Something happened when rolling out of my early twenties. I stopped watching porn, became completely disinterested in strip clubs and began to feel kind of disenchanted with the mouthful of naked and half-naked women’s bodies strewn all across my T.V. screen, computer, and even cell phone, via bootygram. My disenchantment didn’t come along with a decreased sexual interest in women, or lowered libido; nor was it accompanied by some long lost respectability politics; if anything it’s quite the opposite. Until the other day, I’d only interrogated it mildly, joking with Drake about why I can’t really fuck with Instagram. There’s just too many bathing suits, and yoga pants, and new tattoos, and freakum’ dresses, and poppin’ ass lip gloss, and halter tops, and “look at my new abs,” and “gettin’ it in with these squats,” and Amber Rose fine ass all oiled up with that neat ass pussy hair straight out the barber shop, which somehow–thanks to child fetishizing ass European beauty standards–some people referred to as a nasty bush.
She posted the photo to raise awareness for the 3rd annual SlutWalk at the end of September, a feminist march that calls for an end to slut shaming, victim blaming, and the broader myriad of atrocities directed at women’s bodies. Of course, niggas were hatin’. Piers Morgan and others, were quick to denounce Amber Rose’s pseudo naked body as “not feminist,” which is some whole other shit I don’t really have the time or patience to go into right now–and plenty of women continue to do so better than I could anyway–but suffice it to say, the vitriol directed at her made me feel kind of ashamed at my lack of indulgence. It also proved her entire fucking point.
So I looked at the photo a few times, well, like more than a handful of times. It was nice.
What I wanted though really, was to separate myself from Piers and them. I knew the reason I didn’t spend as much time enjoying women’s bodies from a distance wasn’t because I thought it was un-feminist. Most recently, considering points I agreed with in Caitlin Moran’s How to Be A Woman, and Emily Witt’s Future Sex, I can at least believe in a theoretical framework of vagina centered sexual encounters, and imagine an autonomy, on the woman’s end that has absolutely nothing to do with me, or even with sex. My two major excuses for abstaining are that it’s such a huge fucking distraction, one that can be immensely time consuming and I’ve got enough of that, what with googling shit about the Arctic Skua and watching those damn pygmy goat parkour videos. The other one is that I feel like I’m contributing to a culture that values physical beauty above all else, and cares little for the damaging consequences.
It used to be–in my early twenties–that I’d do all kinds of shit at the whim of an attractive woman if it meant the possibility of sex: drive three hours one way, go on expensive dates that I hated, and generally subscribe all of my time to her will. And the physical beauty, by that I mean that global type Beyonce, Eva Mendes, Rosario Dawson kind of thing, was all that needed to be there. When I tell people that whom I’ve only known for the past few years they think I’m lying. It seems unfathomable, even to me, that I spent so much time chasing booty and little else. Obviously, much of that desire for “more” tends to change with age, experience, etc., for men and women. But still, it feels like if I’m in the crowd of niggas anonymously tossing hearts and likes and dollars into the fray, or even increasing views at the flesh bar–let alone the fuckboys of virtual rape in the comments section–I gotta be contributing to some shit that makes me feel, and maybe should make me feel filthy.
I know it’s bullshit, though it gets even more selfish than that because every time I’ve been disappointed by some crush upon discovery that they’re as dumb as a level 1 Geodude, I think, just for a second–after considering that beach house scene in Erasure where Thelonious decides not to fuck this girl after seeing the shitty book, that he wrote, on her night stand [so many fucking layers]–that maybe if she wasn’t garnering all that praise for being so damn fine, she’d have read a book or something. She’d have done something else, cared about something else, worked on something else, thought about something else. Clearly, this thought is problematic for many reasons, some simple like, cause there’s Zadie Smith, etc, but the thought exists. My brain has created–with little outside help (maybe?)–an inverse relationship between the societal rewards of attractiveness, and the thanklessness of dogged intellectualism.
Okay, maybe some of that initial assumption that I so often need to quell is just jealousy, from being teased relentlessly for existing as a too ugly/skinny youth, then overcompensating by being like “i’m smarter than you,” and making fun of cooler kids in class who bullied me, but struggled to read out loud on the spot. Fuck you Terrance. But I’m getting off track.
At the same time though, while I’m all trying not to enjoy these bikinis too much, free the motherfucking nipple son. The nicer people and more humane working conditions aren’t the only thing that make Barcelona beach summers magnificent, and I was certainly not mad when that rumor about Ocean City Maryland going topless started. But alas, it was just a rumor. Well, at least there’s still that Amber Rose photo.