Have you ever been captivated by a pair of beautiful eyes? I have. They were golden and deep and full of meaning. And they held my attention, as does a Catherine Wheel, or a bolt of lightning, or the sun setting over the sea. Those sorts of eyes can change your life. They certainly changed mine – well perhaps not forever, but at least for a while. One minute I was sitting in my garden, under the copper beach tree that had been planted with almost Greek foresight for the shade that it would provide for a future sultry Cornish summer. The next moment I was on my feet all in a whirl, and running for the antihistamine cream. The most beautiful eyes that I had ever seen belonged to tabanmorpha; the common clegg or Horsefly.
Why nature chose to give eyes that can steal a girl’s soul away to a stealthy predator that sucks your blood – and in some quantity; if you (purely accidentally of course) squash the little brute when he has finished his dinner, you will see a good half-thimble full of your best red claret sploshed down your charming summer ensemble. Not only does this unwelcome and unqualified phlebotomist take your sanguine fluid uninvited, but he also leaves you bruised and sore for a considerable length of time. So why give this freeloading insect such beautiful peepers? It is a mystery, yet it’s a leitmotif that is used elsewhere.
The Bentley Continental is parked on the curb. The dinner jacket is tailored to swooning perfection; the shoulders beneath the immaculate barathea support a muscular pair of arms that suggest hours of honing in the gym. The tanned skin of the firm jaw acquired from Cap Ferrat via Bali via Las Vegas. The teeth are expensively flawless, and the smile melting. The salt and pepper hair is distinguished, the nose noble, the brows wide and symmetrical but oh, the eyes! In an hour or even a minute, you are whisked off to Paris, and checking in at the George V, as if lost in a perfect reverie of Ultimate Cloonydom.
In the morning, you sleep off the champagne and the cognac until late. Very late. Indeed you sleep until a knocking on the door discloses not just the sniffy chambermaid on unpaid overtime, but the duty manager who enquires whether “Madame eez over ‘er leettle ‘edache?
Monsieur left and there eez zee matter of zee rrrroom bill, also Avis has come for the car.”
You know, you’ve seen the movie; in the next scene, you find your Louboutins discarded in the bathroom, your knickers flung over the bedside table lamp and your dress artfully draped over the ice bucket. Then you pull you and your thumping head together into the one body to take care of a Life Lesson Bill. Your blood has been sucked, and you are lastingly bruised with hardly a word spoken. Those beautiful eyes told beautiful lies.
If this sounds like someone else’s beautiful, but far-too-far-fetched dream gone wrong, then swap the Bentley for a VW Golf GTI and have Barry derive his tan from a solarium down the Mile End Road, and stick him in a FCUK tee shirt. He can keep the arms and the jaw. Now have him bat those baby blues at you while he gets you to write out a Gregory for a grand because he owes his mate Pete. He’ll pay you back soonest, promise…
My grandmother who we nick-named G’Ma Malaprop, would often whisper in hushed tones to be extra nice to Mrs. So-and-So because she was just recovering from a “Hysterectamon” and it was her first visit to the “Shopping Precept.” She had a almost hear her saying it right now. They were “Confidential Tricksters.”
Not long ago, a pair of beautiful eyes did draw me in, instilling in me a sense of confidence, and a belief in their solidarity. I trusted the keeper of the peepers. They turned out to belong to a wicked and heartless character, devoid of compassion and hell bent on greed. Those eyes camouflaged a demonic personality within.
You see? It’s all in the eyes. I remember watching Dallas and Dynasty as a child knowing I could never be a TV star. They all had piercing blue eyes. It’s funny, because these days I think greeny-grey far more captivating…
So beautiful eyes tell beautiful lies. But when, if ever, are lies ok? I think there times when they are absolutely fine, and in fact, very necessary.
When my friend found that her marriage was over and she cried into several tea cups accompanied by chocolate digestives followed by glasses of wine accompanied by tortilla chips and guacamole. Eventually we did away with tea and went straight into wine, and she would often ask me if she was going on too much. Of course she was not. My poor dear traumatised friend repeated the same facts to me dozens of times. Am I boring you? “NO, of course not. Please tell me more…” Now in truth, that was a lie.
You see a friend halfway through chemotherapy treatments and he asks if he looks all right. “Of course!” You say. Way to go. Now those are beautiful lies.
At Christmas/Chanuka/Diwali/Chrismachali, we hide gifts in wardrobes, under beds, in garages and on top of kitchen cupboards. Now you know all my hot spots <>, you are banned from my house from November onwards. What about the biggest lie we tell our children? You know the one: artfully sprinkled talcum powder, perhaps a footprint or two, a glass of sherry, maybe a mince pie, and definitely a carrot for Rudolf…
My children couldn’t wait to pluck out their tiny milk teeth, sometimes still obstinately hanging on to swollen jelly gums, and would often resort to the cotton-thread-trick of one end around the resistant squatter, and the other around a door handle to be bravely slammed shut, all for the sake of a shiny new pound coin. Ah, but it was all about the Tooth fairy…
She would only visit in the darkest dark, and only if the child was sound asleep, and only if the sweet little tooth was wrapped up in tissue and placed under the pillow. She used the teeth to build walls around her house, and in exchange, she paid handsomely for her aggregate. There was nothing sweeter than the gappy smiles of my wide-eyed children on discovering in the morning that a visit really had taken place that night.
So why are we so taken in and beguiled by beautiful eyes? If they really are the windows to the soul, how can these exquisite attributes also belong to predators? How can we tell, just by looking, what is behind them? The answer is; we cannot. We must rely on our instincts for insects, and a good old-fashioned fly swatter.