Why we should all beware the beautiful people

narcissus-300671_1280

Image: Pixabay

It seems beauty and poison often go hand in hand.

We’ve all met them. Those folk so physically attractive they almost look like a different species – complexions as flawless as a polished peach, hair so glossy it could have been French polished. Their teeth are white and even and they move with the kind of fluid grace you can only be born with, because it relies on your limbs being hung in precisely the right way and only nature or a very expensive plastic surgeon is capable of that.

But look closer.

Do they flick a glance at every plate glass window they sashay past? Cos apparently, when you’re that gorgeous, you have to make sure you stay gorgeous. And is that a crinkle of disdain disfiguring that perfect nose when they see someone or something less wonderful than they are? Are they, in short, just a little bit up themselves?

The most extreme example of a narcissistic personality, of course was today’s Wednesday Word Tangle word …

NARCISSUS, that most vain and unlovely of lovely Greek youths.

Having an utterly over-inflated idea of his own attractions, Narcissus didn’t think any of the wood and water nymphs who threw themselves at him were good enough.* And he treated the lovely Echo (she who had been cursed by Juno to be incapable of speech unless another spoke first) with such disdain, the humiliation drove her to hide in a cave where she gradually pined away until nothing remained but her

Voice.

Voice.

Voice.
Voice.

This being a Greek Myth, of course, things didn’t end well for Narcissus, as he caught sight of his reflection in a pond and stared at his own gorgeousness until he too pined away, leaving only a narcissus flower behind.

Now, the daffodilthe most common of the narcissus family – is beautiful in its simplicity, a welcome harbinger of Spring. It certainly cheered Wordsworth up when he was feeling blue. But it also has more in common with the callow Greek youth than merely the name.

Because for all its beauty, it’s highly toxic when eaten, causing vomitting, nausea, diarrhea, convulsions, trembling and – in extreme cases – death.

And if it shares their water, it can poison other flowers, shortening their lives considerably (Sound familiar?)

So, what’s the moral of this tale?

Don’t fall in love with someone who’s more in love with themselves than they could ever be with you.

And don’t go gathering wild leeks in the early Spring – unless you’re fond of stomach pumps.

***

*To be fair, this story does portray nymphs as slightly on the needy side.

Thanks to dear Kat, the originator of W4W.

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30 thoughts on “Why we should all beware the beautiful people

      1. I’m so sorry! It makes you feel quite desperate, doesn’t it? I’m going through a similar patch myself. I should make myself get up and read, but instead lie in bed, fretting I can’t sleep! My lovely, comfy bed becomes a place of torture. I do hope it improves for you. All the best.

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    1. Being stunning must give people a skewed perspective. I read a few articles whilst writing the post about how attractive people have easier, wealthier, happier lives than those less attractive. Interesting how we still all judge people by their looks.

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      1. Oh, no, I’m not cross at all. Evolutionarily speaking, it makes perfect sense to be attracted to people who seem fit, health with few physical faults. I find it interesting that this crosses over from choosing a partner to having a job interview. And absolutely we all do it – myself included, I’m ashamed to admit 🙂

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  1. The Welsh of course have hedged their bets by their national plant, the leek, being edible and the colourful subtitute — luckily, usually in bloom around St David’s Day at the start of March — the daffodil’s trumpet. What other country in these isles has an emblem you can eat? (Yes, I suppose you can use rose petals in cooking.) They are certainly self-regarding but never narcissistic. At least, I don’t think so!

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      1. Ha! The difference between you and me – I come up with an idea and write an oblique poem about it, in the hope that readers will think I’m clever. You write it clearly, adding links, so that everyone knows what you’re talking about.

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      2. It could just show how much more sophisticated you are Jane – where I’m a simplistic, popularist soul who couldn’t be deep and spohisticated if my life depended on it … 🙂

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      3. I never offer them ones to me mates. I know ‘ow picky some people is, an’you look like a right toff, wot wiv the clean ‘air an’ all. I bet you wash almost ev’ry mumf, an’ I can see you got toofbrush ‘abit by all them pearlies.
        Sometimes I heartily wish all these stupid alter egos would leave me alone! 😀

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      4. The alter egos are fine -as long as they let you get a word in every now and again! Anyway, that one seems harmless enough – the original diamond in the rough 🙂

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