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 Beauty - a history of self abuse?

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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Mon 16 Jan 2012, 16:52

In the distant past, the woman who did not respond adequately to her crying baby would very soon have no baby and therefore the prevalence of the syndrome, if it was genetic and kicked in at each birth, would disappear unless there was a handy wet nurse.
To be brutal, the odd baby dying is neither here nor there to evolutionary processes. It's the herd not the individual that matters and that's still the principal which governs immunisation policy.
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Tue 17 Jan 2012, 02:42

Two comments relating to earlier posts. I think it was a specific type of intelligence, their spatial awareness, they were referring to in the taxi drivers and the impact that excessive sense had on other parts of the brain. I think I have read that studies into London taxi drivers have shown an enlargement on the bit that involves understanding and learning directions. (Seems to have got lost in my brain, though I do think lack of use may have something to do with that.)

And in the first post, Nordmann, you mention women putting toxic chemicals on their faces. I have looked at the ingredients on lipstick and foundation (or whatever it's called these days) and they go on for miles. I have wondered about the toxicity of these but people who should know assure me they are not dangerous. (And indeed I am still alive, and people are living longer than ever, so presumably all these "chemicals" people worry about aren't really damaging us. I saw an ad not long ago for a product that would get rid all the damage those nasty moisturizers cause, which seemed a little odd since we are always told to keep our skins moisturised. I never have and my skin seems as moist as anyone else's.)

Caro.
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Tue 17 Jan 2012, 04:35

Yes well, it was advertisements who told us in the first place that we must use moisturizers, shampoos, conditioners et al daily. But soon after frequent use begins the skin and scalp stop producing those essential natural oils for healthy skin and hair and so we become dependant on the products to an extent.

And there are a great many out there who believe all the BS and spend an absolute fortune on it all, when it is totally unecessary.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Tue 17 Jan 2012, 08:38

Caro wrote:
Two comments relating to earlier posts. I think it was a specific type of intelligence, their spatial awareness, they were referring to in the taxi drivers and the impact that excessive sense had on other parts of the brain. I think I have read that studies into London taxi drivers have shown an enlargement on the bit that involves understanding and learning directions.

I can't find the bit about taxi drivers in my "Divided Brain" book (annoying, as it's definitely there), Caro, but ferval's comment about depressed mothers and my own comments about young men killing themselves and philosophers going bonkers got me thinking about why the evolutionary process has not succeeded in eliminating mental illness. Just a time thing, or can there have been some "benefit" in retaining apparently faulty genes in our pool? This is what Ian McGilchrist* says:

"This may be the link between cerebral lateralisation and creativity, and it may account for the otherwise difficult to explain fact of the relatively constant conservation, throughout the world, of genes which, at least partly through their effects on lateralisation, result in major illnesses, such as schizophrenia and manic-depressive psychosis (now known as bipolar disorder), and developmental disorders, such as autism and Asperger's syndrome. It may also be associated with homosexuality, which is thought to involve a higher than usual incidence of abnormal lateralisation. Such genes may, particularly in the case of mental illness, be highly detrimental to individuals, and have an impact on fertility for the population at large - and would therefore have been bred out long ago, if it were not for some hugely important benefit that they must convey. If they also, through their effects on lateralisation, in some cases led to extraordinary talents, and if they particularly did so in relatives, who have some but not all of the genes responsible, then then such genes would naturally be preserved, on purely Darwinian principles."

Sorry for the great long quotation, but clearly going bonkers isn't always bad!

PS* Ian McGilchrist isn't some pop psychologist - he's an amazing man. He originally taught English at Oxford (Fellow of All Souls) and then, like you do, decided to retrain as a doctor. He became a psychiatrist, ending up as Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Director at the Bethlem Royal and Maudsley Hospital and he has researched neuroimaging at the John Hopkins University Hospital, Baltimore. (He probably plays the violin to concert standard too.)

