Passion recalled isn't passion

The time I’ve lost in wooing,
In watching and pursuing
The light that lies
In woman’s eyes,
Has been my heart’s undoing. 

Tho’ Wisdom oft has sought me,
I scorn’d the lore she brought me,
My only books
Were women’s looks,
And folly’s all they taught me.       

—Thomas Moore, 1779-1852

I sometimes had sex with women I had only known for a few hours. There was the woman I met on a botanical field trip and snuck away with to make love in the woods; the woman I met at a convention dinner and screwed while my roommate pretended to sleep; the woman I met on a float trip and had sex with behind a log; and the woman I made love to on a sunken grave. I had sex with Peggy’s best friend, with the town librarian, with a visiting Austrian, and with women I met during the two years I spent visiting communes. All I needed was privacy, whether it was a bathroom floor, the backseat of a car, or a schoolyard in the darkness. I was forever on the hunt, forever studying women’s words and body language for hopeful signs, forever aware that no matter who I was with or what I was doing, I would have abandoned it for a beautiful stranger.

Women like being treated as goddesses by a man who means it, a man who gazes worshipfully into their eyes and listens enraptured to their every word, but I was also a good liar. If a woman asked if cigarette-tasting kisses bothered me, I would say no. When the Austrian asked if I cared that her unshaven legs were as hairy as my own, I said I preferred them that way. If a woman complained about some defect in her appearance, I would tell her that I considered it beautiful, and in the passion of the moment, I probably did.

Peggy, like most women, interprets philandering as indicative of a moral weakness that is prevalent among men. Yet for every philandering male, there are probably several philandering females, and I never had trouble picking up married women. I hated hurting Peggy, and I hated being unable to think about anything but women for more than an hour at a time, but giving up my need for them was no more feasible than giving up my need for air. I passed much of my adult life seriously wondering if castration wouldn’t have been preferable to living as I did, and I by no means attribute my current attitude to a gain in wisdom but to a loss in hormones.

I don’t like much about growing old, but there are a few things. For instance, I like having enough knowledge about enough things that I’m more likely to do something smart than something stupid. I also like remembering things that happened before most of the world’s population was born, but I especially like not being obsessed with women, a state that I never imagined possible back when it was a wonder to me that every dead soldier in Arlington didn’t rise from the grave whenever a pretty woman attended a funeral. Now on those rare occasions when I do more than glance at a woman, lust is less likely the reason than are thoughts that her nose ring would look better on a pig, that her tattoos look like smudges of dirty motor oil, and that the ready view of her butt crack is reminiscent of a fat plumber whose ass is sticking out from under a sink. If she sees me looking at her, and her expression says, “Don’t be lusting after me, old man,” I’ll think, “Don’t flatter yourself, honey.” So it is that I have come to adore my scorn for that of which I lived most of my life in adoration, that which I would have all but killed to possess.

Age enables me to evaluate female beauty in terms that have little to do with lust, and I’ve been surprised to find that so few women are really all that attractive, and that those who go out of their way to look sexy only succeed in looking slatternly. You will surely agree that such reflections are superior to falling in love with every fifth woman I pass on the sidewalk, women that I once imagined to be demigoddesses whose very cells were of a higher order than those of ordinary women.

But what kind of women do I now regard as beautiful? Julia Jackson, whose picture accompanies this post, was Virginia Wolfe’s mother. Her aunt—Julia Cameron—took many pictures of her around 1860, all of which feature an unadorned face and a pensive, direct, and intelligent gaze. I find a nudity in her face that arouses me more than most women’s entire bodies, and compared to which the use of makeup seems desperate and concealing. So, it is that my idea of a beautiful woman is more akin to that of the stereotypical librarian than the stereotypical pouty blonde that women imagine men to prefer and that, for all I know, most men do prefer. I prefer someone like Peggy who is fit, dresses modestly, speaks softly, takes minutes rather than hours to get ready to leave the house, and is uncluttered by paint, tattoos, and bold jewelry. Understatement is what makes a woman sexy, and since I always preferred older women, I have come to regard a few wrinkles as an asset.


CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

What a refreshing take on beauty! I often look at acquaintances on facebook tith all their tattoos and holding their grandchildren and I find them hideous...and I'm secretly great full I don't have to hang out with any of them in real life!

Snowbrush said...

"What a refreshing take on beauty!"

