Monday, September 02, 2013

Body Parts

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.

[Not me. I'm hairier in some places, not so hairy in others, and I did not have a frou-frou drink]
 [Photo from HERE]

MY WIFE suggested we go for a mani-pedi. I was initially a bit less-than-eager, being a he-man type, but then I figured, why not? I like massage, I like being treated like a king, so why not go someplace where someone will be at my feet doing my bidding?

We went to a place call Jess Nails, in Watertown on Mount Auburn Street. If they had a website, I'd link there. I can't find one, though. If you want to read some reviews, put the name into Google or Yelp. But never mind that. I'll tell you it's a wonderful place. Very friendly staff, extremely professional, low prices... what more can one ask for from folks willing to trim your big manly toenails? The folks who work there do not speak English as well as one might like - I believe they are from Vietnam originally - but they try very hard and all it takes is a little bit of patience if you aren't understood the first time. They are such pleasant people, in any case, all smiles and good nature, so the slight work of being sure one is understood is well worth it. And, never having been able to master a second language myself, who am I to look down on people who have taken the great pain to learn my language?

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.

So far, this tale doesn't have much to do with a missing body part, unless one counts toenails, so why am I telling you about it? Because of what happened on our way there. We left the house and walked a half-block, me complaining about it because I thought we might take a car there, not walk. My not-completely-broken-in new sneakers were a bit uncomfortable. MY WIFE suggested I go back and change into more comfortable sneakers. I said I didn't want to wear ratty old sneakers to the spa. I didn't want to look like a bum walking in there. I wanted to look decent. It was at this point that MY WIFE said, "Do you have your teeth?"


There I was, concerned with what impression I was likely to make with my footwear, but I was walking around with half a mouthful of gums. I immediately turned around, went back to the house, changed into comfortable sneakers, and put in my damn teeth. Needless to say, MY WIFE was amused, and this incident will no doubt come back to haunt me someday in future when she feels the need for ammunition.

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.


(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip said...

I have come to the conclusion I would much rather read softball statistics than anything beyond the first paragraph or so about labiaplasty...

...then I saw the next to last sentence of your post.

I know two different macho guys who've done the pedi thing.
I am sorely tempted.
Maybe when we can take GS again.

Oh... and I know how it feels to have to turn around a go back to the house for my teeth, too.

joeh said...

Interesting about the guitar player, unbelievable actually. I'm surprised it wouldn't be easier for him to restring the guitar and play with the other!!

MANI-PEDI!!! Your missus is trying to gay you up...I know mine is trying to sensitize me.

Call it you went in for some foot work and a hand job! You can not call it a mani-pedi and still pee standing up.

Craig said...

Look, I know it's not my body, and, like you, I don't have the parts in question, but stuff like this is one of the biggest things that can really grind my ass about porn - that perfectly lovely and beautiful women feel like they've got to 'measure up' to some completely phantasmagorical 'standard' of what their breasts, vaginas, etc are 'supposed to' look like, in order to please some hypothetical guy who watches too much porn and can barely think of them as a person, anyway. . .

You've posted about Tony Iommi before, and I was thoroughly blown away then. Talk about suffering for your craft. . .

And (unlike, say, joeh) I'll refrain from saying anything overly, uh, snarky about the pedicure. I'm sure your tootsies are lovely. . .


Jackie said...

Hope you and your wife enjoy the movies tonight; I can't wait to find out what her reaction to the movie is! (Don't tell anyone, but I take our snacks inside in my purse. Not supposed to do that, but I just have a problem paying high price for the ticket(s) and then paying waaay too much for a li'l candy bar too. So, I sneak a Hersey Bar in inside my purse. I'll be arrested by the movie police one day, I'm sure.) I hope that you both have a great time tonight.
I'm also happy to know that you are so confident in your manhood that you don't have a problem getting your toes "did." That speaks volumes for you...and for your wife. High five to both of you.

Jackie said...


Karen said...

Haha... my comment (before I read the last line) was going to be "I'd rather read about baseball!" So sad that so many compare themselves to others. We are all so different and we should celebrate that!

Leilani Schuck Weatherington said...

I edit medical manuscripts for a urology journal, often complete with photos, and well... sometimes these horrific operations are necessary. What you describe is akin to the genital mutilation that millions of little girls endure because it is part of their culture. Hard to understand why someone would voluntarily do this to themselves, but then again, many of the women tho augment their breasts had perfectly OK breasts beforehand. Guess it is where our culture is heading. Nobody is quite good enough.

Jenny Woolf said...

I think most types of plastic surgery are vile, but I think I'm in the minority there. Piercing too. Eech. I belong in the days of cavemen clad from head to foot in pubic hair, obviously. Sorry, it's just the way I am, a throwback in this modern world.

Buck said...

Finally, we come to something entirely non-humorous and gruesome - labiaplasty.

TMI, Jim... TMI. ;-)

messymimi said...

