She was not a beautiful woman, but men found her very attractive, because of her beautiful face and also her body.
“She was not a beautiful woman, but she was well-dressed, quite pretty and, as I quickly realized, very intelligent. She was a good listener, but did not say much herself. After dinner I managed to spend a lot of time talking to her.”
“She was not a beautiful woman but she would just hold you in so that your attention was directly on her.”
“She was not a beautiful woman, but at thirty-one she possessed a mature comeliness. There was strength in her high-cheekboned face, a keen intelligence in eyes the color of dark blue velvet. Her seal-black hair, layered high and fastened with one of the jeweled combs she favored, glistened with bluish highlights in the pale sunlight slanting in at her back. Many men found her attractive, to be sure.”
She was not a beautiful woman. Her lips were too full, in that way that everyone hates. And her eyes were too big and too green, which is a bad thing for eyes to be. Her eyelashes were too long, too. Her breasts might even have been too big. Her waist was too small and her skin was smooth and unblemished. God, she was disgusting. Made you want to throw up.
“She was not a beautiful woman but something about her was. There were no straight lines about her. The features of her face were crooked. Her eyes were large, one slightly larger than the other, and she would fix them on the man’s, quietly, whenever they happened to meet.”
“She was not a beautiful woman, but there was an indescribable something about her entire face and figure that was strangely attractive.”
She was not beautiful, but her hair and eyes and smile and face were beautiful. Also her body. That was beautiful, too. Just not her, somehow.
“Scarlet O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were. In her face were too sharply blended the delicate features of her mother, a Coast aristocrat of French descent, and the heavy ones of her florid Irish father. But it was an arresting face, pointed of chin, square of jaw. Her eyes were pale green without a touch of hazel, starred with bristly black lashes and slightly tilted at the ends. Above them, her thick black brows slanted upward, cutting a startling oblique line in her magnolia-white skin — that skin so prized by Southern women and so carefully guarded with bonnets, veils and mittens against hot Georgia suns.”
“Said I she was not beautiful? Her eyes upon your sight
Broke with the lambent purity of planetary light,
And an intellectual beauty, like a light within a vase,
Touched every line with glory of her animated face.”
“She was not a beautiful woman, but very attractive.”
She was not a beautiful woman in the conventional sense, but no one who met her could take their eyes off of her appearance, in that unconventional way you can’t stop staring at the non-beautiful.
“She was not a beautiful woman, but strangely attractive. No chalk whitened her face, as did most women of her class, for her natural skin was pale enough. Though her lips were too full, she did not paint them with red ochre. Nor did she use antimony or ashes to darken her eyelids. Her breasts were almost too large for her size, and though she had borne three children, her waist had not thickened as most women’s did. Like all the women of our land, her hair — a bright, shining mass — flowed down her shoulders and touched her hips.”
She was not a beautiful woman, but she was sultry. Sultry and attractive and strangely compelling. And hot. Sexy and hot and put together in the way men like. But not beautiful. Definitely not beautiful. Gorgeous, maybe.
“She was not a beautiful woman but was pleasing to the eye.”
“She was not beautiful — she was common, and could not be like Estella — but she was pleasant and wholesome and sweet-tempered. She had not been with us more than a year (I remember her being newly out of mourning at the time it struck me), when I observed to myself one evening that she had curiously thoughtful and attentive eyes; eyes that were very pretty and very good.”
She even smelled good. All the time. Like cinnamon, or something. And her voice was like the sound of distant flutes. Christ, she was so ugly, this non-beautiful woman.
“She was not astonishingly beautiful. All her features, considered individually, were extremely pretty, but the entirety of her face gave the impression that it had been put together hurriedly from stock without reference to any plan. Probably the most suitable word is “attractive,” although people who knew what it meant and could spell it might add “vivacious,” although there is something very Fifties about “vivacious,” so perhaps they wouldn’t.”
Literally everything about her was beautiful, but she wasn’t beautiful. God, it was like someone dipped their fists in a tub of beauty and smeared it all over her face until she glistened like a thousand dancing suns, but she definitely wasn’t beautiful, not even a little bit, nope, not her. She was Interesting, instead.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.