Peggy asked me this morning what size breasts I prefer, and I said that there are only two kinds of breasts that I don't like. One kind is the ones that are huge, and the other are the ones that have implants. I can't even imagine why women would want to artificially increase their breast size, and I truly wonder if other men are okay with it--prefer it even! There's nothing wrong with small, but there's everything wrong with artificial, and I'm not talking here about women who have their breast rebuilt after mastectomies, but women who have them stuffed with silicone because they think men prefer them that way.

Stephen Hayes said...

I've been married to one woman for forty years and haven't ever strayed, but I do appreciate women from a purely artistic point of view--and in my case that isn't a joke since I've spent most of my life as a professional artist. In that vein, I've never seen a tattoo that enhances the human body and agree that most of them look like oil stains, piercings just look stupid and painful, and the best way for a woman to look sexy is to stop trying, be yourself and be as natural as possible. I also love the natural scent of a woman and hate it when women over bathe or douse themselves in perfume. Aside from this, I bow to your many multi-experiences.

Snowbrush said...

"I also love the natural scent of a woman and hate it when women over bathe or douse themselves in perfume."

Perfumes give Peggy migraines; they make me nauseous; and they often linger for hours after the user is gone, so we discourage people from wearing them to our house. Why is it that so much of what passes for feminine beauty depends upon hiding a woman's real appearance and scent with perfumes, makeup, ink, false boobs, false eyelashes, and all manner of other things. I swear, a lot of the women newcasters now look more like prostitutes than respectable professional women. Feminists were originally in strong opposition to the very things I've complained about, but younger women (who I should THINK would be for equal rights) seem to have concluded that female freedom and empowerment largely consists of presenting oneself as a sex object. It's all so very shallow.

Linda said...

Oh my, OH MY!

After I divorced, I had a female friend with huge breasts. I had small but okay breasts. She made her mousy brown hair blond. I did nothing to mine. We both had a permanent and long curly hair. We both like to dance. She would have gone off with would not have.

One night we went to a club to dance that lots of business men frequented. I wore a dress that showed no cleavage. She had on a dress that was striking for all she had hanging out.

I did wear a little makeup. She was in full war paint with lavender lidded eyes and a pout on her lips. She kept her eyes in a slit that was supposed to be a "come hither" look. I hope I had a pleasant look on my face. She was actually beautiful with makeup. I am not that attractive.

She was so angry because men preferred me. More men asked me to dance than asked her to dance. We danced and left although she begged for me to leave her with some guy.

There is a backlash against feminism. Feminism does NOT encourage modesty, nor does it promote adornment. Feminism is about freedom of choices and equal opportunities. It is about not living a proscribed life.

However, if a young woman wants to dress and adorn her body in a way I don't like, I fully support her right to do so. However, I do question her judgment.

You have led a colorful life, hopefully one disease-free.

I would rather be with a smart, kind man with a sense of humor than some guy who was all wrapped up in himself, was stupid, arrogant, and horny.

My friend refers to the weather forecasters or weather readers as "weather models."

lotta joy said...

Joe's first wife refused to take him to the ER because she had just finished removing her makeup. He had to drive himself with a broken foot.

Our neighbor had hair implants, her makeup tattooed on, and veneers on her teeth that are so white she can be seen in total darkness if she smiles.

By contrast, I'm ready to leave the house as I am, even if I just finished washing the dog - and although that fact still delights Joe, it makes me feel inferior when I run into other women who care enough about themselves to slather on makeup.

All Consuming said...

"“Don’t flatter yourself, honey." - well I'm sorry I bloody came over now!

You were plagued when younger with feelings that sound very hard work, full on with no respite, so I'm glad it has mostly abated. That photograph is one I know of, I have it on my computer in my picture gallery. She is so, so beautiful, hauntingly so I;d say. I don't like fake breasts myself, but I do have my tattoos and as they are for me, and me alone I couldn't care less what other people think of them, so long as they are polite enough to keep their opinions to themselves, as I wouldn't dream of telling someone they looked awful with a fat beer belly (unless they actually asked me what I thought of it, then they'd get the truth of the matter). If you can't say anything nice then shut the hell up say I.
I don't know how Peggy put up with it all, but I guess that's love for you. On both sides, for no matter what your extra curricular lusts birthed, you knew it was Peggy that you actually loved, and so She knew you would always come back I'm guessing. In that respect you are just like Tom Jones, who had billions of brief encounters with ladies and yet always stated that he'd never leave his wife, and she stayed out of the lime-light and knew she had the core of him. So now I shall call you 'Tiger' as that was his nickname with the ladeeez.
Another excellent post, you write so honestly from the heart, were I not a woman I'd even believe it were all true. Hahahaha. I'm kidding, I'm kidding! *gives him a quick kiss on the cheek then pedals away on Claude*.

