Sunday, February 27, 2011

It's Sunday: You Have The Right To Be A Slug

It’s Sunday. One of the precious two days out of every seven that we don’t have to work. We’re supposed to make the most of those two days. We’re supposed to be with friends and family and celebrate just being alive. Today, however, I invoke my right to be a slug.

I think everyone has been damn brave this winter. We've all kept on a normal schedule and tried to continue on with life as if we weren't in the middle of a spirit-crushing ice age. Oh, sure, there were school cancellations and people were advised to stay home from work, but really, was that a vacation? No, absolutely not. They were days filled with shoveling back-breaking amounts of heavy, wet snow, the dangerous cleaning off of rooftops, slipping on icy steps and walkways, and digging out our buried, and in many cases, broken mailboxes. There were electrical outages, bursting frozen pipes, and downed trees. Not to mention the worry and fear over the mammoth ice dams that formed on everyone’s rain gutters, and the constant stress of paying for rising heat costs and unavoidable plowing services. Not exactly a party.

I live in New England. I know that the whole country got its ass kicked this winter, and although here in the northeast we’re supposed to be Spartans… for Christ’s sake there’s only so much battle anyone can take before they just can’t take anymore. Now, the week before last we were blessed with a reprieve; two days of temperatures above 55 degrees Fahrenheit and actual bright sunshine that you could feel. Not just that “ineffectual” crap we usually get in the winter. REAL sunshine. The kind that you need sunglasses for. The kind that creates a greenhouse effect in your parked car. It was glorious. GLORIOUS, I SAY!!! Some of the ten foot high snow banks were melted virtually in half, and I was actually able to take a walk in the outdoors for the first time since Thanksgiving week. It was as close as I’d been to heaven in a long time. I was infinitely thankful for those two days, and I remain so.

I knew, at the time, however, as did everyone else that it was only a “thaw,” and that winter wasn’t over yet. Still, I hoped upon hope that the snow was done … that the biting cold temps were done… that perhaps, just perhaps, we could see an early spring and be released from the bonds of this hell of a winter. Naturally thus far that has not been the case. Why should it be? February isn’t even gone yet which only serves to remind us all that we’re not out of the woods by a long shot. I, for one, am exhausted. I woke up this morning feeling like I just couldn’t even get out of bed. I’m not sick; it’s just that I plain can’t take anymore. Yet that nagging voice in my head told me to get up and carry on as though it’s “like any other day.”

Well, excuse me but SCREW THAT. As the first storm or two set in on us in January, people recalled (as they always do) the blizzard of 1978 and said “We haven’t had one this bad since then.” But then, more blizzards came. No January thaw… just more blizzards and below zero temperatures. We scratched our heads. What happened to global warming? Suddenly the blizzard of 1978 was child’s play. THIS is the winter to be reckoned with. But still we pressed on. We dug out, we salted, and we wrote the necessary checks. We bundled up, we headed out… we kept on working, going to school, keeping our social engagements. We continued to live.

Personally, this winter has been a special kind of hell for me. For one thing, I have arthritis in my back, neck, hips, and one of my shoulders. Cold temperatures cause me to shiver uncontrollably, clench my muscles, and basically enhance the pain. I’m not someone who ever liked snow. Not even as a child. I never wanted to be involved in winter sports, I never enjoyed making snow angels, or building snow men… cold and snow have always equated pain for me. But I’ve done what I’ve had to do this winter, just like everyone else. I’ve handled the pain. I’ve kept up with my duties and responsibilities… I haven’t cracked. But dammit… I’m tired!

