“Look your best – who said love is blind.” Mae West
When I first read this I groaned. More pressure, more friendly advice reminding me that I needed to up the ante, to forgo the extra bits of sleep in order to put the time into perfecting my appearance( which means – showering, washing hair, brushing teeth, slapping some makeup on so I don’t frighten folks) before venturing out onto the street. No more slouching around in ill becoming but ‘oh so comfortable’ sweats and baggy jumpers. To receive love it appears one must always be in top shape and looking fabulous. The thoughts of this were making me weak at the knees and not in a good way. Then my bolshi misplaced feminist philosophy kicked in and I demanded to know what sexist pig thinks women are only worthy of love if they look like a Stepford Wife all the time. Yes I know no man necessarily said that but that’s beside the point. Then with all this internal conflict I felt tired and confused so I left it alone, abandoned all thoughts of making an effort and just hoped that my innate charm and brio would knock their socks off. But lately I’ve begun to look at these words in a different light, given the whole’ love is blind thing ‘a revisionist analysis and decided that what Miss West was driving at was not look your best so that others may love you, but rather look your best so that you may love yourself. If what you see when you look in the mirror isn’t up to scratch by your standards then do something about it. The premise of most self-help guru’s, of books written on happiness, on advice from people older and wiser is always centered around the essential notion that you must love yourself, that in fact before others can offer you love you must first love your own self. And liking what you see in the mirror is a huge part of loving yourself. Not that this reflection has to conform to any set standards or norms regarding beauty, beauty is itself highly personal and variable. Au contraire I like it when people buck trends or refuse to jump on the bandwagon like so many others and start killing themselves in order to look a certain way. What is of value in Miss West’s words is that you take the time to look your best, to maximise your potential, whatever that may be, and in doing so ensuring that you receive above all, the love of that most important person, yourself.