Posts Tagged sexy
So you know how men always make fun of women for their obsession with shoes and handbags? I can’t say I don’t relate, but when it comes to the ultimate indulgence, the one thing that makes me part with my cash most quickly is bras. As the good women at Fenwick will attest (especially during the summer sales), I can’t get enough of them.
I think it started early for me. Like a high heel, when you’re a little girl, you see certain things as a sign of latent womanhood. Not to sound creepy, but watching your mother dress for a night out in (at the risk of aging myself) a slip and a bra … and boom – you future gaze to (what you think and hope will be) your glamorous adult life.
So what is about bras? A lot. There’s the obvious fact that they boost the ultimate symbol of your femininity: your breasts. And they make them look really pretty. In fact, of all the things we get to wear, bras are one of the most flattering, whether your flat or full chested, skinny or ample.
And let’s face it, I can get girly, and bras are lacey and colourful.
Or I can be playful, and I can shop nipple tassels and pasties from my very talented and gorgeous friend Gaby Kennedy.
The point is, there is a lot to say for bras because there is a lot to say for women — and like bras, we are certainly about more than our breasts. But the best part is that only the wearer knows what’s going on underneath until she decides to show it off.
I know I’ve been waxing poetic about bras, but there is a caution. When we parade around in our skivvies, we should feel beautiful and sexy. That’s great — it’s one of the best things about intimacy. But when we’re in our smalls, are we more aware of what we’re doing to him, or what he’s doing for us?
It’s a well-known fact that men punch above their weight and women accept a bigger differential on a 10 point scale. Anyone who has ever been to the gym observes this phenomenon. A fit woman walks by two beer-bellied men at the water cooler (note: they are not working out) and they comment, pejoratively, on her ass, or her thighs or some such thing they feel requires improvement. Meanwhile, those same men might be in relationships with women who internally recognise their partners are pregnant with carbs but instead beam with pride about their kindness, sensitivity and sense of humour.
Do I want women to be more shallow? No … but yes. Well, a little.
I want us to retain our substance and the complexity and the acceptance that comes with being female. But I also want us to feel we deserve the whole package. The way men do.
When my personal style idol, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, bagged JFK, Jr., the world of woman’s gossip was awash with advice about how to pull off such a coup.
- Read and abide be ‘The Rules’, they told us.
- Withhold sex for [insert recommended number] dates, they speculated.
- Don’t touch your face or hair, they said. Carolyn, apparently, did not.
And at an early and impressionable age, that’s the one that stuck: stillness is largely the trick (one that I have not mastered, incidentally, but aspire to).
Here’s the story about a fixed object. It forces the things in its sphere to do the approaching — not the other way around. So if your magnetism draws someone to you, you can be assured that the interaction is desired and authentic — and anything can happen from there.
In my post about the Smokey Eye, I spoke about the power of looking, and that holds true here. Sitting quietly and confidently composed allows you to survey a room and make measured choices about the people onto which your eyes lock. It’s that predatory and mysterious power, and the fact that stillness is not seeking or desperate, that makes it sexy in a man or a woman.
But wait, there’s more.
We live in a world increasingly driven by the power of image. With Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and other forms of social share, we have all become publishers and controllers of our own depiction. Since no one wants to publish bad images, think about your best ones. Only a winning smile trumps the beauty of repose, wrote the woman who gesticulates so madly that the vast majority of her photos are botched.
Speaking of pictures, the one I chose for this post features a medallion that also advises quiet. From a blogger who has the word ‘Speaks’ in her handle, we can also guess that this is another skill I haven’t totally cracked. What I can say is that a lot of men probably think talking is overrated and should be reserved for commercial breaks. And of course, they want us to listen more. There’s power in listening, too, as it allows you to divine connections and departures from your true priorities and values.
All this to say, stillness and quiet, if taken too literally, are just plain boring. We need animation and clever conversation. We need jokes and clowns. We need to dance.
What I advocate here is a bit of pre-meditation and control of what, how and when we express ourselves. There are times when speaking is the most powerful thing in the world, and there are other times when keeping your counsel will give you the upper hand. Finding your level can make all the difference.
Many of you have asked me to weigh-in on pubic hair and I’m going to maintain my default position. Men vary in their preferences; contrary to feminist outcry, many seem to like, as Amy Poehler calls it, a muff the size of a slice of New York pizza, whereas a more vocal segment prefers us a bit more bald down there. I really don’t have time to speculate on the societal implications of female grooming because I think the simple fact is, when it comes to go time, men stop caring altogether. If they are going to have sex and are at the gate, they are not minding the topiary.
