Going backward in the time zones has seen me up since 4:30, lending the opportunity to go back in the decades, to 1943, with Grace Margaret Morton's wonderful textbook, The Arts of Costume and Personal Appearance. It's so practical. Here she is on "Cultivating Beauty".
These, then, are the fundamental secrets of charm: scrupulous cleanliness, fine posture and carriage, an attractive voice and manner of speaking, and a pleasant facial expression reflecting inner graces. It is a comforting thought for the many who were born without a large measure of physical beauty that this kind of good looks is within reach of all, and that it is something which the world today recognizes and deeply admires. Without charm, all the lovely clothes money can buy will have little meaning or value.
Here's the question. Today the many of us "born without a large measure of physical beauty" can tackle the situation head on with plastic surgery, teeth whitening, Botox, lipo, and all the other beauty fixes we're told to believe we need to stay apace.
Does this mean bewitching, beguiling, cultivated charm will inevitably become extinct?