What can I tell in a brief glance at someone about her sexuality?
But sometimes, I imagine, a woman broadcasts everything I might want to know, just by how she carries herself. Yes, by how she dresses, sure. But more than that, by how she wears her clothes, by how her body occupies the spaces created in her clothing. By how she sits, how she moves, how she stands. Her posture, her gait. Her eyes, her mouth, her hair. How she holds her head on her shoulders, how she moves her hands, how she holds her phone.
I pay close attention to people – women and men. Not just with an eye toward appraising their sexuality, but with an eye toward guessing at their stories, their lives, their relationships, their struggles. And yes, their sex and sexuality.
There’s a woman I can see. She is in her early thirties. She wears a simple diamond engagement ring, not huge. Her blonde hair is relentlessly straight. There are multiple shades of blonde represented, from nearly brown to nearly platinum, but it’s clearly a source of pride for her. It’s so nearly arranged, so perfectly coiffed, she must have spent ten minutes or more this morning making it be just so.
She wears no makeup. A white linen shirt, loose, unbuttoned to the middle of her (B-cup) cleavage. It looks not sexy so much as… indifferent. The effort she put into her hair isn’t matched elsewhere. She slouches a bit, relaxing as she reads.
Her bra, visible at a glance in the nonchalant space between her flesh and her top, is nude. Her jeans are too dark, too pressed. Her shoes are flat, simple, soft leather or suede. Her feet slip in and out of them as she reads Fortress of Solitude on an iPad. Her fingers instruct the machine to turn the pages matter-of-factly. There is no visible sensual relationship between her fingers and the screen. She doesn’t caress it. She pays no attention to the tactile, sensual interaction between her body and what she reads. (Page-turning, whether analog or digital, is one of the most communicative things about a person, I imagine.)
She is deep in her book, oblivious to her surroundings. Oblivious to me.
I tell myself that she is not particularly sexual, that her connection to her fiance is centered somewhere other than sex. I have the sense that she might once have been self-consciously hot, dressing, making herself up, to attract men. Today, her clothes, her carriage, communicate (or I imagine they communicate) a sort of bland indifference, almost as if, having landed a man, she now is done with trying to look, or feel, or be, sexy.
An exercise like this is necessarily projective. I know nothing. She could be a raving nymphomaniac, a slut, a swinger. She might be engaged to marry a woman. Or two men. She might be on her way to meet her secret lover, who satisfies her like her fiance never has, never will. Her fiance and she could have an insane 24/7 Dom/sub thing going. I have no way of knowing.
But I like to think I can tell something, at least something.