thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Keep Hoping Machine Running ([personal profile] thefourthvine) wrote2011-08-06 12:44 pm

Show Me, Show You

Last night, I was talking to [livejournal.com profile] frostfire_17, and she described someone as "classically gorgeous."

I pointed out that I had no idea what that meant. I wasn't kidding. I really don't. Best Beloved has given up on me on this score; she has instituted a series of rules to keep me from getting attacked by a mob because I accidentally describe a celebrity as, for example, "oddly stretched" when that person is, in fact, the apex of beautiful perfection. (Sample rule: If I think a man looks like any member of the rodent family, he is in fact exceedingly attractive, and I should not share my opinion with others until I am sure they don't have pitchforks.) But I have always had the belief that if I simply looked at enough pictures, I wouldn't have this problem. (I have no problem, for the record, knowing what I mean by gorgeous. But I want to know what other people mean, too.)

Since I had a willing victim right there, last night I asked Frost to name some classically gorgeous people. It went sort of like this (names redacted for reasons that will become clear):

Frostfire: There's always [name of person].
Me, studying the results of a google search: He looks like a man who really wants to sell you expensive real estate, even though he was up all night doing lines off Aaron Sorkin's ass.
Frost: But when he was younger - okay. Never mind. How about [name of other person]?
Me: Seriously? Look at his Wikipedia photo!
Frost: Oh my GOD. Don't use the Wikipedia photos. Go to Google Image search like a normal person.
Me, managing to whine in text: But then there's too many pictures.
Frost, patiently: But I am going to tell you which pictures to look at. Okay, got it? First one, last one on the first row.
Me: ...How can those possibly be the same person?

At that point, I decided to call the experiment on the grounds of keeping Frost from hating me. But I still want to know what other people mean by gorgeous. I've just learned that what I need is for people with functioning Gorgeousness Determination Circuits to let me borrow their brains.

So, this is where you come in! If you have a functioning GDC and some time on your hands, that is. What I want - what I very very much want oh please oh please - is for you to pick out a specific photo of a famous person, one that you think embodies the term "classically gorgeous." (I am avoiding all other kinds of hotness for the moment, on the grounds that I am very easily confused, especially when looking at pictures.) Then post it here, so I do not get distracted by the plethora of images of that person on the internet. (One thing I learned last night: the more famous you are, the more truly awful photos of you there are in the world.)

And please remember to include the name of the person, because it's not like I will ever have a clue otherwise. (This is why I give up on "Post hot pictures!" threads. For one thing, I am never sure what kind of hot the posters mean. For another thing, I never have any idea who the people are, which makes it - confusing. Am I looking at the same person over and over? Or are these all different people? What is going on? Why do the pixels mock me? And then I have to close the tab or start ranting on street corners.)
flamebyrd: (Default)

[personal profile] flamebyrd 2011-08-06 07:57 pm (UTC)(link)
My mother once told me that gorgeous originally meant 'colourful', and it completely ruined the word for me. I am incapable of thinking of humans as gorgeous.

This is not helpful, I know.

(For the record, I have never been able to find a source that backs up this claim, but it gave me a complex all the same.)
Edited 2011-08-06 19:58 (UTC)
cjk1701: books with the label "iRead" (iRead)

Random person sez:

[personal profile] cjk1701 2011-08-07 09:37 am (UTC)(link)
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=gorgeous seems to sort of agree with your mother. The things you learn on the internet...
thatyourefuse: ([witb] that the ocean will hold me)

[personal profile] thatyourefuse 2011-08-06 08:06 pm (UTC)(link)
Hermione Norris.

But I am not at all sure my GDC is functioning within normal parameters, so take with a few salt mines.
barometry: solid wall of paperbacks stacked up (Default)

[personal profile] barometry 2011-08-06 08:18 pm (UTC)(link)
This is a very interesting inquiry! I hope you do not mind that I am de-lurking to respond!

I would like to offer the disclaimer that I suspect my definition of "classically gorgeous" might be different from other people's (whether other people agree among themselves, I have no idea). For me the prototypical Classically Gorgeous Person is:

* female
* probably filmed in black and white
* dark-lashed, and probably has (relatively) dark/heavy eyebrows
* would be described as "poised" or "elegant" or "sophisticated"

This photo of Elizabeth Taylor and this photo of Audrey Hepburn are good examples of what I have in mind.

