Sunday, March 8, 2009

Looking.

I’ve been preoccupied, lately, by the pieces of a man’s body.

For example. The three moles not exactly on his right side, on the soft hairless skin that shows over his ribs when he lifts his arms. They’re nearly equidistant, an inch apart, lined up from smallest to largest. The moles are just three out of many, but they’re my favorite.

Which makes me remember --

It’s after work, a long night of dancing, one bachelor party, one private show, and I come home to him naked on my bed. I stand there and just look at him.

It’s clear without saying anything that I want to stay clothed, to remain off display. I am done, at this moment, with people looking at me. So he concentrates on my eyes while I look at the whole of him. We are quiet and I just look. And I touch his side. I find those moles.

The next night. At the end of a first date with a different man. I bring him home and up to my room, despite the fatigue. At first I barely touch him. But I take off his coat, and then his soft collared shirt. And I look at him. I spend an hour, two hours, looking at him. Maybe turning him around in my hands. Maybe moving him toward and away from the light.

Again, I don’t reveal myself. First I need to investigate, to search his body for clues.

I’m not a shy person. I’ve been taking my clothes off for a living for over eight years. But even as this moment is happening, I recognize shyness in myself, a temporary need for privacy.

Maybe it’s spurred by an observation this man makes while laying supine on my bed, propped on his elbows. I’m kneeling next to him - knees apart, back arched, ass jutted, face inclined – automatic gestures of my sex-kitten self, and he frowns at me, “I feel like you’re performing.”

And so I am. I don’t want to be, so I un-arch my back, draw in my knees. And I remove the rest of his clothing and look at him, learn his shape and the turn of his body with my fingers.

I look at him until I’ve mapped the jagged scar on his left arm and the birthmark on his thigh. Until I’ve seen each of the curling blond hairs that blanket his warm skin. I keep looking until I am no longer afraid of falling into character.

After spending much of my work life with people looking at me, going over the details of my lovers’ bodies pulls me away from a hyperawareness of my own body. Their markings and scars are immediate and real, and exist in stark contrast to my role as a fantasy girl. Looking at them is one way I differentiate between the fantasies I’m paid to construct and the genuine intimacy of being with a person I choose. Looking anchors me back into reality, one where I’m not always on display. I can relax, and unfasten myself from the parts I play, and just. Look.