Tuesday, April 03, 2007
What Is Sexy?
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue?
Yawn. Supermodels writhing in the surf. Bleah.
Victoria's Secret Catalog?
Tfoo! Blow-dried, Photoshopped steel-bellied airheads in ridiculous lingerie that would look awful on anybody who's not a steel-bellied airhead with legs six feet long and a waist the girth of a pencil.
But when the Land's End Spring Swimsuit Catalog hits the Jingo mailbox?
Spread the beach-towel and break out the hand-lotion... That publication, my friends, is sexy.
It's simple, really: I can actually imagine having a conversation with these women. And really enjoying it.
Dude, they're selling to women.
Well, yes, exactly! They're selling swimsuits to women -- women who are self-conscious about their imperfect bodies -- and the swimsuits are designed to mask those imperfections: low thigh-openings, high necklines, underwires, panels to "control" bellies that may have borne children. The models are lovely women, but lovely in a way that a female shopper might actually realistically aspire to. No heavy makeup, no gigantic bolt-on hooties, just women who happen to be particularly attractive, wearing swimsuits. Unthreatening. Real.
I find that unbearably sexy.
They're also slightly on the older side, which I find in my encroaching dotage to be a major
plus. They exude intelligence and experience. They might actually take my Dadaist sense of humor and give as good as they get. I hate it when, after a nonsequitur joke, a woman looks at me like I've just crawled out from under a rock. High-school was one long, nightmarish series of girls looking at me slantendicular and always saying exactly the same thing: "God, you're so weird!"
It's precisely the imperfections that are so intriguing. The smaller breasts, the wider hips, the thicker waists -- these are in fact the very things that make me imagine them to be actual human beings rather than fluffed and Photoshopped wank-objects.
I understand I'm being trite, toeing the feminist party line. You just want to talk. Yeah, right.
No -- I'm trying to be honest. I can't get exited about an image of a sexy woman unless I can also imagine that the woman would be real enough -- human enough -- to hold an actual conversation with me. The Land's End catalog, aimed as it is at women insecure about their bodies, presents to me images of women who are unthreatening to other women. This woman-to-woman appeal, I think, is the key: I need an idealized image of female sexuality that is acceptable to actual living, breathing, menstruating, micturating, defecating, farting, spider-veined, small-breasted, square-assed, potbellied, thunder-thighed women who think that getting sand in the intimate bits of their swimsuits is funny.
Is that so weird?