Launching a Thousand Ships

Amar B Shrestha

Thank god I have never been asked to judge a beauty contest (not that I’ll ever be, but just in a theoretical sense). It would be impossible for me to decide which girl is more beautiful than the other on such a platform—all so lissome, so glamorous, so beautifully made up, and in such sexy gowns. Of course, you’ll be quick to point out that it’s more than just beauty that goes into a beauty contest, and you are right, but only partly. Such contests are after all beauty pageants, first and foremost, and one cannot deny that.

I’ve given some thought to this matter. How does one define beauty? Are there some universal criteria that apply across all borders, races, and peoples? Or, does one go by the saying that “beauty lies in the eyes (or the mind) of the beholder?” Certainly, it cannot be a question as unanswerable as “who is god”, or “did the chicken come first, or the egg”, otherwise there would be no beauty pageants at all!

So, I did some research on this esoteric subject. First of all, I completely disregarded the opinionated views of those who are supposed to be in a better position to define beauty. They are after all only opinions that can be challenged by all and sundry, and not facts that stand the test of time. Rather, I focused on studies conducted by academic researchers.

There are faces that launch a thousand ships, and faces that only a mother could love. This is what one researcher says, stating that the face is the most important thing as far as beauty and attractiveness (which are mutual to one another) are concerned. I think I agree. Doubtless, a great body and a tall stature wouldn’t hurt, but there you have it—first comes the face. Now, it’s also stated that while symmetry is important, it is also things like disposition (smiling face more attractive), hours of sleep (beauty sleep, remember?), and even the time of the month! That’s to say, the ovulation period releases hormones that influence looks.

Actually, I have always thought that all girls look most attractive at a certain period in their life, that’s the time when the hormones are going great guns, as in puberty (sweet sixteen, remember?). Now, writing all this, there’s a chance that I might be termed sexist, but that’s not so. Since it’s the season of beauty pageants (sorry, but what else to call such pageants?), it’s a topic that’s current.

One can look forward to many beauty pageants through the year. First, of course, we have new Miss Nepals (World, Universe, Earth, International, what have you), who were announced at a gala held on April 11 at a five star hotel here. Perhaps some frantic-to-make it event companies (there are many now) will announce Miss Nepal Sun, Moon, Venus, and so on, soon. That as may be, it is more than likely that, with seven new states in the New Nepal, there will probably be seven state-level Miss Nepals, in addition to those that are city, district, or region-based, some of which already exist. Then, there is sure to be a host of pageants to select beauties among the numerous ethnic groups of the country, as is already happening on a regular basis now. Similarly, we’ll be seeing colleges vying for their contestants to win college-level crowns.

Then there are the missuses. Anybody can see that more women are remaining as beautiful as ever by defying the ravages of age and bio-degradation through diet, exercise, beauty aids (especially wrinkle-removing creams, the highest-selling cosmetic around the world), liposuction, cosmetic laser therapy, and what have you. One doesn’t have to look far for a prime example, Melania Trump is here, there, and everywhere, looking ravishing, slim and trim, and glowing like there’s no tomorrow. She’s sharp, too, and that is another thing the researchers discovered—that, the more attractive a person, higher the chances of intelligence (perhaps due to more confidence and appreciation). So, of course there has to be pageants for the missuses, too, and in fact a couple of them already are a feature of the annual beauty pageant calendar.

The other category of beauty pageant is to do with the making of newer models, who are much needed in this world of keen commercialization and cut throat competition among manufacturers, who are all desperately searching for a beautiful face or two to launch their ship(s). So, watch out for pageants under various headings to be rolling out their productions in the coming months, if not days. Last, but not least, there are also pageants for the little ‘uns, proving to one and all that we are a visionary nation, preparing suitable candidates well in advance for the pageants of the future.

Wish we were as visionary in other matters, too!