The Charms of the Passing Woman

The charms of the passing woman are generally in direct proportion to the swiftness of her passing. Marcel Proust (1871–1922)

With that in mind it becomes a whole lot easier to understand how a married man can be infatuated with an ephemeral woman. Only the passage of time can teach us such an adept craft. The purpose of a seemingly longing gaze is not necessarily the promise of consummation or hollow flirting. It’s something endlessly beyond. Such a man would not be seeking a clandestine affair, nor driven by foolish vanity or the illusion of resurrecting his slipping youth. The capacity to appreciate beauty in its abstract sense separates a gentleman from a womanizer. It’s basically the difference between an art aficionado and a tourist standing in front of Leonardo’s Mona Lisa, each looking at the painting from the exact vantage point for dissimilar reasons with consequences world apart.

What allure does a passing woman have over the mind of a happily married man to make him stop in the middle of his track and silently emits a bewitched gasp. With or without a drop of the jaw, there are certain women out there who have this satiable effect on men. Who is she that can affect me so?

First, I’m not any smarter than Marcel Proust and accordingly she should walk in then out of my life rather swiftly. If she stays any longer than the essential period required to feel her under my skin and I’m still rapt, then I’d better admit that I’m a tourist after all. It could be that we are in for a long evening in a public place. I’d be looking in glances spread over time, barely long enough to rekindle the feeling of wonder and magic.

She must be seductively chaste. After all “there is no aphrodisiac like innocence.”* A woman who realizes that she’s exceptionally attractive but doesn’t work at all toward that end is a femme fatale. Many women are sexy at the nightclub level but a few are endowed with a perceptually sensual aura. Such a woman brings warmth to the heart of men while holding hands with a husband or companion and displaying a clear signal to all that she is already beyond reach. Yet, she emanates the splendor of being feminine beyond words. To be overly conscious and meticulous about her gift is the unfortunate gaffe committed by scores of beautiful women. It’s the difference between a natural jewel of unimaginable perfection shining in the deep of a dark blue ocean and a cut stone on a ring flaunted on an elegantly manicured hand.

A woman with an inexplicably mysterious smile often graces the dream of a man. A poet would dare elaborate on such a smile and I’m afraid that whatever I may say further would only distract from its exquisiteness. A smile which conveys an appreciation for life yet betrays a sense of a dormant sadness that is utterly private. The lips alone cannot convey a smile without a twinkling glow in the eyes. They could be the color of the sky, of virgin forests or akin to the dark of night. They are unimaginably clear, unfathomably deep, holding untold fables from a thousand and one nights.

And finally, I want this woman to acknowledge that I have taken her within my inner sight. I wouldn’t regard it as an invitation if she accepts my enthrallment through a gesture of the hand, a blink of the eye, or a caress on a loose hair strand. She could nonchalantly and without a spoken word say thank you for appreciating me and for being chivalrous enough to keep the flame well within the bounds of good manners yet to make me feel silently and pithily desired.

* "there is no aphrodisiac like innocence" quote by Jean Baudrillard (b. 1929)


Anonymous said…
Again... you hit the nail right on the head...!! Somehow, after our latest exchange, I knew you would...!! (I have faith in you man!!?) Your best work yet... quite a masterpiece...!! It goes to show that the beauty of woman retains a power to inspire beyond all other beauty...!!

The Proust quote is a great find...!!

I find myself, ever so reluctantly, tipping my hat to a Tartoussi...!!! What is this world coming to...???!!
The Syrian Brit said…
Very intriguing, as ever..
How appropriate to use a picture of Grace Kelly to underline your eloquant description of a beautiful woman...
Abufares said…
You've inspired me to write this piece after going through a dry run. You have dropped more than one hint that this is what you expect to read.
And this is what I have to offer. I'm glad you liked it.
Abufares said…
Hi Syrian Brit
You might think that I'm crazy but I finished writing this post late last night. I felt that I needed a picture to go with it. I wanted a woman who would prove me right. I'm not kidding, I looked at a hundred picture at least. When I found this one of Grace, I knew that I shouldn't look any further.
GraY FoX said…
wallahi ya 3ammy Abufares that was smarter than Marcel Proust's
you are totally right, allure can be felt on a spiritual sensual level, or on a wild lustful level
there's a mixture of both inside of us, and it's heaven to be able to reach both sides at the same time :)
Anonymous said…
So basically, the longer a woman stays around, the less charming she becomes?
Abufares said…
GraY FoX
After your adventure on the edge of galaxy, I'm glad to see you back.

