Every so often I become focused/fixated on an idea, a concept, a definition of how we might define a quality that applies to certain people. My most recent musing is with the perception of glamour.
After asking a couple of friends and My-Reason-For-Living-In-France to help me with either explaining how they understand glamour or, if not in words, then in the women (yes, I know, men are also glamourous, but for my purposes I wanted to narrow down the field) who ooze the quality.
Not so easy I discovered.
After failing to get fast, obvious responses I turned to the dictionary:
1.) An attractive or exciting quality that makes certain people or things seem appealing.
Synonyms: allure, attraction, attractiveness, fascination, charm, enchantment, captivation, magic, romance, mystique, exoticism, spell; excitement, thrill, glitter, brilliance, “the high life;” beauty or charm that is sexually attractive.
More synonyms: beauty, elegance, chic, style; charisma, fascination, magnetism, seductiveness, desirability; rare, witchery
2.) Archaic: enchantment, magic.
Even the dictionary cannot decide exactly where it stands on the subject. I’m rather drawn to the archaic definition, mainly perhaps because “enchantment” and “magic” are sufficiently abstract that they keep the notion widely and wildly open for discussion.
Briefly I wondered whether glamour is “hot” or “cold” as in Catherine Deneuve’s beauty, considered by many to be icy, versus Monica Bellucci who is decidedly torrid.
Let me try to explain how I see glamour, and then I hope you’ll take over and tell me what and/or who you think embody that elusive mystique.
Without question, I think a glamourous woman turns heads. She enters a room and suddenly everyone is drawn to her. She is no doubt elegant, but she need not be beautiful by classic definition, but she may seem beautiful because she emits an aura that at least momentarily consumes her audience.
She is probably charming, which bolsters her allure. All the better if she is intelligent and accomplished.
Is there sexuality involved, maybe. But, she doesn’t need to be wearing something slashed and slit. She doesn’t require bare distraction to add to her attraction.
Is glamour a façade? Maybe, maybe not. I think, as in Hollywood glamour, images can be constructed, on and off the screen, to simulate glamour, but the real deal seems to be that intangible something that a woman has (and may not realize she does) wherein her mere presence emits an inexplicable enchantment.
I know someone who has created a myth about herself through her work, a sort of invisible glamour based on assumptions she has assembled through a veil of anonymity. I find that fascinating as well. When people meet her, they tend to say she is “down-to-earth” which rather dispels the notion of the concept. Still, she effuses something special. Maybe there are degrees of glamour.
I wonder too whether men and women see glamour differently. Most likely.
Clearly, I haven’t advanced the argument, but I can tell you a few things I consider glamourous — operative word, things:
1.) An apartment on the Île Saint-Louis, or maybe the seventh arrondissement. I love the seventh.
2.) Flying first class with all that it entails, like friends of ours who are fetched by a chauffeur at their house, driven to the airport, and escorted into the first class lounge while all the petty details of baggage control are attended to by the driver. On arrival at their destination, they are again greeted by a chauffeur who drives them to their hotel where their suite awaits.
3.) A two-bedroom/two-and-a-half bath pied-à-terre in the Carlyle Hotel on Madison Ave. in New York. (Imagine on the evenings when you don’t feel like cooking. You just take the elevator down to the restaurant in the hotel.)
4.) A personal chef and trainer.
5.) An indoor swimming pool that opens to a magnificent outdoor vista, chez nous of course.
6.) A chauffeur. I hate to drive.
7.) Regular, weeks-long spa visits.
I’m running out of ideas and asking myself: What about jewelry, clothes, cars, and other manifestations of seeming glamour? Then I realize that I have provided a list of tangible, wealth related things that can make one believe they equal a glamourous life.
I give up.
Oh, no, wait: One more question. Is luxury glamourous?