Of all social disorders that plague us, venustraphobia --the fear of beautiful women-- is certainly one of the most enigmatic. It is also called, in medical circles, caligynephobia, by those who are afraid to say venustraphobia. Those who suffer an inability to distinguish the first phobia from the other are, in scientific terms, referred to as bumfuzzled. In an effort to clarify the matter, I recently decided to spend 44 years scrutinizing a single sufferer. Here he is at a social function in the company of a beautiful woman in the year 1970:
To the casual observer, there is little to be learned from this photo. One might dismiss our subject's ulotrichous hair explosion to the fashion of the time, but in truth, just before this photo was taken he was entirely bald. Let us compare this physical response to those manifested at another social function a mere 19 years later:
As for myself, as researcher-in-residence, my duties have narrowed into a routine of giving my subject showers and brushing his teeth. I am always alert for new clues to solving the enigma of venustraphobia but, as yet --after 44 and hopefully many more years-- I confess myself bumfuzzled.