We’ve approached this from a chopping off angle before, so I’d better find something new.
I think my legs are sexier, but I prefer moving my arms. There’s a fluidity and control there that I can’t quite replicate in the legs. I should probably train some.
I’ve been cycling a lot lately, actually going for distances and through woods and stuff. Even up hills. It’s making strange doings in my legs. Thighs that glow and seem to push me higher. Must keep that up, who knows how that could affect things.
Legs are all about shape though. That arcing curve of thigh, the strictness of the shinbone, and the plump calf muscle behind. Ankles and angles all encourage the gaze to rove and explore. And touch too, if it goes that far.
I once told a lady that her thigh looked like Thunderbird 2. It was actually a compliment. There’s a hugeness in the curve and swoop of a thigh. There’s gorgeous in the shapes they make as the fold and bend and move and twist. It’s good to be wrapped inside. It’s sensual even to move them. Tense your thigh muscles; and relax. Simple senses, eh?
But then arms. They don’t have the contrasting fleshness (or at least mine don’t, though the muscles are oddly defined when tense, I am a stronger skinny boy than I appear) or arching curves. But they have angles and freedom of movement. They have strange bone structures and versatility. I’ve been known to sit for minutes on end with my hand pressed against a solid structure so I can watch my elbow twist and turn around, pulling my arm into impossibly odd landscapes. The movement seems jerky and alien, even though it is my own.
Last night I tried to centre myself with movement. It was all in the arms. Pushing and pulling and holding and releasing. Bringing shapes in towards me, curving them around me and throwing them back outwards. Arms can move like elements of ritual. Magic or dance. The legs are the structure, the base, the arms are the symbols, the movement, the fire dancing.
In fact, something I took from Tai Chi practice, is that the legs provide the structural yang, strength, solidity and firmness, while the arms and upper body provide the moving yin, flexibility, motion, reach and suppleness. Of course, the nature of such yinyang understanding is that the two shift into each other. They feed and support each other at the same time. You need movement for solidity. Flexibility grants you strength.
So while I think of my legs as my base and my arms as my reach, I am aware that is my legs that get me places, and my arms that deal most with the world. They both take both sides.
Bodies are homes. It’s where we live, and how we interact. It’s not all sex and movement. It’s everything.
Without my body, I am nothing.
Limbs reach out and make my heart home.
Illustration by Claire.