It’s hot, it’s summer, the days are long, and I’ve been having trouble writing my blog. Did you notice that I posted my last post about a fellow biker trying to pick me up while on a Sunday morning bike ride a week late? I hope not, but I’m coming clean, in any case. My problem was that I couldn’t think of a suitable ending – a moral or thought-provoking reflection about what occurred. I finally gave up trying to be enlightening and resorted to making a couple of puns and quickly hitting the “Publish” button. I figured this would be one of those blogs that silently slips into the background without receiving attention.
Wrong was I, which just goes to show that you can never prejudge your readers. It also demonstrates that not everything has to be neatly wrapped up to provoke reaction. What surprised me most, though, was that most of the comments (some sent via Facebook or email, so not evident on the blog) were from men. That’s unusual for my blog. I’m guessing that the reason is that the post dealt with male sexuality and gender roles, a topic which men feel comfortable and qualified to opine on. And, I’ve learned that the men who responded were better able to relate to Mr. Yellowshirt than I was. By encouraging me to accept his statement “You’re all muscle” as a compliment, they were defending him, as well as supporting me. Thanks, I say.
And, a second thanks for helping me find a topic for this week’s blog. Their comments have got me thinking about how body type (mine, at least) influences sexual attractiveness. Here’s the skinny, my skinny, on my own skinniness.
It’s not often that men flirt with me. Nor has it ever been. My explanation – which, I admit, could be mistaken – is that it’s because I’m so thin. Now, that may sound like a strange thing to say, considering that my slim figure is the supreme desire of many a woman. You don’t know how many strangers of the female persuasion have not only admired my slimness, but demonstrated obvious envy. They ask me how I do it. (Answer: I don’t “do” anything. I just am.) They tell me how lucky I am, as they give me the once over, their eyes drooling. It’s a bizarre form of body worship. I’m quick to tell them that their reverence is misdirected, that being skinny isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It has notable drawbacks: I get colder a lot quicker than most people; I find sitting on a wooden or hard plastic chair for more than five minutes quite painful; and I’m told that underweight people have shorter lifespans than many who are overweight.
Regardless of the advantages and disadvantages of thinness, I have reasons that lead me to the conclusion that men pass me by because I’m thin. It harks back to something that someone – a person I loved and respected – said to me when I was young. I realize now that his statement was uttered thoughtlessly, and that if he had considered any possible implications, he never would have made it. He had an agenda for me that was different from my own. And, while I rejected it then and reject it now, his comment – whether with merit or without – has stuck with me to this day.
I explain. When I was in college, my mother and stepfather were concerned about my low weight. They urged me to eat more, bought me books about anorexia (which did not prove relevant), and gave me an ice cream maker to encourage me to consume more calories. One evening, my stepfather, well meaning as he was, said, “You’ll never find a man if you don’t gain some weight.” At that age and time in my life, I can’t say that finding a man was my be-all and end-all, but I did hope to find that ‘right man’ some day and get married. I felt it was a low blow, in spite of the fact that I really wasn’t looking for Mr. Right at the time. That would come later. All I wanted when in college was to enjoy time with friends, learn about science, help protect the natural world, and travel internationally.
Now, some 35 years later, I can say that I succeeded in those latter goals. I did not, however, succeed in fulfilling my parents’ wish to gain weight. Nor did I find that ‘right man.’ Does that mean that my stepfather was right??? Are men are only attracted to women with a certain amount of fat on their bodies? That would be the obvious response, given what I’ve just told you. But, I don’t believe it. Nor, it seems, did Mr. Yellowshirt. What do my male blog readers think? Feel free to offer an opinion, whether you’re male or female.
And, since I like nice endings, I’ll add that the answer – for me, now – is really quite irrelevant. As most of you know, I did eventually find and marry my ‘Mr. Right.’ Only she’s no Mr. Right. She’s my Ms. Right. And, she doesn’t care whether I’m skinny or flabby. Nor does she feel threatened by a 50-something divorcee looking to replace his wife with a strong, svelte cyclist buddy. Which makes the pick-up story in my last blog post all the more fun to share. I must tell you, though, in the name of full disclosure: she likes my muscles, too.