A few days ago, my wife, Syahidah,
presented Tiarnan, our youngest son, six years old, with an array of about 40
photos of women in various clothes. Some of the women wore very sophisticated
clothing, including flowery ball gowns, others wore avant garde clothing, some
even wore tacky, tasteless clothing. Every kind of appearance was represented
in some way.
“Which is your favourite?”, she asked
He glanced over the panoply of choices and
very quickly pointed one out.
It was of a woman wearing a tweed jacket
and matching skirt, with a hat on.
Syahidah laughed. “Why did you pick that
one? Is it because of the hat?”
“No.”, he answered, most seriously, “It is
because she looks mysterious.”
That evoked more laughter. What a wonderful
way of looking at people.
I can now imagine what kind of girlfriend
Tiarnan will one day present to us: an enigmatic girl with secrets in her eyes
and a smile of unclear meaning. It seems as if Tiarnan likes a puzzle in
others, a person to be solved, with riddles on their tongues and a Sphinx like
Perhaps this allure in Tiarnan for the
mysterious, is an attraction to intelligence. This is a characteristic both my
wife and I share – we have ever sought out others whose appeal is centred on
their minds and the quality of their thoughts. I suppose, since we both share
this characteristic, that it is no surprise our children should turn out as
they have done: it was a matter of assortative mating and selection for the
very characteristics our kids now show. This selection was both conscious and
unconscious in that we were both aware of what we liked in others – but also
were naturally drawn, instinctively, to those characteristics, without even
thinking about them.
It seems, from Tiarnan’s remark, that he
shares that inner view of others, that, if you like, intellectual aesthetic.
I look forward to the day when I get the
chance to measure Tiarnan’s girlfriends against that remark he made. I wonder
if it shall turn out to be predictive? If so, I shall remind him of what he
observed, when he was just six years old (if I am around to do so, of course). If
not, this blog shall remind him for me, which makes it worth the writing.
Posted by Valentine Cawley
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Labels: enigma, fashion sense in a child, human attraction, In the eyes of a child, intellectual aesthetic, mysterious appeal, the allure of intelligence, the inheritance of taste