“A sex symbol becomes a thing. I hate being a thing.” ~ Marilyn Monroe
I first pierced the Boulder bubble late on a Saturday morning. I was giving a class on Primitive Eating at a grocery store, which I canceled when I walked in and realized they were not expecting me. In fact, they didn’t even have a classroom. Seriously, why do even allow classes to be scheduled if they don’t have a classroom? Not sure what to do, I headed to the only other thing I knew Boulder had that I was interested in, a bookstore. An author friend of mine did a book signing and podcast from there, and I wanted to see it in person. After making my way downtown, going to the bookstore, and then settling in for an almond milk latte, I realized I didn’t want to leave. The bubble is filled with beautiful women.
Not only are there attractive women everywhere I look, but they were also barely dressed. They wore shorts so short that their ass cheeks were visible. They didn’t wear bras, and if they did, there were these lacy things that didn’t give much “support” at all. Everywhere were breast giggling and bouncing with nipples pointing straight at me as to say, You! Look here! Throw in the plunging necklines and oversized t-shirts with the sleeves cut off, and in one day I saw enough pieces of bare breasts to form an entire one in my mind.
In addition to the hula-hooping, barely dresses hippie girls, there were the Lululemon yoga pants and sports bra wearing types. They didn’t expose as much skin as the others, but they were equally attractive and pleasing to the eye.
The months I spent inside theBoulder Bubble, I think I learned one of the most valuable lessons of my life.
These women with their unrestricted breasts, short shorts, and exposed skin weren’t dressing this way for me. They weren’t putting themselves on display for my pleasure. They weren’t doing it to attract a man. They weren’t doing these things because they are not objects. (Ladies and Gentlemen, our little boy is all grown up!)
I take responsibility for my actions. I have been doing a lot of this lately. But I have to put some blame on the sexualization of the female body. The same sexualization that causes poor body image in women, that causes young girls to perform sexual acts on the school bus, or makes them think they have to dress scantily clad for a night out is causing boys and men alike to expect it. Not objectifying women is hard to do, like not thinking fat is bad for you. We have been programmed to think the opposite for so long.
I don’t feel looking sexy is the reason the women in Boulder dress the way they do. In fact, I think it’s just the opposite. In all my travels I have never seen a healthier group of people than those inside the bubble. Physically and Mentally. These women don’t dress the way they do because they care about what I or others think. I am willing to bet they dress the way they do because it’s comfortable or because they like how THEY look in a particular article of clothing. They could care less how you or I feel about it. That is mental health at its finest.
From the time I saw my first side boob until I finally left. I had very few conversations with women. I think I know why. I made them feel uncomfortable. I’m sure they could feel that I was looking at them thinking things like “nice tits” or “I’d like to _____.” If I could go to each one of them and apologize, I would.
Now, what do I do?
Behaviors don’t change overnight, but they can with practice. My goal is to stop looking at women as if they are on display for my personal pleasure. The problem is I still find things about a woman sexy, and attractive. I still want to think a woman is beautiful. I want to appreciate the beauty of a woman without coming off as a creep. How do I do this?
Something that has paralleled my sexual attraction to women lately is my desire to take pictures. I have been a photographer longer than I have been a writer. I think I’m pretty good at too. It’s just that my style is candid portraits. It’s fairly intimate, so I can’t do this with strangers. I’ve tried but believe it or not I feel I can capture the energy of a person with my camera, so taking a picture of someone I don’t know usually results in subpar photos. Where does my best work come from then? The women I date. Thus, I haven’t taken a decent picture in months.
Not too long ago I sent a woman I was seeing a nude photograph I took of her. I had just finished editing it. She was backlit by the sun coming in through glass door of the balcony of my apartment, so it was mostly her silhouette. Her response was, “I’ve never seen myself like that before.” I said, “Like what?” “So beautiful,” she said.
I think that somewhere in here is the difference between objectifying a woman and appreciating her beauty. I just need to find out what it is.