MY WIFE and I are going to the movies tonight. We're going to see Jaws, which is playing in a revival theater near us. I saw it ages ago, when it first came out, but MY WIFE has somehow managed to reach 2013 without ever having seen it. It will be fun to sit in an actual theater and watch her reactions.
Anyway, since that movie has much of its plot revolve around people losing limbs, I figured I might as well do a whole post devoted to stories about missing body parts.
First up, I'll tell you about the book I just finished reading. It is entitled Iron Man, and it is the autobiography of Tony Iommi, guitar player for Black Sabbath.
Iommi is a hero of mine. I've enjoyed his music, but it goes beyond that. His resolve, in the face of long odds, has always been an inspiration to me. And the section of his book, detailing that resolve, was more of a revelation than I thought it would be. I'll give the quick story.
While on the last day at his job, just prior to quitting and going on tour in Europe with his band, he lost the ends of two fingers in an industrial accident. He was despondent, of course. They were two of the fingers on his right hand. Iommi, being left-handed, used his right hand as his fretting hand, the hand that made chords and so forth on the guitar. He, and others, assumed his career as a musician was over. Iommi is a man not easily defeated, however, and he - on his own, with no help from anyone in the medical community - fashioned prosthetic fingertips for himself. He persevered, taught himself some new techniques, tuned his guitar differently to make playing less painful, and more-or-less invented a new genre of rock (heavy metal) along the way.
I knew about the fingers, prior to reading his book, but I didn't know to what extent it has tested him. Obviously, it would be a trial, but I had no idea it was such an ongoing one. I figured once he solved the problem, that was about it. It turns out Iommi has had to battle that handicap continually for forty years, replacing the fingertips every month or so, still occasionally having one slip off and causing him severe pain when his finger contacts the fretboard, and so on. Utterly heroic, for a musician.
The rest of the book is a fun read, if you're a fan. If not, it probably won't hold the same charm for you as it did for me. It contains multiple stories of on-the-road hedonism, drug abuse, and the usual sorts of tales one would expect from a life lived as a heavy metal entertainer. The repetition is a bit wearying, but that's what non-fans say about heavy metal itself, so... After reading all the stories, one would expect that the man who lived through them all would NOT have survived, so - taken together with the lost fingers - "Iron Man" is certainly an apropos title.
Next, I'll tell you about my pedicure.
[Photo from HERE]
MY WIFE has been there multiple times for a mani-pedi. She suggested I might like one myself, so I went. I enjoyed it greatly, and I especially liked the people who run the place, both male and female. The price was much less than I would have imagined, and the entire experience was one I will definitely repeat. So there.
Finally, we come to something entirely non-humorous and gruesome - labiaplasty.
(I can't find an illustration that isn't either somehow prurient or way too gory.)
I'll begin by saying what should be obvious. I am not a woman. I don't have the body parts I'll be talking about. Also, I have no right to tell another person what to do with her body. If she wants to hack something off, that's her business.
Having said that, I find the concept of doing so for aesthetic purposes entirely bizarre.
Certainly, there are sometimes medical reasons necessitating the removal of all or part of the labia minora. I have heard there can be discomfort associated with retention of the inner lips of the vagina when they are a bit outsized in comparison to the outer lips. If there is some sort of physical reason for removal, I can certainly see having the procedure done. What I don't understand, in any way, is going through such painful surgery strictly because the person undergoing the surgery believes her genitals are not as good-looking as another woman's genitals.
What brought this to the forefront of my mind was a film I caught part of while flipping through channels the other night. The documentary was mainly concerned with how today's easy access to sexual imagery has changed young female attitudes toward dress, sexual mores, and their own body image. One of the people in it, a young woman perhaps in her early twenties, felt that her labia were ugly. She had come to this conclusion after seeing photos and films of other women's labia in pornography and such. She decided to have plastic surgery done on her vagina, specifically a labiaplasty.
I would rather not have seen what was shown, but once seen, something cannot be unseen. And there I sat, like one watching an auto accident, unable not to look, as a doctor took the same sort of tool that had been used to clip my toenails during my pedicure and snipped away this woman's labia. They blurred the image of her vagina, so thankfully I did not see the actual removal in total, but they showed the detached lips sitting on the surgical tray next to the doctor, following their removal. It was a sight that made me involuntarily clench my legs together, despite not having those parts myself. It was horrifying.
After the surgery, they had some film of the young woman at home. They showed her taking a pee - side shot, as tasteful as such a tasteless shot could be - and her pain was extreme. Then a shot of her laying in bed, her crying mother at the bedside, as she was still in pain, etc.
Can I be allowed to say something here, as a man who loves women? If you're thinking of doing something like this, in order to be more physically pleasing to a man, please don't.
I have enjoyed naked women for many years. I have seen thousands vaginas; live, on film, in photos. I can count on the fingers of one hand the vaginas I have found truly unattractive. And from what I've seen on the internet, in exploring articles about labiaplasty following my viewing of that hideous film, what most labiaplasty procedures accomplish is to take a perfectly fine and lovely natural vagina and make it look less attractive. Perhaps it's just my personal taste speaking, but I found many of the "before" photos preferable to the "after".
As I said before, it's your body. It's not my place to tell you what you can and cannot do with it. But I think there are more men in this world who like women, and want them as they naturally are, than there are those who are so selfish that they would have you remove body parts in an effort to become what they deem as a norm for beautiful. And if you're comparing yourself to porn stars for genital beauty or whatever, keep in mind that they are in that business for a reason, same as the well-endowed men. They are NOT the norm.
(Also, in reading personal testimonies of women who have undergone the procedure, some would go back in time and never have had it done. Some have lost sensation, become less orgasmic and so on. Others say it was a great thing, so it's not a blanket judgment. It's definitely worth long thought, though, and not something to be rushed into without considering the permanent ramifications.)
OK, that's it from here for today. I'll bet some of you are now pining for me to write about softball.
Soon, with more.