Sunday, July 20, 2014

One Zero Eight: Eidolon

It's an awkward thing to be male and receive physical compliments.  Not a problem I have so very often, I should say. I've never been admired for any looks or physical graces. I can recall girls saying that I have good eyes, but I think that's been the extent of it. Nonetheless, there is a whole complicated set of things about physical compliments.

It's awkward enough these days to offer up physical compliments to girls, since there's a strain of thought out there that holds that any physical compliment, any sexualized compliment, necessarily diminishes the recipient--- that complimenting any girl on her physical beauty is a way of implying that she has no value outside of her body and looks.

It's more awkward, though, to be male and receive compliments. If you're male, you're not socialized to receive compliments about your looks or body. If you're male, you're not trained up to think of your body as something that can be desired for its own sake. You're trained to be useful, to think that your value lies in being useful--- whether that means skilled with tools or financially successful.  Even in the gay world, where there is a sense that male beauty exists, it's still an awkward thing, I understand, to tell someone he's beautiful. If you've been socialized to be male, it's disconcerting to receive that kind of compliment--- gay or straight.

Oh, be very clear. I don't get compliments from girls about my looks or body. My bookshelves draw compliments, and girls have sighed over my book collection the way I sigh over a girl's long, slender legs. In some abstract way, I"d love to get compliments, to be told I was handsome or had a body that provoked thoughts of sex and made girls soak through their skinny jeans. But that's something I can feel only in a very abstract, distanced way. I'm clear enough about my own looks and age to know that I'm not likely to ever have a girl offer up compliments about my body. But I'd like to receive a few; I'd like to believe that a lovely girl could look at me and feel desire. That's not likely ever to happen, and it is depressing enough.

Nonetheless, I'd have no idea what to think if a lovely girl did offer me that kind of compliment. In all honesty, it would ruin any romance. I wouldn't believe her, and I'd assume that there was some kind of nefarious motive behind her words. I'd instantly assume I was being set up for some kind of scam, some kind of ploy.

I know that male beauty exists in some abstract way,  but I can't imagine what that means in any concrete form.  It means nothing to me in terms of anything I'd look at, and I know the concept would never apply to me. I can't imagine how a girl can find a male body attractive even though at the same time I berate myself for not being something that inspires sexual desire. I'm not sure what I'd want a girl to say about my body, or what I'd ever be prepared to believe.

I've spent a large part of my life entranced by female beauty--- or at least by stylized, formalized female beauty. I've paid girls compliments about legs and eyes, about hipbones and cheekbones, about bare backs and shoulders.  I can't believe that a girl will ever pay me a compliment, and I wouldn't know how to accept one if it came.  Wanting something I can't believe I can ever have, wanting something I'd always think was a lie and a snare. I suppose that does say a great deal about my life.

No comments: