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Which Came First the High Heels or the ….


images (1)After my last post on heels, I got curious as to the origins of the high heel. One thing I saw repeated in the comment and in my research that many women where it because men find it attractive. I wanted to know what came first, the men wanting chicks to wear high heels or something else.  It was an interesting question to look into. Many historians trace the high heels to male horse-riding warriors in the Middle East who used high heels for functionality, because they help hold the rider’s foot in stirrups. The earliest depiction of high heels occurs in the 9th-century CE, on a ceramic bowl from Persia. Actually, in the  16th century, European royalty started wearing high-heeled shoes to make them look taller or larger than life. By 1580, men also wore them, and a person with authority or wealth was often referred to as “well-heeled”.

Where did they become fashionable ?

In our contemporary society, high-heels are a important arsenal in women’s fashion as well as a sexual prop. Who doesn’t have a pair that are used only for sexy times ? According to research and common sense “high-heels force the body to tilt, emphasizing the buttocks and breasts, highlights of a woman’s sexuality.” They also emphasize the role of feet in sexuality, and the act of putting on stockings or high-heels is often seen as an erotic act.” Of course no one would discount this. But what I found interesting was the fact that there are class factors that lead to the high heel being a sexually evocative thing.

So while there were many precursors to the high heel but here is the moment of history where the high heel as fashion happened.

The formal invention of high heels as fashion is typically attributed to the rather short-statured Catherine de Medici (1519-1589). At the age of 14, Catherine de Medici was engaged to the powerful Duke of Orleans, later the King of France. She was small (not quite five feet) relative to the Duke and hardly considered a beauty. She felt insecure in the arranged marriage knowing she would be the Queen of the French Court and in competition with the Duke’s favorite (and significantly taller) mistress, Diane de Poitiers. Looking for a way to dazzle the French nation and compensate for her perceived lack of aesthetic appeal, she donned heels two inches high that gave her a more towering physique and an alluring sway when she walked. Her heels were a wild success and soon high heels were associated with privilege.

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High Heels have a large class component to them still today. We talk about the shoes of female celebrities all the time. Every red carpet event is heavily scrutinized; shoes are always mentioned. It makes me think that its not just because men like them that women wear high heel shoes especially give the century of men wearing high heels themselves for archery and horse riding. For the past 400 years high heels have been ingrained in the mind as something female royalty or the well to do wear. Also they were used to enhance female feature that biological men are attracted to:

 

  • change the angle of the foot with respect to the lower leg, which accentuates the appearance of calves;
  • change the wearer’s posture, requiring a more upright carriage and altering the gait in what is considered a seductive fashion;
  • make the wearer appear taller;
  • make the legs appear longer;
  • make the foot appear smaller;
  • make the toes appear shorter;
  • make the arches of the feet higher and better defined;
  • offer practical benefits for people of short stature in terms of improving access and using items, e.g. sit upright with feet on floor instead of suspended, reach items on shelves, etc.

 

It interesting when you look at the historic origins of thing how much richer are the stories behind what we take for so common that we don’t really think about.

 

Check out my homeys response post to my initial article

 

 

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A Convo on Gender Roles, Dating & other stuff 3 : Seducation, Harassment Day, Collective Cultural Shadow


night flirt HR

Straight people cruise one another in Paris; unlike Americans, who feel menaced or insulted by linger looks on the street, French women-and men!-consider la seduction to be one of the arts of living and an amorous glance their natural due.  When I lived for several months in the States with a young French man and woman, they were puzzled and hurt at the end of their first American week by the lack of attention they were receiving. ‘Maybe Americans don’t like our looks’ they asked.

I had to explain to them that American style feminism had retrained men not to ogle women – but that, more significantly, Americans consider the sidewalk an anonymous backstage space, whereas for the French it is the stage itself.