Sunday, in case any of you weren’t aware, is supposed to be “a day of rest.” Because we are so busy, and because of the way jobs are in our society, Sunday is no longer a day of rest for most. It’s a second Saturday. It’s a Carpe Diem Day. It’s had to be. After all, we only get a precious two days out of every seven to ourselves, and time ticks by way too fast. So we make the most of our treasured two days. Many weeks, by the time Monday comes, I’m exhausted and wish I had just one more day to stay home… a day of rest. Well, today I reclaim my Sunday. Granted, I won’t do this every week, but when you stop and listen to the signals your body gives you sometimes you have to heed them and know – today you need a day of rest. So, if you feel like the winter of 2011 has kicked your ass, then rest today and know it’s all right. Don’t feel guilty about it. Sometimes, you need to spend a day just being a slug.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I could have called this post “breasts” but I like the word “boobs” better. I also like the word “boobies.” It’s cute. I’m kind of a connoisseur of breast slang. That’s largely (no pun intended) due to the fact that I’m very well endowed and was an extremely early bloomer. I can’t really remember a time when I wasn’t nearly defined by, or, at least, synonymous with my boobs. It was early in the 4th grade the first time anyone made a boob remark at my expense. I remember it very clearly. I had gotten up to sharpen my pencil, and as I crossed the classroom to return to my desk, two boys were snickering and when I looked at them, one said to me very matter-of-factly, “Bernard says you’re growing.” Well, I knew that! I don’t remember my exact response – if I even had one. I just remember being horrified that someone would point out something so obvious out loud. I mean, I lived in my body, I was pretty sure I knew what was going on with it, and besides, I had mirrors in my house. After that, commentary about my girls was basically an every day event. For some reason, boys really liked to say to me: “You know you’re going to get breast cancer, right?” I came to the conclusion around 7th grade that it would be silly to get upset about the comments. By 8th grade, I was proud of them and damn happy to have them in my life.

As a young woman, I had the best set of boobs anyone could ever hope for. Really. Again, I know sometimes I sound like a completely conceited jezebel, but we’ve all seen boobs. We all know what makes a pretty set. Mine were lovely. 36C, perky, curvaceously round, and perfectly symmetrical with the exception of the fact that I actually have a small beauty mark on one nipple. Kind of Marilyn Monroe or Cindy Crawford. I loved them. I displayed them with pride in lovely bras, low-cut fuzzy sweaters, and clingy cotton tank tops. They turned heads. They got me discounts in stores. They got me virtually every man I ever set my sights on. What’s not to love?

Meanwhile, the weight of my lovely friends was pulling and tugging on my shoulders and back. It wasn’t so bad when I was very thin, and only a size 36C, but after my mid-twenties I gained a lot of weight. For a long time the girls held their own, despite my refusal to buy a really sturdy bra. Those bras were ugly! They were enormous and forced you into an unnatural shape. They looked like you were old and really fat! Well, I guess I just didn’t want to admit it, but I was really fat. Still, I continued to wear pretty, lacy, useless bras. And I continued to eat. I gained, and gained, and gained… and my boobs got bigger, and bigger, and bigger.

Finally, after many years, well, ok… a decade…I lost weight. The first time that I went down a bra size, I didn’t really see a difference. I just knew that the bras I was wearing were starting to slip down, and the cups were not as full as they had been. So, I went shopping. I found that I’d gone from (brace yourself) a 40DDD to a 38DD. (And no, 7th grade classmates, I didn’t get breast cancer.) When I held my new bra up to my old bra and saw the difference – I was inspired! Now the goal was to get back to a 36C. How wonderful it would be to get that small again! I continued working by butt off, and eventually made it into a 36DD, and that’s where I remain today. I’m still determined to get back to that 36C. Heck, I’d almost be satisfied with a 36D.

Why not get a breast reduction, you ask? Well, because as things stand, I am still a little overweight. I see surgery as an absolute last resort. When I look at the girls now, they’re not as perky as they once were, obviously, but I’m also not 17 anymore. They’re looking pretty good considering all I’ve put them through. They’re still curvaceously round, still perfectly symmetrical, and aren’t nearly as far south as they could be, if I weren’t working out. Besides, they’re a part of my body, and they’re healthy, so why take them under the knife? For vanity? I’d say not. If I couldn’t have managed to lose weight I’d have done it, but as things stand, I don’t see it as medically necessary.

