By Christopher Zoukis
No image captures our attention quite like the human face — its ability to communicate is unparalleled. All of mankind believes they are ‘face readers,’ too. Phi, or the golden section, would appear to be the universal standard of beauty (whether we like it, or not). Phi is 1 to 1.618. Shan Baker, the president of the AAFPRS (American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery) puts it this way: “While beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, there’s a real mathematical equation for measuring a person’s attractiveness. In fact, the skeletal proportions are the true determining factors.” According to the AAFPRS the perfect face looks like this: high cheekbones and a clear complexion are givens, but the well-proportioned face also divides into equal thirds when lines are drawn through the forehead hairline, the brow, the base of the nose and the edge of the chin. For women, short, delicate jaws, fine chins and graceful noses, along with prominent eyes, full lips and visible cheekbones. For men: broad foreheads, deep-set eyes, imposing brows, and strong jaws make up the most desirable male. Photo courtesy www.remybumppofieldguide.org
And that, ladies and gentlemen, brings us to the concept of ‘assortative mating,’ i.e., the attraction to others who are like oneself. “Wanna’ go for a ride?!” Well, here we go: most couples, husbands and wives, tend to be similar. They come from similar religious backgrounds, from similar ethnic backgrounds, have similar levels of innate intelligence, and many similar personality traits, including moral codes. From whence comes this congruity?
Well, Aristophanes, the comic satirist, presented a unique take on the concept. It goes like this: the god, Apollo, divided man into two parts, each part desiring its other half; and once they came together, throwing their arms about each other, they entwined in mutual embraces, longing to once again become one. Eventually, they were on the verge of dying from hunger and self-neglect, because they did not like to do anything apart from each other. But when one of them died and the other survived, the survivor sought another mate, man or woman as we call them, and grabbed hold of that.