~ Edmund White, The Flaneur: A Stroll Through the Paradoxes of Paris


 

French culture has always interested me, and as a lot of my family has lived, lives, or have gone to school there I have been exposed to a healthy dosage of it. I found this excerpt above interesting because it does allude to something real. A women had this to say about her visit to Paris:

Men were very vocal.  The Frenchmen did not consider what they were doing insulting, it was truly appreciative in nature. Men would openly stop and LOOK, they would turn around and LOOK, they would yell compliments, in English and French. Our favorite of all was the “Meow”.  Yes, they would meow, which was something I had only read about!  It is done as a mix between saying the word, and speaking it as a cat would. Well done it is an art.  The French have perfected it.  My favorite “Meow” of all was from a group of workers, clinging to girders far above us as we visited the Eiffel Tower.  We turned and waved, and they waved back and showered us both with compliments to our beauty.

That wouldn’t fly in America. Political and sexual correctness rule the day. An innocent compliment can lead to a world of pain. We do not tend to make a difference most times between predatory and non-predatory expression of male sexuality. Quite often it all gets lumped together. To quote from the article: Why Do We Demonize Men Who Are Honest About Their Sexual Needs? –  The pressure put on men to be initiators, yet avoid seeming creepy or aggressive leads to an unpleasant double bind.  It’s a catch 22 in many cases. This whole issue of harassment, and the double binds brings to mind a bit from Patrice O’ Neal called harassment day

Masculinity is a Plague to some

But to get back to it there was an interesting documentary called “The Mask You Live In,” made by feminist filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom. (You can see the trailer here.) She equates masculinity to a plague that is sweeping through America. Supposedly at a young age, boys learn that to express compassion or empathy is to show weakness. They hear confusing messages that force them to repress their emotions, establish hierarchies, and constantly prove their masculinity. They often feel compelled to abide by a rigid code of conduct that affects their relationships, narrows their definition of success and, in some cases, leads to acts of violence resulting in what many researchers call a boy crisis.”” While that touches on  some elements of a crisis it is very skewered view.

If I can be honest every time I see a feminist writing something on masculinity or men, I have a general feeling that I am about to read a big nutty brown pile of bullshit. Everything is seen through a narrow lens of the feminist movement which is at its very core, xenophobic, classist, racist, and elitist. Many follow the narrative that:

The follow book or excerpt from shed some light on the expression of masculinity in America

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Historian Ellen K. Rothman showed in her exhaustive work “Hands and Hearts: A History of Courtship in America”, that American men were masculine in the 1800s  but learned to be vulnerable and share confidences during courtship. This candor during courting resulted in marriages between compatible partners that were designed to last a lifetime despite incredible hardships and unbelievably primitive living conditions, providing a safe and secure environment for children to grow up healthy. Sadly, in the last century the media of music, movies and later television and the internet promoted a mutated form of courtship that emphasized physical attraction and charm over character and compatibility. The resulting weak relationships between strangers led to a steep decline in marriage with more and more Americans abandoning marriage altogether.

Collective Cultural Shadow

Just like individuals do, I think as a nation we have a shadow. There are many soul crushing episodes of our history as a nation that we haven’t dealt with that linger. If certain conditions are met this issues will quite often violently way make their presence felt. Human history is a volatile thing. Today’s subjugated just may in enough time become the oppressors. We become the very thing we hate I mean look at Israel and what’s being done to the Palestinians.

I think that the centuries long suppression of both the feminine and women has left many scars on our psyche. While we work to address the consequences of this legally, economically etc, there is much more that we have to do to address those scars internally that we all carry because we each whether male or female have to work at balancing the masculine and feminine energies inside of us.

The suppression of the feminine didn’t just hurt women, it stunted the development of men for centuries. The demonization and criminalization of masculinity hurts not just men but women too.

and ill leave it at that and come back to this in the next part

MrMary

 

Matsuei

MrMary Reflects || Geishas, Monogamy & Infidelity III


I thought I’d would offer my final thoughts in this, the last installment of this series. A few ideas impacted me as I have been writing this series.

