In Arm’s Way……
WAY too much has already been said about those charming foci of a woman’s body that draw our rapt attention, as surely as bees to pollen and Republicans to George Bush. But in our obsessive biologically fixated focus on the dairy farm and fertile crescent aspects of the XX gender, very frequently the more subtle, but equally beauteous (although perhaps more subtle) bits of a woman’s sum total allure are seemingly completely lost in our unceasing cultural stigmatization of T&A as the supreme sexual fetishes .
Endlessly debated since the moment Eve first hit Adam up the side of his head with an apple is the (other) eternal question: “What is the most attractive part of a woman’s body?” Now before I plunge blindfolded into this potential explosives bunker of sexuality, I want to first admit up front that this question can and in fact may well be interpreted as circumstantial evidence that the questioner is an irredeemable sexist pig (STRONGLY suspect of being hopelessly chauvinistic as well) who only has one thing on his mind (and most definitely not a woman’s higher qualities, to be sure). Well, yes and no. The fact is that like it or not, and the often constipated political cerebrations of the entire Women’s Movement notwithstanding, there’s ultimately no denying biological reality: namely, that underlying all the aesthetic constructs of the thin veneer of civilisation with which we manage to layer-over our baser male instincts, it all boils down to the ‘old in and out’ (reference Anthony Burgess’ seminal film ‘A Clockwork Orange’, with its thematic ‘ultra-violence’) game. When all the clever opposed-thumb higher primate polite obfuscations and genteel cultural modesties have been dispensed with, there sits our highest underlying low-life preoccupation (sic), in all its nakedly embarrassing literality.
For this reason among many, it accomplishes nothing to sit back and make effetely critical disparagements about the biological urges that all human beings are equally subject to, to archly distance ourselves from any suggestion of baser instincts, or to hypocritically cast aspersions on those who seem to have no sense of false shame when it comes to discussing, analyzing, and/or opining on the sexual preoccupations that constantly rage just below the surface of our daily affairs. The fact is that at the apex of that inverted cone of all human concerns, sexual attraction is the ascendant nucleus of most prominence. That having been thrown out as a necessary disclaimer to pacify those who consider themselves too cultivated to ruminate upon such trivially gratuitous questions (as is “What is the most attractive part of a woman’s body?”), let me continue.
It is fairly well accepted that in today’s American culture, and like it or not, personal vanity is increasingly taken for granted. A national obsession with self is almost a given, if the general tone of media advertising is even a halfway reasonable mirror of contemporary concerns. Despite the unhappy fact that fully half or more (perhaps as much as three-quarters) of any population sample of human beings are possessed of only average looks, the impetus has been and continues to be an unhealthy focus on promoting standards of female beauty that are at best highly unrealistic and at worst virtually impossible to attain for most individuals. We’re talking excessive emphasis on ectomorphy here, folks—otherwise known as ‘impossible thinness’ and the standard that is constantly held up by both advertising and popular culture for women to emulate…that impossibly gazelle-like figure as a model for women to emulate that borders on pathological insanity.
The standard of female beauty has evolved over time just as certainly as has civilisation itself and of that there can be no disagreement. The ‘Reubenesque’ ideal of fleshy abundance prevailed centuries ago for a number of excellent reasons, not least among them the fact that the availability of food was often unpredictable. Hence, excessive girth was most often regarded as being a reflection of wealth, comfort, of being well-fed, and in general, upper-class status. This was as true in China as in Europe, as a more-or-less universal reflection of pre-industrialised social norms in near-uniform existence all over the planet. The fact that genetic predisposition figured substantially in the question of whether one was merely Reubenesque or pathologically plump was, of course, not a known consideration and in all likelihood, it undoubtedly wasn’t even a conscious concern of most people.
In areas such as the Polynesian Islands, extreme bodily bulk in both men and women was even regarded as an accepted signal of the highest social status. In the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), for example, the High Chiefs and Chiefesses were typically and without exception very heavy individuals, often weighing as much as multiple hundreds of pounds or more. Thus, in agrarian, pre-industrial societies across the globe, the norm for female beauty was plumpness to an extreme now more nearly regarded as verging on morbid obesity. Only in relatively recent decades (since the turn of the century) has ‘thin’ been ‘in’. In fact, in today’s leading-edge culture of the self, thinness to the point of overt unhealthiness has now become the normative model for all western women aspiring to voguish glamour and pop-culture polularity.
