With the kind of day I've had so far - one of the worst mornings in my life - it's hard to appreciate anything right now. I am, however, battling (or, more to the point, cradling my head in my hands, dissolving into tears and hoping it will all go away) through the day, with the promise of a romantic dinner with my girlfriend this evening, and that is what makes me think of... beauty.
Physical beauty, people say, is only skin deep. I'm not entirely sure I'd agree - yes, there is such a thing as a good-looking person. I wouldn't say I'm one of those, but that's because I'm me. My girl says she isn't either, and I think she's fucking gorgeous. (Both sets of parents say she is, too, so she's outvoted - ha!) And yes, physical beauty goes a longer way than people make out - "you have a great personality" sounds nice, but it's an overused cliché. Particularly if you don't actually have a great personality.
I'm going to be a git now and say that I once knew a person who was not physically attractive, and she was also a bitch. Wheh she got pregnant in secondary school we were all wondering how anyone would go near her - and I can promise you we weren't referring to her unsightly appearance.
However, there is a great deal of internal beauty - as I'm sure Bête de Jour would agree - and that comes through in things other than personality. Yes, personality is a factor, but there's also a different kind of aesthetic beauty that comes through in things like poetry, music, prose style, dance, acting, film and other art forms (in fact, art is perhaps the greatest expression of beauty). Consider Stardust. Pan's Labyrinth. Even a romantic movie, like... let's say Pretty Woman. There's beauty heaped into these films, and all my friends could talk about was the amount of violence. That's just missing the point!
I'm sure you're all intelligent enough people to appreciate the beauty that comes from a person - I damn sure appreciate it - but then there's the bauty that comes from the aesthetic, the creative, from the surroundings and feelings that channel through the world. I'd invite you know to take a moment to close your eyes, breathe heavily, and try to pick up on whatever your interpretation of beauty might be. It's there somewhere. Maybe closer than you think. You probably don't even need to look.