"Elegance," that quotable paragon of style and editorial genius Diana Vreeland once said, "is refusal."
Lately, people have been calling me elegant, which I find very pleasing. "Pretty" is a genetic accident. "Beautiful" is a state of mind. "Glamorous" is good, but is also applied to showgirls wearing enormous headpieces. "Elegant," on the other hand, takes a lifetime of work and discipline.
I finally finished the superlative This Is Your Brain on Music. In it, Daniel Levitin says many studies show that it takes approximately 10,000 hours of practice to become a world-class expert on anything - for a pianist, that would mean three hours a day, or 20 hours a week, over ten years, which explains a lot about my piano playing.
But when I add up all the focused time I have spent on my appearance, including exercise, it's at least that many hours. And apparently it's paid off.
Cyd Charisse embodied elegance on film, and watching musicals on TV as a child, I always wanted to be her. She died Tuesday at 86, and recent photos showed her still looking fabulous.
But I wonder if she would have known that the title of this post is taken from Eliot's "The Waste Land"?
(Photo from the official Cyd Charisse site.)