I was actually looking up photos of both of them the other week, because both were featured in a series on Scandals of Classic Hollywood (more interesting than I would have thought!). I was struck by how different both of them looked in different photos -- Audrey Hepburn, in particular, seems to have been the subject of frequent changes in her (heavily manufactured) "image".

[identity profile] hermionesviolin.livejournal.com 2011-08-06 08:24 pm (UTC)(link)
> a series on Scandals of Classic Hollywood (more interesting than I would have thought!)

... I read that as "Sandals of Classic Hollywood."

Also, TFV, seeing the aquiline noses in the photos people have linked to thus far, I keep thinking of your "rodent" comment *ruined*
marina: (Default)

[personal profile] marina 2011-08-06 08:23 pm (UTC)(link)
I can't really deal with the notion of "classically gorgeous" without connecting it to whiteness and Caucasian features. It's absolutely indicative of my Eurocentric upbringing, but "classically gorgeous" at my house always meant light skin, light eyes, straight hair. Even someone who "looked Jewish" couldn't be considered "classically" gorgeous because the classics are, you know, drawn from pieces of art locked in European museums.

Obviously standards of beauty are inherently politically-socially charged, and perhaps in a US context this works entirely differently, but in my mind, as soon as "classical" comes into the context of beauty in predominantly white countries the selection tends to lean HEAVILY on white people and a certain ideal of whiteness.

/not helpful at all

So, in light of this, I will link to photos of celebrities who I think are universally or very widely appreciated for their hotness, and who I also find incredibly hot:

Takeshi Kaneshiro, Taye Diggs and Matt Bomer.

flourish: white lady, green eyes, brown hair (Default)

[personal profile] flourish 2011-08-06 08:39 pm (UTC)(link)
I completely agree with this. Grace Kelly is the ultimate in classically beautiful to me. More important than the white/blonde thing though is the face shape, which is the kind of high cheekbones-straight nose-lips full but not too full shape which is very rare in the world and tends to show up in white people more often than any other group. (This is why Elizabeth Taylor also counts for this category. Modern example would be January Jones.)

When I was younger, I had many folks tell me (regretfully! as though I cared!) that I was pretty but not classically so because my face was too round. (I guess if classically beautiful is Elizabeth Taylor, I'm Debbie Reynolds...) it isn't just whiteness, or even blondness or facial balance, it's also lots of other factors!

I can list lots of other people that I think everyone would (should?) agree are beautiful, incl. Taye Diggs (JINX) but I don't think that "classically" is a term usually applied to them. Which, you know, is CLEARLY problematic, but language often is, so if we're just discussing the popular definition...
Edited (Added the last sentence to clarify.) 2011-08-06 20:40 (UTC)

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[personal profile] d_generate_girl 2011-08-06 08:29 pm (UTC)(link)
I think of someone like Matt Bomer as an example of a "classically gorgeous" male, and someone like Jeri Ryan as a "classically gorgeous" woman.

By which, I mean that their features are what we'd consider aesthetically-pleasing from a Western point of view - blue eyes, pale skin, in shape, full lips. There are some unfortunate implications behind this classification (i.e. that bigger people, people of color, people with asymmetrical features are not gorgeous or worthy of being called beautiful), but that is what I believe is implied when someone uses the phrase "classically gorgeous".
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[personal profile] isagel 2011-08-06 08:39 pm (UTC)(link)
The phrase "classically gorgeous" makes me think of old-style, iconic movie stars. Like these people:

Ingrid Bergman:



Grace Kelly:



Cary Grant:


(My grandfather, who was a very handsome man all his life, had this type of face. Possibly that says something about how I define "classically" here.)

I do think, though, that in general the people I find most beautiful do not have perfect faces and so are not as breathtaking in stills as in moving pictures. Uniqueness and personality in a person's features tend to make them more gorgeous, but also less fitting any specific definition of what beauty is. So often it has to do with charisma. And of course that's doubly true about hotness.