Joe Pereira said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joe Pereira said...

Apart from the last part, this post could have been written by me. And I wish it had. You described one of my obsessions beautifully and precisely. In the process you've also made me feel better about getting old. Thanks Snow

possum said...

Ah, the joy of getting thru menopause when the hormones tell the brain all kinds of stupid stuff. For years I was “encouraged” to wear what he considered sexy clothing, back breaking heels, etc. When I was free from that bondage, I swore I would never dress like that again. And then more men were in hot pursuit than ever. Funny how that works. But my greatest blessing in life was that when the Love of my Life departed this world, my hormones quit at the same time. It is so freeing to not give a damn about “That” anymore. I spend hours as the only female at a place where I work, the only female on several boards I serve on, I even work with a group of guys teaching Boy Scouts… I never think twice about any of them in a sexual way even tho we joke about them being my 4 husbands, and I tell folks the Mormons had it all wrong.
Freedom. Peace, not piece. Love it!

PhilipH said...

Now THAT'S what I call an everyday tale of an exceptional fellow. One whom I, when a teenager overflowing with testosterone, would have envied. Envied isn't a strong enough word but 'twill have to do right now.

I've only known four women who were 'girl friends' with just one of them becoming my wife. Sex with the first young lady was restricted to breast-fondling at most, and THAT took a while to come about, at her instigation. I was obviously not as knowing and skilled as you were my dear boy!

But how I would have liked to have been. I shall say no more of my own romantic encounters other than that first love and her hand that guided my hand to her breast in the Classic cinema one evening gives me such a warm glow still, some 64 years later (I was sixteen and a half at the time).

You and I are at one when it comes to all the 'added extras' that millions of women employ to make themselves attractive. They fail, especially with boob jobs, other than those over-endowed in that area seek a boob reduction.

You wrote of your earlier sexual encounters a year or so ago. I was amazed then but not so much now; you have mellowed in that respect. Age tends to weary most of us in so many ways, physically especially in my case.

Harking back to younger days can be enjoyable for me but also makes us realise how short our lives are when compared to the billions of years that this planet has existed. We are not here today, gone tomorrow. More like here at 14.28 hours, gone in 14.28 and five seconds. A flash in time so to speak.

I enjoyed the poem at the start of your posting. Great stuff.


ps: I've been married for 56 years and have never strayed,(physically) but there were times (in my mind) ... say no more!

Helen said...

... at the ripe age of 73, I simply love this! I have ceased fretting over makeup, hair, clothing ~ whether or not I might 'look good.' What an incredible sense of freedom!! A few weeks ago I walked into a Bend store to replace a face cleanser I was out of ~~ the clerk looked at me, the essence of me, no makeup with the exception of left-over lipstick from the previous day ~ and remarked "you are beautiful." Tears filled my eyes as I simply replied "thank you." Years ago I might have said something silly like 'oh, I don't have my make up on or gads! I have to keep my sunglasses and hat on so no one recognizes me'. (and yes, I can relate to those dalliances you speak of.) Smiles!

Charles Gramlich said...

I was deeply in love with one woman when I was young, for quite a long time, until she cheated on me while we were engaged and became pregnant with another man's baby. As I've gotten older I've found the idea of beauty to be quite different from yours. I tend to find almost all women beautiful in some way now, although that doesn't equate to lust for them. I've found that women who I get to know, even if they start out seeming homely, become more beautiful as I come to know them. Sometimes it works the other way with celebrities. Sarah Palin for example. I thought she was very pretty when I first saw her but came to find her quite unpleasant in appearance.

ellen abbott said...

