Some one, I won’t say who (but she knows that she eats puppies) is having an enforced “Low Self-Esteem Day” brought to you by “Some Asshole in the Street” and other shaming types. As a result, she was asking if those of us with ladies would express what we liked about our ladies bodies. Now this is hard for me, because I have a plethora of Secret Internet Girlfriends (most of whom I only know through outdated photographs), and I have Syd, who hits me for saying anything about her body at the best of times. No matter who I talk about, I’m going to get in trouble.
So here is what I’m left with, I’m asked to make a series of statements about women’s bodies, but without accurate documentation. Now on the one hand I could ask you each to send me photos of yourselves in your underpants, for science purposes, but that’s a wee bit creepier than I had planned on being today. Instead, I was hoping for a slightly less creeptastic drive down Girl-Body Lane. Wait a second… did I just insinuate that I would be driving a car over a road comprised of dead women? Because that would be even creepier than asking you to send me photos of you in your undies. Fuck it! Let’s get to objectifying!
Let us instead talk in more general terms. I like all bodies, granting that I like them to be within reason. I like them long and lean, short and stout, medium and… um… medium? Okay, so that sort of falls apart, but it’s true. I like girls with curves, and I like girls who are skinny. I like all kinds of bodies, even though there are extremes on either end of the spectrum that turn me off. It would be impossible to claim that these extremes don’t exist, even for little old me, but the markers are generally further out than you probably think. I don’t know, maybe by now you know me well enough to know that my goal posts for fuckability are not quite where everyone else’s are. I rarely worry about where other people’s posts are, because to be frank, they don’t really count. If you can understand why I like this one, or that one, then good for you. If you can’t, well I can’t understand your desire for that one over there either, but I won’t begrudge you your desire for her.
I like all the bits of women too. Rather, I like something different on each woman. Each and everyone, a slightly different set of features to be explored and memorized. This one has such lovely eyes, that you could stair into until the end of time. That one has a strong jaw line and that comes down to a perfect chin. She has slender tapering arms, she has powerful shoulders, she has a thick wrists and she has graceful thighs. And yes, of course, obviously I notice the breasts and buttocks of every girl that I come across. That, however, is merely a matter of course. Save for a few, I’m mostly just glad that those parts come along at all. In many ways, it’s also a matter of how well those parts fit in with the rest of the body.
For the most part, however, that’s all just male gaze stuff. And while I understand its place as both a positive and a negative factor in male/female relations, how you look is not that important to me. If I were simply looking for someone who fit into a narrow body image, I could find her easily. However, there are problems there. Looks fade, and when you look exclusively for appearance you forget that they probably have habits that will annoy you. They might like the wrong kind of music, they might like Reality Shows, they might even think that reading is for like… squares and stuff? What do you do then? Dump her and move on to the next girl who looks nice, but will annoy you? Do you leave a wake of angry and resentful women behind you?
Or, do you do what I do? See, while I’m perfectly willing to admit that physical looks hold some level of importance, it’s far more important that a lady excite my mind. I could, quite easily, get some girl* to take to bed, if that was all I was interested in. The problem is, I need to talk to her afterwards and I need there to be some kind of connection between periods where sex isn’t happening. I’m a modern man, I need modern women. Without brains, there isn’t much I can do with you.
The mind is the sexiest part of any woman, and should be considered in any conversation of sexuality. If you’re not kicking it at the very top, then it really doesn’t matter how much you’re kicking it further down the body, because without mental stimulation I will get bored of you. I’m not even saying someone needs to have read all the books I have, as I said before, it might be better if she hasn’t, because then we could discuss different things.
Now, looking at my earlier posts, I can see that I was going to discuss slut-shaming, body-shaming and other such things, but I’m afraid I’ve run out of steam. I’m not fans of them, and it occurs to be that bi-shaming would take at least two pages for me to discuss and I can’t look down that barrel tonight. Still love me?
Okay, despite all my talk a moment ago, I’m not even that comfortable with dumb-shaming. You can be annoyed by ignorance, but you shouldn’t try to shame someone out of it. There, I talked a little about it. Now it’s time I went to bed.
*This boast brought to you by the year 1998
As you may know, I’ve been listening to an audiobook of Schindler’s Ark this week. I mention this because I want to discuss a pair of thought tracks that some minds went down on Thursday.