Now I know that this is taking things to an unwarranted extreme and I personally regard such obsessive efforts to achieve a state of artificially induced ultra-ectomorphism to be not only unattractive, but downright dangerous to basic good health. However (big pause and deep breath), my own standard of beauty for women tends more towards the lean end of things than the polar opposite, for more than mere aesthetic reasons. The important difference to consider here is that a lean, well-toned (that is physically fit) person is far and away a very different animal than the merely thin (and ‘unfit’). Lean within the context of a high level of muscular and cardiovascular fitness is a very positive thing, since lean but well developed muscle mass is functionally desirable for its high metabolic efficiency quotient. It is no mistake that successful runners (whether short distance recreational runners or more serious marathoners) tend to affect a lean, spare look, since most muscle tissue in these individuals has long since been trimmed down to the bare essential that is require for optimal aerobic and anaerobic physiological efficiency. That is not to overlook the fact that some fatty tissue is actually not a drawback, for in some sports such as triathlon competition a certain amount of fat is actually useful to protect against the hypothermic effects encountered in frigid water (and may also be drawn upon during sustained extreme exercise as a source of stored energy, assuming a high level of metabolic efficiency that typically obtains from regular conditioning).
With reference to all the above considerations, my own personal standard of womanly beauty presupposes an awareness of the importance of regular physical conditioning and exercise, for to me the most visually ‘beautiful’ animal in the natural world is invariably the one that is the healthiest and in the best physical condition. Despite the fact that we high-grade chimpanzees make a big hoo-hah-to-do about existing on an inherently higher plane than the rest of animal life on the planet, the fact is that the very same rules that apply to our less cerebrally endowed mammalian friends also apply to humans in this particular context.
Therefore, for me, genuine beauty is to be found in highly fit women who recognise the importance of cultivating the whole of one’s undeniably animal nature…that is, body and brain as two halves of a whole concept (think of this if you will in an Asian analogue as the complementary Yang and the Yin that together comprise the Tao). I have always been drawn to women who fit this narrow stratum of appearance and personal development…women who are runners, triathletes, dancers, gymnasts, and the like. For me, seeing a woman engaged in aerobic exercise inspires vivid mindfulness of the strong link we humans have to the ancient ancestral links with the animal kingdom we evolved from some millions of years ago, and it exerts an incredibly powerful erotic influence upon my own sexual responses. [I wrote a bit of prose on this subject once (actually to be found in a previous poem titled ‘Feed the Beast’) but have found that the actual core intent within it is often overlooked or misinterpreted by many who read it; this is likely a reflection not of my intended focus or the validity of its thesis, but of the perhaps limited formative awarenesses and somewhat narrower interpretative perspectives of the reader.]. Keeping that alluded-to ideal convergence of mind and body firmly fixed in mind, seeing a physically well-toned woman passionately playing a violin, a cello, or a piano is to my mind evidence of a highly superior sense of female self-actualisation.
My core assumption is that the harmonic merging of mind and body is a supremely desirable characteristic of any well developed individual, and that it constitutes the single and possibly most discrete aspect of sexual allure or visual beauty that may be singled out in any analysis of what constitutes the matrix of womanly loveliness. Think, if you will, of a tigress, caring for her brood of immature cubs. The image that comes to my mind, at such times when I reflect on this idealized female human being, is similarly one of graceful strength, resolution, natural cunning, unequivocal nurturing instincts, reflexive intelligence, and the will to protect one’s young against any predative threat whatsoever. All of which argues for genetic values evidenced as being some of the highest considerations of what constitutes human evolutionary refinement.
Regrettably, the older and simpler days of selecting suitable genetic breeding material by the direct ‘head-knock’ method (otherwise amusingly characterised as the caveman ‘blunt-object approach’ to selecting a suitable female for a mate) are now at least about a million years out of date. Moreover, the rise of confusingly complex psychosociosexual conventions, cultural customs, and the minefields of rational thought that regulate our sexual interactions have made such ‘purer’ and more naturally selective modes of genetic maintenance completely off limits. For these reasons, human mating today is an arduously frustrating, hopelessly inefficient, and completely circumstantial process that depends more upon timing, random chance, and vagaries of fortune than upon anything else. Often a matter of pure, dumb luck (i.e. being in the right sport at the right time with the right combination of attractions required to trigger the other’s receptive responses), human mating rituals today are anything, if not about as irrational as they are unnatural and genetically inappropriate, but progressive. This argument doesn’t by any means exclude the basic hormonal instincts that underlie and support sexual attraction among human beings.
Having of necessity spun out all the foregoing out as a contextual preamble and despite its appearing to be simply a long-winded and highly tangential discourse on anything BUT female beauty, I feel I may at last attempt to finely adjust my focus a bit so as to return to the original question “What part of the female body is the most attractive?”.
