What is beauty?

By Dave Bowen

I have been formulating this article for quite a while. I was not quite sure how to approach it, or even if I should try. The point of the article is a good one but I worry that it will be misunderstood. With that disclaimer, I will venture where men dare not tread.

I will start with a not un-related story. My wife, Cindy and I were in Salt Lake City a few years ago with her family. Since one of the  sisters wouldn’t fly out for several hours, my wife and two of her sisters decided to go dress shopping. Most men know where this part of the story gets unpleasant. Yes, they invited me to go, and I consented. So here I am in the dress section of a well-known department store looking after the three purses while each woman in turn would come out with their latest find and ask, (you knew this was coming) “does this dress make me look fat?” Now we all know that there is no correct answer to that question. They all still speak to me but it was the longest two hour dodge and weave of my life.

So this is where my article begins. Any honest man will tell you that at least one time in his life, however briefly, he has wondered what it would be like to be married to a supermodel. It is completely normal. When I got married I believed my wife to be the most beautiful woman in the world, and still do. I have changed, physically, over the last 38 years and she will admit that she has too. And still, to me, she is even more beautiful.

I think it would be fair to say that some women today are not pleased with their current appearance. Whose fault is that, really? (It’s not who you think!) Our “modern” society has a very narrow view of what a woman “should” look like but honestly, isn’t that a perception problem? How should beauty be defined anyway?

The “Hollywood” beauty definers tell us that women should be tall, thin, curvy, and not a hair out of place. This definition is pretty limited as it doesn’t really address who women really are inside. Now that is not to say that there aren’t “Hollywood” beautiful women who are beautiful inside too, but “Hollywood” beauty should not, and does not, define who women truly are.

So now I would like to give you my definition of true beauty.

My mother-in-law passed away last year. Her legacy to her family and friends was one of every day, tireless service to others. I missed out on all of the cruel, albeit sometimes humorous, mother-in-law jokes because none of them ever applied to her. She was beautiful in every sense of the word, inside and out.

My own mother has lived a wonderful life of service and compassion as well. She lost her sweetheart (of over 50 years) a few years ago and continues to love and serve our family without thought for her own comfort or gain. She has been my biggest cheerleader all of my life. To me, she is a beautiful woman.

I have been married for 38 years to the woman who took a terrible chance on me. She has been there to encourage me through the tough times and to bless me through the good times as well. To me, she is without question the most beautiful woman in the world.

Each of these women, and many others, including (but not limited to) sisters and daughters are beautiful in their own unique ways; but in their service to others, they are all the same. They are selfless, giving, kind, caring, and best of all, they love me. They love others as well, but it is comforting to know that they also love me. Isn’t that what should define beauty? The way they live their life in search of ways to bless the lives of others; that’s what the definition of beauty is. I have been very blessed to associate with many wonderful women who exemplify my definition of beauty. One day a year just doesn’t do these miracle workers justice.

So as we approach this Mother’s Day, let’s redefine beauty. Let’s look at the unbelievably beautiful women in our lives who make it possible for us men of the world to look good while they work quietly in the background of our lives. Too often the only thanks that comes is from seeing the men in their lives succeed, along with some cards and recognition one day a year.

Perhaps in our families, we could dedicate a few more days of the year to show our appreciation to the amazing women in our lives. They deserve it.

And by the way guys, if a woman (or three) invites you to go dress shopping with them…..run.J

Dave Bowen is a Hospice Chaplin, Brick Mason and Candidate for Bannock County Clerk.