I'm sorry but this is not what I meant at all...
Syrianita said…
I guess only a man can describe the beauty of a woman. As usual great read and amazing description of that feeling :)love it
Anonymous said…
La Hawala wa la quwwata ila bi-Llah

Anonymous said…
I know, Abu Fares (I was teasing with reference to the quote by Proust), but I'm intrigued by this fascination with the elusive woman. :)
Unknown said…
Quick note to Soraya

A Lesbian can do that as well :-p

Abu Fares

Is Um Fares reading this?

Unknown said…
By the way Abu Fares

You will be happy/pissed to know that Roger Waters will be perofrming in Dubai on 21 Feb.

I am planning to go if my boss lets me.

If I go, I will tease you with some photos and clips.

Abufares said…
It's good to see you back. Once you have the "feeling", it should be rather easy to describe:)

What can you do? We never seem to grow up. Come again please, or should I say: "pass swiftly by". :)

A commited man, who would always love women, should stick to the elusive kind only. Otherwise, he'd be really in trouble.

I'll leave it Soraya to answer you although I have my own doubts that a Lesbian can describe the abstract beauty of a woman better than a 5 year old boy. She might be actually better at describing other feminine aspects, but they certainly are beyond the point of this particular post.
Om Fares is going to read this post (if she hadn't already done so). She will say something like: Allah Ykaberlou 3a2lo
And be sure to take some pictures of Roger Waters in concert. It has been so many years when I last saw him performing as part of the real gang... Pink Floyd.
Anonymous said…
basically a passing woman is more beautiful becuase you don't get the time to see she is not beautiful and she is nice because you don't get to meet her and find out she is not nice...the same thing for a passing man I would french we have a saying: "the girl who is beautiful from far away but far from beeing beautiful"
Anonymous said…
Very touching! as I believe everysingle one of us has been through a similar situation.
Being in a beautifull relashionship, one day, in a subway...a restaurant..somewhere you share moving yet innocent glances with a total stranger. While enjoying this beautiful ephemeral moment and wishing it would last forever you also do hope the other would not approach a move further closer to reality.
So it leaves me wondering do we, at a certain stage of our committed life need someone exceptional to let us know with subtility through these glances:
"Yes, you do exist! And even I, in an other situation could have been yours".
A boost for our ego to know we could still be on this competing market (lol). But we are happy and WE chose not to.
In life we need both reality and part of our imagination to touch us. So,I think that innocence, grace,and other such features in a woman trigger a feeling of comfort in a man, a feeling that she is more apt to grasp the limits to this utterly beautiful experience and leave it to the imagination(something the "nightclub level sexy woman" wouldn't).
Abufares said…
Hi Anonymous
I think the allure comes from the fact that this is not the usual affair. It's all in the mind. Of course you're right, we would never see the regular nuisances of the other person this way and it would be an intense and short moment of mental pleasure with, well, an absolute and unreachable stranger.
Abufares said…
Hi Lost Somewhere
I'm so glad to find a woman who basically shares my idea of a beautiful moment.
I wish we could meet on a train or (any moving platform) oneday:)
Dubai Jazz said…
Hi Abu Fares; I've been away from your blog for a while and I seem to have missed a lot already!
How about the :"The spells of a passing girl's magic" as a title ? ;)
It amazes me how easy it is sometimes to fall for a passing person. The action of passing here is not limited to bumping into someone on the train, or on the zebra walkway, it might also include those who intercept our lives for a brief period of time........
PLease allow me to pass some comments to your visitors:
@ Naji, for heaven sake man: start up your own blog. You seem like a person who has a lot of stories to la Jableh!
@ RnD, luk isho hada Abo Halab? the Walter Roger's concert starts at 8:30 PM, why do you need the consent of your boss ? my understanding is that your boss is a female, so what's the deal buddy? has she been over-demanding recently? ;)
Anonymous said…
I hate to break the news guys, but the reverse is just as true; women also go through such fleeting, ephemeral infatuations. As a (male) friend of mine once said, just because a woman is married doesn't mean she's blind!

