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A Sexy Muslim Woman

I was sitting at a Singapore MRT station one day, watching people go by.
It was a Friday, and Muslims were returning from the mosque near my office.
Normally, Singapore doesn't feel like a particularly Asian country to me. 
No more so than California, anyway. 
On Fridays however, surrounded by Muslim people in traditional clothes, Singapore feels like an Asian country.

As I sat there, a young woman walked by in her bright yellow kebaya. 
Her scarf blew in the wind, waving around her dark face. She smiled, revealing perfect white teeth behind shiny red lips. Large brown eyes sparkled as she laughed, while sharing a joke with another woman.

Glenns' Wonderings

That, I thought, is a sexy woman.

Then I realized what I had just thought. A woman wearing religious clothing, returning from her church, showing no skin except face and hands, had stuck me as sexy. I'm not sure, but I think that the whole purpose of the Muslim outfit is to prevent all such thoughts.

If so, this attempt, like all similar attempts, had failed.

Why?
Because skin has so little to do with sexiness.
So, what is sexy?

One great thing about travel is that it leads you to consider such questions. When faced with the differences between cultures, you find yourself asking: what is funny? 
What is love? 
What is tofu?
I have collected journals full of these questions, and full of attempted answers. Observations from the airports and restaurants of the world.

Well, as near as I can figure, there are two types of sexiness; universal and cultural.

Cultural sexiness consists of things that are not inherently sexy. These are items or actions that we have been programmed to associate with sex. In one time or place, they are sexy. In another time or place, they are not.

Examples (from my white American male perspective):
Leather skirts, tan lines, long fingernails, a British or Aussie accent, small tattoos, an inward navel, a bare midriff, hard nipples, smooth legs, long limbs, well defined calves, baseball caps and jerseys, white tee shirts and denim jeans, tight one piece dresses, black stockings, short socks, knee high boots, leg warmers, high heels, an hour glass figure, well toned arms, cleavage, the Thai smile, Balinese posture, swimming in silk clothes, the ability to carry a little extra weight sensually like Mexican women do, dimples, push-up bras, and a variety of Asian clothes, such as: the Vietnamese Ao Dais, the Japanese Kimono, the Chinese Cheongsam, the Sarong, and grass skirts (oh yeah, and coconut bikinis!).

Universal sexiness is both easier to define, and more difficult to describe.
Universal sexiness is a trigger. A moment of memory or imagination.
A glimpse of skin. A hint of smile. The sway of hair or body. A blink of the eye. A flex of muscle. A brief caress. A bead of sweat.
A glimmer of mischief. An outline. A shadow.
That which promises more.
These things are, I believe, inherently and, universally sexy.

Examples of universal sexiness (in my universe):
A husky voice, the smell of cocoa butter, one shoe hanging off of a foot, flowing summer dresses, a long slit in a skirt (an undeniable truth is that a long skirt with a slit is muuch sexier than a short skirt), straps falling off a shoulder, a coy look, legs crossed in a short skirt, a bemused Mona Lisa smile, moist eyes, slow dancing, playfulness, women innocently touching each other or combing each others hair is almost unbearably sexy, sashaying, sauntering, laying in a hammock, sipping through a straw, walking barefoot with sandals in hand, a throat swallowing, a head tossed back, whispering, laughing, heavy breathing, being loud during sex, trying to be quiet during sex, a sideways glance, laughing eyes, doe eyes, full lips, pouting lips, puckering lips, nibbling or licking fingers or lips, washing hair, drying hair, running hands through hair, hair brushing against my arm, wind blown hair, wild hair, wet hair, bouncy hair, swaying hair, dangling jewelry, suspenders (I love the way they press on a woman's breasts), large earrings with long hair, backless dresses, and anklets.

Observation:
There is a lot that is sexy.
Most of it has to do with hair, eyes, and mouth.
Your mom was right: wash your hair and brush your teeth!
That's why Muslim women can still be sexy.
Hell, in Japan, they hid women behind screens for a long time. Did that stop women from being sexy?
No. Men obsessed about the scent of a women, her voice, her ability to write, and even her shadow.

Proving, as if we didn't know, that imagination is the greatest aphrodisiac.

That's why people from other cultures can be incredibly sexy; because we don't know anything about them. Our minds are free to interpret everything.
Which is just another good reason to travel.
Just remember your toothbrush!

GH 2/98
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