PPS I have just emerged from the bathroom: my L'Oreal Age Supreme Shampoo does not appear so far to have restored my hair to its youthful glory. Clearly I am not worth it. The Clinique Youth Surge moisturizer (SPF 15) which I purchased during a desperate moment in Exeter, has also not worked.
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Tue 17 Jan 2012, 09:29

Interesting thoughts Temp, and started me wondering, to what extent are what we would call mental illnesses just matters of definition, in that we have decided these are abnormal and unwelcome states? I'm pretty sure that at some times and in some cultures these have been seen as manifestations of divine powers and valued, even worshipped. Some shaman with their visions may have been schizophrenic. Who was it that said that all men are on the Asperger's spectrum, it's just a question of degree?
As you observed, they can be associated with talents and particularly creativity, so many artists in so many fields have exhibited aspects of these, bi polar disorder being one, so perhaps it's the perceived cultural value to the particular society that has allowed the survival of the responsible genes (that's assuming it is always genetic, Laing would have argued that one).

And we are an odd species, spending a fortune on potions to remove our natural oils and odours and then another fortune on more to replace them. Who precisely is bonkers?

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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Tue 17 Jan 2012, 13:34

I know this is completely off topic, and so I apologise, but someone posted a while ago that it had been suggested that humans were the only animal to commit suicide. My only question is: "how would anyone know?".

A bear in a tiny zoo cage refuses to eat and is said to "pine away". But frankly if it really wanted to end its life what else can it do? It's options are limited... much like a political prisoner who goes on hunger-strike. Similarly the only option for a suicidal whale (certainly not the dumbest of creatures) would be to beach itself - and its not uncommon to find otherwise healthy single cetaceans who seem to have deliberately stranded themselves. So how can we say with any confidence that suicide is uniquely human?

Off thread I know and a rather morbid side topic... but the point did come up.
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Tue 17 Jan 2012, 15:18

It is an excellent point MM, and one which lead to a little research. Little being the operative word, but I did find this comment interesting

"Pea aphids, for instance, when threatened by a lady bug can explode themselves, scattering and protecting their brethren and sometimes even killing the lady bug. They are literally tiny suicide bombers.

The big difference is that in modern humans that calculation can go wrong. There are some acts of suicide that do save lives. But most of the millions or so human suicides each year worldwide benefit no one, Joiner explained. They are acts that perhaps used to serve a purpose in early human societies, he said, but have lost their function in the modern world."

The full article is fascinating also
http://news.discovery.com/animals/animal-suicide-behavior.html
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Sat 29 Dec 2012, 17:40

Getting (belatedly) back to the beauty topic it is interesting to view this article syndicated by the New York Times in the American press 100 years ago in December 1912. They claimed to have found "the perfect woman", a young Cornell University student called Elsie Scheel - though just "how" she was found or indeed how subjective this notion of "perfection" might actually have been even at the time is not addressed in the original article. The aim of the article however was to point out how "modern civilization" was capable of producing healthy and well formed specimens of womanhood which in previous generations only a few could emulate and then only by chance, and to illustrate this phenomenon Elsie was plucked out as a star example.



Nevertheless, as the diagram reproduced here from the Wilmington Star paper illustrates, what was deemed physical perfection in the USA in 1912 is a far cry from what would fit the category now, both in terms of weight and proportion, for the female form. Elsie, were she shopping today, would wear a UK size 10 top (US size 8, EU size 38), a UK size 16 bottom (US size 14, EU size 44) and a UK size 16 dress with the bust adjusted (US size 12, EU size 44). A less than polite clothes shop assistant might point out to Elsie indeed that she was squarely in the modern "overweight" category and could do with a spell in the training centre or contemplate dieting, or at least cutting down on the intake of beefsteak which Ms Scheel at the time pointed out as her staple meal of choice.