  • Promiscuity is a significant part of primate mating and reproductive behavior. Some speculate that we are by nature designed to be sexual omnivores.
  • As I talked about before marrying for love is a development of the Enlightenment. We have only been doing so for the last 2-300 years. Currently, less than 20 percent of world cultures require monogamy.
  • The popularity of the nuclear family began after the Industrial revolution.
  • The sexual tourism industry is a global phenomenon indulged in by both men and women.
  • Statistics show that the high prevalence of infidelity by both men and women.

I don’t think that monogamy is the society’s one size fits all answer to relationships. I feel that there is a deeper issue at work.

We Distance Ourselves from What We Really Are

man_animalAn ex-gf asked me once what did I think about marriage. I told her that: “I didn’t think it was anything special being that some animals mate for life. There should not be any points given for doing something  animals do.  I don’t get points for shitting in the grass or doing it doggy style, do I?” She didn’t find that funny. Yet I shared that with you to bring up a point. Civilization makes us imagine that we are something higher and more evolved than animals. We have spent centuries denying and suppressing our animal self.  I’m not advocating a descent into savagery. Good mental, emotional, and psychological health is dependent on balancing our animal and spiritual nature. Spirituality isn’t drumming in a park on mushrooms or whatever counts for spirituality nowadays. Let me give you an example. This below is a picture of a recently unearthed, double ended Bronze dildo from the Han Dynasty, it is about 2000 years old.

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This was might have been in use around when Jesus was preaching at fish fries, bringing in wine to parties to give you some context. Once we accept both sides of our nature and not promote one at the expense of the other we can come to terms with the reality of relationships. The centuries long suppression of women and our animalistic nature has lead in part to our imbalance.

According to the animal kingdom, monogamy is exceedingly uncommon in the natural world. In fact, with advances in the technology of genetic testing, many of the species previously lauded as being lifelong monogamous, are now known to actually have many sexual encounters outside their seemingly monogamous partnerships. Among mammals, only a very few species live in seemingly monogamous arrangements, and fewer still maintain sexual fidelity within those relationships. Man certainly does not seem to be one of them. There is increasing evidence that many men are not biologically or psychologically disposed to sexual monogamy.

I find it interesting that monogamy and sexual fidelity are not one and the same, for animals and for possibly for human as well.

In closing I think if over half of divorces occur because of infidelity and one in 25 dads unknowingly raise children that they didn’t father then that is cause to rethink some things.

Done.

MrMary

What taboo topic should i run my mouth about next?

Matsuei

MrMary Reflects || Geishas, Monogamy & Infidelity II


DISCLAIMER: I just wanted to state emphatically before I continue that I am not against monogamy at all. I am in a monogamous relationship myself and have been for a while. What I am doing is raising questions nothing more nothing less. 

Monogamy in Chimps

In college Bio I read something like this statement taken from the wiki on monogamous pairings in animals: “In species where the young are particularly vulnerable and may benefit from protection by both parents, monogamy may be an optimal strategy.” This idea that monogamy is an evolutionary strategy got me thinking. Our post-literate technocratic society is very different from the wilds of the Serengeti Plains, so then is monogamy the still an ideal strategy?

Talking about monogamy today is like sailing through the Symplegades, those clashing rocks Odysseus and crew meet on their legendary peregrinations. There are so many knee-jerk reactions as opposed to thought out responses. I thought with this being the case to look at our closest evolutionary ancestor the chimpanzee. There are many similarities between us and chimps.  For example:

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Primatologist have identified temporary monogamous pair-bonds between males and females (bonobos and chimpanzees) that last anywhere from several days to a few weeks, and they call these romantics trysts “consortships.” While these consortship lasts, the couples show all signs of what we know as  “falling in love”. They gaze into each other’s eyes, kiss hold hands and wander off  into the forest to be alone together. When they return to the group the female is often pregnant.

There are more things in common.