I’d just gotten to a part of the book, where the lack of action toward the Holocaust is described in a few simple phrases. I’ve always understood that the claims Jewish groups made about what the Nazi’s were doing during the event were extraordinary, and required equally extraordinary proof. That proof was hard to come by, but why was there such a resistance to believing that the Nazis, history’s go-to example of what happens when you put bullies in charge and reward them for douchey behavior, might be killing people. And there was resistance to the idea, no one seemed to want to believe it, no one wanted to talk about it, serious people, who knew the Nazi mind set thought that the whole Death Camp thing was no more than a conspiracy theory. But why? Well, for once, this book explained it. In the span of one simple paragraph.
In essence, who would believe the Germans were so stupid? Why would they build camps, requiring tons of building material, land, specialized workmen, the trains, trucks and fuel to get them there just to wipe people out? Then you’ve got an army of guards, an arsenal of guns, reams of ammo, tons of food, clothes and heating fuel. All the diverted trains, all the wasted gas, all the money just blown away and all this during a war that Germany was more or less loosing. And for what? To kill a labor force that they were both exploiting and depleting. Who would believe that anyone could be so incredibly dim witted to as to carry on such an operation while resources were stretched so thin?
I’d never really heard anyone put it that way before, though I more or less understood it. It put an easily understood, simple statement to hold out to people when they ask the question next time.
This was the section I listened to while I was at lunch that day. The bit about how no one would believe such an across the board waste of resources. When I got out of lunch, I returned to the conversation that had been going on for four hours and would go on for another four.
“Yeah, I hear it’s going to snow really hard tonight. Four inches, maybe ten!”
Now, I could cut and paste that about five hundred times until you get the point, but I won’t because I love you. Every customer, every co-worker, all they wanted to know about was the snow. No, not the snow, not really. The Idea of Snow. The snow, that existed in potentia.
One other person in the place reads, at least as far as I know. I’ve seen her with a book, even asked her about it, but it was for a class, so that doesn’t count, why am I using so many commas, this sentence is getting quite run-onny, and sort of silly, but I don’t care, I’ve started this way, I’m gonna end this way.
Unless you really like animals, you’ll get bored of these posts really quickly. However, if you want to see larger versions, click through to flickr and you can get bigger versions of most these pictures.
No one finds my accent sexy. I think I have the single most boring accent on the planet. I have what is often called “An American Accent” or possibly “Standard American English” even though those are misnomers. Those of you from outside the US might not be fully aware of this, but the accent you hear on TV shows tends to be what is called the Northern cities vowel shift although it used to just be The Mid-West Accent.
This is the accent chosen by broadcasters in the early 20th Century, because it is the most intelligible and easily understood pronunciation. As a result, it tends to be what people think of as an American Accent, and also… dull. While the British Received Pronunciation is often seen (at least by Americans) as the voice of cultured, intellectual authority, mine never seems to elicit and emotional reaction at all. It’s just “Oh yeah, American” and then people get on with their day. Sometimes, there is an aggressive edge to the accent, but then people tend to say it becomes “More New York, or Southern” and at that point is no longer the Mid-West.
The Welsh and Irish have sexy, musical accents. The French and German have very sexy accents, for very different reasons. And there is no way to talk about the Scandinavian accent because that’s one that goes right to the lower nerve endings and does something to me. So does the Russian accent, but that’s probably because all three of the women I’ve known who have Russian accents are very attractive and you wouldn’t mind Valley Girl talk coming from them*. The Canadian Accent is at least cute, with its “aboots” and “doolars” and the Scots are also so damn cute you want to put the whole nation in your pocket. Actually, you could do that with Susan Calman and just take her out when you have a bad day and listen to her talk. She’s also damn funny, which always helps.
*This is comic exaggeration. If Kitty starts talking like a valley girl to me, I’ll have to kill her with a fire axe. All the while crying and telling her “I love you so much that I can’t let you live like this.”
Even the Australian and American Southern accents have that sort of innocent, roll in the hay, aw shucks thing going on. I’ve got nothing to fall back on besides good diction, and an ability to say absolutely anything in a clam, restrained, dead pan. As a result, you get the sever impression that bombing public statues and selling priests into white slavery is the sort of thing I got bored with before my testicles dropped. On occasion, that’s nice, because I like having my depraved indifference to human suffering to be taken as sarcasm.
