(Ovid, Ars Amatoria 1.509)
Neglected concern for appearance is befitting men.
Comment: Someone should tell GQ. Someone should tell all the 11-18 year old
boys who are spraying Axe deodorant on themselves by the bucket load (we would
all breathe easier—yes I have one of these young men-to-be living in my house).
Someone should tell me as I bathe everyday, ponder the clothes in my closet,
and try to decide if what I am going to wear is "professional enough" and still
allow me enough freedom of body to be with teenagers all day.
I have been going to the gym to work out regularly more or less for 18 years.
It does make me feel better. It probably makes me look better too, but I am
getting old enough that feeling better wins over looking better. One day I
noticed how the gym was filled with mirrors, and people, men and women,
checking each other out. That’s probably normal, but it made me consider just
what it is we are checking out. Who looks good? Who looks good is better?
Better than what? So I tried an experiment (in my own mind, of course). For
one visit to the gym, I decided that every person I saw, I would really look
at, and accept, as “better”. I don’t know what Ovid was after, but if he was
saying that men are not concerned about how they look, he didn’t know us. For
that one trip to the gym, everyone looked wonderful. I found myself really
seeing people. And, in fact, it has changed the way I look at people a bit.
That experience has made it possible for me to find the “neglected beauty” in
anyone I look at—as long as I don’t neglect to see.
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.