I have become entirely caught up in the cascade of responses that were evoked in me by being included in the "sexy blogger" award rage that is currently passing through our corner of cyberspace.
My initial reaction was simply, that's nice but it doesn't make any sense because I am clearly not in the same place as all the cute young things that are working this one. Sometimes I really do feel like the old lady on the block... wouldn't you all like to come in and have some tea and look at my doilies?
Then, my move to say, "Thanks but no thanks," was met with protests from a number of commenters -- all working to assure me that "sexy" is in the mind after all. It's a nice sentiment, driven by great kindness, but it doesn't work for me. It puts me right back to my gangly, awkward adolescence when I was known as "very bright," but clearly not "date bait."
So I suppose I have fallen victim to sexual and gender stereotyping that would likely get me divested of my feminist membership card, but the truth is that I know what I think of when someone says, "that is one sexy woman." The images that statement evokes haven't got one thing to do with all those positive attributes that people tried to lay on me...
So, maybe what I'm really stuck with here is a "linguistic" variance of the same caliber as those discussions of what words like "slave" or "ownership" or "property" mean. For me, "sexy" means something very specific, and for right or wrong, that is about a physical presentation in the world. I am simply not able to get to that place where being a really good cook or an excellent musician or a really accomplished homemaker becomes "sexy."
Language is like that. For all of us. The words we use are symbols that we use to designate meaning and sense. We build language out of shared meanings, and those meanings are evocative of our sense of the thing itself. So, if we designate some object as "tree," we are using the linguistic symbol to represent the actual botanical organism. Our ability to comprehend what is meant by the word, is deeply rooted in our senses with regard to the trees we have encountered over time. That means that, in my mind, the word tree evokes images of majestic, dark, brooding evergreens, but the same word may bring up images of tall, slender palms against a tropical sky for someone else. We generally cross over one another's meaning "senses," and we come to generally encompass a wide collection of images for each of the language symbols we use. However, when our experiences diverge too widely, we run into trouble because we absoluetly believe what our senses tell us about the content of the term in question. When that occurs, nothing will dissuade us from that point of view and our ability to communicate breaks down.
Burned into my consciousness, is the experience of being physically awkward, gangly, too tall, unpopular, buck-toothed, pimply-faced, outcast. Bright, serious, and shy, but never the one who got invited to parties, and never ever asked to a prom or a home-coming. I saw girls, and later women who were defined and described as "sexy" and "hot," and they were completely alien creatures from my vantage point. I knew, from early on, that I'd never join the ranks of the sexy, genetic stars that glimmered so far beyond my reach.
Don't use that word to describe me. It doesn't fit. I don't feel it, don't believe it, don't like it. It makes me feel snarly and frustrated and as if the joke is at my expense somehow.
Or perhaps I'm just feeling grumpy and out of sorts. Maybe I'm raining on everyone's parade for no reason. That's possible. I think this was meant to be fun, and it really does feel to me like there is very little about life that is fun or light-hearted. I'm experiencing this as work, as serious, as very real. There's no playfulness in any of this for me just now. I can feel that that is my problem and not being caused by anyone else. It is reactive on my part. I apologize. Maybe try me again later?