Why am I telling you all this? Well… basically I’m telling you about all this because I’d like you to take care of your boobs. Really. I mean, God only gives you one set of boobs, and regardless of what size you got, or what shape you got, or how you have felt about them, they’re yours. They’re a part of your body, a part of your identity, and you should be proud of them. Wear a good bra. Exercise. Do the self breast exam. Get your mammograms when they’re due.

Wait, you’re a guy? Oh… ok. Then take care of your lady’s boobs. Make sure she does the self breast exam. Make sure she gets her mammograms. Make sure she has good bras. (*Yeah, that’s a hint. Go shopping.) And by the way, did you know that men can get breast cancer? It’s true, look it up. If you love boobies… then do your part for them. And give them lots of love and kisses, too. They like that.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How Was Your First Time? Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby; Part II

Yes, I’m talking about that first time; I’m talking about losing your virginity.

As I’ve told you, I was one of the last people I knew to do it. How was mine, you ask? My experience was exactly what I’d wanted it to be. Unfortunately, not many people I know can say that. I find that kind of upsetting because it’s a pretty monumental thing. I remember when I was a freshman in high school many of my friends had already lost theirs, which means they were 14 years old or less when it happened. The stories they told me weren’t very good. They weren’t anything I’d have wanted to experience, anyway. Guys who issued ultimatums, places not fit to grow mold, and choices made in momentary lapses of reason. Basically… regrettable choices.

Hearing their stories made me think a lot about what I wanted in terms of the circumstances surrounding such a huge event. I mean, as an early teen you think about it all the time. Your hormones are in over-drive, and although you’re somewhat scared and don’t really know what to expect, when  guy you like kisses you, your body pretty much pushes all logical thought processes out of your head. Still, the stories I’d heard from my girl friends were filled with embarrassing moments, hurt feelings, physical pain, and the one thing that lingered with me… the words “I just wish it hadn’t been him.”  

So, I had a mental short-list of things I didn’t want. Looking back, they seem rather strange, considering that I’m a real serious romantic.

1.)    I didn’t want to do it with someone I was in love with. I know; complete opposite of what you’d expect, right? But that seemed to me to be a recipe for disaster. To give myself to someone I was madly in love with, and have him dump me afterwards and crush me into dust? No thanks. I wanted someone I genuinely liked, was attracted to, and above all, someone I knew well enough to TRUST completely with such a delicate situation. But not a boyfriend. Not someone I was stupid over.
2.)    I wanted to have the experience in a home. No cars, boats, movie theatres, blankets in the woods, dirty hotel rooms, or other places where I’d feel afraid to undress, and where there was no “real bathroom.” I wanted someplace comfortable and clean.
3.)    I wanted a friend there with me. Someone who’d already done it, and someone who I could count on in case it REALLY hurt, or in case I became frightened, or in case anything happened that I either hadn’t counted on, didn’t expect, or made me upset in any way. Someone who’d have my back.
4.)    If it was at all possible to avoid it, I never wanted to see the guy again afterwards. I wanted the great memory, and I wanted to keep it perfect. I didn’t want to ever have to discuss it, be asked questions about it, or have the guy “joke” with me about it. (*Of course, now, if I ever bumped into him, that would be completely ok… but the immediate weeks/months following? Hell no.)
5.)    Of course… he had to be 100% ok with using a condom and he had to respect that it was my first experience. At least, that is, to my face.

So, long after all of my closest friends had been on the pill for years and had been having sex on a regular basis and long after I was literally climbing the walls with desire to finally have sex, an opportunity that met all of my criteria actually presented itself. A guy who had gone to our high school that I’d had a few classes with and was insanely attracted to… was friends with one of my closest friends’ boyfriend. I’d had a crush on him freshman year and he had held my hand in math class a few times. Of course, being smitten at the time I was barely able to speak in his presence. But, as time had passed and the initial crush dissipated I had relaxed and been able to really be myself whether he was in the room or not. Evidently, my real personality was a huge turn-off to him. He liked quiet, demure girls, and I was … uh… not. He had told one of my girlfriends that he thought I was pretty hot, but that I was “too loud” and that if I “calmed down” he’d consider asking me out. Screw that. I gotta be me. So, we never dated.