Elsie was described in the article in 1912 as "an ardent suffragist" and was not afraid to espouse a then very unfeminine interest in automobiles - clearly a woman who valued self-determination and independence both in terms of social responsibility and mobility, so in many people's books (including my own) she would still have a claim on perfection even today.
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Sun 13 Jan 2013, 15:14

Here you are Temp, you can take this down to Vestal Sassoon and get the hair-do appropriate to your station. http://www.livescience.com/26106-recreating-the-vestal-virgin-hairstyle-video.html
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Sun 13 Jan 2013, 15:56

You can mock, ferval, but it takes me hours to do my hair of a morning - none of your Wash 'n' Go mad rush for us consecrated virgins, you know.

And I'm never going to get the hang of this suffibulum thingy - it keeps getting all twisted and tangled. It's a bloody nuisance.

PS Seriously - interesting video - thank you for posting it.

PPS Did you see "The Nun's Story" over Christmas, starring Audrey Hepburn? How beautiful she was - even when they cut all her hair off and put her in that dreadful wimple.

PPPS We don't have a Vestal Saloon in Exeter - all the posh ladies go to Toni and Guy, but they charge a fortune. Perhaps they'd do a special VV discount and loyalty point scheme just for me.



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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Sun 13 Jan 2013, 16:54

I didn't see it this time but I remember going when it came out at first and also a neighbour declining to come with us saying "There's no way I'm paying to see a three hour advertisement for the Catholic church". Glasgow, eh?

Now she is someone deserving of icon status, not just exquisitely beautiful but an intelligent, talented and decent human being. Please don't tell me if she had some ghastly flaw: I don't want to know.
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Mon 22 Apr 2013, 15:42

I found this article interesting, especially the chart giving weights and heights. Most of the 1931 actresses listed seem to be very short by today's standards, but their weights are reasonably healthy, I think. Nevertheless, many of these women were, according to the article, on "starvation" diets, even back then. Yet only Constance Bennett at 5'4" and 100lbs, was *seriously* underweight. That said, how brainwashed we all are. My immediate reaction to the "winner", Dolores Del Rio (great name), was, "Gosh, but she's *big*." A ridiculous judgement, but I must own up to it. I bet a photo of the 100lb Constance would appear to be "normal". A "starvation diet" for today's models and actresses must be even more stringent than a similar regime eighty years ago. No lamb chops for a 2013 skinny beauty, just the pineapple, oranges and lettuce; and even the pineapple would no doubt be considered pretty indulgent (too many carbs?).

It's a mad world, my masters.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2311731/Who-Hollywoods-best-figure-1931-Vintage-article-reveals-movie-stars-ideal-body-shape-warmly-curved-roundly-turned.html
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Mon 22 Apr 2013, 22:56

I was reading yesterday (also from the Daily Mail, apparently) of the women recently voted the best bodies or curves and top was Marilyn Monroe, followed by Kelly Brook (who for a model doesn't seem overly skinny), Raquel Welch, Sophia Loren, and Jayne Mansfield. All buxom rather than thin. If that's what people prefer why is there such a focus on thinness these days?

Another news item said that a Swedish anorexia treatment clinic was being harrassed by model agencies wanting to use their patients as models! And somewhere else there was talk of models eating paper, they were so hungry and not allowed to eat. That is certainly madness.

But now I have to go from this trivia to writing about the Anzac talk coming up on Thursday where the speaker is talking about a book she has written about her father's war in Greece, Crete and Italy and the expedition she and her husband took a couple of years ago following in his steps. Her book includes both his diaries and their travels. I am not going to be there on the day, but she has given me a good run-down on her talk, which is based on not forgetting the loss of lives, time, architecture, people, and how we remember things we ourselves haven't experienced.

(Talk about off-topic!)
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Thu 06 Mar 2014, 13:07

Stung by ID's rather cruel suggestion (Rant Thread) that all hippie ladies from the 1960s/70s had horrid hairy legs and things, I have been searching this morning for old adverts for hair removal products. Came across all sorts of info about the subject. Apparently dislike of body hair on women goes back to Roman and Egyptian times, perhaps earlier: it was the Egyptians who invented the technique of sugaring.