Actually, I have a mixture of my mother’s accent and father’s diction to fall back on. When I am very, very tired, people will occasionally ask if I’ve lived in Kentucky or have relatives there. My mother’s accent is a relatively pure Michigan Accent. She says “worsh” instead of “wash” and everything. She’s not dumb, or ignorant, or anything, but every once in a while she sounds like she is. My mother sounds like a literate hillbilly who spent a lot of time in Wisconsin. When mixed with the good diction I posses (even when outrageously tired) that accent creates some kind of Southern Gentleman from Kentucky, by way of Maine, and the Ozarks. If you find that sexy, let me know, there are probably doctors who can cure you.
I would like a sexy accent, or at least a cute one, or even one that makes someone sit up and take notice. I think I have the dullest accent on earth. Even if you hate the accent, that might be something. I could be wrong of course, and someone might mention that they think the Cultured Japanese accent is more boring than mine. I can think of some accents I don’t like. I’m not going to name them, because I don’t want those people who have them to feel bad, but those accents at least bring a response. So far though, I’ve not found one that’s as dull as this.
I’ve talked to many, many people, and not one has ever remarked on my accent being anything but background noise to what I’m saying. My accent is the clarinet of accents. It’s fine, but no one wants to play it unless they want to just slink to the back of the band and not get noticed.
Okay squirrel, I’ve got your picture now! Soon the internet is gonna find out who you are, where you live, and WHAT YOU’VE DONE!
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but one of my secret internet girlfriends is a porn writer. Specifically, a m/m erotic romance writer. Now recently, she held a little contest to see who could come up with the best title. Mine were ridiculous beyond belief. I went for things like “Dr. Geoffry Godforth and the Amazing Case of Buggery Up His Old Practice” and Practice Makes Pervert which were all labeled Too Puny from a person who requested puns.
In any case, I was awarded with a cameo! I was delighted, I would be a Known Figure in the erotica market without ever having to lift a finger, and then the boom was lowered. My character would not be involved in any sexual scenes. My heart sank like a stone and I did a sad kitten face. What, I ask you, is the point of being in a gay porn if you don’t get to be pornified? I am trying to become a Known Figure in a literary circle I’ve never written and probably will never write. Gay fiction is best, because that’s furthest away from my actual appetites. If I’m going to become a Known Figure, I would prefer that figure to be some one completely other.
Don’t ask why I want these things! I want them, I want to be known in a field that has nothing to do with me. It’s better this way, because people can’t say I’m trying to launch a neo-hard boiled career from being a character in gay erotica. If nothing else, you may say it amuses me to be a Known Figure without having to do any actual work. Sort of like a reality TV star, but with dignity.
I have a friend who occasionally marvels at the fact that we are in fact, friends. She really liked The Lord of The Rings movies, and I hated how Peter Jackson raped Tolkien’s corpse on screen during Return of The King (in the back, during Legolas’s Mario Moment on the Oliphaunts, you can just see it). While I love a good Kurosawa movie, she mostly liked that I liked Yojimbo, rather than liking it for itself. She was a big fan of Game of Thrones and as you remember, I found it misogynist, overly rapey and despite what some people had told me, about as historically accurate as a Mr. Peabody cartoon. Also, too many characters suffer from To Build a Fire Syndrome, but that’s not important right now! She really didn’t like Sherlock Holmes either, but I love her anyway.
We also don’t agree on what makes good music. She favors things from the more industrial period of the 90s, while I’ve been known to spend a whole day listening to jazz and Celtic music. We don’t actually spit on each other’s choices of music, but we tend to be attracted to different kinds. I think we might find common ground on Jack Off Jill, but I’ve never really discussed it with her. At some point, I probably should.
That’s not the point though. The point is that we’re still friends, despite all these differences. We do have some overlaps in our interests, but there have been times when this friend has asked how she and I can be such good friends when we never seem to agree on anything. She hasn’t asked that in several years though, so either she understands how we can be friends, or she no longer cares. It did seem to bother her for a while though, particularly since she understands that art was one of only three things I actually think are important enough to take seriously. Of course, the fact that she also understood fine art helped. It’s nice that someone can sort of understand that I have a love of both Bruegel and Bosch along with Mondrian and Rothko, while kinda hating Picasso. And besides, anyone who can shoot down my joke about The Nut Gatherers and is able to look at that painting without seeing the inherent lesbianism is someone able to be my Best BFF Forever. Yes, I know, that was the joke!
