Shakespeare Totally Knew The Beauty of a Woman


As some of you know, the gorgeous August McLaughlin threw a fabulous party last year called, appropriately, The Beauty of a Woman Blogfest. Well, I missed it and was super bummed, so when she offered up the blogfest this year, I jumped at the chance to join.

Be sure to check out her blog tomorrow for all the links to the participants. Their stories will inspire you, make you laugh, and maybe even draw a tear or two.

It wasn't hard for me to come up with my post for today. Last weekend I attended a writer's conference and spent far too much time in the bar, surrounded by beautiful women as varied as the tropical fish in the hotel's enormous tank. We laughed, we drank, we told stories about things as wide ranging as goat herding to hipster music.

The guys who joined us talked mostly about sex. Namely, whether or not they could have sex with one or the other of the women at the table. Some day I might post about the misogynistic men, but not today. Because, as I sat there listening to their posturing, it made me think of my husband and what an amazing man he is.

He truly loves me for who I am. Intelligent, quirky, spontaneous, overweight, outlandish, a bit too sparkly at times, but a damn fine woman.

And because my brain works in strange loops, his love for me made me think of Shakespeare's sonnet.

I'll bet you're thinking of this one…


Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

But I meant this one…


My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

In the first sonnet, Shakespeare is saying that beauty is fleeting and everyone grows old. He then gets a bit narcissistic and says that the woman in question's beauty and fame are only relevant because he wrote about her. Her beauty will fade, but his words will live on. Nice guy, right?

Now the second sonnet ~ that's where Shakespeare shows he's capable of true love. He basically says, “Look, I know you're going to get old and skanky, your hair will be like a bristle brush and your breath will totally stink, but I love you, Baby!”

I ask you… which would you like your true love to quote to you on a romantic evening? Okay, to be fair, most of us would like the pretty sonnet, but really we want to know that we're accepted for who and what we are. Right?

Being loved, truly loved despite all my blemishes and faults, makes me feel beautiful. And because my husband loves me unconditionally, I'm finally able to view myself through his eyes and love myself truly, madly, deeply.

There isn't anything more beautiful than that. Not even a Shakespearean sonnet.

Celebrate the women in your life. Let them know how beautiful they are. A kind word costs nothing, but it pays dividends for life.

What makes you feel beautiful? Is there a special song or poem that makes you feel special?

Make sure you visit August's blog on Friday, February 22nd for all the links to this year's Beauty of a Woman Blogfest! Just click here to be magically teleported to her site.

56 thoughts on “Shakespeare Totally Knew The Beauty of a Woman”

  1. melaniehooksmelaniehooks

    Amen, sister. I love the idea of this Blogfest! Thanks for sharing it — and the idea for the party. August must indeed be one amazing woman 😉 Of course, so be thee, and I’d like to add that all those who love us for ourselves help us to see that beautiful woman smiling back in the mirror. That you’ve found such a soul in a daily partner is indeed a blessing. But I suspect you have such a soul inside you as well…he’s a lucky man.

    I adore #130, and have to add its natural companion, #116, my favorite sonnet on the topic, which I think should replace the standard wedding vows:

    Let me not to the marriage of true minds
    Admit impediments. Love is not love
    Which alters when it alteration finds,
    Or bends with the remover to remove:
    O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
    That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
    It is the star to every wandering bark,
    Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
    Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
    Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
    Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
    But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
    If this be error and upon me proved,
    I never writ, nor no man ever loved

    February 21, 2013
  2. Lissa ClouserLissa Clouser

    I love that you posted those two sonnets! Two different images of beauty written in verse, and I certainly agree with you that the second is almost more pure and meaningful. To be loved in spite of all the fadings of life… what joy!

    February 21, 2013
  3. EmmaEmma

    Beautiful post, Tameri. I wasn’t familiar with the second sonnet – shame on me! So thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    February 21, 2013
  4. Ellen M. GreggEllen M. Gregg

    Ha! What a great description of the men insinuating themselves at your group’s tank table. 🙂

    I love both those sonnets, but the second is more true-to-life, for sure. When, eventually, I find the mate for me, I would very much like for him to have your husband’s fine sensibilities.

    The song “I’m Here” from the Broadway musical The Color Purple is my theme song. 🙂

    February 21, 2013
  5. jansenschmidtjansenschmidt

    That Shapkespeare – what did he know?

    I love the second sonnet! And the reason I love it is because it’s true. Truth is beautiful.

    I love the BOAW blogfest! So glad you participated.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    February 21, 2013
  6. August McLaughlinAugust McLaughlin

    Aw. I love this post! I wish you could teach me all about Shakespeare—every story broken down in terrific Tameri speak. 🙂 I also love the fact that those lackluster guys made you think of how lucky you are to have your husband (and vice versa!).

    Thanks so much for participating in the fest, beauty. That b-word suits you like nobody’s business!

