Sunday, July 29, 2007

Let's Get Symmetrical & Feel Alright.

They say that symmetry equates to beauty. According to Wikipedia, in evolutionary psychology, symmetry, especially facial symmetry, is one of the traits associated with the health, physical attractiveness, and beauty of a person. And if it's in Wikipedia, you know it must be true. I've heard that Denzel Washington has one of the most symmetrical of faces, which if the theory holds, makes him one of the most attractive men around. Which I suppose he is. And while I am an advocate of such beauty ideals as natural beauty, inherent style, and pretty much anything embodied by Liya Kebede - I was never fully sold on the symmetry bit until now.

Through a series of rather unfortunate events, I'm coming to realize that whether we realize it or not, this very notion is built into our genetic makeup. Maybe it does have to do with beauty ideals, or maybe we're just wired to compete and compare. What one side has, the other must eventually follow suit. Take, for example, the following:

When I was in the sixth grade, I ended up with stitches just above my right knee - a freak accident from foolishly trying to do axels before I knew how. The next thing I knew, I was sprawled out on the ice, with my blade protruding from my right thigh and blood everywhere. The six stitches eventually came out, and I was left with a scar the size of a quarter. Twelve years later, I find myself with another round of stitches, this time in my left knee from having tripped and fallen at work. Scars from injuries sustained on both legs. It all comes back to symmetry.

Not wanting to be left out, my arms followed suit. Two weekends ago, while playing tennis, I somehow managed to spin around and fall while swatting an off-balanced forehand. As I peeled my face off the pavement, I saw that my right elbow was speckled with blood. Ominous. Just yesterday, I fell down a set of hardwood stairs. Lo and behold, it was my left elbow that broke my fall, and I was left with a bloodied, possibly fractured left arm. The extensiveness of the damage remains to be seen. If beauty really were about symmetry, I must be off the charts.

I wonder if I ought to simply double-fist it. Next time I catch myself plummeting rapidly to the floor, I shall extend both elbows, and thereby save myself two trips to the emergency room. Kill two birds with one stone, if you will.

And that, I suppose, is the evolutionary process. I like to think that man learns from his mistakes.

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