At this point, however, he was no longer in school. He had an apartment, and my friend’s boyfriend was going to see him for some legitimate reason… borrowed money or something. Anyway, my friend had her boyfriend make it clear to him that I’d be coming along and … pretty much… that I wanted to just have sex with him.

There it was. As if God himself had served it to me on a silver platter.

As an 18 or 19 year old guy, come on, are you really going to say no to that? A hard-bodied brunette with big brown eyes and measurements of 36-24-36? I think not. We arrived at his apartment and went in. I barely remember what led up to the bedroom. I remember being offered a beer, and taking it. I remember being mildly nervous, but glad that he knew my intentions. It took the pressure off. Clearly, we both knew why I was there. There was no fear of rejection. There was no wondering if he liked the way I looked. There was no question as to how he’d react about the condoms. There was no inexperienced teenaged red tape to get in the way of my plans.

His roommate came home, and since we were in the living room, he suggested we move to the bedroom to allow his roommate to use the TV. Smooth, right? We went into his bedroom, and my friend and her boyfriend did, as well. We hit the bed, lights went out, and it was an old fashioned make-out party. Them on the floor, us on the bed, and me with the sudden realization that I had zero inhibitions, and that it had nothing to do with the beer. My friend was right there beside me, which sounds creepy, but in reality I found it really comforting not to be alone, and to know that all I had to do was say her name and all bets would be off, if that was my choice.

But it wasn’t. He was a great kisser. I’d always liked his lips and he had a great smile and a sexy voice. Kissing him was certainly not a disappointment and I melted into him like butter. I peeled his shirt off, ran my hands over his chest and back, wound my fingers into his hair and got completely lost in the experience of being so close to this guy I’d had a crush on and had always found so attractive. The rest of the world disappeared; even the couple two feet away seemed non-existent. Things were moving slowly… we explored one another and discarded clothes one piece at a time, with each passing item bringing more and more bare skin into contact. More than once I heard my friends on the floor guffaw at me. As it turns out: I’m a screamer.

I began to find myself becoming impatient. I think I may have freaked him out a little, but I wanted him and an inner dominatrix began to rise to my surface. She tore off my bra and wrapped it around the back of his neck, pulling him to me and insisting he kiss my bare breasts. His initial shock wore off almost instantly and he smiled, obliged my demands and rearranged himself so that the dominatrix could remove his jeans. Moments later he was battling a stubborn condom package. Once wrapped, he settled himself over me, asked if I was all right, if I was sure, if I was ready… and when he felt certain that this was my choice and that I was honestly ready and not making a bad choice for myself, and that he wasn’t “doing anything wrong,” he relaxed, kissed me, and slowly entered… taking my virginity and changing me forever.  We went through his whole box of condoms that night. Not once did he hurt me, and I remember it as a comfortable, happy, and extremely satisfying experience.

That was December 6th, 1986. Whenever I tell people on the anniversary, that it’s the day I lost my virginity, they’re always surprised that I know the exact date. But it was something I took very seriously. I have always looked back on that experience and been happy that I had a truly enjoyable first time, and one that took place on my terms, when I was ready, and with someone that I’ve never, ever regretted sharing it with.

After that night, I was perfectly ok with sharing myself with men that I loved without the fear of being “crushed into dust.” I think that for me, personally, the idea that my first time was basically given to myself as a gift, rather than to someone who could lord it over me, gave me a sense of being the master of my own destiny. I had sex that night for ME, because I wanted to, and because I was ready to. Not for any other reason. The great mystery was solved, my questions were answered, and I now knew “what it was all about.” It made me feel ready to enter into a relationship with someone I loved knowing that there was nothing to fear. That was, and still is, priceless to me.

