© 2017 Carole Claude Saint-Clair
Here is a truism: breasts attract eyes as honey attracts bees. And here is another: What the eye does not admire, the heart does not covet.
There is much wisdom in this ancient idiom but sexual desire, the coming together of several different neural mechanisms within our limbic system, has a mind of its own.
So, we might be nearer to the truth of the matter if we agree that whatever the heart does not covet doesn’t trigger urges.
Serious question: Don’t we, women, deep down, yearn to be ‘coveted’?
One aspect of the massive cultural inheritance that has shaped our day-to-day, particularly in the past two decades, are the throngs of young, young-ish and not so young women who, keen to feed Man’s need to ‘see breast’, display theirs in a variety of ways.
That being said, some of us deliberately, or provocatively, ‘show breasts’ just because it feels good or simply because we love our ‘tits’ being out.
There are several ways to strut our stuff but, surely, the sexiest option by far has got to be wearing sheer tulle or other clothes that are so flimsy and ephemeral that their clear patterns appear as if drawn on our breasts.
Here and now, the ways we have to present ourselves to those in our world appear limitless.
Still, the majority of men of all ages, struggle with mitigated success to control their appreciation – judgment thereof – and reactive impulses at the sight of what they covet the most.
Centuries ago, only the wealthy could afford the cost of the cloths and the expertise of highly qualified dressmakers to provide their eye-arresting, heart-stopping figure shapers.
Today, though women are greatly assisted by the cheap clothes and discount makeup industries, the daily commitment of fronting up each day heralded by our sexual presence is still considerable.
So, isn’t it a bit odd that we cannot enjoy the fruit of our efforts as we urge men, colleagues, classmates and so on, to not comment on any woman’s appearance, and particularly not our own?
Men are told to keep their appreciation to themselves unless we allow them to disclose within the limits of a consensual moment of sexual affection. Of course, we know why that is so. No need to spell out the bleeding obvious. However, what is less clear is our motivation, as women, to arouse men of all ages as we go about our day-to-day activities outside of the home.
Seriously, not many of us can brazenly declare that ‘women are doing’ it for themselves’ because, on the whole, it would be somewhat doubtful.
This mind-meander was not intended to be about breasts at all but, weird how the mind travels!
Still, it is not too late to get back to some of the original loose plan and the world of female artifices in which, sadly, sur le fond et la forme, as the French say, so little is new.
Interestingly, in the 13th century, Thomas Aquinas, an influential philosopher canonised in 1323, was asked by the clergy about the respectability of women wearing face powder. He conceded that it should be permissible for women whose face had become unattractive because of visible signs of past afflictions to wear what we, now, appropriately call ‘makeup’. He reasoned that it was, after all, a wife’s duty to make herself as attractive as possible to her husband so that he would not be tempted to become an adulterer. Having said that, he also warned that a woman should not improve her appearance so much that she would attract men already vowed to other women.
What’s in a right? What is coming next won’t go down too well with readers who choose to apply ‘rights’ before common sense, but a bit of open-minded, lateral thinking might push us to reinvent the meaning of ‘pretty’ and ‘sexy’ and, to ultimately, tap into the essence of true Womanhood.
Here and now, sure, we have the right to paint our faces and dress as we please. Wearing mini shorts, micro skirts and sheer tops is not against the law.
Chewing gum loudly and eating with our mouth open are also legal activities. Just the same, etiquette and common sense are also not against the law.
It is our ‘right’ to drive at the maximum speed allowed on our highways, but should we exercise this right regardless of the weather conditions?
Pregnant women have the ‘right’ to drink alcohol, but should they be encouraged to exercise that right?
We all have the ‘right’ to eat as many doughnuts as we want, but should we lose count?
We also have the ‘right’ to have casual sex as often as we want, but should we?
Clear thinking through coherence between our emotions, our thoughts and our actions, between what we wish to bring about for ourselves and what we do, is a ‘right’ we try hard to inculcate in our small children and our teenagers, alike.
Exercising common sense, we tell them, is a sign of maturity.
Sexy face: Serious question: how much common-sense maturity have we been modelling?
