The sound of my long, acrylic fingernails on my keyboard was reminiscent of the click of my heels on my hardwood floors. Both exceedingly female, both characteristic of the pin-up girl image I tried to emulate. I sought the online personals, not out of loneliness or desperation, but to master a method of courtship yet unknown to me.
I had communicated with Daryl for a week, writing and receiving one email each day. Daryl was perfectly boring in his typical male fascination with sports and his love of dining out three times a week, a strange Atlantan mating ritual.
I had never seen Daryl's face, but he had a picture of me wearing a black V-neck polyester shirt, holding my Shih Tzu with a broad smile. I didn't want to post the picture, but when my ad yielded no results, I used my looks, instead of my brain, once again, to attract. And attract it did. Seven responses came in three days.
So I was not totally surprised when Daryl asked me the insipid question that led me to ponder not only my physical body, but the motivations of men, whether animate or in the form of the written word.
"What's the favorite part of your anatomy?" The blinking cursor awaited my answer.
I looked at the photograph I had posted, sitting in my "Personal" folder. Very little detail could be made out. Some of my best features—hair, long and curly, and shoulders broad but feminine were not easily defined. All that were easily made out were my caramel complexion, large sincere smile, and big cartoonish eyes.
I shifted my eyes down. Acres of cleavage. Of course. That's what he wanted. To hear a rambling soliloquy about my D-cup mammories. Though I had to admit to the arsenal I carried in my Maidenform, I could not help feeling insulted.
Why should we be so obsessed with the female form? I thought, knowing I betrayed my objections through my mannerisms and style of dress. I used it too. How could I be angry?
But, I thought, you never see push-up jockstraps, foam-lined jockstraps, minimizing jockstraps, jockstraps with jelly or water cups for that 'realistic feeling.' I started picturing the body types of all my past men. Skinny, average, fat, muscular. It never mattered to me. Why should women alone should be subject to such scrutiny?
Pacing, smoking a cigarette and lecturing my computer screen, I contemplated his question. Dimly I recalled boys grabbing my newly developed breasts against my wishes in the 5th grade. "Haven't changed one bit, have ya?" I was tempted to ask Daryl's Times New Roman font. "There we were having a perfectly decent conversation and with one question, you negate my intelligence and move to the physical without the least bit of intellectual foreplay," I wanted to tell the blue screen.
My baby feeders could not be disguised no matter how many minimizer bras I owned, nor baggy clothes I wore. This left them vulnerable to anyone who chose to look. Rarely if ever would you find a woman staring at a man's crotch instead of his eyes. And if we did, not only would we have to deal with the cut and type of fabric, but also the types of underwear, the temperature that day and the varying stages of erection. And still rarely do you hear a woman ask a man his penis size. Most of us wouldn't dare tangle with a man's fragile ego. Instead we pretend size doesn't matter and pretend to dump them for completely different reasons when we find they don't measure up.
Yet Daryl, who may have asked his question in all innocence, perhaps marveling at my eyes and not breast size, felt it perfectly polite to pose this annoying question. He hadn't asked what my favorite book was, nor film, nor even how I take my coffee or about my writing.
Favorite part of my anatomy? How should I answer this query?
Should I throw him off by saying ankles, elbow pits, or shoulders? Should I go into my feminist tirade on the superficiality of men? Should I ignore his question and digress into something more interesting?
Sitting in my swivel chair, anchoring my fingers to the home keys, I typed my short response.
"My brain of course, darling."
Danielle Lesperance is a freelance writer based in Atlanta, GA. She is currently at work on her first mystery novel.
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