So why write about it like this? Well, for many reasons. One of which being that I see many women around me who don’t have a very healthy view of their sexuality, and I think that it’s something that really needs to be talked about in general. Conversations about sex always seem to be the hardest to have with the people who matter most. Our kids, our partners, our doctors. I, for one, believe that needs to change. So, I write… and I hope that when you read these things… whether you think I’m strange or not… that you find it easier to talk about these things with the people who matter most. Incidentally, the one who matters most is you. So, if you’re not comfortable to speak to others, start by exploring the subject with yourself. You’ll get there.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Human Touch

I have an incredible attraction to big, strong hands on a man. I suppose it’s not so strange, being female, to be attracted to such a thing, but there is just something about the contrast between my small, feminine hands and a big, masculine set of hands. There is something about the feel of those manly hands in my hair while I’m being kissed, or on my shoulders when I’m feeling stressed… there is something about the way it feels when a pair of big 98.6° hands caress me. I’m not sure I can describe it. The strong, sure hands of a man that I love; it’s primal and exciting, yet also makes me feel safe and protected.

Lately, I see men handling mobile devices more than I see them resting those hands on the small of a woman’s back that they’re sitting by. I see them holding iPhones and iPads more than I see them holding the hand of their partner. It scares me to think that we’ve become so attached to cell phones and devices that we now text rather than call, and we now sit across from each other in restaurants separately texting people when we’re sitting at a table with another living, breathing human being.

Take a moment and consider the small ways in which we touch one another. I’m a very physically affectionate person. I don’t think I could live without that connection. I get high on the scent of a man’s skin. I love the way their bodies feel; vastly different from mine. The muscle tone beneath the skin, in stark contrast to the softness of my female body. To have my lips against a man’s neck, and feel his Adams apple, and the sensation of a freshly shaved face, smooth and rough all at once. The way his arms feel around me in an embrace; the strength of his biceps, the heat of his body, the taste of him… I get lost in it.

It’s hard to be away from those we love. To be separated by distance and unable to share a hug, to be too far away to sit together on the couch, or to be too busy to physically get together and create an atmosphere of intimacy. I know this feeling well, believe me. And so, I ask you, those of you who are glued to your phone, your iPad, your laptop… please, unplug from the cyber world and tune into your partner. Become acquainted once again with simple physical pleasures. Hold hands, kiss like you’re sixteen, exchange massages, and indulge your senses.

Don’t waste the time when you’re together. Our lives are so busy now, busier than they’ve ever been. We’re expected to be on call all the time due to these so-called miracles of technology.  Personally I don’t think it’s a good thing at all. There is very little separation between our professional and our personal lives now. It’s not healthy. Unwinding requires more than removing your shoes and taking off your tie. It requires really letting go of business and returning to your PERSONAL life. Shut things off; and turn yourself back on. Focus your attention on your five senses. If that requires getting out the Hershey’s syrup, taking your woman’s hand, and making a mess of the bed – so be it. That’s why we have laundry soap.

Sight, Touch, Taste, Scent, and Sound. Make them a priority. They’re why you’re on this earth to begin with. Live life and be awake and alive.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Am The Ghost of Valentine’s Past…

Valentine’s Day. You’re either for it, or against it. Ok, let’s face it… you’re against it. Pretty much everyone is. I actually feel really bad for guys on Valentine’s Day. Why? Because it’s supposed to be about love. Somehow it’s become about who’s boyfriend/husband did the most romantic thing for them, which is really stupid. And that’s in the GRAND scope. Because it’s not just about this Valentine’s Day, and it’s not just about these boyfriends/husbands. It’s about every single boyfriend/husband on the planet in the entire history of Valentine’s Day. Even your ex-boyfriends/husbands.

I’m not exactly sure why that is, but I know most people either roll their eyes in disgust at the very idea of the holiday, or fill up with dread and angst because they happen to be single when it rolls around. Then, there are the few each year who have to endure painful ghosts of Valentine’s past. Some memory that was so wonderful the year or two prior that has now become unbearably painful and is forever marked by heart-shaped boxed chocolates and long stemmed roses that surround you despite your best efforts to escape them.

I propose we look at Valentine’s Day in a new way. Bear with me a second here.

