Upsetting
Monday, February 09, 2004
 
The pieces certainly fit, and you’ve put them together so many times it’s second nature.

Quickening your pace as you pass the workers in the orange vests, you become aware of the fit of your clothes, the bra on your breast. It is like heat, but the pieces fit, so you go by and ignore the hisses from under the hardhats.

The advertising machine says that women who know ‘breast for success,’ and during the big football spectacular, a breast nearly brought the world to its suckling knees.

You also know that breast worship does not hold up cross-culturally, that it is a curious Western phenomenon. It’s why European women go topless at the beech. You want to point out to them on the treadmill that the cosmetic obsession with the sex organs didn’t happen until humans began to walk.

When we were on all fours, the breasts were not a component of the coupling process. They use canine terms to refer to intercourse that places the man behind the woman – or man – but this is from where we come.

The workers in the orange vests see you walk by, and they don’t care that your friends laugh at their rough language and big trucks. They think it works for them, and they aren’t really interested in hearing otherwise. You don’t talk about their sunglasses or tell them about business in the front, party in the back.

If you are married you can grow a moustache, but single males can’t take the chance, you think. But this, too, does not hold up across the great cultural spectrum. And that’s important, to think about how other people do.

The advertising machine will take the opposite tack, thank you very much, and the content reinforces your worst fears about yourself: You are slovenly, self-serving and self-satisfied.

You ask how you grow a moustache anyway? Do you start with a beard, and then shave around it when you get a little hair? Like dragging the magnetic powder around the Italian face in the child’s toy?

Men have to shave their faces, you think, and you’d much rather do your underarms and legs than shave your face.

Would the men in the orange vests and hardhats have coronaries if they knew that they got you thinking about showering and soaping your legs? It’s funny how it all happens in the head, you think. It’s what they’ll never get, what the advertising machine and video girls can’t communicate.

The skin may be the largest of the human organs, but the most sexual organ is the one in your head.

You keep this to yourself as you order the sandwich, the guys in the orange vests outside through the deli window. Another woman passes them, and it’s like a tennis match all over again.

You can only wonder what she is thinking.
 
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