Men too have always tried to remove hair - and not just by shaving their faces.

But the use of depilatories can lead to some very distressing experiences, especially for gentlemen who are careless about reading the instructions on their grooming products:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2132052/Men-pay-price-reading-instructions-hair-removal-cream-review-pages-painful-genital-experiences.html

EDIT: The Amazon "reviews"  from newly defoliated males may have been just a joke, but hair removal for men is apparently really big business these days: waxing etc. - even if the pain is, as one gentleman declared, "worse than childbirth"  Shocked  -  is more popular than ever.


Last edited by Temperance on Sat 08 Mar 2014, 07:31; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Thu 06 Mar 2014, 15:49

Twisting words again Temp. I don't blame you for being stung, if that had been what I said. But I didn't.

Oh the Laura Ashley would have been hippy enough IF is was accompanied by hairy legs and armpits though


You know as well as I do that there were varying degrees of 'hippy', from those who were only following a fashion trend all the way through to the 'hardliners' as I call them. I have a cousin who still is, she's over 60 now and still wearing long tie dyed skirts, hairy legs & armpits, long uncut hair, sandals winter and summer, everything completely natural. Even raising her 7 children in a remote house without power or plumbing, her kids unvaccinated because that wasn't natural and all sorts of wierd stuff like that. It is to those I was referring.
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Thu 06 Mar 2014, 16:36

Islanddawn wrote:
Twisting words again Temp. I don't blame you for being stung, if that had been what I said. But I didn't.

Oh the Laura Ashley would have been hippy enough IF is was accompanied by hairy legs and armpits though




You know as well as I do that there were varying degrees of 'hippy', from those who were only following a fashion trend all the way through to the 'hardliners' as I call them. I have a cousin who still is, she's over 60 now and still wearing long tie dyed skirts, hairy legs & armpits, long uncut hair, sandals winter and summer, everything completely natural. Even raising her 7 children in a remote house without power or plumbing, her kids unvaccinated because that wasn't natural and all sorts of wierd stuff like that. It is to those I was referring.


Oh, ID, I was joking. I wasn't stung at all. I should have put a smiley smiley - as you did.

I was only a weekend hippy. I was in full school uniform, sporting my Prefect's badge all week, but come Friday night I turned into a Marianne Faithfull wannabe. I had freshly-shampooed, shiny, long, blunt-cut hair (only on head, trimmed at the hairdresser's every six weeks) and I ironed my hair to get it nice and straight. I showered every day, wore deodorant (of course), favoured long floral dresses and loads of make-up, especially eye-liner and mascara (Miners).  A very silly, but normal(ish) teenager in other words. The "hardliner" hippies, as you call them - the unwashed and hairy ones, male and female - were all a bit tedious and we avoided them. They tended to be a bit older than we were, and the boys talked too much Marxist politics. They all protested too much about everything.

ID wrote:
Twisting words again, Temp.


Now that "again" does sting. Oh dear - do I really do that a lot, ID?  Embarassed  I shall make every effort to mend my ways. Don't want to upset anyone.   Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Mon 17 Mar 2014, 23:21

I was glad when girdles and corsets and suspender belts etc went out in the late 1960s, early 1970s; I found them restrictive, but some younger women seem to like corsets as outerwear now.  Mind you I sometimes get lower back pain and have wondered if a cincher type thingy for support would help. 

Off topic slightly, I have just realised that the lady in Ferval's avatar is roasting something.  I just looked at it cursorily before and thought the lady was detonating a bomb.
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Mon 17 Mar 2014, 23:39

Temperance wrote:

EDIT: The Amazon "reviews"  from newly defoliated males may have been just a joke, but hair removal for men is apparently really big business these days: waxing etc. - even if the pain is, as one gentleman declared, "worse than childbirth"  Shocked  -  is more popular than ever.

