Friday, May 18, 2007

On Hotness, Part One

I’m a leg man myself, and Regina Spektor is wrong.

A few weeks ago, we had the first glorious days of new, good weather here. Downtown Manhattan, the aesthetic capital of this great nation, parades beauty like pigeons and litter year-round: it has nothing to do with you, it's not a big deal, and it's fucking everywhere. Everything changes though when the weather becomes kind and we can wear what we like. That’s when the 10s come out, and, in this city, the 10s go up to 11.

As I strolled along that week, Spektor's Summer in the City was on repeat in my mind, and it's not cleavage, cleavage, cleavage. Summer in the city is hamstrings, hamstrings, hamstrings.

As a woman, I feel such one of the cool kids when I see men struck dumb with delight as the bold and beautiful strut past, and, in those days, I saw much pedestrian traffic stall in the presence of the hot-pantsed and shiny-legged. The best was two men walking down the street, one ancient and struggling with a serious cane, his companion bopping slow alongside him, young and able-bodied.

Here comes a 10 in shades, a chic black top, killer killer khaki hot pants (tailored cuff!) and the legs and gait to match. At first, Able Bodied is just basking in the passing eyeful with Struggling Cane at his side wrapped up in his all-too-familiar physical drama letting the 10s of the world pass him by, as usual. It's too good a show though, so Able Bodied stops him and gently turns him around saying, “Come on man. You can’t miss this.” A noble companion. She passes and they stand there, off track and male gazing with abandon.

I felt so good seeing Struggling smile through his difficulties, that moment so improved by a glimpse of a woman he will never be with. I loved, too, that Able knew it was worth disrupting Struggling’s flow to share the hotness.

This kind of scene romanticizes the objectification of the female body for me and brings up all kinds of inconvenient questions. I will not bore you with those questions.

*Jessica Alba, by Terry Richardson for GQ cover June 2007


Grant said...

Wow- I love this. My reaction to that scene would have been so different (along the lines of 'blech! stop objectifying us') and far less enjoyable.

This woman seems to encapsulate what transvestite strive to achieve- that aesthetic power. I find it fascinating that the reality is they fall far short in the eyes of others... but FEEL beautiful, and this is (some) reward itself anyway. Beauty held in the mind...

I know this is half a thought (coming to your blog straight after reading posts in trans forum) but hey, thought I'd share anyways! :D

varsity aesthete said...

Yeah, wow. I never thought about it like that: about beauty from the perspective of a transvestite.

As they perhaps "fall far short in the eyes of others" they are part of the multitudes that make sacrifices for beauty.

The power of beauty takes so, so many forms. Vive la beaute!

grant said...

....or TV's flag up the way women's beauty = power in the eyes of (het) men because of the effect that that beauty has over them.

Because I notice that they almost never dress up like Audrey Hepburn types... they tend to go for the slutty, Britney approach that really weilds that sexual power.

So... how does that work? beauty and power?! weird.

Jane J. said...

thank you for writing this.
also being a woman, and having to navigate amongst overly "complimentary" men of this city, we sometimes forget what a beautiful thing is to behold - others beholding beautiful things.
a powerful woman is a beautiful thing...and so are ancient men, enjoying the fruits of spring like boys.
truly inspring...thank you!

varsity aesthete said...

I'm so glad this post resonated for you, Jane.

Enjoy your beauty! It's not meant to cause distress. Just the opposite. We've gotten so turned around by our politics that we forget nature's gifts are just that--gifts.

(Thank you, too for your lyrical writing here...lovely.)