30 Day Paganism Meme: Day 24 ~ Personal aesthetics and Hellenismos

How do I answer this?

Personally, I can’t think of any sort of aesthetics that would be prohibited by any sort of traditional polytheism. Hell, one of my friends is a Hindu and has been gravitating toward the Horrorcore scene, and while I think most of the fans of that scene look like they just rolled out of bed, you know, I can’t think of anything from what I know of Hindu religions, much less Hellenic polytheistic religions, that would outright prohibit dressing like an evil clown and spraying your friends with soda.

Granted, that’s not to say that it’s all “anything goes”, especially when one is of especial cultus to gods whose domain includes aesthetic arts. I generally put time and effort into my own appearance — even my “wearing rags to do yard work” look isn’t complete until I’ve taken a light shower, washed my face (including toner and moisturiser), lip balm, sunblock, my hair tied back, and a handkerchief to dab (never wipe) sweat — and expect any-one practising a traditional Hellenic polytheism, and so generally understanding of ancient Hellenic ideals, to do so, as well. I don’t expect such others to dress in any of the same ways I do, but I do expect to notice at least some minimum amount of effort toward an intentional appearance, at least most of the time. That appearance can be “soccer mom” or “misanthropic quasi-goth” or anything outside or in-between.

I’ve always been an aesthete and quite a dandy. As a little kid, I delighted in getting “dressed up” and would think of any excuse to do so. When I switched to a state junior high and high school, I became one of those kids who went nuts now that I didn’t have to wear a school uniform, in spite of the efforts of nearly every adult in my life at the time begging with me to knock it off with the flamboyance — apparently, I’d have “plenty of time” to look like Marc Bolan after I became an adult.

While I’m hard pressed to instantaneously recognise any explicit relationship between my Mod dandyism and Hellenismos, if I think about it just a little, it really all makes perfect sense:

*Beau Brummel, often regarded as the archetypical dandy, caused a sensation when he abandoned the powdered wig (long before a tax on the powder caused it to fall out of fashion) and decided to wear his natural hair cut “à la Brutus” — calling to mind images of ancient Rome.
*Lord Byron fought for Greek independence
*Oscar Wilde praised the ancient Hellenes on all levels.
*Colin MacInnes’ novel Absolute Beginners, long-influential in the Mod subculture includes a supporting character referred to only as “The Fabulous Hoplite” and described as have a “Caesarian” haircut, which remains somewhat popular in Mod circles.

The Hellenic influence on Dandy subcultures has always existed, and though the clothing often associated is a far cry with the reality of ancient painted stoneworks, it’s easily reasoned that the “fabulous simplicity” of the now-white statuary and columned temples was an influence on the lines and daring use of solid colours from Beau Brummel to Oscar Wilde to Pete Meaden.

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