between my two marriages I was highly promiscuous. I had sex with many men, many of them one night stands. I say this with no shame. I like/d sex. I felt no need to be in love to enjoy a good sweaty coupling. I was an adult woman who was used to a sex life. I am also one of those women who did not wear make-up, did not shave any part of my body, did not wear revealing clothes because I am very small breasted and had nothing to reveal, not into personal adornment either and all I ever did to my hair was wash it and brush it out (choices that were based a good deal on rebellion against the notion that men in their natural state were perfectly acceptable while women in their natural state were not and made no apologies for my natural state). I was simply honest and forthright and I had no problem approaching a man and suggesting a night of it. I was not one of those women that men gravitated to though and I imagine my choices winnowed out the men who shallow. I had a friend who was drop dead gorgeous and when I went out with her men hovered around her and didn't even see me even though I knew they would get nowhere with her. she liked the attention but never ever 'put out' as it were. one night I told one guy that he was barking up the wrong tree, that it was me he wanted but he was blinded by the beauty. we did eventually hook up later and he admitted that I was right. we might have developed a longer relationship but I met my future husband and all that fell by the wayside. A conscious decision since I had been married previously to a philanderer and felt that unfaithfulness was detrimental to a permanent relationship. I'm on the other side of menopause now and my husband has his own problems with erection so our sex life has changed somewhat in frequency and method but we still indulge. and so while I do not miss being at the mercy of estrogen, I do, on occasion, miss that heady loin lust.

Snowbrush said...

"Feminism is about freedom of choices and equal opportunities.”

I was an early (1972) subscriber to Ms Magazine. My memory is that feminists prominently and seemingly universally trashed stay-at-home-mothers, women who wore more than a tiny amount of makeup, women who showed off their bodies in beauty contests, and anyone else who was seen as the female equivalent of an Uncle Tom. All this, plus they blamed all their problems on the male gender, which alienated me as an active supporter because it put me in the position of having to hate myself in order to support them. Much of the reason that feminism has fallen into disfavor is that so many feminists really were hateful, humorless, and fanatical, which is the reason that I quit subscribing to Ms. At the same time, what women have today, they owe to feminism, so to reject it strikes me as appalling ungrateful.

"You have led a colorful life, hopefully one disease-free.”

I was lucky to not catch anything, but then maybe there wasn’t as much to catch back then (I hate my last lover around 98-99. Also, I had some long-term relationships, and if it’s bad enough to run around on one woman, it would be completely absurd to run around on two, so that kept me corralled in a bit.

"She is so, so beautiful, hauntingly so I;d say.”

Peggy and I often have different tastes in women--and in men. I don’t recall if she has expressed an opinion, but I can imagine her pronouncing the woman in the photo ugly, but I’m glad you, at least, agree. Do you know much about her and about her aunt/photographer who took her coffin with her when she went to India, saying she wouldn’t be coming back? Also, Julia Jackson died of the flu while in her early fifties. I hope you have your shot.

"I do have my tattoos and as they are for me, and me alone I couldn't care less what other people think of them…”

Still, I hated to write that part of this post for that very reason, you being the only reader that I know of who has tattoos, and me certainly not wanting to offend you. Back when tattoos were unusual, Peggy talked about getting one, and I supported her doing so, but she backed out. Now, I wouldn’t want her to because I’m so sick of them, but I wouldn’t oppose it if it were discreet. If Ken opposed you getting one, what would you do if you really wanted it?

"it makes me feel inferior when I run into other women who care enough about themselves to slather on makeup.”

Peggy won’t leave the house dirty, even to go to a lumber company, and this sometimes annoys me quite a bit, but I have no knowledge of her feeling inferior to women who wear makeup (I’d ask but she’s asleep). Well, she just got up, so I asked her before I even said hello, and she said that, no, it never bothers her.

Snowbrush said...

"I've been married for 56 years and have never strayed”

Stepen said the same except that his marriage is a mere 40 years old. Peggy and I had our 43rd in December so even we are newlyweds compared to you and your wife. I can’t even imagine having been monogamous. Had Peggy decided to leave me for it, I would have no doubt tried to be sneaky, but I have no thought that it would have worked.

"the clerk looked at me, the essence of me, no makeup with the exception of left-over lipstick from the previous day ~ and remarked "you are beautiful.’"

Other commenters mentioned being found more desirable once they gave up those things that women supposedly have to use to look desirable.

"I tend to find almost all women beautiful in some way now, although that doesn't equate to lust for them.”

I don’t find a large part of people to be beautiful in any way. In fact, I find some people so repulsive that I hate to even look at them, and if I meet someone I don’t know and immediately conclude that I wouldn't like them based upon their looks, it’s the death knell to ever finding them attractive even if I do come to like them. Regarding most people’s looks, I don’t think about it much one way or the other. There was a time that I pitied beautiful women because I knew that I could never be their friend and not be constantly distracted by wanting to have sex with them, and I assumed that this was true for most men, so my pity was quite large, but I don’t know how deserved it was since so many beautiful women also struck me as obnoxious.

