In chatting with a friend, the Sanchon Hunjang was reminded that standards of beauty are not constant. Lipstick colors and skirt lengths come and go. Skinny is in, then it's out. But it's an inescapable constant that men, especially those who should know better, are drawn to beautiful women.
It's widely known that 양귀비
(179 - 756 A.D.) was rather plump and at the same time very weak--hardly able to move for herself (or at least she pretended to be). Because that was the standard of beauty of her day. If she hadn't been posessed of such hallmarks of beauty, she wouldn't even appear in history.
The immediate result? The emperor fell in love with her and she was able to use her influence to get her relatives cushy jobs in the government. The longer-term result? Others blamed her for the emperor's inability to concetrate on government. A huge rebellion broke out that nearly spelled the end of the Tang Dynasty (618 - 906 A.D.) and the rebel soldiers had her killed in front of the emperor. The permanent result? 양귀비 has gone down in history as (i) one of the 4 greatest beauties China has ever produced
, (ii) an ultimate femme fatale, and (iii) along with Emperor Xuanzong as the inspiration for many poems/songs
/stories/movies about the tragedy and Xuanzong's longing for his dead love, not to mention his efforts to contact her spirit.
But the corpulent look is no longer in. It's a shame, because otherwise the Sanchon Hunjang could be very popular. ^^
Looking back even farther into history, we find several lines of a verse from the Book of Poetry
that describe in some detail the beauty of the daughter of an aristocrat (for the intrepid, the entire original with translation can be found here
手如柔荑。[Her] fingers were like the blades of the young white-grass;
膚如凝脂。[Her] skin was like congealed ointment;
領如蝤蠐。[Her] neck was like the tree-grub;
齒如瓠犀。[Her] teeth were like melon seeds;
螓首蛾眉。[Her] forehead cicada-like, eyebrows like [the antenne of] the silkworm moth;
巧笑倩兮。What dimples, as she artfully smiled!
美目盼兮。How lovely her eyes, with the black and white so well defined!
Clearly the use of similie has a long history. And, while it is easier to compare with things close at hand, it's probably best to leave the insect imagery out of your modern love poetry. Again, it appears tastes have changed.
Although...if you did send this as a love letter, it would ensure that your memory would live on to the death of the pretty young recipient of the letter...