Sexy but not sexual.

I’ve always kind of eroticized figure skating couples, trapeze artist duos, etc.  The dynamic just seems so powerfully intimate and sexy to me.  You’re trusting your partner to hold up their end of the routine, to make you look good – hell, sometimes you’re trusting them with your life.  And you’d know each others’ bodies in a way that even lovers don’t, unless the lovers in question are extremely active in bed.  Do you know exactly where to grab your partner’s hips in order to balance their body over your head just-so?  Do you know what your partner’s entire weight feels like swinging from your wrist?

It’s just hot, is all.

Today when I showed up for life modelling, there weren’t enough rooms available (some kind of scheduling fuck-up) so they had to combine two classes together – which meant double the students and double the models.  The instructors chose to have me and the other guy pose together.

We weren’t naked.  The class was held in a room that had about a million different doors and through-ways, and the instructors felt that random people might wander through, so we were asked to keep something on.  The other model (I’ll call him Doug) stripped down to his boxer briefs, and I would’ve stripped down to underwear too (to give the students a better view of my body, which is the point of life drawing) but I wasn’t wearing underpants so I just stayed fully clothed.

At first, of course, the situation was pretty incredibly awkward.  Doug and I introduced ourselves and he was like “So ummm I’ve never posed with anyone else before…I guess we could…fight?” and I said that sounded good, and also showed him the props I’d brought (thank god I brought props – they opened up so many new ideas for us!).  And then the instructor told us to do twenty minutes of 30-second poses; I set my timer for 20 minutes and we started throwing punches at each other.

It got easier as time went on.  Even though I’m not at all a touchy-feely person, I recognize that my job is to do the most striking poses I can, and I have no problem being physical (within appropriate boundaries) with another model in order to make it happen.  I think actually the very first pose Doug and I did was me launching myself at him with my hands around his neck while he flailed in panic.  But I sensed that he was maybe a bit uncomfortable with that level of touching (I probably should’ve asked first) so I after that I backed off a bit.  He seemed hesitant about touching me, so for a long time we were just “throwing punches” that didn’t connect.  He also wouldn’t even remotely look me in the face.  I understand not making eye contact – that can feel really weird when you’re locked in some ridiculous position.  It would be hard not to laugh.  But in general, I was trying to emote at least a little – glaring at him as we “fought” and stuff – whereas he just kinda stared past my shoulder.

As time wore on, Doug became a bit more comfortable with me.  We started supporting each others’ poses more, leaning against each other for balance and stuff.  At one point he suggested I get down on the ground and “kick” upward at his stomach; we were doing two-minute poses by then, but he “blocked” my kick in such a way that he was actually holding my foot and supporting the weight of my leg a bit, so I managed to sustain the pose way better than I would have without his help.  A few different times I had hold of his outstretched arm or leg and I braced myself to hold its weight it if I had to, but Doug mostly held the poses under his own steam; maybe he wasn’t sure how much weight I could take.

I directed most of the action with Doug.  Not in a bossy way.  Just, like, “D’you wanna be running away from me and I’ll be grabbing your arm?” type stuff, and he could feel free to develop that idea in a different direction if he wanted (which he sometimes did).  I still wondered if maybe I was being too controlling, so I tried backing off to see if Doug came forward with pose suggestions, but mostly he kinda didn’t so I just stepped on in and took the lead.  Also, I somehow ended up being the one to count off the individual poses, without us having formally agreed upon it.  Possibly Doug was counting, too – once or twice I spaced out and went too long, and Doug initiated the change in position – but mostly, I was counting off “One Mississipi…two Mississipi” in my head and then quietly saying “okay” when it was time to change over.

As time went on, I began to feel attracted to Doug (who is nice-looking, if not precisely my type.  Shaved head, hairy body, heavily tattooed).  But when I analyzed this feeling I realized that no, I wasn’t actually drawn to him in a sexual way.  The combination of us getting to know and trust each others’ bodies plus him cheerfully doing what I told him was giving me the illusion of attraction; the illusion of intimacy.

And also, one of the props I’d brought was a long piece of very wide ribbon.  Which we took turns choking and tying each other up with.  So that kind of put some thoughts into my head – even though Doug was still mostly avoiding body contact with me (when I invited him to straddle and choke me, he did, but standing up with his feet planted wide on either side of me.  Not on his knees with his weight resting on my thighs, which is what I’d been picturing).  We may have been doing some things that technically smacked of bondage but we were both being careful not to come off in a blatantly sexytimes way (him more than me, really, since I would’ve been fine with him sitting on my thighs or vice-versa).

