“Imperfections – in things, in people, in places – add character to life. Tell us about an imperfection that you cherish.”
Nothing that actually exists is perfect, and nothing should be. The master masons who built the great cathedrals of Europe always deliberately left something unfinished so as not to be seen as trying to match The Almighty entirely. If perfection is achieved, what is there left to strive for? To my mind, the pursuit of perfection is rather like travelling: it’s better than arriving.
Perfection is a benchmark, an aspiration, and has been at least since Plato expounded his Theory of Forms (there: I have finally found something for which my Philosophy degree has come in useful).
And yet, everywhere you look, somebody’s – nearly always somebody else‘s, have you noticed? – concept of perfection is held up as some kind of sine qua non,without which it is somehow impossible to be considered as an adequate human being. Sadly, many, usually impressionable, people believe these self-appointed arbiters.
One of the most common, and insidious, examples in modern western culture is the anorexic, size zero model. Real people don’t look like that.
But this concept of perfection is not of universal or eternal appeal. In other cultures the skinny waif would certainly not be held up as an ideal. Fashions, in terms of the most sought-after physical attributes, also change over time (Rubens-esque, anyone?).
One so-called imperfection that has gone in and out of fashion over the centuries has been the ‘beauty spot’. Nowadays, such a ‘blemish’ would be photoshopped away as a matter of course, but go back to the time of Marie Antoinette or, more recently, Marilyn Monroe and it was considered a glamorous attribute – to the extent that artificial ones were often applied.
I can understand why: such a slight flaw – if you could call it that – serves only to enhance the perfection of everything around it. But you’ll just have to take my word on that one.
However, the imperfection – such an unfortunately value-loaded word – that I find most attractive of all is: teeth.
Please note that this is not a fetish.
Perhaps I just resent dentists getting paid inordinate amounts of money to reproduce a certain look out of a catalogue, but the Hollywood blazing white grin is so patently false that it’s difficult to look beyond it (or even at it, without your shades on).
Slightly snaggled is cute. Plastic moulding isn’t.