I've been thinking about this since the weekend (which I'll explain later), but I've been wondering about beauty, and people's reactions to it. Not pretty, not sexy, not stunning, not ruggéd, not attractive in a way you can't quite put your finger on (all of which are awesome in their own right), but that elusive, rare quality when someone is just....stunningly beautiful.

Firstly the obvious disclaimers:

*Everyone will find different people beautiful - but does that mean that there isn't an objective standard that the majority of people would look at and think "Christ! So beautiful!" ? Or at least recognise a person's attractiveness on an objective level, even if they are not your "type" ? I'm not sure that it does.

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* Secondly there is a huge difference between "beauty" and "desirability". For me, desirability is something that can come once you know a person, even if when you first met them, you didn't have any strong reaction either way to their appearance.

For example, when I was younger, I met a guy through work. The first time I met him I thought nothing at all of him. As I got to know him, his way of speaking, his mannerisms, his sense of humour - I pretty much fell in love with him and would epically day dream about him. Ah ...the memories of Youth! I would label that as desire, rather than a reaction to superficial beauty (and beauty is of course, superficial). On the flip side, I have on occasion seen someone across the room who has looked like beauty personified, but when speaking to them, realised that they were the biggest, most pretentious arseholes known to man. Zero on the desirability scale.

There is a difference in how you react to "beautiful" people depending on what your sexual orientation is, of course. I have a difference reaction when I see a man who I consider to be overwhelmingly beautiful (the best I can describe is a combination of surprise, flustered, feeling taken a back, vague excitement and appreciation), than when I see a beautiful woman (normally; self consciousness, appreciative, a degree of envy, vague sadness, awe). Would it be different if I was a lesbian? I don't doubt it.

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Despite all this, if I had a choice between speaking to a man who was stunningly beautiful, and a man whose appearance illicited no strong reaction in me, I would deeply prefer the latter. It feels more comfortable, less awkward. I am less tense.

Maybe this is because I'm not single and have absolutely no interest in betraying my partner though?

And what of beauty itself? Do extremely beautiful people have "higher standards" as to what they find beautiful, since they are beautiful themselves? I'm not sure they do, unless they also possess the unfortunate quality of "vanity". One of the incredible things about the beautiful people I know, is that they don't actually realise that they are so beautiful. They have the same self consciousness and hang ups as anyone else.

When people stare at them they turn to you and ask in genuine fear "why are people staring at me? Is my skirt tucked into my pants? Is there something on my face? Is there a cockroach stuck in my hair?".

Do you find yourself being nicer to beautiful people? Personally, I don't. I tend to want them to go away as quickly as possible so I am less flustered (in the case of men), or so I don't end up openly gawking at them and comparing myself to them (in the case of women). I wouldn't make jokes with them the same way I would others. I would feel wary striking up a conversation, in case they thought I wanted something from them. I also assume that they must have people trying to talk to them all the time, and don't want to annoy them.

In which case - if I'm not alone on this, do people ever randomly talk to them? Do they worry that people find them unapproachable?

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I can't deny that I make assumptions about people like this. I assume that the men must be players, because surely they must have women throwing themselves at them all the time? My boyfriend is - in my view - significantly more attractive than me. It took me a ridiculously long time to believe that he wasn't a player, which is completely stupid since his personality is nothing like that.

I assume that the women must be very confident, and have a fairly extreme personality (eg. either LOVELY, or FUCKING HORRIBLE).

This all stemmed from a show we saw a couple of weeks ago, which featured a stunning guy, whose role within the show was partly based around the fact he was so handsome. At the end, everyone came out and did their bows. I found myself consciously looking at absolutely everybody except him. My thoughts were "Gosh, he's so handsome. He must get really self conscious with everyone staring at him all the time. I won't look at him".

Ridiculous, but that was my thought process.

What do you think hive mind?