Near the end of the class, we had to do a ten-minute pose.  My first thought was that Doug could be “dead” and I could be standing over him in victorious-killer sort of posture.  But I hate standing poses and we’d already done a lot of hostile/fighty positions, so at the last minute I was like “actually, do you wanna put your head in my lap?  Like you’re dead and I’m sad about it?”  So we did that.  (Which, in retrospect, is far more body contact than we’d had all day…I hope Doug wasn’t secretly uncomfortable with this!  I wouldn’t have been offended if he’d said no!)  The pose turned out way more sweet and snuggly-looking than I was going for, but it looked good.  I’m pretty sure Doug was withholding the full weight of his head from me.  I whispered “Your head must be heavier than this.  Rest it on me; you’ll kill your neck otherwise.”  He whispered back “I just don’t want to fall asleep!” and his head remained just as suspiciously light as ever.  Maybe he was resting it on me completely and I just have a weird idea of how much a human head weighs.

During the breaks, we made small talk.  Turns out we’re both artists when we’re not modelling.  He mentioned that he’s into fetish pinups and other, edgier stuff, and I asked if he’s ever seen pictures of what some people do with needleplay – poking a zillion colourful needles into someone’s skin in beautiful swirly patterns.  He totally knew what I was talking about, but said he prefers ropework.  I was like “Yeah, totally…I’m too lazy to learn Shibari, but I think it’s beautiful to look at.”  (Yes, I totally name-dropped a kink term to see if he picked up on it – and I think he did.)

During a later break, Doug mentioned that for some reason he always tends to choose poses where he’s leaning on his left leg, and it ends up sore.  I asked if he’s left-handed and he said no, and wondered why I would ask.  I said on many people, whichever hand is dominant, that whole side of their body kind of is, too.  I’m right handed and my right side feels “dominant,” so I tend to lean on my right leg the most.  Doug grinned and asked “is your left side submissive?”  and I smiled back and said “No, just dominant to a lesser extent.  There’s no submission here anywhere.”  I was totally enjoying this conversation.  It may be hard to tell in writing but it was totally not creepy, and maybe not even flirty; I think it’s just that we realized we had a shared hobby, and that hobby happened to be kink, and we were figuring out how to discuss it covertly so the students and instructor didn’t know.  It felt thrilling, like when you’re a kid and you and your friend write each other messages in a Secret Code.

At the end of the class, while Doug pulled his pants and shirt back on and I gathered up my props/timer/water bottle/etc., I found a motherlode of my business cards in my knapsack and gave him one so he could check out my art.  He enthusiastically said he’d look at my work, and that he wants to email me, as well, because he wants to collaborate with other artists to put on a naughty art show and he feels like we’re probably coming from a really compatible headspace in that regard.  Cool!  I told him we should definitely stay in touch.

I’m so curious about Doug now…what his art looks like, what his kinks are, what his orientation is (when I told him I paint pin-up boys sometimes, he seemed to love this idea…and although he’s no lisping twink or anything his vibe isn’t necessarily UNgay, either…).

I also hope we get a chance to work together again, because I think we had a decent synergy that could probably become amazing if we got more comfortable with each other.  I’m not sure if couples-posing is a common thing at all, but if it is, I love the idea of having one or more partners that I already know I work well with so we can recommend each other for those sorts of jobs as a package deal.

Another awesome thing about today: I’ve mentioned before how weird it is to be working “blind” – to know that I have competition out there, but never see any of the others or know how I stack up against them.   Posing with Doug gave me some nice insight.  The most interesting thing?  He’s visibly more muscular than I am, and yet he shook a lot more than I did.  I don’t mean his balance was bad; I mean we’d be in a pose where both of us were holding our arms out at approximately the same extreme angle and he’d be quivering with exertion and I wouldn’t, or at least not nearly as much.  I’d assumed that the exhaustion-shakies I sometimes get came from being weak, but maybe not.  Maybe endurance and strength are two different things.

So that was my day.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Sexy but not sexual.

  1. I think you correctly analyzed the performing partner vibe as sensual but not necessarily sexual, yet when you’re “pretending” and trying to make it look real, it also has to feel at least a little bit real (or the audience can tell) and tends to call up those related feelings/emotions from other contexts. As a dancer, I find that you get used to partnering after an initial awkward period and then it becomes “part of the work”, but still, it’s an intimate experience, no doubt. Still, like with co-workers and friends and lovers, there are just some people who you “click” with and work better with because of some intangible chemistry 🙂 I’m glad you found the experience enjoyable…that’s a big surprise to walk into!

    Also, as for the dominant side of the body thing, it really varies from person to person. I’m right-handed, but left-legged. I bat right-handed (baseball) but shoot left-handed in hockey. I naturally turn to the left better than to the right (in any activity, pirouettes or spinning away from a defender). Most everyone’s bodies are amazingly asymmetric in terms of strength, flexibility, and range of motion. Often the stronger side is less flexible and similarly, the flexier side is generally weaker.

    I love the idea of a naughty art show! I hope this happens…

    P.S. I have a hilarious sexytimes story to tell you about instinctively applying a classic “partnering” move from dance that was totally misread and fumbled by The Lumberjack, understandably so. Once the silly moment passed, I explained what I was doing and it worked quite well 🙂

  2. Pingback: ARRRRRGH. | hiding in plain sight

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