But, hey, I read once that Denzel Washington is a perfect example of how beauty can be quantified as mathematical symmetry of features (or that mathematical symmetry of features is something most people find beautiful, or whatever), and since I do agree about his classical gorgeousness, have a picture of him *g*:

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[personal profile] saraht 2011-08-07 12:38 am (UTC)(link)
For comparative purposes, here is a female 30s-40s star who was (a) huge in her day (b) beautiful and (c) not "classically gorgeous":

Kay Francis

Her face is too wide, her eyes too far-apart, and her nose is a bit too big.

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Holliday Grainger

[personal profile] teland 2011-08-06 08:47 pm (UTC)(link)
I usually don't go for RP that young or that blonde, but watching her on the Borgias... well. Here. Interestingly (to me), she's nowhere near as captivating as a brunette, or with less old-timey hair.
ratcreature: Heh. RatCreature is amused. (heh.)

[personal profile] ratcreature 2011-08-06 08:49 pm (UTC)(link)
I second Cary Grant for "classically gorgeous". He was the first to come to my mind for the male version as well. Gregory Peck works too.
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[personal profile] rachelmanija 2011-08-06 09:32 pm (UTC)(link)
That Peck photo is stunning.

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sophisted: (Default)

[personal profile] sophisted 2011-08-06 08:49 pm (UTC)(link)
I have multiple ideals of male beauty. "Classically" gorgeous for me implies strong aquiline features. Strong brow, strong nose, square chin, etc. Like a Roman sculpture in flesh. Young Alan Rickman or Liam Neeson are great examples of this. (Roman invasion did WONDERFUL things to a decent portion of the GB gene pool.)

Alan Rickman and Liam Neeson

My other ideal is a more androgynous look, with an emphasis on sharp cheekbones and jawline. Cillian Murphey as Johnathon Crane, mostly because the glasses melt me internally. Cillian Murphey's particular features look best with a lot of hair, in my opinion.

For women, Elizabeth Taylor.
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[personal profile] eleanorjane 2011-08-06 10:02 pm (UTC)(link)
Apropos of nothing at all, I looked at that Alan Rickman pic and went "...holy shit it's Keanu Reeves".

*sigh* Clearly I need more coffee.

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[personal profile] laurashapiro 2011-08-06 09:02 pm (UTC)(link)
In a week from today I will point out for you some classically gorgeous people who attend Vividcon.

:D
tzikeh: (clue - flames - rage)

[personal profile] tzikeh 2011-08-06 09:37 pm (UTC)(link)
Okay, you know what, I'm calling bullshit on this. It's lovely that you think lots of your friends are physically attractive and aesthetically pleasing, but that's *not* what she's asking and you know it. "Classical," when it comes to beauty, has everything to do with perfect left/right symmetry, one-third and two-third vertical spacing of brow. cheek, and jaw hinge, and an oval face-on presentation. If you want to make a political statement about modern standards of beauty, write a treatise in your own livejournal. That's not the response thefourthvine is looking for, and you're not helping her *understand the definition as presented* by doing your cutesy Dance of Feminist Activism.

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[personal profile] petra 2011-08-06 09:04 pm (UTC)(link)
Christina Hendricks, and on the male side, Paul Gross.

I agree with other posters who note that "classically beautiful" is a very Western European-specific ideal. It's only incidentally congruent with "People I find extremely attractive."
eleanorjane: The one, the only, Harley Quinn. (Default)

[personal profile] eleanorjane 2011-08-06 10:03 pm (UTC)(link)
+1 very much to Paul Gross; he was going to be my male example.

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Slightly OT

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james: trees against a cloudy night sky (Default)

[personal profile] james 2011-08-06 09:07 pm (UTC)(link)
I don't know how to post the image itself without hotlinking or stealing photos, so here are some URLs to click on:

Zoe Saldana


Lena Horne

Lena Horne younger

Josephine Baker

Brenda Song (I do not watch this show! I swear! Maybe a little.)

Shemar Moore
stasia: (Default)

[personal profile] stasia 2011-08-06 09:14 pm (UTC)(link)
(The first two links lead to a Happy Birthday to Cary Grant page...)

Stasia

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[personal profile] kindkit 2011-08-06 09:22 pm (UTC)(link)
Seconding Michael Fassbender, but with different photos.

Or perhaps the young Ralph Fiennes.