"Sometimes it works the other way with celebrities. Sarah Palin for example. I thought she was very pretty when I first saw her but came to find her quite unpleasant in appearance."

Same here. I would jump out a window if she made advances at me because there’s no way I EVER could have put her snug obnoxiousness aside. I feel the same about women who wear furs. Even when I was in hot pursuit, it would have bothered me so much that, although I probably would have had sex with such a woman had I found her beautiful, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it much because I would have seen her as having blood on her hands.

"I am also one of those women who did not wear make-up, did not shave any part of my body”

I don’t object to body hair on women, per se, I just don’t like a lot of it, but then I don’t like what I regard as excessive hair on men either. I would even prefer it if Peggy didn’t shave her legs, at least, because her leg hair is thin and short, but she insists on shaving. She die try not shaving on two occasions, but it felt so strange to her that she gave up the attempt. When I say I would prefer that she not shaved, it’s because she hates doing it, so since it makes almost no difference anyway in how she looks (she has very nice legs), I would prefer that she not do it.

"I am very small breasted. ..”

Peggy’s breasts aren’t large, but they’re big enough that they annoy her athletically, so for this reason alone, I wish they were smaller. In general, I don’t know that I have a preference other than I don’t like breasts that are really big or breasts that contain silicone. I have no idea what most men prefer, I only know what society tells them that they’re supposed to prefer.

All Consuming said...

Fear not dear heart, you did not offend me, nor were you likely to, I just like those I have and find all the moaning about them which goes on a bit hard work at times. If Ken were to say he did not want me to have a tattoo then he would not be the man I married, for it was his ability to accept who I am and what I want, and vice versa that had me choose him. It is only pure chance that it has worked out like that, few people would be the same together. I'd have liked him to keep his hair dyed black as it was when we met, but he didn't want to, and that's ok. He knows the reasons for my tattoos too, they will remind me of certain life episodes and the reasons I need to rememebr them when my poor ailing mind is failing, this is already true. My ex, Bill, Lardys 'dad', told me absolutely did not want me to get the first tattoo.mhe hated them. I told him that it should not be a relationship breaker in my opinion, and as it turned out, he grudgingly liked it in the end. I don't tell anyone what to do with their body or appearance, it's up to them, if I find them attractive it goes way beyond things like hair colour, weight, tattoos, baldness, wrinkles, you name it. Ok, a spider web tattoo on the face wouldn't be ideal *laughs a lot* being an alien helps me be so utterly fabulous of course. *winks.

Ginnie said...

Well, if it's wrinkles that turn you on you would be enraptured by me !!

BBC said...

I always preferred women that liked to screw two or three times a day. But I always turned married women down.

Lee Johnson said...

This post made me sad and more so that nearly all the comments are in agreement with you. I don't think there's anything wrong with promiscuity if all affected parties are consenting, but both the say-anything-to-shag world view and the judge-based-on-appearance world view seem borderline misogynistic.

I don't think most women see being put on a pedestal as a good thing. The last time I saw that expression I believe it was a from a conservative muslim describing how much they respect women. Women generally prefer to be seen as equals, rather than slaves or on pedestals.

But if lying for sex is bad, then judging based on appearance is worse. People don't dress a certain way or get piercings or tattoos for your benefit and their appearance says nothing about who they are as a person. In a previous post you were upset to be judged for being from Mississippi, but then you see someone with tattoos and describe them as slattern? Slattern -- A slovenly, untidy woman or girl; a slut; a harlot.

"Age enables me to evaluate female beauty in terms that have little to do with lust" - Age does not enable you to evaluate female beauty independent of your own prejudices. It could be well argued that there are no arbitrarily true standards of beauty. There was a researcher in Britain who spent years grading women he saw in the street based on their appearance. He "discovered" that women from certain parts of Britain were more attractive, and that minorities were less attractive. Of course, he really just "discovered" his own prejudices and falsely believed them to be true. It's surprising that your current standards for beauty almost exactly match the rules for women in most conservative Christian religions.

"Yet for every philandering male, there are probably several philandering females" - Study after study continues to find men as more promiscuous than women. Even the most generous studies suggest that 45%-55% of married women cheat, compared to 50%-60% of married men. Our society remains hyper sensitive to female sexuality though. We don't even have a male version of the word "slattern".

Snowbrush said...

"Well, if it's wrinkles that turn you on you would be enraptured by me !!”

I would have responded sooner but when I was finally able to stop hyperventilating, I started drooling on the keyboard, shorted it out, and had to go buy another keyboard.