God knows that this is about as subjective a poser as any single product of the human mind could be, with as wide a range of possible responses as there are warts on your average Frog Prince. However, mindful of the fact that there are probably an equal number of men who regard any given aspect of the female body as ultimately more alluring than any other, my own preference is again linked substantively to the previous paragraphs dealing with healthful fitness and physical development. I am further just as big a fan of the tight, heart shaped butt, the well-sculpted calf, the firmly formed thigh, the lovely, elegant neck, the luscious headful of fragrant hair descending like a cascade, the roundly swelling breast, the graceful foot, or slender waist and flat stomach as any other man on the planet, for the whole is the sum of the parts, and the more completely the parts integrate to the whole, the more perfect the overall effect that is achieved. (And that is not to leave out that small but immensely focalised point of all men’s attention, that lovely crescent of erotic desire that is found below a woman’s belly into and out from which all human life ultimately emerges.)
Despite my enthusiastic appreciations for all of the above, my personal preference is the upper arm. There is something about a well toned woman’s upper arm that grabs me by the horns and wrestles me to the mat of erotic desire in less time than it takes to reflexively utter the words ‘let’s f**k’. Trying to put down in words what it is about a woman’s upper arm is to a great degree absolutely futile (and always has been for me), except that perhaps it is a quality more aptly understood in a visual sense than from any awkward attempt to render the concept within the empty, cold, mechanical confines of mere words. To borrow an important element of photography here, the soft shades and interplay of shadows cast by certain types of light on the smoothly rounded curvilinear surfaces of a woman’s upper arm exert a profound subtlety of richly erotic effect that pushes all my buttons simultaneously.
There is a slender, but sinewy gracefulness to a female upper arm that has been exercised to a high level of fitness, and I’m not talking female body-builder here, but merely a woman who indulges in mild to moderate upper body conditioning (traditionally a universal deficit in women, anyway) exercise. A hint of strength combined with a suggestion of great natural health and beauty that has an intoxicatingly compounded complexity about it, capable (for me at least) of simultaneously opening the yawning gates of both Heaven and Hell!
Attached to the upper arm and adjacent to all the muscles that comprise that part of the human anatomy, the pit of the arm has itself been regarded by many as also having a profoundly erotic nature. So much so that in relatively sophisticated countries as France, the arm pit is a major focus of female sexual allure. Doubtless many thousands of naïve American men have in past decades been abruptly confounded, put off the scent (so to speak), completely stymied, and perhaps even grossed out by the presence of hair in a European woman’s armpit. A symptom perhaps of narrowed understanding and social sheltered development, since most American men are totally oblivious of the important role human pheromones play in sexual attraction, and specifically of the role underarm hair plays in helping formulatethe natural bodily scent that sweat glands produce. In countries such as France, what might appear to the unsophisticated American male as a grotesquery, therefore, is regarded by the typical French male as simply another part of the overall formula of enticing biochemical attraction that triggers receptive intimate sexual responses in male/female interactions.
Mind you, I am not saying that underarm hair turns me on, since I was raised in a social venue in which underarm hair was (and is) regarded as anything but attractive in women. I am consequently as used to a smoothly groomed female armpit as the next man, but at least I can objectively consider the importance such a more ‘naturally hirsute state’ may have in the overall mating game human animals play. Personally, a smooth female armpit is indeed part of the allure that the upper part of the female arm has for me and there’s no denying that the posture a woman may evoke, in which both arms are raised to expose the arm pits, can be highly erotic (psychologically, it may be interpreted as a display of invitingly erotic defenselessness, or vulnerable receptivity). Again, it’s difficult to put that impression into words in any sensible manner, but I believe it’s an effect that most men instinctively recognise and feel without the benefit of any frusty PhD expostulations on the subject.
As an example of the sort of appearance a well conditioned female upper arm has on me, I can cite Australian triathlete Loretta Harrop, whose intensively cultivated body literally screams out ‘healthy animal’. Another woman I can think of with this uniquely beautiful characteristic is TV star Courtney Cox and of course the rest of her figure mirrors this alluringly slender affect, even though she is not necessarily into physical conditioning. Still another is California Governor Arnold Schwartzeneger’s wife, Maria Shriver, whose appearance in a sleeveless dress shows off that exceptional part of her body quite well. As might be expected, many of the well recognised international triathletes have arms like this, since that expression of triathlon exercise conditions the entire body.
In any final analysis of what womanly beauty consists of (and important biochemical influences aside, such as natural bodily scents and aromas), the most important consideration of female allure is that everything fits together in a congruently harmonious manner. Assuming it does, and also assuming that the woman in reference has a reasonably attractive face as well as an acute intellect, there is nothing that draws my attention faster than that perfectly sculpted upper arm on a healthy, vital, spirited, and attractive woman.
At this point positively begs the question: What do others regard as the most erotically interesting part of a woman’s body? I’m always interested in hearing other opinions on the subject, since I have been so unrestrainedly candid in sharing the foregoing opinions with those of you who read these ruminations.
Incidentally, anyone who responds “D'oh! Butts & boobs, dude!” gets a failing grade in the course.