This may be a good thing. It’s an unfortunate coincidence that the less groomed we are, the greater our chances of meeting someone. Conversely, too many women tell tales of being fresh from the waxing table, overeager to showcase the undercarriage to someone undeserving of its debut. #baddecisions
But I digress. This post isn’t about those kind of Brazilians. I’m talking about the Brazilian kind of Brazilians, the ones from that country with samba, sand, cachaça and Carnival. Football. Thongs!
You know – the country that enjoys an unparalleled reputation for being sexy and carefree, where the natives are gorgeous and in our minds, nearly nude most of the time.
Want to attract a man? Say you’re Brazilian.
In the meantime, accept that you will lose out to a Brazilian at some point in your romantic life, even if it’s just for five minutes, when you’re trying to make out with someone on the couch and Gisele Bündchen comes on TV wearing angel’s wings and a bra encrusted in conflict diamonds. Or maybe it’s her new (slightly cockeyed) understudy, Alessandra Ambrosio. It doesn’t even have to be another woman, for God’s sake. Remember the football. Brozilians, with names that start with R and end in O, can steal a man away even faster. Regardless, we can watch their gaze drift, their fantasies form and kiss their attention goodbye.
Not cool, Brazil.
And in real life, even if you meet a man who is dating a violently psychotic Brazilian whose Latin temper gets the best of him, these men will still brag, black-eyed, to their mates that first and foremost, she’s Brazilian. Fade in, fade out: cue aforementioned day dreaming sequence.
This post is not about sour grapes though. I’ve been to Brazil and I loved it. I was struck not by the abundance of beautiful female bodies, but by the surplus of female body confidence. Because by my admittedly caipirinha-handicapped count, even on the beaches of Leblon, I saw more ‘real’ women than busty beach volleyball player wannabes. The best part? Those women packed their brown bellies and dimples into thongs and paraded down those shores as proudly as the women who gave their nation its sterling reputation.
It’s also worth noting that in Brazil, a beach snack is a slab of squeaky, greasy cheese, served ON A STICK out of a makeshift oven. There is no greater display of confidence than wiping fat drippings off your cleavage in the baking hot sun.
I think we all have something to love about Brazil, be it squeaky cheese or women who believe in being healthy, strong, happy in their skin and a little hot in their Latin temperament (though I think we could do with less throwing).
Today marks the birthday of the woman who currently features the highest on the ‘I would’ charts of my male British friends: Rihanna. And why not? This woman serves up her sexuality on a plate. Did you see that black ‘Ode to Scarface’ number at the Grammy’s? That dress proves it. When it comes to dressing for men, Rihanna ‘gets it’. (And as a result, likely gets plenty of ‘it’, too.)
But is she getting it right or wrong?
At the risk of sounding old or possibly maternal, I worry about our RiRi. Here we have a woman who has been the victim of incredible violence within her relationship espousing in ‘S&M’ that ‘pain is her pleasure’ (and nothing else can measure, apparently). Her ‘We Found Love’ video features an addicted, damaged and abused woman – though I wonder if the lowest common denominator can divine if it’s a cautionary tale or an ambition. And even that dress – the one I loved – is based on Michelle Pfeiffer’s character in Scarface, Elvira Hancock, who despite being very desirable and snorting cocaine rather elegantly, is also drug addled and essentially owned by powerful men who mistreat her.
Believe me, my aim is not to attack Rihanna, especially on her birthday. She is talented and beautiful and if I had a body like that, I’d probably walk around naked or nearly nude most of the time (hey wait, she does!). What interests me about Rihanna is what sits at the heart of this blog – when it comes to attracting male attention, can we do it in a way that empowers us or is the very thought objectifying?
Women, Rihanna, MEN – hear me: there is nothing sexy about damage, and we can own our sexuality without emulating the most vulgar parts of it: promiscuity, domination or a loss of control. As this blog gets up and running and I talk about how to attract male attention, it’s because I am a feminist and I believe in anything – anything – that makes women feel good about being women. That includes male attention (when it’s sought). And if chains and whips DO excite you, then I join Rihanna in saying ‘na, na, na, na, na c’mon’ to that, too.
All I’m asking is that we’re honest about why we make the choices that we do, whether those choices relate to our style or our lifestyle. Attracting men is easy; they are primal and visual and they are the first to admit it. The trick is in attracting the right kind of attention in a way that feels guided by and true to no one else but you.