I read a lot about inner beauty. I notice it most when someone posts a particularly terrible selfie on Facebook. They look dreadful. Haggard. Sickly. It is a bad picture. Typically, the subject didn’t bother to put on a clean shirt or comb his hair. Not even a smile. Direct from cell phone to social media. Yuck.

You need an awful lot of inner beauty to overcome looking that bad. Not to worry. Everyone will write to tell him or her that “You are beautiful inside.” This is how, in modern America, you tell someone they look like shit outside.

I’m not against interior beauty, though frankly, I’m not clear what being beautiful inside means. I know if the people who take those terrible pictures would make a minimal effort to not look like crap in their own selfie, they would need much less reassurance of their interior superiority. You can look good outside without diminishing your endogenous pulchritude.

With two Scotties – NOT a selfie!

Is there something wrong with looking good in a photo? I swear people take those dreary pictures on purpose, as if to make a point about “inner beauty” being more important than the outside stuff.

I don’t get it. If Garry takes pictures of me I don’t like, I delete them. If I take pictures of Garry he doesn’t like, I delete them — even if I think they are pretty good. No one needs to look ugly in photographs or even feel they look ugly in a picture. Your inner beauty can shine without bad photographs. Really, no kidding.

What is inner beauty? Does it require a repulsive exterior as a sort of bizarre contrast? If you’re really unsightly to gaze upon, you must (therefore) be beautiful inside? It’s okay to use makeup or shave the stubble. You can comb your hair. Put on a nice sweater? And maybe — if nothing else — smile?

Also NOT a selfie

About “inner beauty,” I declare I want to be inwardly beautiful like all the cool people seem to be. Generally, my inner beauty means a functional digestion. A heart that beats regularly. Not pouring boiling on my hand while draining the pasta.

Much like outer beauty, the inner stuff is over-rated. Maybe I just don’t get the whole inner beauty thing. To me, inner beauty would be a properly functioning body. This is not automatic in my life. There are many days where nothing about me seems to work.

Do you know how hard it is to find a picture of inner beauty?

I believe there are many worthy aspects of personality which lack any visual reference. Intelligence. Understanding. Empathy. Humor. Wit. The ability to talk and listen. None of this stuff reflects in the mirror and whether or not it could be considered “inner beauty” is a matter of debate. Maybe beauty is simply the wrong word for it.

Back to inner beauty. What is that? Do I have it? Can I get more on Amazon? My inner beauty is tired and needs a lift.

Beauty is a fragile thing.

For what it’s worth, if I like you, you are beautiful. I see everyone I like as attractive — and people I don’t like as ugly. I once had a really unattractive boyfriend who I didn’t know was considered ugly until my girlfriends felt they needed to tell me. I was surprised. I didn’t see it. They probably thought I was ugly too.

What I know for sure? At least smile for the picture. Comb your hair (or run you fingers through it). You don’t need to look your best — but you also don’t need to look your worst. Inner beauty will never overcome bad photography.

Categories: Photography, Portrait

Tags: , , , , , ,

42 replies

  1. Wonderful post! As for beauty–there is no doubt–you’ve got it both inside and out…no need to search Amazon. 🙂 ❤ xo


  2. Love the photos of you , and Garry at the ballgame. 🙂


  3. You do discuss the most interesting topics, Marilyn. Inner beauty almost has to be felt by others. It’s difficult to capture in a photo but somehow you two seem to do a good job of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A couple of thoughts that might have already been expressed, I have a toothache which is morphing into a migraine and didn’t read all the comments above.

    First: In today’s world there is the camera in the phone, tablet and other sketchy digital device that doesn’t take quality photos (as defined, I suspect, by real life photographers such as yourself..or maybe you do. Either way..) One may be subjected to the surprise snap and therefore not be looking their band box best when they’re captured. This is where your ‘rule’ of deleting unattractive photos comes into play. I think (my bad for thinking with a headache) that today’s generation seriously doesn’t care about looks – save that their teeth are so white it might blind a person. I have nieces and nephews and some of these young folk look more grungy than I did during the whole 80s grunge phase! Unshaven, hair looking like it was combed with an egg beater, clothes that are obviously on the third or fourth day of being worn without laundering. I don’t think they care really. So the beautiful photo is disappearing. Too much emphasis on ‘reality’ I think.

    Second: Inner beauty, which I’m sure you know, is something intangible, but you know it when you see it. Describing someone who is plain or a bit disturbing in outward appearance, or even downright ugly as having “inner beauty” is (IMHO) an offshoot of today’s politically correct way of living..NOBODY is labelled. And yeah, I know that’s wrong…Inner beauty comes with age, experience, and contentment in a life well lived in my opinion; those lucky folks glow. They are so beautiful (even if they have a hooked nose, huge elephantine ears and the spots and wrinkles of age) that one is overwhelmed at times. It’s a soul thing. In my opinion. And I KNOW you know all that, that you were perhaps being ironic with your post.

