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MARTHA SEZ: George Clooney, give me a Valentine’s Day boost

February 9, 2017
By MARTHA ALLEN , Lake Placid News

It's Valentine's Day! And high time, too. We need something besides Groundhog Day to keep us going.

Yes, the Super Bowl is a sort of a national holiday. Even so, February is a downer. While, technically, February is the shortest month, it seems like the longest, at least if you live up North. The magical, pristine, sparkling, softly falling snow you desired so fervently at Christmastime is old news now, unless of course you are a child or a skier or an Adirondack entrepreneur who relies on the tourist trade.

From where I sit typing this column, I can watch the parking lot of a local gym. People are coming and going all of the time. I suspect that their New Year's resolutions motivate them to maintain a high attendance record at the gym all through January and even into February. After that, the New Year's resolutions kind of wear off, and people return to their old ways. But why resolve to frequent the gym in the first place?

I figure it's usually for one of two reasons. People either want to improve their health, or they want to be more attractive. Maybe both.

Then again, there are people who lift weights and work out in order to become strong and powerful in case they might need to beat someone up in self defense at some juncture, or perhaps even to exact revenge, but if this is ever going to be an incentive, it will generally be during their youth. I doubt that is what is happening here at the gym.

The health aspect is very important. It is not easy to go for a walk around these parts in February without risking breaking a hip or an ankle bone, so the gym comes in handy.

The attractiveness aspect is a big motivator as well, and, with Valentine's Day looming up, I am thinking about how people link the beauty factor with love and romance. Commercials in all of the media-television, radio and print-have always encouraged consumers to buy products that promise to beautify them, or at least to hide their beauty flaws, in order to win and keep the love of "that certain someone." Movies, novels and folk tales emphasize the role of beauty in love stories.

The "Shrek" film series is the only one I can think of that breaks with tradition and features homely lovers. Princess Fiona chooses not to break the evil spell that turns her into an ogress at nightfall after she falls in love with the ogre Shrek.

Certain sociobiologist anthropologists-I am thinking of Dr. Lionel Tiger and others of his ilk-have published texts in which they equate physical beauty in humans with Darwinian natural selection. In other words, according to these scientists, a woman's physical attributes, from facial symmetry to haunch size, even to the shape of her navel, whether round or elongated, will determine how many children she will bear and rear. Now, while I simply hate to fly in the face-however symmetrical-of a sociobiologist, I think this is just silly.

In fact, I think that writing such foolishness is nothing more than self-indulgent fantasy. Look around at individuals in a crowd, at Wal-Mart or the airport or the state fair or anywhere. People come in all sizes and shapes, and, while most are not gorgeous, they seem to be able to reproduce pretty well. They don't need to inspect each others' belly buttons. Procreation happens.

Famous sex symbols and heartthrobs, like Marilyn Monroe and George Clooney, do not necessarily have children, nor do beautiful people necessarily find lasting love.

I wonder if Dr. Tiger's parents were particularly beautiful. Even if they weren't ravishing, they must have had a sense of humor when they named little Lionel.

I remember when I was young, I asked my mother how good looking a person had to be to get married. She looked thoughtful and answered that she believed that most people who wanted to get married, did.

Many of the people who have the best and most long lasting marriages are not movie-star handsome or underwear-model shapely. Some have perfectly awful navels. People love each other regardless. True love does not seem to depend on great beauty.

And-beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

If you are as gorgeous as Kate Upton or Antonio Banderas or Johnny Depp or Penelope Cruz, that is perfectly all right, too. Bring on the flowers and hearts and chocolates, and happy Valentine's Day!



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