What Makes a Woman Memorable?

By Mercurio, Malana | The World and I, March 2007 | Go to article overview

What Makes a Woman Memorable?


Mercurio, Malana, The World and I


"I did but see her passing by, And yet I love her--till I die."

-- Anonymous

These haunting words could have been addressed to the beloved Beatrice by the love-stricken poet Dante, so prophetic, so fitting did they become in his lifetime. Since the beginning of time there seemed to have been women like Beatrice. Women whose charm and grace make them live forever in the heart of those who knew them.

An inclination to place beauty foremost, above all other attributes, is not easily overcome. For it is part of the romanticism of men to expect all women to be beautiful. Beauty as the preeminent choice, however, is misleading. Even as an ideal, it changes readily from country to country, from period to period and from decade to decade. When unattended by other qualities, it is a vastly overrated commodity. For beauty is a fragile chameleon flower; of itself, and over time, weathers poorly.

No doubt, harmony of features is essential to beauty. But it is only the starting point. I recall one urbane instructor commenting that potential models frequently walked into his office who, by every standard of measurement, should have been gorgeous but were a total disaster. They walked without grace. They spoke neither musically nor naturally but with a shrill tone. Their minds were shallow.

Beauty, if unattended by other qualities, sustains no interest. When beauty has only regularity of feature to recommend it, when it expresses neither delight nor compassion, when it has the chill of marble without the warmth of flesh, when it expresses neither joy nor animation, beauty becomes not only a disappointment but a bore.

What makes a woman haunt the minds of men, what makes a woman live in the hearts of men, is something more substantial. And, fundamentally, that something is character heightened with personality, enhanced with charm.

Charm is the best of beauticians. Dramatist Sir James Barrie defined charm as a sort of bloom on a woman, adding, "If you have it, you don't need to have anything else--and if you don't have it, it doesn't much matter whatever else you have." Charm, however, will not be turned on and off like a faucet. For charm is neither a sudden gush of sweetness nor the flowery, unctuous rhetoric of the imposter. An enduring charm has both a magical and delightful quality that uplifts and fascinates. Charm is woven into the fabric of the personality like some exquisite golden thread: it glows brightly; it wears well.

Indeed, a charm that endures puts people at ease by putting their interests first and expresses, without self-consciousness, a hospitable mind, a warm heart. For charm has an endearing quality which conquers by its selflessness, its graciousness, its spirituality.

With advancing years, we perceive that charm, fundamentally character itself, is the ultimate bestower of attraction. Seneca, the Roman philosopher and productive writer, wrote that the property of a generous and noble mind is to aid and do good to others. "No one," advised Jacquin Miller, "but yourself can make your life beautiful, no one can be pure, honorable and loving for you." We should strive to deepen life. A girl may have lovely features before she is twenty-six, but she usually hasn't lived enough to have much depth of feeling in her face. A mellowing maturity comes with advancing years. For "time is the chrysalis of eternity." The incomparable German poet, dramatist and philosopher Johann Goethe professed that character, though developed in the give and take of the public arena, is mellowed in solitude. When left alone the superior woman is endlessly able to amuse and interest herself out of her personal stock of meditations, ideas, memories and philosophy.

A deepening of thought is the special virtue of solitude. With practice, the capacity to think increases over time. We should daydream. We should meditate. We should pray often. Reach for those elusive but luminous places in your life where, for the most part, you sojourn as an alien. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

What Makes a Woman Memorable?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.