John Ruskin was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era. He is also subject to some speculation about his pre-conceptions about what a woman should look like. It seems that having grown up in an era where the female nude was represented in art sans pubic-hair, that when confronted with his new bride’s robust hairy muff, he found it impossible to consummate the marriage. Or at least the story goes.
I guess there may be some young men nowadays who could find themselves confronted with the same conundrum. Having grown up being exposed to the current fad of hairless women in porn, I would imagine they would be shocked to view the magnificently hairy women portrayed in some of the 1970s porn I remember seeing in my teens. Mind you, there’s probably some young women who would be equally confronted by how hairy men used to be in the 1970s compared to the current images of waxed and buffed young men.
Unless you grew up in a household where family nudity is commonplace, it can be difficult to learn about the opposite sex and what they look like. I never ever saw my mother or sisters nude when I was growing up, so I really had no idea what a nude woman really looked like for years. Even simple things, like breasts, used to confuse me. I remember being very young and watching a really scary episode of The Twilight Zone. I can’t remember which episode. I seem to remember that there was a big electric monster, but that’s not important. What I do remember is that upon close inspection of the femme fatale in that particular episode, that I suddenly realised that women’s breasts didn’t sit just below their shoulders, but were in fact further down…closer to the middle of the torso than I expected. It was quite a revelation. I have been an intent watcher of breasts ever since, just in case I learn something new or unexpected again.
My first close-up experience of female genitalia was like something from a nightmare. I was on my way to swimming lessons in primary school, and I was seated across the aisle from a female teacher who was, let’s say, plus-size. It was the 1970s, so short dresses were the vogue. The only problem was that when she sat down, her dress didn’t cover up much…and I was sitting directly opposite her. No – it’s not what you think. She wasn’t going commando…it’s worse than that. She was at least wearing pantyhose, but they were so tight on her that I spent the entire bus-trip mesmerised by the most awesomely grotesque camel-toe you could imagine… it was magnificent in its volume and girth. To paraphrase Governor Phillip’s description of Sydney Harbour, her camel-toe was of a size that a thousand sail of the line may anchor in the most perfect security. To say it was confronting to my young eyes is an understatement. I was a little scared and confused by what I saw to be honest.
Like many blokes my age, my sex education mostly involved looking at old copies of Playboy in the local barbers, or an old copy of Penthouse handed down by someone’s older brother. In some ways, our exposure to the female nude was more realistic than the images that many young men must see nowadays. At least the centrefolds we pawed over displayed women with real breasts and hair between their legs. I’d hate to think what a young John Ruskin of the 2000s will discover on his wedding night.
How did you find out about the opposite sex? What preconceptions did you have?
John James has written 203 posts.
JJ is a blogger who is bored with traditional opinion blogging. He is a co-founder and editor at KiKi & Tea. He also represents the grumpy middle-aged man demographic on KiKi & Tea. He is a writer by trade and a frustrated rock star / crime fighter by night, and blogs about music at newmusicrevue.com.
Follow on twitter: @JohnJamesOZ