    Third: Thank you for teaching me (and for USING) words that I had not previously encountered. endogenous pulchritude. Hmmmm. I’m full of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pulchritude….makes me blush. Reminds me of certain magazines perused as a young teenager.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Me too. Sometimes the endogenous pulchritude explodes out of me and splatters the windows. Or is that my coffee? SO hard to tel. Yes, LOTS of irony. I’m never sure what I’m supposed to say when someone I really like has just posted their latest truly horrible picture. I know them. They don’t need to look like that. Today there was one that must have been taken in near darkness where her skin looked about the color of a very old battleship. I KNOW HER. She looks nothing like a battleship. Why do that to yourself? Or anyone?

      Then, all her FB friends will write to tell her how much inner beauty she’s got which is our way of saying “OH MY GOD TAKE THAT AWFUL PICTURE DOWN! IT’S PUTRID!” But you can’t SAY that, so you say “I’m sure inside, you’re stunning …” It’s like being told your new dress is so INTERESTING.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Many of those youth dress like that on purpose. It defies logic. My granddaughter, at 21, suddenly looks 20 pounds thinner. I asked her about it. She said “I stopped wearing super tight clothing.”

      I thought — FINALLY!

      I kept telling her that no one looks good in that clothing. Unless you’re in Hollywood and then you’ve got a makeup artist and a hair dresser and a really good photographer to make you look cute even though the clothing is awful. Though, sometimes — even with all that help? They STILL look awful.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think of them as the overflowing teenagers. Slobs. 30 lbs overweight, dressed in blouses and dresses two sizes too small and way too short at either end. I honestly don’t think they have the faintest idea of how bad they look. With a sassy pouty face, arrogant, almost mean.

        some time ago I was in the local mall and a youngish (maybe late 20s) woman came striding across the main floor. She was expensively dressed, lovely suede suit and skirt, Coach bag, good suede boots. Her hair was a mess, the suit jacket was open and flying, she waddled like a sailor on a leaky boat. She either had no idea how to walk in heels or no idea how to walk at all. I was embarrassed for her.

        What ever happened to sense of self??

        Liked by 1 person

        • I do not know. Garry keeps staring at these guys on TV wearing suits so ugly you couldn’t bury him in them. Garry was always one of those really well-dressed guys and he finds the way MEN dress embarrassing. And then, there are the women. I am SO grateful my granddaughter finally realized she would look better if she didn’t look like she had been stuffed like an over-sized sausage into her shorts with her belly hanging over the top. YE GODS, I do NOT understand it. Garry and I sometimes see people walking around and we look at each other. It’s … bizarre. Don’t these people own a mirror? Don’t they have friends who tell them? The ones on TV are paying a lot of money for that awful clothing — don’t they have a wife or girlfriend to tell them it doesn’t fit?

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yesterday, at the monthly lunch gathering of TV News old farts, all my colleagues were dressed appropriately. So Proud!! Yes, I was the oldest old fart.


    • There are a huge number of genuinely pretty girls out there, good teeth, nice hair, skin okay, not too skinny or too fat. But their inner kid says, “you ugly” and they believe it. You can tell them all DAY how pretty they are, how attractive, and they look at you as if you were possessed. So they bitch it up with green and red hair, tattoos, clothing that may be in style but it’s not their style. It’s almost as if they’re trying to make the inside ugly girl appear on the outside.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You should meet my granddaughter. Tattoos and all.


      • Judy, on occasion, usually at the local supermarket, if someone is dressed smartly, I’ll offer a compliment. I make sure it’s a direct reference. Usually coat, hat, etc. I’m careful with the compliment — “That’s a very smart coat”….It usually brings a surprised smile and a “Why, THANK you, Sir!”


  5. Much of beauty (such as it is) is how we perceive ourselves, how we feel about ourselves. And much of beauty has nothing to do with anything, it just happens.

    Gary in photos is adorable. He always looks as if he knows something and ain’t tellin’.

    I simply do not understand the ‘duck face” in selfies. I read somewhere it’s supposed to be a sexy pursed lips pose, but all I see is a pretty girl much too close to the camera, distorting her face.

    I dislike myself in photos, always have. I feel as if my skin was being vacuumed off. And anyone who insists that Im wrong is invariably disappointed when they take the photo. The one thing that scalds me is when I say, no, I don’t do photos and they take the picture anyway. Or seekritly and then email it to me, as a surprise. Oy, are they surprised.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No one past the age of 18 likes their own photos. Which is why selfies are such an awful idea for adult humans. They distort your face, emphasize the texture of your skin which may have been perfect back when, but time has had its way. Super closeups deepen wrinkles and folds. They make even those of us who are not fat look lumpy and double-chinned. We all may have liver spots, but is that how we want to show ourselves to the immediate universe? Really? WHY?

      When I look at my friends, I see the smile, the sparkle, the laughter. The way the corners of their mouth always look ready to turn up. That’s the picture I want. Anyone can point a phone or a camera and snap goes the weasel. Weasel’s are not good photographers. On the average. Maybe there are better weasels I haven’t yet met.

