This time last year: I was in Florence

August 6, 2008

This morning I was waiting for the kettle to boil for my first cuppa at 7.15am. I was in my pink toweling dressing gown and hadn’t even washed the sleep out of my eyes, when out through the kitchen window, I saw the builder and the plumber. The builder waved and smiled as our eyes met but he didn’t stop. The two men were walking with far too much momentum down the side of our property to slow. The heavy work boots probably also make it harder to decelerate. 

I knew the builder, but didn’t recognise the plumber. In fact when I saw him I thought he was the builder’s apprentice. The lad looked too young to be a tradie in his own right. The two men (young and older) stopped near our water tanks and began a conversation with each other. I couldn’t hear what they were talking about because they were out in the back yard and I was inside eating breakfast at the table (by this stage) and we were separated by a distance and double-glazed windows. 

They stood with their backs to me. I admired the form of the young man. It was then I remembered that around this time last year I was in Florence

In Florence I experienced being surrounded by statues of the male form in public squares. I queued for three hours in forty degree heat (celcius) to view the statue of David. How the sculptors of those times must have seen beauty in that form! I wonder now whether the sculptors reflected their society in this reverence. If so, it seems to me that I have grown up in a society vastly different on that score.

Does our society tend to revere female beauty more than male? I think it might. 

When I was a young woman, it was female beauty I noticed more. I compared myself to the standards of female beauty set by fashion and media. When I went to night clubs, I noticed what other women looked like. I would critique them in my head and compare myself to them. Now I wonder if I had been swept up in societal values, to the detriment of my own sexuality. Its almost as though I looked through a male perspective at myself and other women.

As I have often said, when I was young I didn’t appreciate young men. But now I do – I really do. I find the male form incredibly beautiful and sexually attractive – much more so than I did in my teens or my twenties. (In my teens I went for the pretty boy face, and in my twenties I was too busy establishing my place in the workplace and treating men as equals to really take stock). 

I discussed my sudden attraction to young men with lots of women around my age. When they confessed similar feelings, I decided it was cruel trick of mother nature’s played on older women. But two years ago, the return of sexual desire after a period of intense motherhood hit me like an avalanche. I’m much more comfortable with it now. I’m content to admire from a distance…

… and I might see about getting one of those statues for my garden!

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