So where am I going with this? No, really, where was I going? I have totally forgotten.
OH YES! I remember now… The point of that long ramble was that some six or seven years after we first met, we are still close friends. We have shared some music back and forth on occasion, we have traded some movies and even some books, but mostly we just spent time together. We’re both pretty good at listening, and at talking. We tell each other things, we enjoy one another’s company, we are friends. Despite all the interests in other things, we’re pals.
Syd and I have almost no reading material in common. Of all the hundreds of books Syd reads in a year, not one of them are ever written by Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, or even Rex Stout. How does a person go around not reading Rex Stout? SRSLY! As retaliation, I don’t read any oh her books about girls with psychic connections to talking horses. And yet, we’ve been together for… I dunno, 15 years? That sounds close. No! Wait! It’s got to be 18 years. 1994-2012, that’s 18, right?
In here, we start to get in on our main point. I don’t need to like the things you like, nor do you need to like the things I like, for us to get along. We can get along without having to agree on music or paintings, or even TV shows. In fact, as the only two shows I watch with any regularity are Good Eats and Mystery Science Theater 3000, it’s probably for the best if we leave TV out of this. We don’t have to agree on movies, or food, or books, so long as we agree on being able to stand one another for more than seventeen minutes, then we can get along.
That’s how it is for me anyway. I got used to the fact that no one, not even nerds, would ever be into all the things I’m into. It’s just not ever gonna happen. Even if I did one day find a fellow Nero Wolfe fan, they would probably not share my love of cheap horror films. When I find that Cheap Cinema fan I’ve been looking for, she won’t be able to understand my physical need to sit around and watch movies where Japanese people in period dress stand around and talk at each other, sometimes for up to three hours at a time without taking out those swords and killing each other. And so on, and so forth, and it goes on like this too.
Thing is, that’s a good thing in my mind. Yes, there is more here though, than simply accepting that nobody likes the things I like. There is actually elation to be had here. If you’re not into the things I like, there is a possibility that you’ve never tried them. Actually, in my case, there is the distinct probability you’ve never tried at least three of the things I list as my ten favorites. Most people have never listened to Blues Traveler, Prince, Acoustic Alchemy AND Nightnoise. I’ll find something new to you and give you an album to listen to. Just as likely, no matter how wide my musical net has been cast, no matter how many things I’ve heard, there is very likely some band you like that I’ve never been exposed to. I’ve been listening to Alesana lately, because a young friend gave me a couple of their CDs. I’m not going to become their biggest fan, in fact I should be waving my cane and demanding they get offa mah lahn, but I can admit that there is something there. These young troubadours are not entirely without merit.
I like being introduced to new and interesting things, and I like being able to share interests with people. One of the nice things about having a friend who is into, for example, French Action Films, is that they can tell you which ones to watch. They can also tell you which ones best exemplify the genre, which ones to avoid, and which ones are the best even though they’re transgressive. Often, the best movies in a genre are the ones that transgress the rules. If you’ve never listen to Punk, a pal who knows which bands rock the hardest can be a great guide.
The other part of this though, is that even if I don’t actually like your music, choice of movie, or books, I can still like to watch you enjoying them. There are few joys so great as watching someone’s eyes light up when they talk about their favorite band/movie/book/work of art. Particularly if you’re interested in pursuing a relationship with that person, you can tell pretty quickly if you’re going to like them depending on how they talk about such a thing. If you want to know what reaction to have, I love excitement and delight over superiority and hipsterness. The reason I gave Alesana a chance was that the girl in question was so dazzled by her love for this band that I figured I just HAD to see what the fuss was about. Her enthusiasm carried me along far enough to give them a fair shake. After all, even if you’re hating the band, you can like just being with the person who enjoys it. You can even start to see the merit in the thing that brings your friend such pleasure. This is about me liking you, being with you, wanting to see you happy. If I really love you, and of course I do, then my main interest will be wanting to see you enjoy yourself. That will often turn the tide, and bring me at least an appreciation of this thing I don’t get right now.
tl,dr – Sometimes, you really can love something enough for both of us.
Because I have them hanging around and I need to photograph something to practice with my lights. THAT’S WHY!