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Scattered Excerpts from Chapter 32: "Masculine Beauty"


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Scattered Excerpts from Chapter 32: "Masculine Beauty"

We tend to think of BEAUTY as "something feminine," but there is also MASCULINE BEAUTY. Each maiden has a secret companion in whom she creates the charm of the real ideal of her desires. Her ideal man exists only in her imagination; but she hopes, ever hopes that he will come to her someday soon as a real flesh and blood man. Alas! Poor maiden! She will have as much difficulty finding her ideal man as youth has finding ideal woman. In ensemble, they do not often exist, although all around us, on the streets, in the offices and workshops, on the farm, on the field of athletic contest, at the beach, ideal fragments may be found in great profusion. The finest specimens of physical manhood that exist today are all to often defective and deficient.

The spirit of our restless, commercial age is unfriendly to a high order of manly beauty. The emotional, affectional, and aesthetic elements in our nature are subordinated to a lower order of elements and barred by them from their proper influence upon character ad configuration. Our excessive love of gain, our selfish ambitions, our ceaseless and energetic activity, particularly our ceaseless struggle for power, wealth, and position, all tend to spoil the visage, produce lines of ugliness upon the face, harden the countenance, and obliterate the subtle lineaments of love and gentleness. Today, we hardly speak of "male beauty."

Yet, only since medieval chivalry has beauty been conferred upon the female sex to the exclusion of men. Only in the last few hundred centuries have the soft skins, the flowing locks, and rounded forms of women been regarded as representing the highest and most perfect type of human grace. While it is not true, that the human female is the only female in the entire animal kingdom that surpasses the male in beauty, it is a false view of life to think that, in the human realm, beauty belongs only to the female. Among birds and mammals, the male is almost uniformly the larger, stronger, and more beautiful of the sexes. Nature has decked the male bird with the most gorgeous plumage and the male mammal with the flowing manes and tails, the most beautiful and muscular necks, the more stately bearing and, in our eyes, at least, the most beautiful forms.

If, today, there is a tendency to connect male beauty with femininity or effeminacy, we should recollect that this has not always been true. The Greeks, indeed, connected beauty with great strength and courage. As I shall show later, the most intelligent among our existing male population, as in the past, are also, as a rule, the most handsome.

Man is larger, stronger, and more rugged than woman. The tendency has been to exalt his ruggedness to the neglect of all the other qualities that enter in the handsomeness of man. On the whole, our recent tendency has been to deprecate

masculine beauty even more than the lovely beauty of a superlative woman. The result has been that a high order of manly beauty has rarely been sought after. Men may shave and care for their hair and nails, they may dress stylishly and wear collar and tie, they may follow the seasons in hats; but underneath their clothing, they may be misshapen, distorted, and underdeveloped. Ugliness of features is, if possible, more common among them than among the fair sex.

The more nearly the man's face appears like that of the beardless youth, the better. This has brought into existence practices that are similar to those of women. The barber ship is closely akin to the beauty parlor in many ways, while the hair tonics, creams, after-shave lotions, etc., employed by men indicate a strong tendency to substitute these things for the rational care of Hygienic living and body-building, in particular. The girls in the barber shops trim and polish men's nails; the tailor pads the shoulders of their coats, to give them a broad-shouldered appearance they do not possess; abdominal supports are worn by the stouts, to hold in and reduce the sizes of their overstuffed abdomens. Pant lines are devised to hide their bowed legs. If "the old gray mare ain't what she used to be," neither is the old gray gelding!

Contrast the run-of-the-mill men of today with the majesty of the most beautiful manhood in the zenith of its strength massive shoulders, powerful chest, strongly developed limbs, muscles in huge masses, features that speak not alone of physical vigor, toughness of fiber, and ability for powerful achievement, but also indicate that the inner forces of life have attained their highest point. Whether in violent action or in peaceful repose, such a body presents beauty.

All around us we see a world enslaved by its greed for gold, shackled by its gluttony, and enchained by its sensuality. The body, with all its vast possibilities for splendor, manly, untiring energy that may be man's, make him far richer than the gold dross of the world; but he surrenders these for a mess of spiced pottage and money in the bank. There is no finer physical ideal than the perfect body. We have surrendered this ideal for the latest cut in coats and pants. The weakling goes through life with a necklace of millstones about his neck, but he prefers this gaudy ornament to the freedom that comes with vigor and strength!

Modern man is weak, diseased, and, if not absolutely ugly, at least far below our ideal standards of beauty, both in form and face. Our problem, today, simply stated is this: Can modern man be restored to his primal vigor, symmetry, and grace? If so, how? I am convinced that such restoration of human beauty and dignity is possible and that it may be done by the simple, natural means that are within our grasp.

"What Does GetWell Offer that Dr. Shelton Produced?" · PART II, PAGE 18