What people really look like

Dale Favier from Portland Home Massage has written a spectacular piece about the reality of the human body as seen from the point of view of a massage therapist who sees a lot of naked people. The tl;dr takeaways:

* Men have silly buttocks.

* Woman have cellulite. All of them. It’s dimply and cute.

* Adults sag.

* Everybody on a massage table is beautiful. There are really no exceptions to this rule.

Lean people have a kind of rawboned, unfinished look about them that is very appealing. But they don’t have plump round breasts and plump round asses. You have plump round breasts and a plump round ass, you have a plump round belly and plump round thighs as well. That’s how it works. (And that’s very appealing too.)

Woman have cellulite. All of them. It’s dimply and cute. It’s not a defect. It’s not a health problem. It’s the natural consequence of not consisting of photoshopped pixels, and not having emerged from an airbrush.

Men have silly buttocks. Well, if most of your clients are women, anyway. You come to male buttocks and you say -- what, this is it? They’re kind of scrawny and the tissue is jumpy because it’s unpadded; you have to dial back the pressure, or they’ll yelp.

Adults sag. It doesn’t matter how fit they are. Every decade, an adult sags a little more. All of the tissue hangs a little looser. They wrinkle, too. I don’t know who put about the rumor that just old people wrinkle. You start wrinkling when you start sagging, as soon as you’re all grown up, and the process goes its merry way as long as you live. Which is hopefully a long, long time, right?

What People Really Look Like

(via Wil Wheaton)

(Image: body shots 002, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from susan402's photostream)

Notable Replies

  1. I laughed just a little bit as I read this.

    Then I reached the last line. And suddenly I had tears in my eyes. Who knows why... who knows why.

  2. IMB says:

    That which creates aesthetic pleasure, which is incredibly diverse amongst people.

  3. I beg to differ. Most men may have silly buttocks. I myself have buttocks that are extremely serious, and should be treated with utmost respect.

  4. I wonder if someone had opined that clouds are all beautiful, or mountains, or streams, or songbirds or kittens, or anything besides people, if anyone would have worried what that does to the meaning of beauty.

  5. Beauty does not have to be all-or-nothing, either in location or in degree.

    Cue Katishaw: "But I have a left shoulder-blade that is a miracle of loveliness. People come miles to see it. My right elbow has a fascination that few can resist."

    And it isn't a straight line; I've known people whom I would not at all call pretty but who are so full of life and character -- so much themselves -- that I'd still call them beautiful. Cuing Kat again: "There's a fascination frantic / in a ruin that's romantic".

    Finally (for now), even the formal ideal of human beauty is not an absolute. Our standards of human beauty are VERY tied to particular cultures and particular times. Looking back at photos covering the history of stage and film stars makes this obvious; some of the stars considered Helen-of-Troy level in their time now strike me as merely pleasant, and I don't think I'm the only one who has noticed this.

    So my conclusion is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so unless you go dungeon-crawling and kill a Beholder to get a potion of beauty there really isn't a clear meaning. It's subjective and relative rather than absolute, it's massively nonlinear and multivariate, there is no single path and no single destination and no clear dividing line.

    We consider most mammals appealing, at least, Why not view humans with the same eye?

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