Female Beauty, Year By Year

Gene Tierney in 1941. Great lighting!

I recently came across a website (more of a click-bait site) where you enter the year you were born, and it shows you a woman, usually a popular movie star, considered to be a great beauty that year.

But when I tried my birth year (1936) it did not go back that far, no surprise. Their list starts in 1941 with Gene Tierney. But, I thought, that doesn’t matter anyway.  I should enter 1949 when I was 13 and just beginning to notice women. That brought up Gene Tierney again, only 8 years older. She never impressed me much, but I guess she was a recognized beauty in 1949. I never impressed her much, either.

Maybe I really came of age in 1945. Lauren Bacall was the beauty that year, and she did excite me—still does, though not as much now. Because of her, I was long attracted to skinny girls who never smiled and tilted their head down so they looked at me from the tops of their eyes. Her appearance had many similarities with my sister, and once I realized that, her look turned me off.  The only women with that look now are peering at me over their reading glasses.

My wife once told me years ago, with great insight, I would not want to be married to a skinny, glamorous woman, anyway.  She would take forever to put on her makeup, get dressed (even for a quick trip to the Acme), and would be a picky eater with many digestive problems (both ends). Besides, she would be like making love to a skeleton, all bumps and hard bones.  A heavier woman is obviously sensual about food and would probably be sensual about sex, too.  The longer I live, the more I am convinced she is right.

I loved Lauren Bacall’s role in her first Bogart movie, To Have And Have Not, where she plays a drifting, out-of-work lounge singer. (“You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve?  Just put your lips together and . . . blow.”)  Hard to imagine her ever becoming a cub-scout den mother, though. That’s what I’d be looking for now. I think she was only 17 at the time of the movie, so of course she looked terrific. We all did at that age.

Brigitte Bardot didn’t make the list until 1959, the first year I was out of Penn State and on my own. She excited every guy. When I see pictures of her today, I am glad she was unobtainable.

1958 was Sophia Loren, still a good choice, and 1957 was Marilyn Monroe. They were three good years in a row. 1955 was Elizabeth Taylor. More good.

1963 was Barbara Streisand (an acquired taste), 1967 was Twiggy (Oh, puleeze!), 1994 was Drew Barrymore (Really?). I don’t recognize most after that. Their list ends in 2008 with Rihanna when trash-talking,  potty-mouths were in. She is pretty, though.

Don’t take the list seriously. It was probably made up in one afternoon by a 20-year-old intern with a stack of old movie magazines and no idea of who these women were.


About Roger Walck

My reasons for writing this blog are spelled out in the posting of 10/1/2012, Montaigne's Essays. They are probably not what you think.
This entry was posted in Aging, History, Popular culture and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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