And on the original vanity post at Betty Beguiles, SuburbanBanshee has the last word:
It was five or six years ago, when we only had two children, that we switched to a parish a little farther away -- we picked it because it had a perpetual adoration chapel -- a parish that happens to have a lot of big families and a lot of growing families.
Some of you moms of bigger families are going to laugh at me for my naiveté, I know, but one of the things that surprised me and kind of astonished me -- and enchanted me -- was the number of really beautiful women in the parish who had four, five, six, seven, eight, even nine or ten children.And no, that's not code for "every mother of many children exudes an inner beauty." Not every mother is objectively beautiful -- sorry, but it's true; some people look tired and harried all the time, even in their Sunday best. It may not be their fault. My point is: when I mention beautiful women, I really do mean visually beautiful, at least as objective as my own opinion can be.
I'm not a wife or a mother and live alone. I guarantee you that if I don't look after my middle-aged appearance, it can quickly slide from "forgot to look in the mirror" to "forgot to perform basic hygiene tasks" and into "looks to be suffering from mental illness". And frankly, it's a pretty basic human need (right up there with food, clothing, bathing, etc.) to be neat and well-dressed. To do otherwise is to disrespect the templeness of your body.
Even among primates, being well-groomed and healthy-looking is one of the most important signs that one is healthy and taking care of oneself. Among humans, it shows a maintenance of civilization. St. Francis de Sales says that it behooves religious people to dress reasonably nicely and not too ridiculously far behind the fashions, either.
Vanity comes way way down the line.