Ever have that conversation with someone about “What was the best Christmas present you ever got?” You think back, you recall some Christmas morning when you were five or six, and you got the one BIG present you had asked Santa for. Or, you recall a year when something really funny happened at the dinner table, or you remember something meaningful that happened that you always think of at Christmas, and it’s usually a memory that brings a smile to your face and warms your heart.

Yet, because Valentine’s Day is so frequently associated with things that have broken our hearts, we tend never to look back on the best Valentine’s Day we ever had and say “Oh, one year, this guy I was dating sent me balloons at work and then took me to my favorite restaurant and we had the BEST time,” without adding … “and then three weeks later I caught the son of a bitch cheating and I slashed his tires. God I hate Valentine’s Day.”

I propose we make a real effort to let go of the ghosts. I’ll start.

The best Valentine’s Day I ever had, was with this guy who sent a dozen red roses to me at work, and then took me on a Harbor Cruise in Boston. We were dressed up, we were in love, we had a great dinner, we danced, we even got to go up to the front of the ship and hang out with the Captain. It was chilly that night, and he gave me his coat and stood with me looking out over the reflection of the moon on the water. We had a really, really nice time. He had planned everything behind my back and it was really sweet.

Another year, (and, a different boyfriend) I received a massive bouquet of exquisite long stemmed pink roses at work with the most beautiful, romantic card you could ever imagine. It made me feel incredibly special. Especially considering that he’d sent me flowers just two days prior for no reason… just to tell me to have a good day that day. So, when the pink roses arrived, all my co-workers were astonished and jealous, and I felt completely spoiled.

This year, I happen to be single. Valentine’s Day is for lovers. As 2011 starts off, I don’t have one. But really… big deal. There have been PLENTY of years in my life when I was single on Valentine’s Day. There were many years when I was married on Valentine’s Day. None of it really means anything, does it? I mean, in the moment it does, but if you’re single on Valentine’s Day, it’s kind of like having a “just ok” Christmas. There’s always next year… and as kids Christmas is this magical, carefree, crazy time … and then you become an adult and it’s about shopping and wrapping and budgets and all the other not-so-fun aspects.

Valentine’s Day is sort of like that. You have these high expectations, you have these images shoved in your face by the media and you feel like “Gee, nobody ever hands me giant pieces of jewelry or gives me a Lexus with a big red bow on it.” Well, of course they don’t! It’s like that once in a lifetime Christmas. You only got the shiny new bike ONCE, didn’t you? You’ve recounted the happy memory of that Christmas with a quiet smile and a glimmer in your eye since you were eight years old, and you know that’s all right. Besides, Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, anyway.

Valentine’s Day is about love. If you have love in your life… a boyfriend, a fiancĂ©e, a husband… if you have a best friend, if you have parents, siblings, kids, or anyone at all in your life who you love… who loves you back… you’re blessed and that’s your new focus for Valentine’s Day, 2011.

Take the pressure off yourselves and your partners. Reflect on the love that exists in your life and celebrate it in some special way that is unique to that relationship. The ghosts of Valentine’s past can’t haunt you if you smile at them and tell them they’re beautiful memories. Know that just as Christmas returns every year, so shall Valentine’s Day. Some years will be more romantic than others, but like anything, you don’t appreciate the good if you never experience the not-so-good.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Taking Nude Photos

