Sexy?

It was rather odd how I had never thought to ever examine this very commonplace term that has so dominated my life and will continue to in many ways.
The process of examination and analysis started only after I watched one of my very beloved modern day philosophers Alain De Botton and heard his view on the colloquialism found here  .
He termed it a truly deep category involving a lot of human psychology which was jarring to say the very least. And I suppose not only to me. Not to mean that the term is a shallow one or pejorative in any way I just never thought it had much depth to it, a view which he too discusses.
In my life I have encountered the term to mean something akin to lustful and even in recent times the lust aspect of it has been re-appropriated to mean attractiveness and wholesomeness not simply a curvature of the neck or slinky dress rather a holistic adjective to describe a person. Although even with much re-appropriation ‘sexy’ may still very well mean something rather dirty or obscene. As was in Jhumpa Lahiri’s short story titled ‘sexy’, in that context it was a term used to define a woman so attractive that she leads men into adultery, a sort of siren, and so you can see that the stain on the term may never fully be washed off.
Regardless, I rather liked De Botton’s approach or if I may say so, answer to what the term truly meant, he started by mentioning that indeed on our very surface there really is much insight into who we are, who we really are inside. And it is when this insight aligns with another’s needs do we find them ‘sexy’ and apparently this insight or traits are usually things we do not possess ourselves. Say if we see that another is very patient where we are not that can make them sexier, at least in our eyes.
I found this very well-reasoned but only a little bit specious, mainly because of two points it looks at ‘sexy’ in only one instance. When it is said to another whom we admire for whatever reason.
The solution ironically rather ignores a lot of human psychology at play and other instances of the word in use.
Firstly, we don’t only ever use this term with regards to another. Sometimes we ourselves feel ‘sexy’ and in that case what does the word mean? Does it mean that we have gone a little way in achieving some of the traits we admire in others, does it mean we are satisfied with ourselves? Or is it simply just a thank you to ourselves for maintaining ourselves? What does it mean exactly?
Secondly, the earlier view seems to assert the assumption that has rolled around for many years, probably even centuries. The view that ‘opposites attract’ that we admire those who are not like us. But this isn’t the only cause for admiration now is it? We’ve seen before how we can admire something in another simply because we possess it as well? And in that case what does ‘sexy’ mean? When it is an inclination to a quality we already possess. Do we want an addition to our own quota or is it just admiration for admiration’s sake?
And finally I find myself in horrible disagreement with the view that perception and reality are one and the same. An assumption underlying the view that we find someone ‘sexy’ or ‘they turn us on’ by the deeply coded physical traits we see on them. And my reason for disagreement is simple, just because you see something doesn’t mean it is there and at times it has been placed there just to distract or misconstrue your perception of the true reality, sleight of hand, like a magician. Haven’t we all had the perception of a certain trait on someone only to later learn that it may very well have been a figment of our imagination? We hardly ever perceive reality as it is, in fact we mold the reality as we perceive it that’s why two people can read the same book, watch the same movie even go through the exact same experience and carry out of each two very differing accounts.
What I did agree on though was that ‘sexiness’ is not a totally superficial or shallow category. It has its depth that I will say. But with humans as with any pool there is always the shallow and the deep end, I do believe there is a bit of that term ‘sexy’ that may have a lot to do with just hormones and genitals and no more. But as usual that isn’t the whole story, in the same breath there is a lot about being ‘sexy’ that has to do with deep identification of positives in another and self-actualization. The issue remains I suppose in the determination of what the term means in certain contexts which may well be a question we may never truly answer or one I may not be well suited for.
The unfortunate part of this article is that it seems it has left us with more questions than answers but maybe at times the solution comes to you in the way of a question so I ask. What does the word ‘sexy’ mean to you?

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Some creative people who fear love almost as much as they fear hatred ….of predominantly schizoid or depressive temperaments….use their creative capacities in a defensive way. If creative work protects a man from mental illness, it is a small wonder that he pursues it with avidity. The schizoid state…is characterized by a state of meaninglessness and futility. For most people, interaction with others provides most of what they require to find meaning and significance in life.For the schizoid person however, this is not the case.Creative activity is a particularly apt way to express himself…the activity is solitary….but the ability to create and the productions which result from such ability are generally regarded as possessing value by our society.

Anthony Storr