Today, I love the curve of my hip.
The way his wrist felt heavy on my hipbone while we watched noir movies last night felt good, too. My big, soft body on the big soft bed – I felt solid, present, here.
I do not feel bad about my body today.
Last week, I stood up in front of twelve women of all ages, shapes and sizes. Women who’d shown up at a beginning burlesque class, who blinked nervously and asked “Do I wear high heels or sneakers?”. Women who smiled tentatively when I introduced myself as the instructor, and then more openly when I took off my coat to reveal my form-fitting dance clothes… maybe because I have hips, or because I remind them of their best friend, or because the fact that I’m standing there looking pretty damn sexy gives them permission to imagine that, even though they’re not stick-thin glamour girls, they might be sexy as well.
I stood in front of twelve women, and I taught them something about the art form that I love. (Someone in class is always surprised to learn that bump and grind isn’t just an R. Kelly song.) I gave them feather boas and demanded that they jiggle their butts. We laughed a lot.
And I told them some things I wish someone had told me.
I told them “This is the thing. Sexy isn’t about the number in the waistband of your pants. Sexy is about confidence, and self-respect.”
I told them “You don’t have to love everything about yourself. You just have to find the things you DO love and luxuriate in them – just dive right in and roll around like Scrooge McDuck with a pile of gold coins.”
I didn’t say everything I wanted to say with my mouth. I told them through my movement, and my jokes, and my smile.
With my hips, I told them “There’s no body that’s attractive to everyone. Somewhere out there there’s a guy who thinks the Victoria’s Secret girls look like scarecrows.”
With my breasts, I told them “Look, you’re a woman. This is the body you were given. Enjoy it.”
And with my smile, I told them “Lighten up. It’s a body. Everyone has one.”
And these women, they are intelligent and they are beautiful and they are brave. They are willing to show up at a studio and say “I want to learn to tease”, even though women are constantly threatened and shamed and blamed for teasing. They are willing to take the risk of feeling silly when they want to feel sexy. And, most miraculously, they are open to the possibility that they might be sexy, as is – without a haircut, without a makeover, without dieting- and that, in this world, in this time, in this place, THAT is bravery. That is a fuck-you to Cosmo, to our exes, to the people who dig a world full of holes for women and prey on us when we fall into them.
Being able to stand in front of women who dare to think they might be desirable is a privilege. Being able to tell them “You’re damn right you are” makes me about as happy as I can possibly be made.
When I got home, I let the front door slam because my arms were full of boas.
“How was class?” he called from the living room. And I said “Great,” because it was.
There was pasta burbling on the stove, thick chunks of tomato and onion lazing in a peppery marinara, and I realized that I was starving.
He said “What did you teach them?” and I said “That the size of your smile is more important than the size of your ass.”
And he smiled, and said “Awesome”, and leaned in to kiss my forehead absently, resting his fingertips on my hipbone for just a moment before moving past me to check the sauce.
Sometimes, my body is not a thing to be critiqued or objectified. Sometimes it is a moving, breathing demonstration of possibility. Sometimes, it is exactly what the situation calls for.
Today, I love the curve of my hip.
I hope tomorrow will be the same.