Sunday, February 5, 2012
The Books: Beauty and Sadness by Yasunari Kawabata
I tried to move on to something with more sex. I am supposed to be ploughing through the classic sex books after all. I did download Nabakov's Ada and Ador onto my iPhone, an audio version because reading the print copy was doing my head in. The reader was a little better at the Russian words than I had been , but even an hour in to the reading I still had no idea which character was which.
So, despite the pile of books mounting on my table, I reached for another Kawabata. I am certain that House of the Sleeping Beauties will be the book I turn to in the end, but just to be sure I picked up Beauty and Sadness.
Now, then I feel sad. Very sad. And not particularly beautiful. In fact I am more aware now of my failings. My breasts, my trump card, are not such a picture card after all. I sat with a pretty girl over lunch. Sweet, young, fresh-faced. She is thin. So thin that her breasts sit out on her chest amazingly well defined. In the mirror, at home I look at my own ample chest and here, in the shadow of Kawabata and his idealised Otoko, the young girl of sixteen, I realise that the bulk of my breasts are fat deposits. They sit on my barrel chest in a rather matronly manner.
The blurb on the back of the book says that this book has a 'heart-breaking sensitivity to those things lost forever'. I have now lost my youth. I wrestle with this but I know it is true now. I could say that I have lost my beauty but in truth I never was a great beauty at all. The women in Kawabata's books are all so beautiful to look at. They all have porcelain skin and pretty faces and fragile beauty. I sat beside the young girl at lunch and she was not what I would call a true beauty but she was pretty enough, and thin and young and it seems these things are still important enough to make me sink into a sadness so deep that I cannot struggle out of it to see the world clearly.
Beauty then, and sadness.
I should put this book down now and settle into some bawdy romp. I feel most at home in the glare of unbridled sexuality. But I just can't shake it, the sadness that spills over from my relationship to beauty is overwhelming.
This is seeping into my book. I know I said I would write something uplifting, empowering, sexy, fun. But this is the true thing, the theme of my middle-aged years. This loss of any chance I might have had to rectify my lack of beauty.
Sometimes I long to be horribly scarred, so damaged that it is hard for anyone to look at me. Then with their eyes averted I will be free from this terrible relationship I have with my own skin. Oh Kawabata how did you manage to shake me into this terrible beautyless melancholy and when will I stop, suddenly, erratically bursting into tears?