"I always turned married women down.”

You didn’t say if you were married. I actually made no distinction except for one woman who said her husband would kill us both. She was so scared that I figured she meant it, and when I met him, I could see that she was probably right. I actually knew another couple in which the man did kill the woman, their baby, and then himself. This woman had always been obese, and when she lost weight, she looked really good and started having affairs.

"I don't think there's anything wrong with promiscuity if all affected parties are consenting…”

I would agree, but Peggy wasn’t consenting during most of what I wrote about. We started out monogamist, and I stayed that way as long as I could stand it, and then I started having affairs, confessing them to Peggy (usually because she asked, and I was unwilling to lie), then promising that I would stop having affairs, and then having more affairs (that is if you can call having sex with someone once, twice, or thrice, an affair). It finally became clear that I was not going to be monogamous, so Peggy started having affairs too (I would guess that it is nearly always the man who leads the woman into an open marriage, but I have known women who took the lead). The killer for us, though, wasn’t sex with other people, but falling in love with other people, Peggy with Walt and me with three different women, each of which was in my life for a period of years. Even that wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t hit the emotional skids so hard when those relationships ended. As for Peggy and Walt, they’re still in love even though they’re not having sex at this point, although if his marriage breaks up, I think it very likely that they will, and I will be happy for them, and for me, if they do. For me because I’ll get to see Walt more often, and because I love them both and believe that their lives will be enriched.

"the say-anything-to-shag world view and the judge-based-on-appearance world view seem borderline misogynistic.”

It was rather a case of making women into goddesses and trusting that goddesses were good. From my earliest memory, I didn’t see pretty women as people but as something far above people, and when you feel that way, it puts you in a position of seeking something akin to magic. I really have no idea how many men feel as I did, but I wouldn’t be surprised but what a lot of violence against women doesn’t come from a desire to bring them down a notch, that is to take them off the very pedestal that men themselves put them on. I once had a woman say to me that she liked it that I treated her like a goddess, and I thought, oh, no, you don’t want to be anyone’s goddess, because when he finds out that you’re human after all, then comes disappointment, if not anger.

Snowbrush said...

"Women generally prefer to be seen as equals, rather than slaves or on pedestals.”

I don’t think it’s that black or white. Sure, when it comes to regular life, women want equality, but in romantic relationships (as opposed to longterm partnerships), they fall into fantasies just like men do. They want equality there too when it suits them, but they also want you to be their knight, their little boy, their father, and their jester, and for them to be your slut, your goddess, your slave, and your pet, and it is all of this that I sought in relationships. I imagined that sex equalled intimacy, and, if the people "fall in love," it does bring out aspects that aren’t otherwise evident, but romance has nothing to do with knowing someone as they are and building a stable, trusting relationship with them. In fact romance must die and be replaced by what, for want of a better word, I will call consuming sweetness. This is what I feel for Peggy precisely because all the fantasies are gone for me where she is concerned. If she were still some mythological creature in my eyes, I would mistake my fantasy for her reality, and it would be that fantasy that I loved rather than she.

"People don't dress a certain way or get piercings or tattoos for your benefit and their appearance says nothing about who they are as a person.”

You have succeeded in astounding me. I think people’s appearances say an immeasurably large amount about whom they are.. From your statement, you seem to think that the clothes people wear, the tattoos they get, and so on are like things that simply fall on them from out of the sky rather than something they choose based upon their age, values, social class, self-esteem, sense of aesthetics, feelings for the person(s) they're with, and how they want to be interpreted by the world at large. I remember one night when you came over, and I had a tie on, and it seemed to me that it bothered you a little precisely because you didn’t how to interpret it. If it’s true that you don’t think appearances say anything about a person, you wouldn’t have even asked why I had a tie on, would you? And as for not dressing for anyone’s benefit, I wouldn’t have worn that tie except that I felt celebratory because you were coming, and wanted to dress so as to commemorate my feeling. The tie was my gift to you, but it was also a playful act for me. You might want to Google “what our clothes say about us,” or something along those lines and see how many books you come up with, some of them by psychologists.

"Age does not enable you to evaluate female beauty independent of your own prejudices.”

Prejudices and preferences. No, there is no such thing as objective beauty, so whether it’s a woman or a tree, my judgement about it is based upon who I am rather than who—or what—it is. What I meant by the statement was simply that lust hides defects somewhat like bad lighting hides defects.