A week has passed and I can’t help noticing that the questions in the previous two posts have been left unanswered. Surely it can’t be because there are few good dictionaries around?
The questions were meant to open a new topic, since we all know and comment on the obsession with physical beauty. Marilyn was far from being obsessed with it in the same sense as we use the term today, for she was endowed naturally with beauty by even the most rigorous standards.
What was a case in point in the previous post had to do with language. Use late in the structure I’m sorry (no comma, no pause!) I’m late and everybody will understand that you apologize for not being punctual, or for not arriving on time. People who are latecomers arrive late for their appointments, and it seems they can’t help it – that is, latecomers suffer from lateness by definition.
But use the same word (as an adjective) before a noun – or a name (as in the case of Marilyn to refer to the actress’s renowned lateness) and the only meaning you will get is that the person has passed away. Needless to say, we could do better than to associate the presenter’s cruel joke with the fact that Marilyn had at the time some eighty days left to live; we might assume instead that he insisted on being “witty” in front of the 15,000 people in the hall, at the same time doing his best to cheer up the president (his brother-in-law) celebrated on the occasion.
Which sends us back in time to where we left the “thread”: dictionary work. Without this invaluable tool, I’m afraid the next two posts will seem a bit obscure. In fact, they are the facets of one of the most highly topical subjects these days: physical perfection.
So, what is your idea of physical beauty?
Is it true that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ as a former post was trying to prompt you to answer, and has now become the title of the present post?
Do we have a uniform concept of physical perfection?
Few people are born with a ‘perfect’ body. But what does ‘perfect’ mean? Should we take it to mean the Golden Myth of Perfect Proportions in Leonardo da Vinci’s sketch of the Vitruvian Man?
What happens when people are dissatisfied with their physiques?
You will find out in the article below.
Cosmetic surgery gives people the chance to improve on nature, and in the United States teenagers and men are becoming the latest patients to seek medical ‘remodelling’.
The article contains some nine chunks in italics for as many words (or short phrases) that have been typed below the text, plus three extra words which you do not need to use. A dictionary will do the trick!
AMERICAN TEENS AND BODY BUILDERS SEEK COSMETIC IMPROVEMENTS
|Conan the Barbarian|
Tiffany White, a schoolgirl aged seventeen from suburban Los Angeles, never liked her ' chubby cheeks. ‘A lot of people said I looked like Bette Midler and that really bothered me,’ she said. In the old days she would have had to accept a disagreeable situation. But this year she joined thousands of other American teenagers in opting for surgery and had the fat vacuumed out and her nose remodelled while she was at it. Once the domain of the rich and vain, aesthetic surgery, as the practitioners prefer to call it, is doing wonders for adolescent self-esteem and making millions for doctors, at the same time causing uneasy feelings of doubt among professional bodies.
|The Goddess Venus|
Teenagers have become a big market for plastic surgery,’ said Dr Martin Sullivan, an Illinois surgeon who says between eight and ten teenagers consult him every month. Some surgeons calculate roughly that teenagers account for 25 per cent of their business. According to the latest figures, last year 117,000 teenagers under eighteen had rhinoplasty (or ‘nose-jobs’). Almost as many had ear-pinning, followed by chin augmentation and then dermabrasion - a sort of sandpapering technique which removes acne scars from the skin. A small but increasing number of Asian teenagers are having blepharoplasty, an eyelid operation which produces a more rounded Caucasian look. The use of silicone muscle to correct misshapen parts of the body has been widespread for some time, but plastic surgeons now report that 20 per cent of their clients are males seeking decorative muscles. In Beverley Hills Dr Mel Bircoll has turned more than fifty weak, flat thoraxes into brawny specimens using a technique which inserts two or three lumps of silicone into the chest through a small nick in the armpit. Aside from chest muscles, surgeons report that the next most popular operation is to the cheeks and jaw. ‘People want the square-featured Schwarzenegger look,’ said Dr Darryl Hodgkinson. While many surgeons do not believe artificial muscles for males will ever become really popular, they are optimistic about the growth prospects for teenage cosmetic surgery. They argue that surgery can help cure the insecurity and the feeling of undue awareness of oneself that comes from a lack of self-esteem.
bulging - catch on in a big way - cherished - deformity - doting -estimate - lump it - protruding - prompting qualms - puny - self-consciousness - swollen