“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
I’ve always thought that statement was overblown. For example, I’ve known a lot of people who claimed to be unimpressed with the looks of a young Farrah Fawcett. But I never met anyone who would brush her aside for a date with Bea Arthur.
Jennifer Aniston is to Brenda Vaccaro as Pamela Anderson is to Judi Densch as George Clooney is to Colin Mochrie as top-quality pizza is to that stuff you microwave at 7-11.
People like to brag about how individualistic their tastes are. But the truth is our tastes are a lot less original than we’d like to believe. Yes, I know that somewhere out there is a man who thinks Bea Arthur is the hottest woman who’s ever walked the face of the earth and there’s a person who thinks 7-11 microwave pizza is manna from heaven. But they’re such rare anomalies that they cannot all by themselves prop up the far-reaching statement “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
And that’s why I seldom talk about how I feel about spoken German, Russian, and Hebrew languages. I find them beautiful. But, when I say so, people simply don’t believe me. Many go so far as to correct me. No, they say, the Romance languages are beautiful. German, Russian, and Hebrew are harsh on the ears -- abrupt, unkind, and without music.
I’ve had people tell me straight up that I’m mistaken. Surely I’m confusing German with Italian. Or perhaps I’ve simply never heard spoken French.
Yes, the Romance languages are soft and lilting and very well-paced. But to my ear, a number of non-Romance languages are just as beautiful if not more so. I even like the sound of Arabic and Farsi (though not as much as any of the languages mentioned above) and I find Haitian Creole and Ibo (Nigeria) to have a sort of thumping, rhythmic beauty all their own.
I don’t have an ear to appreciate Scandinavian or Far Eastern languages. And there’s something about Brazilian Portuguese that weirds me out. (Every other word sounds, to me, French, while the words in between sound Spanish and the accent sounds like neither. I find that fascinating but disorienting.)
George Clooney, charming as he is, is not my type. But I’ll confess -- here and now for posterity -- that he’s hotter than Kevin James if you’ll just believe that I really do find the German, Russian, and Hebrew languages pretty.