Eye Candy in the Streets of New York City
I am looking forward to the girls of summer flashing outlines of body parts under almost translucent fibers, now that spring wafts through our world-class streetscapes. Oh, and how I’ve missed all winter long those high-stepping parades of speedy city feet—red or blue or silver painted toes scrunching to hold on to flip-flops.
Flesh. Flesh. And more (mostly female) flesh.
This summer I predict the body part that will make its big debut is the butt: tightly encased in the thinnest silk and manmade materials. I’m already seeing flashes on 59th street of girls jogging in almost transparent tights.
For seven months now I’ve also missed summer’s passing glimpses of naked upper breast flesh, navels, and shoulder blades.
Surprisingly perhaps, I recollect no glimpse of a female nipple, but more about this delicate subject later.
I’m guessing the lightly covered butt trend will coalesce in late spring.
So here is my hypothesis.
I say it’s more than a trend—it’s a symptom of a genuine revolution, pretty much feminist, that started in the streets, not one trumped up by the cockamamie runway exhibitionists.
Flesh exhibited through translucent fibers. And even some naked flesh too. Body parts on parade.
Body parts on parade.[pullquote align=”right”] I say it’s more than a trend—it’s a symptom of a genuine revolution, pretty much feminist, that started in the streets, not one trumped up by the cockamamie runway exhibitionists. [/pullquote]
I recall one magic moment of two summer’s past. In late August, during a crowded bus ride on Fifth Avenue, I entertained myself by studying a young man’s thick, knuckly and hairy toes displayed in flip-flops. This intimacy struck me as almost post-coital. Yet my mind was working harder than my libido. Why did the college student (reading a physics textbook) have a blister on the small toe of only one foot? I noted equal sneaker calluses on his orangey Achilles tendons. I quickly solved the problem—obviously his blistered foot was wider, but not longer, and his favorite sneakers were likely to blame for the blemish.
Kudos to the New York Times for having reported that this spring’s runway fashions would play peek-a-boo with female body parts through translucent fabric. Well, I’ve seen it permutating for years in our never-a-dull-moment-for-people-watchers-such-as-myself streets.
Why? Why now?
Let’s back up a little: first off, I remember when nylon stockings were a necessity. When bare boney knees looked unseemly and slightly disgusting on subways and sidewalks. Likewise breast cleavage, which has come into its own as a fashion statement in the last 15 years. (Forget naked butt cleavage, on boys, I remember when toe cleavage—between a women’s twp largest toes—was daring. It suddenly appeared in the 1990s in expensive high-cut flat shoes worn by Barney’s shoppers.) Of course, I’ve read about the Victorians who covered legs of tables with fabric to avoid exciting men. But today, tables are turning—big time.
[pullquote align=”left”] Oh, to be a twenty-or-thirty-something New York girl. She has all the prerogatives. I say it’s she who’s been making this revolution. [/pullquote]Oh, to be a twenty-or-thirty-something New York girl. She has all the prerogatives. I say it’s she who’s been making this revolution. The runways are following her. It’s, in my opinion, a revolution of sex as weaponry—look but don’t touch—and almost-exposing body bits as a tease, a display of power.
I must warn you, however, that girls are consciously or subconsciously clever enough not to bare the butt or the breast completely. Total exposure is not so tantalizing, and thus gives away all power over men. This theoretical explanation for the exclusion of real female nudity is not my original thought, but that of a wise old man I knew named Victor Rabinowitz, a civil liberties lawyer who reflexively understood power and who argued more cases before the Supreme Court than nearly anybody. (And I posed the question to him—so don’t accuse him of prurience.)
But back to our streets. Hold on to your hats (if you haven’t shed them) and expect to be surprised each spring as almost-exposed sleek new body parts emerge on women (and men perhaps) as fashion du jour.
It’s a manifestation of a social revolution.
It’s about women and power.