Henry T. Finck (1887) was the first early psychologist to pose a theory of beauty. Humans started out, he thought, exceedingly ugly. But humankind continued to evolve, becoming more perfect, better-looking, all the time. Finally, evolution and good looks reached a pinnacle in the upperclass English gentleman.
Finck itemized each trait—the feet, limbs, waist, chest, etc.— and explained why the Victorian gentleman surpassed all others in beauty appeal and in doing so managed to insult every ethnic group.
The Hungarians are “of a repulsive ugliness in the eyes of all their neighbors.”
“The typical Jew is certainly not a thing of beauty. The disadvantages of genuine separation are shown not only in the long, thick crooked nose, the bloated lips, almost suggesting a negro, and the heavy lower eyelid, but in the fact that the Jews have proportionately more insane, deaf mutes, blind, and colour-blind” than other Europeans.
“The women of France are amongst the ugliest in the world”
Finck also gave advice on avoiding rouge and learning to kiss properly. “A lover should not hold his bride by the ears in kissing her. A more graceful way, and quite as effective in preventing her from getting away, is to put your right arm around her neck, your fingers under her chin, raise the chin, then gently but firmly press your lips on hers. After a few repetitions, she will find out it doesn’t hurt and become as gentle as a lamb.”