Of course, small asymmetries can augment a woman's beauty—think of Tina Fey's scar, or Kate Bosworth's different-colored eyes. A coworker of mine once attempted an ill-advised back flip into a pool and landed teeth-first on the edge of the diving board. She knocked out one front tooth and chipped the other so badly it became known as "the can opener."
But her good-natured acceptance of the relentless taunting she endured—her missing tooth was eventually found lodged in the family dog's paw—combined with her charming attempts to keep her mouth shut when she laughed at herself, were, strangely, beautiful.
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I thought this even though I'm neither blind nor a hillbilly, and, admittedly, I was also relieved—though not as much as she was—when her teeth were fixed.
Was her snaggle-toothed allure an example of that inner beauty I claim doesn't exist? Not exactly. But I do think the way she acted, who she was, enhanced her beauty. If who you are can detract from how you look (and it certainly can; just think of Paris Hilton when she opens her mouth … to speak), then by definition it also can add. Watch a slideshow about the psychology of attraction
I know a woman who is more beautiful now than she was ten years ago—and she was stunning then—because of the laugh lines around her eyes. Her personality has had a tangible, physical effect on her external appearance.
But, as my elementary-school crush taught me, there's another thing that can affect a woman's looks. A year and a half after that discombobulating first day of fourth grade, we were let out of class before lunch and sent to the local roller rink.
Emboldened by the sugar rush from a large cherry Icee, I approached the green-eyed girl when the music slowed and the lights went down for a couples skate. The disco ball over the rink sprinkled dizzying light through her long-again hair.
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She'd eased into preadolescence gracefully, and her ant-incinerating glasses were nowhere to be seen. She was beautiful once more—until she turned down my invitation to skate. As I discovered that day, somewhat humiliatingly, few qualities—internal or external—make a woman as attractive as her feeling the same way about me.