I may not be the right person to say this because I never had children but how would a man know it was worse than childbirth?

The endless TV adverts for "No-no" (a gizmo for removing unwanted hair allegedly painlessly) drive me crackers.  Mind you I tend to find a lot of the ads annoying these days. The meerkats are quite funny though. I will concede that I periodically have a lip and chin wax because of Michael Finnigan-itis (whiskers on my chin again). I'm not like the bearded ladies on another thread though. One good thing about slacks being acceptable wear for women nowadays is that in winter at least the hairy legs can be hidden.
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Tue 18 Mar 2014, 14:47

While perusing some girly sites, I came across the statement Early Babylonian, Egyptian and Roman commanders painted their nails to match their lips before going into battle.

Well, goodness me, I thought and did some cursory googling but although this identical claim is repeatedly quoted, I can't find anything to substantiate it. Can anyone shed any light on this and particularly, did they favour Pouting Pink, Rose Absolute or Sexy Scarlet?
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Tue 18 Mar 2014, 15:56

The Parthian general Surena, was described by Plutarch as having his face painted and his hair in the style of the Medes (whatever that means). Whatever his appearance he gave the Romans a hammering at the Battle of Carrhae.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surena
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Tue 18 Mar 2014, 16:09

Some lipstick and nail varnishes these days have the most outrageous names.

Made me think of Caligula's naughty passwords from I, Claudius - remember "Kiss me, Titus"? That would be a good lippy colour for a Roman general.

Urban Outfitters do a shade called "Hot Slut"  Shocked , also "Cheap Whore" (honestly, I don't know what the world is coming to). I can imagine Caligula or Nero going wild for such shades, but surely not the great Roman generals. Scipio Africanus pouting at Hannibal, plastered in Hot Slut? It's just too awful to contemplate.
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Tue 18 Mar 2014, 18:16

Dim memories of a book about 1914 from many years ago - either Romanian or Bulgarian army prohibited makeup - except  for officers. May be Urban Legend?
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Wed 19 Mar 2014, 04:52

Cornelius Sulla wore makeup in later life, apparently to hide a ravaged complexion. And Roman men would also paint their heads in an effort to hide bald spots.

But men have used makeup in many cultures throughout history, including our own. Egypt, China, Japan, and the Harlequins, Dandies and Macaronis. Not only makeup for men but wigs, beauty spots and corsets also. 

Woad could be classed as a form of makeup.
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Wed 19 Mar 2014, 07:12

Yes wigs .... even for Big-Wigs. Both Hannibal and Caesar were very touchy about going bald. JC just made do by carefully arranging his laurel wreath but I think Hannibal ended up resorting to wearing wigs. A luxuriant one for everyday and a more practical closer-cropped one for battle.

Wigs are very practical in hot sticky climates or when head lice were common - the ability to simply take one's hair off in private must have been a godsend.The same logic of course applies right up to the 19th century.
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Wed 19 Mar 2014, 10:22

JC may have been touchy about his bald patch on his head but didn't have any qualms about removing his body hair. He regularly had every hair on his body plucked apparently (ouch), but that too makes sense as he spent the majority of his life away in the field with armies. Lice prevention and other nasties that would flourish in any army, plus the removal of underarm hair would go some way into preventing perspiration odour.
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Wed 19 Mar 2014, 12:29

The "painted nails to match their lips" reference is a bit misleading and intentionally devious, I think ferval, in that it vaguely implies use of lipstick too. In Babylon it appears that nail varnish was used to indicate social class - warriors and senior figures seem to have favoured black according to surviving friezes. In Egypt red was the nail colour of the higher classes in paintings, which brings them closer to lip colour I suppose. I'm not aware of any strict convention at any stage in Rome's history, though I'll check my Beard on that one. Mary's bound to have mentioned it somewhere if it's true.
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Wed 19 Mar 2014, 12:38

So now I have this vision of JC with a full Brazilian and provocative scarlet toe nails peeping out of his sandals.  
Thanks Nordmann, at least the claim may not just be a manicurist sniffing the acetone then.