      We ALL need a friend with a camera who likes us enough to SEE us and the spark that makes us adorable. Photography is not about hidden beauty. That’s for your writing and intimate talks with friends and loved ones. Photography is about what things look like to the eye. But sometimes, a good photographer, can see past the skin and catch that special something.

      And if they don’t? There’s DELETE for everything else. That’s why we clever photographer takes zillions of pictures we never use. If we can take 50 pictures of an interesting tree, what’s wrong with taking a dozen of our best friend? The whole issue completely baffles me.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. People who gratuitously and habitually post selfies are more concerned about self centered attention whoring than they are with how they might actually look…. which is one of those traits that doesn’t quite fit that bizarre concept of inner beauty in the first place.

    Inner beauty is one of those awful new age concepts that was invented to try and give people who suffer from self esteem issues a fake boost of self worth. I am ugly (Well, I’m not a hideous beast from a monster movie… but you’ll never see my mug in GQ), and I’ve had so many people cringe when I admit to that and try and talk me out of it because they think I don’t love myself because I admit I’m not particularly attractive. The irony is that I probably have much better self esteem than they do. It may seem counter-intuitive, but people like me who love to poke fun at themselves pretty much, by rule, have to possess pretty high self esteem about ourselves. Because it’s the people who do have self acceptance issues who typically cringe at the very idea of self-depreciation…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Not everyone is Style Hollywood. I certain have never been. I think my problem is that the pictures are bad. Grainy. Blurry. Done in low light, so the colors are off. No one on earth who walks on two legs should have gray skin. And of course, most of us are much too mature to be doing selfies. That’s for 16-year-olds. By the time you are past 40, most selfies will exquisitely show every pore in your face yet somehow miss the twinkle in your eye.

      I never think anyone I like is ugly. Maybe not pretty, but I don’t measure appearance that way. Almost ALL of us are normal looking people. We aren’t beautiful. We aren’t hideous. We are regular folks. A picture taken by someone who has a decent eye, can stand back a few feet, has reasonable light and a lens that focuses can usually get an acceptable shot.

      Selfies are for kids. With phones. PORTRAITS are for real people who never looked (and will never look) “ready for their closeup.” Like … well … everyone. As I said, I think most people look fine. It’s the damned pictures which are hideous.


    • Squirrel, I thought your inner beauty was appealing in that Rod and Gun centerfold.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Photos I take a wobbly around any edge that should be sharp – I blame the thyroidism, but I don’t think I’ve ever taken a good pic. Ever. No one lets me take pics. Ever. Might say something. But I see beauty in the pictures that don’t have sharp edges, that aren’t defined – is there a link there? My sight of beauty matches my capability/perception of it?


    • They think Monet’s severe vision problems may have been responsible for his very soft style, especially as it got softer and softer with passing years. But fuzziness around the edges of pictures usually means an old camera that’s been jarred or dropped one time too many. That’s usually a misaligned lens, not a misaligned eye. AND there’s nothing wrong with soft portraits. Soft is not the same as out-of-focus.

      I suspect the issue with you and cameras is that you could use a better one.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I don’t do selfies. And I don’t post pictures of myself on Facebook. To me, whether a person is physically attractive (i.e., outer beauty) or not so much (i.e., inner beauty?), it seems kinda of egotistical to post pictures of yourself on Facebook. Blog posts are different, though, because pictures are used to illustrate thoughts, ideas, stories. Of course, I don’t post selfies or even pictures others have taken of me on my blog because I’m Fandango, and Fandango would rather be heard (or read) and not seen.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I post pictures of Garry because I like the way he looks and I post his pictures of me because I know he’s proud of the picture and I like when I don’t look like I’m a dying hag of 110. I like pictures and I enjoy posting them … but quality matters to me. I care how it looks. I get tired of seeing really bad pictures praised as great when they obviously aren’t. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings …. but gee golly whiz. Would focusing the camera be so difficult? It’s not like you have to send out for prints, either. You can keep shooting until you get it right. Maybe that’s what bothers me — the lack of effort. Or maybe I’m just a fuss budget.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Selfies are really no criteria for a good photo. I might do one if it fits the blog. I don’t dress up for a selfie. I never really wear any kind of makeup unless i have to for a wedding or something like that. Either I find someone sympathetic or not. And why do you fall in love. It is all some sort of internal radiance that I cannot describe, just a good feeling.


    • But you take good pictures. They are in focus. I have never seen you dressed in ragged old clothing, or show up without having at least combed your hair. I don’t wear makeup either, unless it’s something really fancy, but I try to at least look tidy and not like a total slob. You never look like a slob. I don’t think you COULD do that. You are a very neat, tidy person. It’s who you are. AND YOU CAN FOCUS YOUR CAMERA. You don’t post blurry, weird pictures that look like a fuzzy lump. You just don’t ,

      Liked by 1 person

  10. That’s true..but sometimes taking own picture and seeing them makes people happy …if it makes them happy its good isn’t..?

    Liked by 2 people

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