As for the ultimate aphrodisiac, I've heard that power takes the lead, and I think there's a lot of truth to that.

I think it is possible for a woman to describe another woman's beauty without being gay, and to describe it even better because she doesn't want anything from it. I've heard numerous women discuss the physical traits of other women without having the slightest inclination to get physical with them: they would be able to describe Grace Kelly's beauty very well.

But I'll leave you men to describe the beauty of women, and venture on the definition of male beauty myself (since I didn't get a chance to comment on the dream man post):

On the outside, George Clooney. No contest.

On the inside, someone like Haris Silajdzic.

And both these guys score pretty well in the other category too!
Unknown said…
Well Dubai Jazz

Lak ya khayo if you think going to Rogers' concert is easy, think again.

I finish at 06 PM, and unless going to the concert can be achieved in a formal attire (rock concert and a tie, mm?) then I'll have to go to Sharjah and change.

So I need her (bloody) consent to leave at 4 and go change and then head to the concert.

I just hope she is not in "that" period of the month if you know what I mean.

BTW, are you going???!!!
Anonymous said…
Damn...!! This Rime keeps surprising us... perfect...!! Have we already discussed the sensuality of intelegent eloquent beautiful woman...!!?

There is another project for you Rime ...a personal log..!! Did you say you like the demanding man...!?? :)

Best wishes for a Happy Valentine's Day to everyone...!
Abufares said…
Hi Dubai Jazz
We don't have to meet the passing woman, as you've indicated, on a train. It could happen anytime, anywhere. The element of surprise enhances the experience.

Hi Rime
I'm not surprised. I've been eyed occasionally and lustily by women LOL. Well Rime what did you expect to hear from a guy like me???
I believe that power is indeed an aphrodisiac for some women. This, I tell you, is something, I can never relate to. I find it OK that an exceptional woman might eye a muscular good looking plumber, for example, with silent longing, but can't understand her eying Donald Trump in such a manner.
George Clooney is the male equivalent of Michelle Pfeiffer, I see no problem with that. Haris Silajdzic on the other hand desperately needs a mustache. He has no upper lip to speak of.

Let's not keep talking of beautiful women. I'm treading on thin ice here. Don't get me in trouble, please.
Sam... said…
Yet another great post abufares...

I guess am out of comments as a lot was said...:)

Talking about Roger waters...
I have to kick my self in the Butt...
He had a concert in Melbourne On Feb 1st. and i did not know till after..:((

The Syrian Brit said…
Despite popular belief, this is actually a picture of me at work.. (Yeah, right..)
Anonymous said…
Restless in Dubai, why dont you just bring a change of clothes with you to the office?? :)) Even if you could leave the office early to go home and change, just making that drive to Sharjah would put anyone off any kind of enjoyment afterwards.

Where is the concert anyway?
Dubai Jazz said…
Abu Fares, sorry for the off-topic exchange, but since it’s started here, allow me to wrap it up once and for all:
RnD… I am actually not going…. I am not looking forward to spend several hours on my feet and crammed along with so many angery Brits, the venue selection is inappropriate, the construction around the media city amphitheatre is a nightmare, and because of the de-tours and the diversions I don’t know my way around that area anymore…it's going to be a hell to get there, find a parking spot and then get out back again..
At the top of it and to be honest; I think that Walter Rogers, and with all due respect to his glorious history, is too old to perform…. as the great Simon & Garfunkel once said :
“Joltin’ Joe has left and gone away….”
Dubai Jazz said…
* Roger Walters
Karin said…
You have a most wonderful talent to describe the beauty of a woman in a way which intrigues as much as it triggers the desire to know more about her, dig deeper, search, picture her in detail, close the eyes and imagine ...
in short - you're the BEST!

What a wonderful idea to put a picture of Grace Kelly .. I absolutely loved her!!

GREAT POST ... as usual!! :-)
Anonymous said…
I am wondering just how long will Om Fares keep buying this "art for art's sake" bullshit...:)
Anonymous said…
LOL guys!

Naji, isn't "demanding man" somewhat redundant? :)

Abu Fares, I have no doubt many women secretly dream of a ride on your bike!

Please let my Haris stay clean shaven and I'll forget you even mentioned Donald Trump to me. :)

Syrian Brit, just saw "your" photo ... my sincere compliments to Mrs. Syrian Brit. :)
Abufares said…
With this new picture of yours you're going to have such an effect on many men, so be careful;)

She knows I'm totally harmless
Abufares said…
Hey Sam
Thank you for dropping by.

