March 3, 2010

From an article about "the art of list-making."

Finnish architect Eero Saarinen itemizes the attractiveness of his wife:
I. First I recognized that you were very clever

II. That you were very handsome

III. That you were perceptive

IV. That you were enthusiastic

V. That you were generous

VI. That you were beautiful
Handsome and beautiful? I'm picturing the very clever Mrs. Saarinen reading the list and saying, "Not 'very beautiful'?"


Chip Ahoy said...

Eero. A favorite crossword answer.

Anonymous said...

The list as women claim to want it:

1) Smart
2) Beautiful
3) Sense of Humor

The list, as women really want it:

1) Thin
2) Sexy
3) Rich

campy said...

Eero. A favorite crossword answer.

And his father, Eliel.

The Crack Emcee said...

Talk about nit-picky. Damn:

You just can't please some people.

The Macho Response.

Joan said...

Sense of humor and intelligence are intertwined. One of the things I love best about my husband is that he can always make me laugh, which for someone who tends towards depression is an exquisite gift. But his ability to make me laugh springs from his intelligence -- not only can he see the humor in a situation, he knows exactly how to express it so that I will, without fail, crack up.

But unlike Saarinen, I will admit that the first thing I recognized about my husband was that he was the most handsome man I'd ever met. Objectively I know (and I knew, then, 16 years ago) that he's not the most handsome guy in the world -- but he is, to me.

And I will defend the order in which Saarinen's list items appear, too. The beauty that he perceives in his wife is not the superficial kind (that's covered by "very handsome"). It takes some time to learn how beautiful someone is.

former law student said...

VI. That you were beautiful
Handsome and beautiful? "

The difference is explained just a few posts down:

check out that death-bed dialogue: "A woman is beautiful only when she is loved."

Surely someone can comment on the pre-/post Meade difference.

I'm picturing the very clever Mrs. Saarinen reading the list and saying, "Not 'very beautiful'?

Maybe there are no comparative degrees of beauty in Finnish.

former law student said...

A favorite crossword answer

Eerie Eero in his eyrie (aerie).

rhhardin said...

I imagine she showed some sign of liking him. That's usually how it starts.

And ends, when that stops.

edutcher said...

A woman can be handsome as well as beautiful. Consider Deborah Kerr. Handsome has to do with looks, but also with bearing and demeanor.

Beauty is a very individual aesthetic. It can also be heartless or cruel. Witness Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler.

lucid said...


How is it possible to notice how someone thinks (clever) before one notices how someone looks (handsome)?

Thus does political correctness corrupt even our passions and love letters.

former law student said...

How is it possible to notice how someone thinks (clever) before one notices how someone looks (handsome)?

Maybe he read her blog before clicking on her profile.


Kevin R said...

She is handsome, she is pretty
She is the belle of Belfast city
She is courting, one, two, three
Please won't you tell me who is she?

--I'll Tell Me Ma, traditional

traditionalguy said...

Oh, I get it. Meade gave you that list on a romantic card and you discovered that he stole the words from Eero. What shall be his punishment?

Sheepman said...

A guy like Eero can't be listless.

Fred4Pres said...

Now here is a perfect Althouse post. She can run with it now.

1. Classical reference.

2. Well executed.

3. Neighborhood prude reacts.

4. Cop thinks it is good, but looks for the easy way out.

5. Artists politely comply.

6. All of this takes place in New Jersey.

Wait a second, politely comply and it is in New Jersey? That does not make any sense what so ever.

Anonymous said...

He objectifies his wife as if she were a building.

Palladian said...

Eero was brilliant, someone who resisted the sterility of German modernism with his own quirky, organic vision.

In the picture, he's enjoying the warm embrace of his "Womb" chair.

Jamie said...

Lucid, you clearly don't live inside my head... I am almost entirely blind to physical appearance on first, second, third encounters. I mean it. I work in a job where it's VITAL that I put names with faces, FAST, and it's the hardest dang thing for me - my husband does it effortlessly, but I actually key people by their clothes, even though I know how stupid it is to do so!

When I met my husband, I couldn't stand him, because he was in a fraternity. Eventually, we had reason to talk privately and frankly for a while, and I realized that not only did we have a lot in common, but that he was much smarter than I thought he was, much funnier than I am (MUCH), and much more interesting than pretty much anyone I knew at that time. (Including my then-husband, unfortunately for him...) It wasn't until after my divorce and after I'd been dating my now-husband for a month or so that I realized that he also looks like one of those effigies of knights on a medieval tomb: perfect bones, strong and yet refined, nothing like the Good Peasant Stock from which I spring.

The Crack Emcee said...

Good Lord, Woman, Jesus Christ Gag Me.