Are you comfortable nude?

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We’ve talked about body acceptance. Now, I’d like to ask…how comfortable are you nude?

I have to tell you, I’m always surprised by how reluctant Americans are about stripping down. Growing up, I noticed that my extended family in China was fairly open about their bodies…not closing the door when changing, for instance.

When I was 13 and visiting Beijing, my aunt decided to invite all the ladies to a spa unlike any spa I’ve seen in the US. There was an atrium with large whirlpools bathed in golden light, dry saunas adjacent to wet ones, an in-house movie theater with plushy seats where foot masseuses came to you

I was booked for a massage for “the whole body”, my masseuse emphasized. I hadn’t yet been fully unclothed in my new body before anyone and initially felt a combination of goofiness and embarrassment. But by the end, it felt so, so calming.

Since then, I’ve become more and more open about my corporeality, let’s say 😉

Over the summer, I went to visit a friend in Massachusetts. We were driving to the main beach on the island when she commented that a portion of the coast was clothing optional.

Absolutely, I’d thought. “I mean, more for having no tan lines than anything else”. I tried to sound casual.

The water was calm on Lucy Vincent. We peeled off all our layers and frolicked across the sand and sea for the afternoon, surrounded by just a loose band of elderly men and women.

The day spread into evening and as we were packing up for home, one of the ladies from the group approached us.

“Are you dancers? You both look like you’ve just stepped out of a painting”, she’d said.

It’s true that neither of us look like we’ve just stepped out of a magazine, but that was never the point. Her compliment was genuine and kind, the kind that sticks with you.

(image via here)

How to have sex all the time

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Ladies! This happened just the other day:

Me: Look at my tan lines! They give the look of me having stomach pudge whyyyy *Proceeds to snap picture, sends photo evidence to boyfriend*

Boyfriend: Huh?

It’s true. We all feel flabby or bloated or downright unsexy at times. And as evidenced from above, we are all our own toughest critic though admittedly, some are probably better at keeping these feelings at bay than I.

It made me think back to this article, which is hands-down one of the best pieces I’ve ever come across and something I still find perfectly relevant today as my self-acceptance is still a work-in-progress.

As Tavi so logically points out: people are, like, beautiful, man. Much love to you and your body ❤

(image via here)

What qualities do you look for most in a partner?

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Once when I was in fourth grade, my homeroom teacher asked us to create a flipbook. “It can be anything you want. Where you’ll go on vacation this summer or what you’d like to be when you grow up”, she described. In retrospect, it was simply to practice writing in future tense.

I took the hint.

“When I grow up, I will have graduated from Yale Law School. After a few years of being a lawyer, I will retire to my cottage in the English countryside. I will then marry someone with a dog.”

You can tell the one thing I really wanted that Christmas.

We’ve talked about the small (sometimes secret!) things we find attractive in a person. Now, I’d like to ask what do you look for most in a partner?

Asking ‘what does this person want from life?’: “In my experience, partners must want the same thing, no matter how infatuated you both may be. In relationships, we imagine our future with that partner and spin up dreams about how our lives will unfold together. When a couple’s values differ, those dreams can look very different. On the other hand, when you and your partner both share the same vision, you reinforce each other positively to bring that dream to fruition.” -J

Stimulating and thoughtful conversations: “I’m interesting if you’re the right person. I hate being ignored and have a strong need to share and discuss things that make me think and that I find interesting. It’s not very common so when you find someone who likes it, it feels more special and rare.” -R

Finding comfort and belonging: “I look for someone who nurtures my sense of presence. I’m often too cognizant of the future, but I find refuge in deep connections. Honest and tolerant conversation has to be there. So does comfort in both silence and frivolity. Bonus points for anyone that looks like John Stamos.” -Anonymous

A simple, straight-forward list: “A healthy and strong body, a curious mind, ambition to have a successful career and positivity.” -M

 Just one thing: “A person who is kind”, said my boyfriend, because he is sweet.
(cheeky photo via Buzzfeed)

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What little things are you attracted to in a partner?

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When I was in middle school, I developed my first ‘type’, mostly because of the music I was listening to. “You seem to have a crush on swoopy hair”, my mom embarrassingly mentioned one time around then.

I’ve come to realize that there are so many little things we can find attractive in a potential partner, things that make us each melt a bit on the inside…

Elevating everyday conversation: I’m secretly a big fan of lexicon (I find the structure of this fascinating). Dropping in rare or academic words like sisyphean or ipso facto as appropriate in conversation can be admittedly tricky to navigate without sounding pretentious, which is why this sort of dexterity is a big plus in my book.

Good grammar when texting: Full sentences can mean alot. I never use this when writing, but somehow, I love it when other people incorporate it into text messages. And using a semi-colon when texting…ah, swoon.

A well tailored button-down: “It doesn’t have to be expensive, but a fitted shirt is insanely attractive” said one friend.

Fleshy legs: “Women who have a smaller upper frame and slightly bigger lower half. Her curves happily surprise me every time we undress” said another.

Tie dimples: A gesture so small I’ve only noticed recently. “It depends on the type of tie, knot and occasion”, a stylish guy friend advised me over text. (how sweet is this video? Truly a science.)

(image via Pinterest)