    February 21, 2013
  7. renée a. schuls-jacobsonrenée a. schuls-jacobson

    I am LOVING reading all these fabulous posts for the BOAW Fest! I just got mine up there. (If you I know what I mean.) And as a former English Prof, i love me some Shakespeare. Le sigh. I think I just feel beautiful when I’m dancing. I used to be a pretty serious dancer, and I can still rock it pretty hard. I’m grateful that my body still lets me get down and get funky. I hope my badonkadonk never lets me down. 😉

    February 21, 2013
  8. Kim Jorgensen GaneKim Jorgensen Gane

    Wonderful, and we should absolutely love ourselves first–we’re FANTASTIC!!

    February 21, 2013
  9. Debra KristiDebra Kristi

    Such a beautiful post, my friend. I’m sad that I didn’t participate in BOAW this year. But I’m glad that it brought this opportunity for you to create this wonderful piece. Thank you for sharing Shakespeare with me. You can educate me any day. When do I feel beautiful? Believe it or not when I’m sweating it to my tunes in the midst of my workout. Maybe that will help me stay with it.

    February 21, 2013
  10. Amber WestAmber West

    Tameri!! Sonnet 130 is one of my absolute FAVORITES! (145 also ranks highly, but that’s another story).

    I love the way he ends it.

    AHHH. I just love this so much I don’t even know that to comment.

    So, I’ll just leave this here for you…

    February 22, 2013
    • Amber WestAmber West

      If I had more time, I would have searched for some Cumberbatch doing Shakespeare to make it a perfect trio 🙂

      February 25, 2013
  11. Kathryn Chastain TreatKathryn Chastain Treat

    I have never really read much of Shakespere but I love the complete opposite of each sonnet. I choose #2.

    February 22, 2013
  12. Coleen PatrickColeen Patrick

    Celebrate the women in your life–a big yes to that! Great post Tameri. I love that you used Shakespeare. So clever!

    February 22, 2013
  13. katewoodauthorkatewoodauthor

    “Look, I know you’re going to get old and skanky, your hair will be like a bristle brush and your breath will totally stink, but I love you, Baby!” <– Best quote ever.

    You truly do have an amazing husband. And how could he NOT love and cherish you? You are so beautiful inside and out you practically glow! I totally dig you, woman, and am so thankful to have you in my life 🙂

    February 22, 2013
  14. Kate MacNicolKate MacNicol

    Thank you Tameri. This was lovely, truly lovely. A great way to start the weekend.

    February 22, 2013
  15. patriciasandspatriciasands

    Clever and beautiful – Shakespeare’s sonnets and you! What fun to read all of these fabulous blogs and see the different perspectives expressed in such a literary feast. It’s just an honour to be part of it with spectacular people like you … great to see some men here too. Maybe next year you can convince your beautiful husband to share some thoughts too. Living with you he will have some wonderful insights!

    February 23, 2013
  16. Kassandra LambKassandra Lamb

    Great post, Tameri! I too learned to unconditionally love myself because my husband loved me that way.

    February 23, 2013
  17. Kourtney HeintzKourtney Heintz

    I prefer the honesty and the acceptance of Sonnet 130. The first one is way to hard to ever live up to. It would be exhausting to be loved so conditionally. 🙂 Great post and wonderful addition to BOAW BlogFest! 🙂

    February 24, 2013
  18. Jess WitkinsJess Witkins

    What a creative idea for the BOAW fest! Love it!

    February 25, 2013
  19. Rebekah LoperRebekah Loper

    Hah, finally read your post! I know what you mean about being confident having the love of a good man. Back around the time when I started to realize I didn’t want to wear make-up regularly, I worked up the courage to ask hubby how he felt about it.

    I was thrilled when he said “Honestly? I don’t recognize you when you have make-up on. You don’t look like you.”

    The feeling of knowing that he loved ME, the real me, was a thrill. It didn’t matter if I was having a bad breakout that day, or if I was exhausted and had dark circles under my eyes. He could still recognize me then, which meant my confidence was there without the make-up.

    Yes, the second sonnet you posted is the far better one to hear. 😀

    February 25, 2013
  20. Lena CorazonLena Corazon

    Oh, I LOVE Sonnet 130 so much. It’s the references to black hair and skin that doesn’t flush that always makes me happy, ’cause it reminds me of myself. My eyes are bugging out about the misogynistic men you make reference to (although I’m not surprised, which should make me angry/frustrated/sad)… but beyond that, I will just leave this here. David Tennant is wonderful, but IMO, Alan Rickman has everyone beat. 😛

    Wonderful post, Tameri!

    February 25, 2013
  21. Julie CatherineJulie Catherine

    Awesome post, Tameri – and you can always count me in when Shakespeare is around! I’m way behind in reading but hope to eventually read through all the post on August’s BOAW Blogfest! What an awesome idea; perhaps I might join in next year! Loved reading all the comments, too. 🙂

    February 26, 2013
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