So. I’d like to say it was an even split, but in truth, I think the human body is a glorious wonder that nothing much can hold a candle to.
I love clothes, I will often be attracted to someone almost solely based on the clothes they wear. Colours and shapes and textures and oddnesses. There’s so much that can be done to a person, and it seems like it should be a truer reflection of their interior self. This is the place for self expression, clothes are chosen, clothes are how you want to be seen (within certain limits). Surely that’s what matters?
It is, but its not a body.
Clothes can be sexy, clothes can show you something of a person, clothes can make you excited and curious. Clothes often make me like someone from half a mile away.
And even in terms of sexuality, there’s something powerful about well sculpted clothed flesh. Clothes can flatter and hide in a way that only piques you. Clothes are suggestive, in so many different ways.
So much of me wants to say clothes is the answer. I love dressing up, and I love dressed up people.
The muscle underneath.
The tiny hairs.
The less tiny hairs.
The bumps and blemishes.
Nudity is wonderful.
Devoid of all the trappings and pretensions of fabric, left exposed and equalised. Underneath the abstracted expressions. The proposed forward faces. The attempts at explanation.
Mediated expression in the form of clothes, may have a certain truthiness, but it is not the same as an actual body. Contact with another’s skin is something incredible.
I like the ‘flaws’ best of all. The supposedly dumpy arms. The pear shaped behinds. The lolling breasts. The scars. The hairs. The dents and weirdnesses.
It’s all glorious.
There’s so many shapes to be found in a body. So many arcs and curves and jutting bones. I could spend a lifetime exploring someone. I would want to.
I wish people weren’t so scared of their bodies. I wish people didn’t spend so much time judging the bodies they do get to see. I even feel guilty for abstractly describing positivity in flaws. I don’t want to reduce a body to a part of it. To a perfection or imperfection.
It is not the individual structures of a body that make it beautiful. It is the fact that you are seeing the person. The body and the soul and the mind, or whichever of those bits are real, are all the same thing, to some extent. It is not strange to see a body. Bodies are never strange, they are wonderfully and explosively unique, but not strange.
No stranger than all of us.
I love my own naked form. It is unpleasant and smelly and mishapen. But it is me. Something about it works. My rump curves and my hip rises. My bones jut and my hair meanders. But it feels so much more me.
I, naked, love.
Illustration by Henry