When I look at my friend's marriages, with their routine day-to-dayness, they actually seem far more romantic than any dating relationship might be. Dating seems romantic, but for the most part it's an extended audition. Marriage seems boring, but for the most part it's a state of comfort and acceptance. Dating is about grand romantic gestures that mean little over the long-term. Marriage is about small acts of kindness that bond you over a lifetime. It's quietly romantic. He makes her tea. She goes to the doctor appointment with him. They listen to each other's daily trivia. They put up with each other's quirks. They're there for each other.
And here, after all that, is what I have come to believe about beauty: Laughter is beautiful. Kindness is beautiful. Cellulite is beautiful. Softness and plumpness and roundness are beautiful. It's more important to be interesting, to be vivid, and to be adventurous than to sit pretty for pictures. The soft tummy of a woman is a miracle of nature. Beauty comes from tenderness. Beauty comes from variety, from specificity, from the fact that no person in the world looks exactly like anyone else. Beauty comes from the tragedy that each person's life is destined to be lost to time.