  1. Mating occurs throughout the year and there is no evidence of a birth season
  2. The majority of chimpanzee reproductive behavior is promiscuous
  3. Restrictive mating, where the dominant male restricts other males from mating with estrous females
  4. Consortship mating, where an adult pair leave the community for several days to weeks

I bring this up because sometimes we tend to forget that we are animals and that a lot of the things we hold to be special and almost sacrosanct like holding hands. gazing into each other’s eyes, and monogamy have a biological and evolutionary basis. As much as we advocate self-restraint and the regulation of sexual desire, statistics show that it’s generally unrealistic.

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The divorce rate in America for first marriage, vs second or third marriage

According to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri.

  • The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41% 
  • The divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60% 
  • The divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%

Where We Mess Up

I’ve been thinking about some issues that need to be addressed.

Possessiveness

The way I see it, I do not own my significant other. I also do not control her emotions or her sexuality. I cannot get upset if she find some dude walking down the street to be hot. That’s biology. All I can do is articulate what are the boundaries in our relationship and continue to act towards her in such a way that she wants to stay with me of her own volition. If those boundaries are crossed then the actions will have consequences we have discussed and agreed to abide by.

Infidelity

I don’t think we talk enough and at the beginning of our relationships. As a result we have problems with infidelity. Which is worse: someone (man or woman) before getting into a serious relationship saying: “I’m looking for a long-term relationship but I want some flings on the side” or suppressing that need and then sneaking around to fulfill that it? I mean look at the stats, it’s going to happen in 41% marriages, why not be honest at the onset. No one has a gun to your head saying you have to accept anything you don’t want to.

It’s not about Forever

People change over time. Forever is an abstract concept, nothing last forever. Soul-mates are an abstract concept too. When I look at the news everyday, I always find myself wondering if people actually have souls. I don’t know. What I do know is that there is no such thing as a soul mate. If you are lucky you get a mate, for an unknown amount of time.

The Focus of our Happiness

Therapy helped me realize that I made many important life decision with the aim of pleasing and making my parents happy. This is one of the worst fucking things I have ever done. I’ve concluded that each person in the relationship should have themselves as the focus of their happiness. I’m working hard to get the things I want in life that will make me happy. Mrs. Mary empowers me to do so. I in turn empower her to do the same for herself. I support her art work and whatever she needs to get where she needs to go with her career life etc.  I cannot have my happiness dependent on someone else’s happiness. Quite often we have no idea what will satisfy us or make us happiness in life, why should someone pin their happiness on something we don’t know and cannot conceptualize?

Obligation/Settling

No one is under any obligation to do anything for anyone. What I mean to say is that for instance, I take care of my significant other because doing so makes me happy, not because I feel obligated. I’m old school, being able to provide for her is fulfilling. I’ve always tried to do the things that I wanted to do and not the things I was supposed today because I value sincerity. A lot of people get married because they feel obligated to do so. A lot of people give gifts because they feel obligated to do so. I don’t work that way.

I think ultimately what is at the root of many issues with monogamy and marriage is that we neither see ourselves nor accept ourselves for what we are.

What do you think ?

My Blogger in Arms, TarnsZ has written a post similar check it out: Monogamy and Fidelity 

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What It’s Like @32 || Sex


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” I dedicate this to all the pretty girls, All the pretty girls, in the world
And the ugly girls too, Cause to me your pretty anyways baby”
~The Old Dirty Bastard

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The Beginning

I remember the first time I had sex.

It was in a hotel near Grand Central Station. My collaborator was beautiful beyond words. She was German from Munchen, blond hair, blue eyes and about 5’11. We had grown close over the last 3 months and it was finally going to happen. Fast forward a few awkward but tense moments later, and I’m there standing face to .. uhm… (face) ? with a Vagina, and in my heart all I could say was: oh my god, oh my god, I’ve seen all your movies… I loved you in Forced Entry!  Not only was I going to have sex. No, no no! I was going have sex with a celebrity; a superstar in her own right as vagina is loved throughout the world.

