My initial thought, when I was planning this post a few days ago, was to write something about beauty and make-up, character and what we consider ourselves to be – or who – when we look in the mirror as opposed to what other people consider us to be – or who – when they see us in the street, in a bar, at work, at college or wherever. I thought I would do a little quick thing on how to apply make-up properly so that you don’t end up looking like a clown or, worse still, one of those over-made-up Asians with completely the wrong color selection you see on some of the worse than usual ‘artistic nude’ sites, to phrase it subtly.
Photo Source: weheartit
And then I decided against the idea for a number of reasons. Firstly, who am I to tell someone I do not know and cannot see how they should apply their own make-up? I can do it for myself because I see myself in the mirror and can make snap judgements; I know what I’m going to be wearing; I know who I’m going to be with and I know where we’re (most likely) going to go or end up. All these things I cannot know about someone reading this post. Sure, I could give tips, but why? There are enough web sites and blogs out there already doing it; it isn’t really my niche; many of my readers are male… and so on.
So, I decided to write about something else. About how we read a person’s character through their face.
Fine, most women might claim that the men they know or somehow come into contact with don’t necessarily notice their face first. We all know the glances given us by men: they tend to start from the feet and work their way up. Women start at the haircut and work down. Men stop at the boob-line while women tend to choke over the choice of shoes.
Another thing which made me change my mind over the content of this post was a passage I read in Frederico Borromeo’s Musaeum, which I have just had the pleasure of reading. Way back in 1625 he wrote:
In painting the face of Judas, Leonardo revealed the great secrets of how to read facial features and showed how skilled he was at it. He portrayed Judas as dark-skinned, hirsute, sunken-eyed, bristle-haired, severely shriveled and emaciated, and snub-nosed. All of these things betray a mind of the worst character, at least according to those who know how to deduce mental states from people’s outer appearances. By contrast – though completely in keeping with the same laws of metoposcopia [the science of determining character from facial features] – the fiery radiance of the Apostle Peter is artfully revealed by the paleness of his lips and the flaring of his nostrils. the long, somewhat hooked nose and the virile eyes portray a nobility of soul.
Bearing in mind, of course, that painters such as Leonardo da Vinci would have painted according to what they had been brought up to believe and needed to differentiate in their works between perceived good and evil as well as having to cater to their sponsor – those who paid the bills – as much as to the Church.
Photo Source: blox
What, you may well ask, does that have to do with the make-up I am carefully applying to my face?
The answer is very simple: people judge character from facial features, whether they realize it or not, they gain their first impression from what they see, from face, clothing, place, body language. Anyone who paints their face up like Ziggy Stardust or a member of the band Kiss is going to be treated in a different manner to the three examples I have used here. Too much or the wrong colors for your face and you’re going to be written down. Too little and, for some women, you’re going to feel facially nude.
Photo Source: maedchen
Some people can pull it off, depending on their overall dress sense and style, others just look quite literally like a clown and will be treated accordingly. And then there is the fact that what works in the bathroom mirror – think of all those self-shots we get to see on the Internet – isn’t necessarily going to come off quite so well in public. We are, and always will be, judged by our appearance as much as what people get to see in us later on. The first impression – clown or beauty – is what counts for many, along with our hair color. I don’t think we’ll ever be able to get rid of this idea that a woman with blond hair is dumb…
But let’s get back to that quote (above) from Borromeo. Can a person’s face truly reveal their character, the real character and personality which so many people try to hide from the outside world? If that were so, life would be considerably easier. Now it is fair to say, if you go by what the scriptures tell us, that the character of Judas should have made no difference whatsoever. He was chosen to be a disciple. He was one of the twelve handpicked to follow, to learn, to spread the word. His task in the whole, as we know, was to sell his knowledge and bring Christ to his planned end. Otherwise the story would just be a normal one of a minor prophet going his way during turbulent times.
It’s not as if he was the only prophet, not as if there weren’t others who had followers and preached a new way, a new life. History, whether reported or suppressed, is full of them and every single religion, right down to modern day cults, can call forth names of this or that man who brought The Word to the world, whether he was heard or not. Strange, I think, that other disciples who effectively deserted the cause, or denied it, should still be highly valued, should still have this noble character portrayed by their features. But this is religion, this is picking and choosing, and not the reality of everyday life.
We all hide behind a facade. We all have things, characters, traits which we do not want other people to know about, and we are all capable of hiding them very effectively. Just look at those in the High School cliques, amongst the cheerleaders, in business life, in religion, in our everyday lives. How many of them, when you really think about what they do, what they say, how they react, can really be said to show their true character through just their face?
We read what we wish to read in a person’s face. We fool ourselves much of the time and that, unless we wish to be very lonely, is a good thing. I don’t believe we can really tell exactly what a person is like, how they will react in any given situation, how they behave outside of our view, just through their features. Just the same as I do not believe that every quiet, perhaps bullied, perhaps sulky, perhaps slightly backward person is a mass murderer waiting for an opportunity to live out his fantasies or gain revenge.
- Viktoria Michaelis.