Ethan Switch - Wednesday, 5 October 2011
Waiting to die is what you do while staying alive. Listening to the Bee Gees all winter long keeps you chafing in all the right places and the sweat stains are the flavour country you can't buy at a store. But the haggardly down man urinating into his own hands to mark his stoop will bottle you up some. So it is, as we age, we lose a bit of our glamour and pick up skin grafts onward to our deaths. Beauty is in the glass eye.
It seems out of tilt to call a newborn statuesque and an older man adorable. These labels are on wrong and time has a way of making these descriptors fall correctly into place. You just have to grow into it. (Plus a statuesque newborn may just be still.)
As the Bulbasaur evolves into Ivysaur, it drops its cuteness and picks up a different modifier. Same as the babes into toddlers to teenagers and into the crypt. Superficial markers of beauty carry us between stages of our lives and pass along the remarks when they no longer suit. Some hang miserly on with fingernails deep into the scalp, getting deep under the roots to massage another half bottle of anti-dandruff shampoo. Scrub all you want. It's better to swim with the Tasmanian salmon when they're alive than when they're chumming the waters.
When a baby is born the word "cute" is slapped across its face and chubby little arms and legs. The mark is there and the parents parade their little offspring around to all and sundry, shaking its widdle head to accentuate the positive. It's the label that comes prepackaged. As the babe grows, its cute factor wanes into the "adorable" stage about the same time it becomes a walking, foul-mouthed toddler hell bent on having a mishap that will scar it for the rest of his or her life.
If you drown your sibling, it never goes away. Unlike the thylacine, cloning your accidentally waterlogged brother or sister faces you with the reality that their cold dead eyes do not quite fit into the fleshy skull of the new version.
The temperature rises in the teens and early twenties. "Hot" the boiling point here. Magnets do their work and "attractive" is the other word thrown to the world. "This person is agreeable in their physical attributes as the current flow of social mores dictate. We find them pleasing and shall deem them such," it says with much subjectivity and self-loathing.
Calling it like it may be is a rather age-appropriate fitting. Wearing certain modifiers of beauty and attraction level up the older you get and the more your skin wears in the sun.
"Handsome" lies in wait for the men in their prime years and middle ages. The women wear venom and become stunning, "alluring" even. More so than their younger selves would ably hold onto.
The more experience your core expresses in its confidence and how you present yourself the more graduated the label you wear. Your face is all favela and now you enter the years where the smoothness of your skin falls back to the essence of what you've done with the air.
In the later gasps of breath, before the drooling takes over and the sulphur emanates constantly from the pores, there lies a sweet spot. A spot distinguished. The grey is the marker here and between the "distinguished" gentleman and "stately" woman, they've lived a life through all sorts of labels and are ready to die raging against the spleen. They've come to the end and collected their final descriptor of beauty and physical qualifier.
It will be a beautiful death.