Youthful Idealism

images (1)Seriously, now when I was younger sex was like the ambrosia of Greek myth: it was enticing, mysterious and completely inaccessible.Ten to twelve years later after my first time much has changed about my relationship with sex. Did you know that doggy-style is a gender oppressive and hyper-masculine or heteronormative tool used for the oppression for women? I found that out the hard way, reading late one night when my internet connection wasn’t fast enough for me to get any, from myself of course because that’s what marriage is long stretches of rubbing one out with the occasional lackluster participation of a second party.

When I was young I thought sex was fun. It was for me an expression of love (or lust) shared between two people. Turns out sex is the reward in the operant conditioning used to make sure that the garbage gets taken out regularly, and the dishes  are cleaned dried and put away  right after every meal. Sex has fallen from the higher ranks of a pleasure to more plebeian standings. Sex is an ingratiating need. What I thought would stay a wild and untamed descent into hedonism has since become lobotomized and domesticated. The American bedroom is very much so the table in T. S. Eliot’s opening stanza of the Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock:

LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats 
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels

Now @32

download (2)Sex @ 32 theoretically, can be amazing still, in much the same way the Mets can be relevant in a discussion about the post-season. When sex is amazing, it’s because it’s happening more often than the return of the Hale-Bop comet and isn’t being used as a tool to crush someone’s soul or get them to pretend they want to be around you.

Now when I am allowed to have sex [and not just because someone has taken pity on me because I’ve been starved like those stray dogs you see on those adopt a pet infomercials late at night] it’s amazing ! (when it happens) Why you ask, because

  1. I lock away my self-respect in a mini-storage place
  2. I’ve Accumulated enough sick days at work so I can fuck without worrying about tomorrow
  3. I do a lot of dead-lifts in the gym
  4. I know my body has changed

Oh you didn’t know?

A man’s body goes through changes in his thirties while I still work out and am active I am not the same athlete I used to be in my early 20’s. I need to expend more energy to produce at the same rate as I used to before. Compare a veteran Kobe Bryant to rookie Kobe Bryant. For Kobe to play  as a rookie now it would require him to expend more energy. But injuries and playing so hard so often has taken a toll, so he plays smarter. So with changes in body come changes in mind set. My current mind-set is to remove my mind from it completely, let biology do it’s thing

download (1)Human beings tend to think that because of our advanced technology we are not animals. We like to think that we have subjugated that animalistic part of ourselves. Until you throw in some drinks, a long weekend, and a long drive anywhere and all shit breaks loose figuratively ( or literally if that your fetish).

When I have sex I put all that reading, and political discourse aside, and let biology take its course which means I am trying to recreate with my lady friend the ambiance of sybaritic revelry and orifice plundering that got the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed. If I don’t feel a ting of shame, or embarrassment, or soreness, or the want to take a shower, eat a Steak burrito from Chipotle, and seek forgiveness then I wasn’t true to myself.

Finally

 

But it’s not all savagery, nature is compassionate too and completely indifferent at times. Sometimes the best part of sex is the talking afterwards. Other times the best part of sex is thinking about the next time you get it which will be on your bday 6 months away, while you really enjoy a sandwich.

So what’s sex like at @32?

Let me give you an analogy

In chemistry the more stable a compound becomes, the less reactive it is. Chlorine is very reactive it was used as a weapon in WW2. It can react with almost any other element out there and form something. You put it together with Sodium which isn’t so reactive unless it’s in pure H2O and you get table salt. And that sums up sex at 32 in a committed relationship. Sure I’m not as volatile, I am not running nude through the streets of Bensonhurt, or on the E train with my pants unbuckled looking for trouble (long fucking story, my date thought she could issue a dare that I would back down from that didn’t involve me losing my life). I’m table salt now, with the memory of what it used to be like as a chlorine.

I will never be as active as I once was but stability counts for something right? I have been table salt now longer than I was a chlorine looking to start some shit. And as much as I like it, it’s not my true nature. So finally sex is a metaphysical punishment: it feels great, but reminds of the freedom I used to have, while at the same time, making me realize how I couldn’t handle that much freedom if it was returned to me.

For no Reason