Monday, March 10, 2008

Yet Another Ella Video

Here's another Ella video. Once you get past the extremely serious opening, it gets pretty weird. Gotta admit, it's bizarre seeing my sister in makeup and a bikini. I love that my sister never ceases to amaze me.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Ghetto Booty

Let me start off by saying that it's not my fault.

Having spent half of my life living in the vicinity of Blacksburg, Virginia, I have picked up some generalized concepts of beauty. You see, Blacksburg is a college town; this means that, every year, the little burg of 20,000 or so is deluged with a demographic tidal wave of people between the ages of eighteen and 21. From the middle of August on, they crowd every inch of the area, filling the record stores, restaurants, and campus. They can't be avoided.

Virginia Tech draws most of its students from Northern Virginia, which means that the vast majority of the kids are white, middle class, and suburban. This, in turn, means that the concept of female beauty generally involves young women who are blonde and skinny, with very small asses and small, wasted breasts. These women starve and exercise until their physiques would make Heinrich Himmler beam with pleasure. They then wear generously-cut clothes that conceal any female characteristics. The sole exceptions, of course, occur when they go out drinking or are attempting to get an extension on a paper.

Under the circumstances, I did my best. As a man whose concept of beauty tends towards the curvaceous, it was never hard for me to resist the siren call of the scrawny co-eds who sometimes felt inclined to flirt with me. Still, as much as I prided myself on my appreciation of womanly forms, I realize now that I was still brainwashed by the Blacksburg ideal.

For years, my sister's boyfriend Rich has noted my appreciation of "thick" women. I always thought that he was obliquely accusing me of being a "chubby chaser," which I thought was pretty damn judgmental. However, since I've moved to the Bronx, I've gotten a better understanding of his comments. "Thick" women are hourglass-figured, with generous hips and breasts. They are in good shape, but are incapable of fitting into the "stick figure" mold that is so popular. The "thick" ideal is very popular in the Bronx, which makes me very happy. That having been said, the Bronx ideal of beauty still doesn't quite light my fire.

My first clue about my limitations came when the moving men were unpacking my stuff. Every few minutes, Rico, one of the guys, would stop what he was doing and ogle one of the women strolling down the sidewalk. Finally, he looked over at me and said "Man, it's gonna be hard to be married in this neighborhood." Totally confused, I asked him what he meant and he gestured to a lady on the other side of the street and grinned. "There's so many beautiful ladies around here. How you gonna keep your eyes on your wife?"

I took a long look at the woman across the street. By Blacksburg standards, she was about twenty pounds overweight. She was short, probably 5'1" or so, and was wearing skin tight jeans. Her stomach, pushed up by her pants, spilled over in a major muffin top. Rather than cover it with a shirt, she wore a halter that showed off every pooch and pucker while making the most of her breasts. I gave Rico a look and, feeling incredibly virtuous, said "My wife is the prettiest woman in the world." He shook his head as if he thought I was insane.

To be honest, I think that my wife is incredibly beautiful, and I don't know a woman who holds a candle to her. That having been said, however, it doesn't hurt that I feel absolutely no temptation in my neighborhood. I'm pretty sure that some of the Dominican ladies have flirted with me (in particular, a 50-year old grandmother in my gym keeps checking out my ass), but I'm just not interested. Frankly, I can't really wrap my mind around the Dominican ideal of beauty. The women generally have broad shoulders, tapering down to a largish butt and short legs. While my wife often compares them to air conditioning units, I am regularly reminded of Taz, the tasmanian devil character on Looney Tunes.

In all fairness, I have to point out that, in this neighborhood, my ideal of beauty is really out of whack. In Blacksburg, I was regarded as somewhat bizarre because I appreciated women with curves, but in the Bronx, I'm regarded as insane because I am uninterested in the skin-tight curves that surround me. I constantly see men in my neighborhood whooping, whistling, and hissing (not kidding about that one--Latin American men often hiss at hot women. They sound kind of like pissed-off tomcats.) at women that I consider utterly uninteresting.

Admittedly, part of it is the clothing. Coming from a more conservative clothing culture, I was utterly unprepared for Dominican jeans. To put it bluntly, Dominican women wear jeans that are so tight that they don't need to be removed during gynecological exams. I'm really not kidding; frankly, the pants don't leave anything to the imagination. While I am impressed at the body-pride that surrounds me, I also find myself averting my eyes with fair regularity. There just are some things that I don't need to see before I've had my first cup of coffee. Or after, for that matter.

One day, my wife decided to try on some jeans in a local store. She picked out two pairs, one of which was three sizes larger than her normal pants. When she went to the communal dressing room, she wedged and squeezed herself into the larger jeans. When she finally got them fastened, she could barely breathe and was walking like John Wayne with chapped thighs. Immediately, several women in the vicinity began to exclaim over her: "Oye, Mami, dose make you look gooooood!" "Aye, babi, those are perfect!" "You gotta get them!" My wife somehow managed to extract herself from the demon jeans without losing significant amounts of skin or bloodflow, but couldn't bring herself to buy them. By the same token, I don't think she's going to be stocking up on halter shirts.

When my friend Alex first saw the pictures on this page, he thought that I was cataloging all the overweight women in my neighborhood. Actually, while some of these people are a little heavy, this body type is pretty standard for the area. Still, the line between "thick" and "fat" is sometimes a little thin. In fact, I once overheard two cashiers at my local liquor store arguing with each other about whether or not one of them was thick. Finally, one of the ladies laid it on the line: "Girl, you ain't thick. You fat. You can't see your knees, you fat!"