Talking of Mary B., have you heard her recent LRB lecture on the public voice of women? It's here http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n06/mary-beard/the-public-voice-of-women
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Wed 19 Mar 2014, 13:11

Maybe someone should have advised Caesar against applying the Kiss-Me-Titus-Red lippy whilst in a moving chariot ... he's got it everywhere!

See at 2:40 ...



And before you all jump on me, I do known the red face thing is not correct for republican Rome but is rather an anachronistic Etruscan thing, mentioned in passing by Graves, but included in HBO's 'Rome' for dramatic effect.
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Sun 23 Mar 2014, 15:42

Well, this certainly pretty much sums up how I feel:

For when ill-natur'd age shall rudely plough
Injurious furrows on your wrinkled brow,
You then perhaps may chide the tell-tale glass,
That shews the frightful ruins of your face;


but fortunately (or not, depending on your home pharmacy, Halcyon foam being quite difficult to source) Ovid tells us how to avoid it.

Vetches, and beaten barley, let ‘em take,
And with the whites of eggs a mixture make;
Then dry the precious paste with sun and wind
And into powder very gently grind.
Get hart’s-horn next (but let it be the first
That creature sheds), and beat it well to dust.
Six pound in all; then mix and sift ‘em well,
And think the while how fond Narcissus fell;
Six roots to you that pensive flower must yield
To mingle with the rest, well bruis'd and cleanly pill’d.
Two ounces next of gum, and thural seed,
That for the gracious gods does incense breed,
And let a double share of honey last succeed.
With this whatever damsel paints her face,
Will need no flattering glass to show a grace.

Nor fear to break the lupine shell in vain,
Take out the seeds, then close it up again,
But do it quick, and grind both shell and grain.
Six pounds of each; take finest ceruse next,
With fleur-de-lis, and snow of nitre mix’d:
These let some brawny beater strongly pound
That makes the mortar with loud strokes resound,
Till just an ounce the composition’s found.
Add next the froth of which the Halcyon builds
Her floating nest: a precious balm it yields,
That clears the face from freckles in a trice:

Of this about three ounces may suffice.
But ere you use it, rob the lab’ring bee,
To fix the mass, and make the parts agree.
Then add your nitre, but with special care,
And take of frankincense an equal share:
Though frankincense the angry gods appease,
We must not waste it all their luxury to please.
To this put a small quantity of gum,
With so much myrrh as may the rest perfume.
Let these, well beat, be through a searce refin’d,
And see you keep the honey ail behind.

A handful too of well dry’d rose-leaves take,
With frankincense and sal ammoniac;
Of frankincense a double portion use;
Then into these the oil of malt infuse.
Thus in short time a rosy blush will grace,
And with a thousand charms supply the face;
Some too, in water, leaves of poppies bruise,
And spread upon their cheeks the purple juice.


and he does give a consoling thought that might, just, give me some solace

But if good humour to the last remain,
E'en age may please, and love his force retain.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Sun 23 Mar 2014, 18:25

Meles meles wrote:
Maybe someone should have advised Caesar against applying the Kiss-Me-Titus-Red lippy whilst in a moving chariot ... he's got it everywhere!

See at 2:40 ...



And before you all jump on me, I do known the red face thing is not correct for republican Rome but is rather an anachronistic Etruscan thing, mentioned in passing by Graves, but included in HBO's 'Rome' for dramatic effect.

Caesar or no Caesar, I think he looks ridiculous, as if he's eaten too many jammy dodgers.
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Sun 23 Mar 2014, 19:28

Re: the red face of the triumphant conqueror ....  I thought that was a very, very old Roman thing, going back even to the Etruscans, and so probably well forgotten by Republican times.