You may notice that Fassbender and Fiennes are very much of a type. Which is my type, admittedly, but it also has to do with what other people have said about the very narrow range of attractiveness indicated by "classically gorgeous."
stewardess: (Default)

[personal profile] stewardess 2011-08-06 09:23 pm (UTC)(link)
I can think of a whole bunch of people who are gorgeous. I'm not sure what "classically" gorgeous means, but I suspect it means "white." :(

The phrase brings to mind Pierce Brosnan in Remington Steele. Which is not a look I care for at all (Pierce Brosnan at just about any other time = hot).

Hmmm. Maybe "classically gorgeous" means "white person with bad 80s hair" to me.

I'm with you on the rodent thing. There's a whole bunch of male celebrities who look like rodents. Tom Cruise!

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[personal profile] zillah975 2011-08-06 09:24 pm (UTC)(link)
Tatiana Patitz

Katherine Hepburn

Lauren Bacall

Gina Torres

Linda Fiorentino

Nichelle Nichols

Halle Berry


For me, it's a thing of high cheekbones, even and symmetrical features, good skin, eyes and mouth neither too large nor too small, straight nose, and a...a certain regalness of bearing. Of course not everyone with those qualities is classically beautiful, and there are millions of people without them who are gorgeous, but those are the qualities I think of when I think "classical beauty".

I'd have to think harder on it to come up with examples of men, though off the top of my head, I'd say some classically handsome men would include Jude Law, Pierce Brosnan, Idris Elba, and the like.
barometry: solid wall of paperbacks stacked up (Default)

[personal profile] barometry 2011-08-06 09:36 pm (UTC)(link)
This. I especially agree with "..a certain regalness of bearing". That's a very good way to put it.

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[personal profile] lastscorpion 2011-08-06 09:26 pm (UTC)(link)
Alexander the Great, to put the classical in classically gorgeous. If my art history teacher in high school was right, those statues were originally painted, so they'd look less ghostly.
:-D

Thanks for bringing this topic up -- so many links to pretty pictures!
archersangel: (beauty)

[personal profile] archersangel 2011-08-16 12:03 am (UTC)(link)
those statues were originally painted, so they'd look less ghostly.

i heard they were painted in all kinds of colors, some that clashed even.
Edited 2011-08-16 00:06 (UTC)
kindkit: The Second Doctor and Jamie clutch each other in panic; captioned "oh noes" (Doctor Who: Two/Jamie oh noes)

[personal profile] kindkit 2011-08-06 09:27 pm (UTC)(link)
I think the definition of "classically gorgeous" may be more variable or contested than I'd thought, because I'm finding myself in disagreement with many other folks' choices much more often than I'd expected. Not (generally) about the "gorgeous" part, but about the "classically."
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[personal profile] isagel 2011-08-06 09:47 pm (UTC)(link)
My thought exactly. More precisely, I would say that a lot of the people listed here have one or two features that are too prominent for their beauty to fall within the range of classical, such as ears or noses that are strikingly large, or what-have-you. Mind you, some of those people are among the most viscerally attractive to me personally, but I wouldn't call them classically gorgeous.

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[personal profile] azurelunatic 2011-08-06 09:30 pm (UTC)(link)
Melissa Auf der Maur -- the lighting here makes her hair look darker than it actually is, as she is apparently a redhead, which is something that I did not at all pick up from that music video until I went in search of photos of the "gorgeous brunette".
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[personal profile] alchemise 2011-08-06 09:31 pm (UTC)(link)
I always think of Ralph Fiennes as classically gorgeous.

[personal profile] peculiaritea 2011-08-06 09:32 pm (UTC)(link)
My friends and I do this thing called "celebrity survivor" where we pick 12 women and 12 men and post their pictures and then the friends-list votes for the LEAST attractive one from each sex, so that after 12 days, the last pair standing is the winner.