So many awful things we do to "measure up." It's sad.

Enjoy the movie (although i don't know how anyone can, considering what it's about).

Michelle H. said...

Your Wife never saw Jaws??? You've got to get the complete set.

As for your mani-pedi... hey, if you like it, go for it.

I've heard of labiaplasty before, that certain cultures require children to undergo the procedure because it's a sign of adulthood or something. I won't ever understand the need for self-mutilation to please a person or a culture.

Ami said...

One never knows what's going to appear here. Or in this case, thankfully, NOT appear.

::shaking head:::

Sad that our culture has made people's thinking so.. skewed.

Absolut Ruiness said...

For whatever it says about me, I prefer this post to the softball ones. You have dwelt upon a very very relevant issue here.

Jinksy said...

Well, now, that was a wake up post for a Tuesday morning! LOL I agree, leave Mother Nnature well alone in these things...she knows best!

Lil said...

You need to tell us how Jaws was. I can't help but think that with the special effects we're used to now, it must seem terribly quaint.

As to the labiaplasty: EWWWWWWWWWW I did not want such an image in my head so early this morning. Reading you description I had my legs crossed and... god, the very thought is horrifying.

Daryl said...

i am still laughing out loud and having odd looks from some co-workers ... the teeth/shoes .. ohhhhh and i can hear her so clearly ..

Maggie May said...

Did you enjoy jaws or rather, did your wife enjoy jaws?
Had to laugh at the teeth and the sneakers. Pride and all that.

As for fgm,,,,,,,,,,, no....... no no! must be MAD!
Maggie x

Nuts in May

silly rabbit said...

I love to get a pedi! My feet love me for weeks afterward.

Here at the bottom of the post, in relative privacy, I will admit that I laughed through the labiaplasty bits. Certainly not at the actual act... that is just insane! But your responses to it. There is something delightful in gory stories. Probably because they didn't happen to me. Oh wait, I cut a toe off, maybe its a hysteria from past trauma.

I am glad to hear that most males would like their females to be drastically (savagely?) altered. There is no way on God's green earth that I would ever do that. If you don't like it, then for golly's sake, don't look down there!

That is very interesting about Tony's continuing issues. Like you, I assumed that it was "solved".

The man forgets his teeth sometimes too. Have I said that I love YOUR WIFE?

silly rabbit said...

Good Lord! Edit "would like" to "would NOT like". Sheesh!

i beati said...

And so you are an expert I see

playoffs great memories

Lora said...

Further proof that humans are no long evolving, but De-volving. Unbelievable that women can be convinced this is a good idea, I had NEVER heard of such a thing! Yikes!!

CLR said...

I, like others, are probably having a hard time thinking back to what else was in your post beyond the labiaplasty bit. I first heard about this concept several years ago on a t.v. show detailing this procedure and I was FLOORED. Unbelievable and a sad state of the world when this is where our focus is: to make ourselves more like porn stars? Ugh.

Hope you liked the movie and the mani-pedi!!

Hilary said...

All of the men that I know and respect would rather see a woman in her natural state than have plastic surgery of most any kind. So just who are these women doing it for? Sigh.

I've never seen Jaws either.

The mani-pedi sounds like Daryl's influence. :)

Sandi McBride said...

I was enjoying the hell out of this right up to the last part...wondering what your wife's reaction first viewing took place in the Chiefs Mess on the USS Hawkins with my two little boys...with the first siting of Bruce we ended up sitting in my husbands lap screaming for a bigger ship...but that is a blog post all its own...then the manipedi...a personal addiction of mine but can't get Mac interested...and then came the lady parts...I felt myself drawing up in horror then just zoned are a mean man Suldog...a mean mean man...

Joanna Jenkins said...

A good pedicure can change your entire day for the better, IMO. I love 'em. Just wish I could get my husband to join me. I know he'd love one too./

Your wife never saw Jaws before! I think she's the only person left who hasn't!

Have a great weekend, jj

Three Hundred Sixty Five said...

Wow, Jim. I'm speechless (re: the surgery), but thankful to you for your opinion (which mirrors my own).
Hey, how'd Your Wife like Jaws? I recall never being completely comfortable in the ocean again for a good long while after that. Plus, the piers at Port Aransas always had a good one or two hammerhead sharks hanging on the hooks ~ they are really bizarre, but not a lethal type of shark like the great white's are.
~I could never get my spouse to the spa for a mani-pedi - good for you!

lime said...

dear god....if cosmetic labiaplasty is not a sign of the apocalypse i don't know what is. that and the bleaching of an anus is simply beyond my comprehension.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

You're definitely a brave guy going for the pedi, my husband barely trims his nose hair lol.

Did YOUR WIFE like Jaws in the theater? Still one of the scariest movies of all time IMO.

Interesting fact about Iommi, didn't know he was missing any body parts. And to miss a couple fingers but still play is really impressive.

Can you tell I'm totally avoiding talking about that last part? Holy crow...