Vitamin C Serum: A Polemic
plus, inner beauty: a non-polemic
Welcome readers, old and new!
There are so many more of you each week, HNTFUYF feels like an open house with curb appeal; I hope you like the interior enough to see it as a longterm residence. Before you leave, please hit the ❤️ above, so a lovely sillage follows you out the door.
Can you remember a moment when you felt like the world’s happiest woman? Maybe you were overwhelmed with gratitude, or awe, or by a transcendent orgasm, or…a succulent nectarine? If you’re anything like me, the moment inevitably passed and you succumbed to the drudgery of the beautiful slog.
I was thinking about happiness recently because of a recent New York Times headline: “The ‘World’s Happiest Man’ Shares His Three Rules for Life.” It’s an interview with the writer, geneticist, and Buddhist monk, Matthieu Ricard. Years ago at O, The Oprah Magazine, I also had a chance to interview him.
About his keys to happiness? Cellular genetics? Meditation? No. I spoke to Ricard about inner beauty: what defines it, how we recognize it, and what it means.
There are certain people (you’ll meet one of them next week) who don’t believe in inner beauty. To them I respond with a resounding: Okay, sure, whatever. Because I know it exists; I’ve seen it. Here’s a snippet of my conversation with Ricard.
Me: Inner beauty. It eclipses the impression of a woman’s physical traits. Something about her attracts you in the most profound way. Something radiates from within.
MR: You're responding to empathy, compassion, an openness to others. You see it on someone's face when she feels in harmony with our deepest nature as human beings, which is basically peaceful and loving.
Me: But how does that harmony manifest itself physically?
MR: Through subtle expressions which we pick up both consciously and unconsciously. Hundreds of almost imperceptible muscular movements constantly communicate our feelings.
Me: Think of how a classically beautiful face changes when it's transformed by contempt; less beautiful, right? Maybe even ugly?
MR: Unconditional love transforms a face, too. We identify with that look, it brings up in us a yearning to be loved and to be loving; and it reminds us of the best we can be, which we may have forgotten or sublimated. And so, inspired, we wind up looking out at the world through more loving eyes, passing the harmony along.
Me: That's the thing about inner beauty! Unlike physical beauty, which grabs the spotlight for itself, inner beauty shines on everyone, catching them, holding them in its embrace, making them more beautiful, too.
And pivoting to the subject of outer beauty, a curious reader asked about the value of vitamin C serums: Are they really necessary? Worth the money? A waste of time?
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