That said, I'm basically sharing my list of 12 women and 12 men from the last time I started this meme, because they are basically the people I think of when I consider the term "classic beauty." Aside from the obvious choices already mentioned from the silver screen days of Hollywood, anyway. I'm sticking with modern celebrities. XD

THE LADIES
Jessica Alba
Gemma Arterton
Ueto Aya
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Claire Danes
Satomi Ishihara
Scarlett Johannsen
Kuroki Meisa
Cote de Pablo
Portia de Rossi
Zoey Saldana
Emma Watson

THE GENTLEMEN
Xabi Alonso
Matt Bomer
Ben Foster
Mizushima Hiro
Kelly Jones
Miyavi
Shemar Moore
Viggo Mortensen
Chris Pine
Zach Quinto
Gavin Rossdale
Michael Weatherly

[personal profile] peculiaritea 2011-08-06 09:44 pm (UTC)(link)
I think it's actually pretty obvious to anyone who clicks on some of those pictures that for me, "classically gorgeous" requires looking past certain... accessories. XD

But something else that I think applies to me is that I'm unable to consider people based just on their looks. My opinion of someone's beauty os constantly influenced by their talent, interests, actions, statements, accomplishments, etc. So Miyavi, while he is brightly colored and tattoo'd and wears makeup and generally can look like a girl when he wants to, he's also musically experimental and a cultural ambassador between Japan and the world, and he's fearless and talented and a husband and a father. These are all things that, even if I try to ignore them, weigh heavily in my decision on whether he goes on this list or not.

There are some people (more of the girls than the guys) who are strictly physically attractive to me, but for others, their "gorgeousness" is all-encompassing, and not readily obvious to anyone who doesn't know them like I do.
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[personal profile] risha 2011-08-06 09:34 pm (UTC)(link)
I am no more immune to ethnocentrism than anyone else responding. Strong, symmetrical features, with clear skin, matching the western ideal.

Taking the assignment a bit too literally: Lauren Bacall. More modern examples: Catherine Zeta Jones, Angelina Jolie, and Helen Mirren. And seconding Matt Bomer. Brad Pitt.
stasia: (Default)

[personal profile] stasia 2011-08-06 09:42 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, very much yes to Helen Mirrin, but more as she aged, for me.

Stasia

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[personal profile] staranise 2011-08-06 09:39 pm (UTC)(link)
"Classically gorgeous" is a genre of beauty, to me. I don't think beauty is a hierarchy, with the "most beautiful" on top and "least beautiful" on the bottom. That would be like trying to rank literature. Instead there are genres of beauty, and people can be ranked according to those ideals. I find it weird to think everyone should agree someone is beautiful or not-beautiful.
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[personal profile] order_of_chaos 2011-08-06 09:47 pm (UTC)(link)
Yes, this! That's a wonderful way of putting it!

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[personal profile] order_of_chaos 2011-08-06 09:44 pm (UTC)(link)
Dictionary definition of classical.
Dictionary definition of gorgeous.

So... dazzlingly beautiful or magnificent? Well, I was dazzled by John Barrowman for a while. (Interesting experience. It wore off after a while, and now he looks like a real person again, albeit rather handsome.) I found the photos of Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn that Barometry linked gorgeous, too, though my usual reaction to popularly-thought beautiful females is more "Arrgh, plastic person! Run away, run away!"

Link to scary article about google search personalisation (because who knows if you and Frost were seeing the same thing) -
Most of us assume that when we google a term, we all see the same results – the ones that the company's famous Page Rank algorithm suggests are the most authoritative based on other pages' links. But since December 2009, this is no longer true. Now you get the result that Google's algorithm suggests is best for you in particular – and someone else may see something entirely different. In other words, there is no standard Google any more.
monanotlisa: Captain Marvel's fist at the end of the movie, balled, close-up (john so gorgeous - sga)

Of course my forever-favourite is Joe Flanigan, so...

[personal profile] monanotlisa 2011-08-06 09:49 pm (UTC)(link)
[personal profile] marina already elaborated on this idea: The "classical" reminds me of figures seen in paintings and sculptures from Ancient Greece to Old Hollywood -- Western world ideas and ideals of the male. I don't personally respond to most of them, but of course the cultural connotation is still present.

If we read "classically gorgeous", however, as "people with sufficient vision should immediately group this man as almost universally appealing", then I'd go with these:

Seth Gabel


Sendhil Ramamurthy


Matt Bomer


Idris Elba


Rupert Penry-Jones


ursula: bear eating salmon (Default)

Re: Of course my forever-favourite is Joe Flanigan, so...

[personal profile] ursula 2011-08-06 10:57 pm (UTC)(link)
(Apparently I lack sufficient vision! Though honestly, I'm just turned off by clean-cut guys in suits.)

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