Originally the red face of the triumphant general supposedly represented the red face of Mars, as in: "I honour You, Mars - All my victories were in your name and by your intervention, Oh God of war... And so I'm painting my face red in your honour... ",  blah de blah etc.

 But I don't think the idea persisted much into Roman Republican times  .

.. and I'm pretty sure doing the red-face thing would have been seen as very, very passé by Caesar's time.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Mon 24 Mar 2014, 04:27

The  one  I feel sorry for is the prisoner who was  strangled for having the temerity to want to keep his homeland independent of the Roman Empire.  I suppose "Rome" is okay as a romp but I hope people in general, and I'm not particularly thinking of members of  this forum, didn't take it as being 100% accurate,
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Mon 24 Mar 2014, 05:54

Meles meles wrote:
Re: the red face of the triumphant conqueror ....  I thought that was a very, very old Roman thing, going back even to the Etruscans, and so probably well forgotten by Republican times.

Originally the red face of the triumphant general supposedly represented the red face of Mars, as in: "I honour You, Mars - All my victories were in your name and by your intervention, Oh God of war... And so I'm painting my face red in your honour... ",  blah de blah etc.

 But I don't think the idea persisted much into Roman Republican times  .

.. and I'm pretty sure doing the red-face thing would have been seen as very, very passé by Caesar's time.

I'm not so certain, everybook I've read on Republican Rome had those awarded a Truimph using it, including Caesar. Only a select few ever got to do a Truimph, it had to be awarded by the Senate and it would have been seen as the pinnacle of a career. And the chance to show off and rub everyone else's face in it.

We might think it looks daft but that is immaterial. The Romans adored their history and their connection with the past and did keep all sorts of wierd and quaint traditions way beyond a time when anyone knew exactly why they were doing them anymore. They were also an extremely superstitious lot, but it may be worth looking into further if I get time.

Did they or didn't they? Mmmmm..............Mary B would probably know.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Mon 24 Mar 2014, 08:08

Mary Beard wrote a book specifically concerning the Roman triumph. This from a 2009 review of the book by David Frum, political commentator, advisor and journalist;

"If you watched the HBO series “Rome,” you saw a re-enactment of Julius Caesar’s triumph of 46 BC: Caesar riding in a golden chariot, his face painted red, dressed in purple and white robes, a slave holding a wreath over his head. If you had looked up an explanation for this uncanny garb, you would probably have been told: the red paint was there to imitate the red-painted face of the statues of the god Mars; the robes were those of Capitoline Jove; and the slave was to whisper in his ear, “Remember thou art mortal.”

Beard argues that we know less about all these customs than we think we do. The sole source for the face-painting, for example, is a remark of the younger Pliny’s, writing more than 150 years after the end of the Republic, at a time when triumphs had long been restricted to members of the imperial family. The detailing of the robes is even more uncertain, resting on a Latin passage that can be read in three different ways, to mean either literally the robes worn by the Capitoline idol – or robes modeled on those of the idol – or robes that were donated to the Capitoline temple after the end of the ceremony."


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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty - a history of self abuse?   Mon 24 Mar 2014, 08:22

Of course Caesar, if he ever painted himself red, wasn't trying to be beautiful. Roman women on the other hand were, and the author of the wikipedia page about Roman cosmetics has compiled a rather succinct list of the various ingredients used when painting one's face:

Women would often prepare their faces with beauty masks prior to applying makeup. One recipe called for the application of sweat from sheep's wool to the face before bedtime, emitting a stench often criticized by men. Other ingredients included juice, seeds, horns, excrement, honey, plants, placenta, marrow, vinegar, bile, animal urine, sulfur, vinegar, eggs, myrrh, incense, frankincense, ground oyster shells, onions with poultry fat, white lead, and barley with vetch.
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