I had plans to hang out with one of my girlfriends last night. We were planning on the usual: dinner, a little TV, a little conversation… nothing spectacular or out of the ordinary. I called her to ask what time she’d be home and she said, “By the way, my cousin is taking a photography class and wanted to know if I’d help her out and pose for some artistic nudes for her homework assignment. Do you think you’d mind doing something like that?” Mind? Heck no, I wouldn’t mind. I told her sure thing, I’d be happy to pose. Mind you, I am not the size three hard-body I once was. In fact, I’m not even the size six somewhat-firm-body I once was. Hell, I’m sure if I attempted to try on any new clothes right now I might be disappointed to discover that I’m not even the doughy size eight body I once was. But what the hell, this was for a homework assignment and her cousin is my friend, so sure, why not.
The idea of the assignment was to take photos of body parts as “landscapes,” showcasing curves, interesting shapes, and practicing with light and shadow. So it wasn’t as if we were being photographed in a Playboy kind of way, in fact, our faces would likely not even be shown in the finished, edited shots. Still, shedding your clothes in front of your lover is one thing. Shedding them in front of random doctors and nurses is another, but taking your clothes off, posing, and having the visual of yourself in bizarre positions be photographed for posterity is really pretty outer limits if you’re not real happy with your body. Add to that the idea that you’re photos will be viewed by the photography teacher, the other photography students, critiqued, added to someone’s portfolio, and, in the era of the internet, who knows where they could end up… and you really have a situation where you wonder if you might just be out of your mind?
My friend poured us some wine and although I don’t usually drink it, I gladly accepted the glass and we watched as her cousin set up the backdrop. Dressed in nothing but bathrobes and socks we viewed the photography of Edward Weston on line to get an idea of what the photos should emulate. My friend took the first turn. With warm rays of sunlight on her skin streaming in from the window, she sat on an ottoman and asked how she should be positioned? Her cousin adjusted a hand, here, a strand of hair there, asking her to turn slightly, or tilt her head a certain way. As she snapped pictures from various angles, my friend became less self-conscious and I could see that the photographs were coming out great. I thought she looked beautiful. I have always like artistic nudes and once even created a slide show of pictures I found on the internet and sent it to my then boyfriend as a little feast for the eyes on Valentine’s Day.
 When she had taken quite a few pictures of my friend, she said it was now my turn. I shed my robe, and thanks to the wine, got in front of the backdrop and immediately started posing like a tipsy idiot. I figured, what the hell, I wasn’t going to be happy with the shape I was in, the way I looked on camera, or how my body appeared anyway, so the best thing to do was just ignore that and help this photography student get the shots she wanted. We had joked about the fact that I took yoga and was pretty flexible, so I did throw a couple of yoga poses out there and she actually did end up using a couple of them to take some pictures. Each time she showed me a preview of the pictures she’d taken, I felt worse. They were awful. Ok, no, the pictures were great. She was getting exactly what she needed for her assignment… and she’s an extremely talented photographer and has an amazing eye. The photos themselves were gorgeous, but all I could see was fat, cellulite, surgical scars, and sagging breasts. No matter, I thought, eventually she’ll show me a picture and I’ll see a shadow of that beautiful body I once had. The body that stopped traffic. The body that is still there, somewhere, underneath the remaining cheeseburgers and chocolate that I have yet to work off.
Noticing that the daylight was fading, our student photographer’s attention settled on a window behind the sofa where the last of the daylight was still visible. She suggested that I move to the sofa. I gladly obliged, figuring there was only so much time before the sun would set and she’d be out of luck for getting the rest of her assignment finished. As she began clicking away on me at this new location, my friend commented that this looked really nice. A few clicks later and I was finally shown some shots that, I have to say, I really didn’t mind at all. I was a silhouette seated in a window where behind me the sky was all pink and purple. Though it was obvious that I was not the youthful, semi-anorexic model most people are now accustomed to seeing, the photos were pretty, and showed a curvaceous woman seated by a set of sheers looking out pensively at the sunset. I have no idea how that happened, since it was just me, sitting on the back of the sofa trying to be still while pictures were taken from different angles. They came out so good, in fact, that my friend asked to have a few done there as well. Hers came out even better.
Next we were asked to do some together shots. This proved to be somewhat tricky, as we are different sizes and needed to obtain a sense of symmetry to show four arms, or four legs, or two arched backs. Some poses didn’t work at all, and others that did proved to be rather back-pain inducing. But, what the hell, our photos came out looking exactly as she wanted them to, and after all, it was about her homework, and not about us. Still, we’re looking forward to getting copies of our pictures when she’s done editing them. For me, despite my dislike for how my body looks right now, I have to say, I’m glad I did it. And for you out there: if anyone ever asks you to pose nude, go ahead and do it. I guarantee you: you’re a lot more beautiful than you think.