Monday, 16 March 2009

TITS etc (arrived in Newcastle...)


...where it is grey and likely to rain. Hotel opposite Baltic, room equipped with internet access, so all ready. I have about an hour and half to relax and prepare for the first lecture. On the way up reading Linda's book, now over half way through. It is very well researched - she has been very busy indeed - and is brilliant on the woman-clothing-fashion aspect. Not so great on men who, apart from the couturiers, are generally the usual objects of contempt. Men, she says, do not notice what women wear unless they drag around a huge illuminated sign flashing the word TITS. [Linda's caps] (p.88)

Well, I am not sure how to put this, but even TITS are part of an 'ensemble' of other body parts, such as, say, feet and legs and hips and waist and shoulders and arms and hands and neck and - what's that other thing? - oh yes, a face. I think most love songs about women feature eyes somewhere too. Speaking solely for myself it was eyes that grabbed me every time. Everything else grew around the eyes. There may have been a body impression but TITS wasn't the first or even a particularly noticeable part, because most women's breasts are roughly proportionate to their bodies, and unless they are particularly disproportionate they don't quite become TITS. And, actually - and I realise I am an utter freak when I say this - I did not think of them as TITS. I thought of them with a certain romantic awkardness as breasts. And they came a very long way after the eyes. (Freak! Freak! I can hear everyone shout. Yes, I am a freak and proud of it!)

Now as to clothes. It is true I was not, nor am yet, discriminating in the way most women are about clothes (but do I mean most women, because I see more badly-dressed, or at least not-particularly-well-dressed women than well-dressed women, which must mean I notice something, even if I am wrong). But the impression of the whole person even so, did and does involve clothes.

Back to the eyes for a second. I think the eyes are the first and most important feature because that is where the life is, and it is life, more than anything, I notice. So the eyes say LIFE and the face proportions itself around them. But the body also says LIFE, in this case through movement. It is the movements of attractive women that are attractive. The various body parts are sub-functions of movement (see the wonderful Theodore Roethke poem below). I suppose TITS move too, and noticeably so.

TITS are a primary sexual characteristic so it is not surprising that men, with their different primary sexual characteristics are attracted to them. Not to the extent that they think, as some women put it, with their dicks. I have known a great many men think perfectly well without conspicuously featuring their dicks. Hell guys, throw those things away.

I suspect Linda knows all this, and that all thinking women know it, but it doesn't do actually to say it. Oh it doesn't do at all! And that is why the great majority of female models pout and frown and look at the camera as though it were dirt. You know we like it! Kick us in the balls again! Go on. Why stop?

Oh, all right then. Read Roethke instead:


I Knew a Woman

I knew a woman, lovely in her bones,
When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them;
Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:
The shapes a bright container can contain!
Of her choice virtues only gods should speak,
Or English poets who grew up on Greek
(I'd have them sing in chorus, cheek to cheek.)

How well her wishes went! She stroked my chin,
She taught me Turn, and Counter-turn, and stand;
She taught me Touch, that undulant white skin:
I nibbled meekly from her proffered hand;
She was the sickle; I, poor I, the rake,
Coming behind her for her pretty sake
(But what prodigious mowing did we make.)

Love likes a gander, and adores a goose:
Her full lips pursed, the errant note to seize;
She played it quick, she played it light and loose;
My eyes, they dazzled at her flowing knees;
Her several parts could keep a pure repose,
Or one hip quiver with a mobile nose
(She moved in circles, and those circles moved.)

Let seed be grass, and grass turn into hay:
I'm martyr to a motion not my own;
What's freedom for? To know eternity.
I swear she cast a shadow white as stone.
But who would count eternity in days?
These old bones live to learn her wanton ways:
(I measure time by how a body sways.)



One of the loveliest sexiest poems I know. Her several parts could keep a pure repose. Good that.



2 comments:

Poet in Residence said...

If you want to know about TITS go to the ink-sweat-and-tears website (there's a link on my blog if you don't want to google) and watch the Billy Collins video featuring the space women (1m 50secs). Tit's out of this world.

Eliza Locke said...

Absolutely gorgeous.