Syrian Brit
For some reason I couldn't see the picture at the link you've provided.
Angel said…
I believe that I came late to your discussion/debate!
The way you describe her is awesome; it takes anyone's breath away!!! Between, who would not want to be described this way ;-)
There is one paragraph (in a novel I read once) that a man description, of a woman he saw once, goes something like "I only once met a woman who was--well, charming....I just met her casually. As a.matter of fact--it was in a train after all....I don't know why, but we began to talk. I don't know her name and I don't suppose I shall ever meet her again. I don't know that I want to.....She wasn't quite real, you know. Innocent...Shadowy... Like one of the people who come out of the hills in Gaelic fairy tales." ...... Do you think he got to see her again?! :-)
Great lovely post Abufares....
Abufares said…
Hello Angel

"Cherchez la femme" means more than what has been conventially accepted.
Any man who does not seek "the woman" for his entire life is literally leaving everything behind. To stop for one day, one instance, loving women implies that a man has finally surrendered. While some keep a score of their "trophies" they are in reality counting their losses.
At different stages in a person's life, his or her appreciation of beauty differs.
Yet, the most troubling age for a man is his middle years. He's in the median of the road and the charms of the passing woman can swing him either way. It's at this stage when the temptation is strongest and it's this particular experience that sets the "artist" from the "tourist".
Anonymous said…
A man can have two, maybe three love affairs while he's married. After that it's cheating.
-- Yves Montand

I just came across this quote ...I thought you could use it as some sort of a reference...!!
Abufares said…
Menshan Allah start blogging
Anonymous said…
Abu Fares, beware from Naji!
It doesn't take much to make you men return to your basic instincts!!!
From "innocence" to "two or three love affairs before it could be called cheating...".!;)
Abufares said…
Lost somewhere
I knew all along that Naji spells trouble. A pass-middle-age man, unmarried, flirtatious... this is the type of man old grandmas, worried mothers and desperate housewives tell you to stay away from.
And they are all right.
Anonymous said…
I hope you were not alluding to me being either of the ones you mentioned above!:s Didn't reach these stages in life yet!
Or,should I approve Montand's words, in order to avoid turning into any of these in the coming future? ;p
Abufares said…
Lost somewhere
As far as I'm concerned you look like Eva Longoria of "Desparate Housewives".
I hope I said the right thing to get myself out of this fix.
Anonymous said…
You don't have to take yourself out of anything. However,you were absolutely wrong with your comparison.
Physically:I won't say I look better although I think I do. But, I'm sorry I don't see what all the Wow Longoria! thing is all about.
Mentally: Her world revolves around money, appearances, she's superficial and I don't thnk there's much culture circulating around her! Exactly the "femme objet" I would hate to be!
So far, she's the worst comparison I've gotten until now! But no offense taken (I know were trying :))
Abufares said…
Lost somewhere
Ah, women... you are so hard to please. No matter what we say, you manage to make it sound as if it were the wrong thing.
We were talking of old grandmas, worried mothers and desperate housewives.
I wanted to convey to you that I see you with my mind's eye as a beautiful woman. The series "Desperate Housewives" came to my mind and I imagined you "looking" as pretty as the prettiest one on the set.
Not mentally, not literally.
In order for me to do, first justice to myself, then to you, I'm going to imagine that you look like "one" of my favorite celebrities. The reason is that I need to compare you to somebody you know, or we'll both be missing the point.
So here we go.
In my mind's eye, you look like...
Isabella Rossellini.
Did I redeem myself, or not yet!
Anonymous said…
U still think it's about looks???
But thanks! Isabella is much better (Isabella 15 years ago)!
Abufares said…
lost somewhere
I don't think much about looks. However, this time, in trying to complement you, I was talking about looks.
Anonymous said…
Abu Steif said…
True Love Is Like Ghosts, Which Everybody Talks About But Few Have Seen.
Pearl said…
I know this was written nearly 2 years ago ...but I decided to randomly choose a post from your left nav bar. Oh I made a good choice :o) beautifully written...makes me hope that I have captivated a man like this in my life...
Abufares said…

So nice of you to drop by over here after all this time.
I'm sure you have ;-)

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