Provided we are not limited to the discreet make-up rules that tend to go tandem with the wearing of uniforms; we set up our sexy face to the world with the make-up we carefully, at times artfully, apply to our eyes and cheeks.
The red lipstick, also a throwback from the distant past, as far back in time as the ancient Sumerian culture, is a sure giveaway of intention, however subconscious that intention might be for some women. Equally worn more or less tastefully is our choice of revealing clothing and the necessary accessories that contribute, in a secondary manner, to our intended look.
Reality check: Reality check: the moment we step out of our homes, we do not step onto a stage. Equally, we do not live in the Garden of Eden and, for most of us, snakes are the least of our worries.
What happens is that, most often, we connect with strangers first – countless strangers, in fact. Then, we mingle with our co-workers and schoolmates, depending. We get into taxis, buses and trains. We come across men behind desks and glass barriers.
We also interact with cleaners, waiters, baristas, sales personnel and street sweepers. Later in the day, we might spend time with acquaintances, friends, relatives and more colleagues. Should we venture into the nightlife of our city, again, we end up surrounded by different batches of strangers. With women representing 49.55% of the world population – all following the same trends coming from America – we are not alone.
Over time, even without talking of sex predators or psychopaths, day in/day out, the number of males who might covet what they have seen on display 24/7 has spiralled out of proportion.
Presumably, the total of these men with whom we cross paths amounts to a vast crowd of human beings towards whom we do not feel sexually attracted – men in whom we certainly do not wish to awaken any sexual urges.
Or do we?
Bring on more hashtags! Knowing that we always have the option to choose what we do, as much as what we wear and say, how much clarity have we allowed ourselves to think this through?
In any case, should anything go awry with any one of these men’s control of his libidinal impulses, we have options. We can contract and move into the pity-me mode.
We can denounce him, if only to our loved ones.
We can hashtag him. Yes, now, we can. You, too and Me Too and In The Church Too, can tweet about it. However, Everywhere In Democracies deserves a hashtag, too, along with Every Nook & Cranny Of The Planet.
If we feel strongly enough about what has come to pass, we can take our chances and sue this person for sexual harassment, emotional, verbal or physical abuse, depending. We can remember that, in the karmic choreography that drives each of our lives in the absence of a better driver, there are no such things as accidents.
There is no such thing as bad luck or bad timing.
Fated is not a synonym for being in the wrong place at the wrong time either.
We can also accept that all that befalls us, the good, the bad, the ugly and the indifferent, is only the momentary merging of ripples set in motion some time ago by our mindset. Now, that is an empowering thought, isn’t it?
Then, our daughters can grow up as the women they were born to become: Sure! Any unwanted attention inflicted upon us, upon anyone, and perhaps particularly abuse of a sexual nature is something to damn.
Nevertheless, we can also afford to be the Devil’s Advocate if only for a brief moment and, to that effect, let us cast a critical eye on the neurotic overemphasis of female sexuality in our culture and clarify our thinking.
Indeed, anything that might prompt women of all ages to be more proactive, more reflective and, as a result, more authentic as they step outside of their front doors is worthwhile rethinking!
Not concrete – but a jungle all the same: Despite most people’s genuine attempts at good behaviour, we could say that we live in something akin jungles, deforested ones, where towering blocks of apartments and offices have replaced lean-to shelters and cabins and where market stalls have become shopping malls.
In these city-wide urban sites, as in any crowded jungle [if there ever existed any] as in any kindergartens, persons can potentially become flooded with emotions.
These emotions surge too quickly for the person to check in with their amygdala to identify why the neurons have fired up in there – too quickly for most of us to deactivate an emotion through a series of long, calming breaths.
So, unchecked emotions flare up to ignite thoughts which, in turn, generate impulsive reactions to stimulus.
Whether it is road rage, parental anger, outrage over a neighbour’s behaviour, the fear of missing out, a friend’s perceived disloyalty – or sexual urges aroused – how to know for sure that we have not ‘accidentally’, perhaps over time, provoked whichever ugliness we find affronting, regardless of whether it affects us directly or indirectly?