greek statues. Neither of which I'm particularly into.

So I will instead go with "gorgeous in a way that you don't need to qualify." Like, some people I think are amazing-looking, but you have to be into quirky/rugged/scruffy/not conventionally handsome but very sexy/etc. Others appeal to a wide spectrum of admirers, though of course no one's appeal is universal.

Here is my nomination for a man whose gorgeousness needs no qualifications: actor Takeshi Kaneshiro

For a woman, I nominate silent film star Louise Brooks.
corvis_corvaxcorvis_corvax on August 7th, 2011 12:51 am (UTC)
I second Louise Brookes.
(no subject) - emma_in_oz on August 7th, 2011 01:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - innocentsmith on August 7th, 2011 03:23 am (UTC) (Expand)
Petapetslife on August 6th, 2011 08:23 pm (UTC)
"Classic Beauty" always meant, to me, that it was sort of a timeless, ageless thing. Like they wouldn't look out of place in old black and white films, or in the most recent movie out. Very traditionally regular, handsome features, no large noses (Adrian Brody right out) or odd chins (sorry, Benedict Cumberbatch) or exaggerated feature or features (nope, Angelina Jolie doesn't make it either).

So you've got your Audrey Hepburn, your Grace Kelly, your Charlton Heston, and in more recent times, I'd say that in purely aesthetic terms, Jude Law, Jensen Ackles, Denzel Washington, Charlize Theron, Halle Berry all come close, by this definition!

I don't think "classic beauty" is more or less beautiful or attractive by any means than quirky beauty or modern beauty or anything else...I think it's just a descriptor.

Edited at 2011-08-06 08:25 pm (UTC)
Fleur Rochardfleurrochard on August 6th, 2011 08:39 pm (UTC)
I don't think "classic beauty" is more or less beautiful or attractive by any means than quirky beauty or modern beauty or anything else...I think it's just a descriptor.

This. It's a certain type of beauty.
Helen W.wneleh on August 6th, 2011 08:25 pm (UTC)
Have you ever done a test for face blindness (Prosopagnosia)?

General info: http://www.faceblind.org/research/

A test: http://www.faceblind.org/facetests/ff/ff_intro.php It does ask for personal info, but all that's happened to me because of it is an afternoon being shown pictures of people I couldn't tell apart, plus shoes.

As for who's beautiful... well, all babies; my daughters; some little old ladies at church; and the young woman who does http://www.bubzbeauty.com/.

Edited at 2011-08-06 08:26 pm (UTC)
Stasiastasia on August 6th, 2011 08:32 pm (UTC)
Huh. I'm not face-blind and tried the first test on that page... which I did only okay on because I can't remember names, not because I couldn't identify the faces.

Interesting. Name-blind, that's me!


(no subject) - archant on August 6th, 2011 09:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - stasia on August 6th, 2011 10:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wneleh on August 7th, 2011 12:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kindkit on August 6th, 2011 09:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wneleh on August 7th, 2011 12:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
utterfrivolityutterfrivolity on August 6th, 2011 08:30 pm (UTC)
Whenever I hear or say "classically gorgeous", I think of someone with a very symmetrical face and clear skin.

Catherine Zeta-Jones:

George Clooney:

Stillanestillane on August 6th, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC)
Huh. I'm always kind of fascinated by people who can look at pictures and think, Yes, that. I totally want that, because I seem to be largely incapable of it. Like, it's not an inability to be attracted by the physical - I can absolutely home in on hotness based on seeing someone at a distance, or in a silent video clip - it's that a standard, basic still shot rarely does it for me. What's weirder is that I can judge the relative attractiveness of a situation in a photo (mostly naked and artfully sprawling > posed headshot, for instance), and be attracted to that person in that situation, but I can't judge the relative attractiveness of two average people's photos side by side.

This makes internet dating a land of confusion and squinty-eyed indecision ("Would he be hot if he were moving? Mostly naked and artfully sprawling? Can I pole someone about this?" :/)
gwynevere1 on August 6th, 2011 08:38 pm (UTC)
When you ask for "classically gorgeous," I feel there is only one possible answer:

Cary Grant.
Keswindhoverkeswindhover on August 6th, 2011 08:53 pm (UTC)
Re: When you ask for "classically gorgeous," I feel there is only one possible answer:
Cary Grant always wins a prize. He's so pretty it hurts.

I think 'classically beautiful' is more or less the same as completely symmetrical. My perfect example is:


Michelle Yeoh.
tesserae_ on August 6th, 2011 08:43 pm (UTC)
Hedy Lamarr, in this photo has that classically gorgeous look: very regular features and well-defined bone structure. Perfect skin. And good jewelry, that always, helps!
Meret: stayhydratedmeret on August 6th, 2011 08:45 pm (UTC)
You might find this helpful. It's normally what people mean when they say classic beauty.

The Math Behind the Beauty