Friday, June 12, 2009

Do you moonlight as a pimp, maestro?

One of the nice things about social networking sites is the ability to "keep tabs" on friends that you might not otherwise talk to on a regular basis. Where the acquaintance may have withered in the regular course of time, instead we stay somewhat aware of what the other person is doing through the occasional photo, comment, or story that filters through the network. It's nice.

And it's through this modern development that I know a bit about a friend I left in Chicago. I haven't had a single meeting with him since I left Chicago in June of 2000, but through little comments here and there, we've kept in touch over the years. Enough to know he's seemingly happy and successful at life.

He also keeps interesting company. [You should say this with as much eyebrow raising as can be mustered.] One of Facebook's little features is something called "Highlights", which keeps a small running column down the right side of the home page. In this column are random snippets of what your collected assortment of Facebook Friends are doing. For example, if a friend clicks somewhere to indicate that they like Jimmy John's Sub Shop sandwiches, a little picture of picture of the logo will appear in the highlights and underneath, it will say "Bob likes Jimmy John's". It's not just commercial things: if someone comments on a picture or makes a statement, you'll randomly get a notification of that, too.

There would seem to be no rhyme or reason to what information stays or never makes it to the highlight section. It's roughly chronological, but some events vanish and some events appear threaded into the "past" end. Tis a puzzlement.

But this puzzle leads to another. My friend from Chicago commented on a picture of a woman I don't know. Thanks to the magic of the Facebook Arbitrary Privacy standards, I can now see that picture and read the comment, even though I've never met her and have no actual connection between us. I can't access the information in her profile (her birthday, her job listings, her address), I can see the rest of the photos in that particular album. I don't think this is the way it's supposed to work, but I'm not the one running the multi-million dollar company.

The first time this happened, his comment was on a picture of a woman who had the smallest of garments preventing her from being topless. When I saw that little thumbnail picture to the side of my page, I was VERY surprised. Yet fear not, she is not being exploited: it turns out she's a burlesque dancer and she only wears that whenever they don't have "casual Fridays" at work.

This was about six months ago. When I lived in Chicago, he was the sort of person who gave the impression he'd never even been NEAR a woman, so I chuckled to myself and thought "good for him" for meeting a fancy dancer.

Since that time, however, I've seen month upon month of comments on pictures of other burlesque dancers, gothic models, bikini girls, and fitness models. So I'm starting to wonder what sort of crowds he actually runs with in Chicago. Especially since many of them don't seem to live in Chicago. I can't imagine ALL of these people would go around giving their Facebook name as a preferred method of contact.

*** *** ***

The picture that received a comment today was of a "fitness model". I put fitness model in quotes because it seems like it's a descriptive metaphor for something else [wink, wink], but nobody seems to have any idea what that "else" is. When pressed, everyone seems to agree that its a model who is affiliated with fitness equipment or clothing. So... there? Huh.

Anyway, I've included a version of the photo, modified so as to conceal the woman's identity (and to embarrass myself). As you can see, this fetching woman is modeling the latest in fitness attire: a semi-transparent frilly pink bra and panties set. It's what everyone is going jogging in, I guess. She's kneeling on a bed and wearing three-inch Lucite high heels. Also for jogging. After you get good at running in athletic shoes, you can switch to heels to boost the difficulty.

I assume to understand why models like to wear heels and/or stand on their toes. One, it makes them taller, and taller equates with sexy somehow (most models are tall). Tall also helps contribute to the illusion of long legs, which implies thin by virtue of an optical illusion. [As an aside, it made me happy to bold the word "thin" in that sentence. Typeface nerd!]

Two, it partially flexes some of the muscles in the legs, tightening up the skin and making legs appear more toned and (you guessed it) thin, because muscularity implies thin (in the distorted belief that muscles and fat are somehow mutually exclusive).

Three, the heels themselves are somehow sexy. I'll grant that high heels look sexy with evening dresses, modern clubbing for the fashonistas, or during certain kinds of dancing, but I find them utterly ridiculous with swimwear, for example. Any woman I know is probably wearing flip-flops or river shoes with a swimsuit, or is plain-old barefoot. As such, my brain registers only first-impression derision seeing models at the pool with heels on.

And I guess that's my problem with the above picture (over and above the absolutely HIDEOUS face on that model). My logical brain says that she shouldn't be wearing shoes in bed, because she'll track dirt in (my mom's reason for not allowing me to wear shoes to bed) or because she can't possibly use the heels to look taller or more muscular. It's possible the shot was part of a set that had her standing up at some point, but given the amount of care that goes into shooting each and every shot set-up at a photo shoot, I can't imagine that detail would have been overlooked. Unless it's like high school yearbook photos where you pay by the outfit. If she had taken off the shoes, maybe she'd be charged for a different outfit. Thrifty thinkin', fitness model!

So the answer is probably point three (heels are sexy) in this case. I don't see it, but there's got to be a reason why they're in the shot. I have to assume that some people think that having heels on "classes up the joint". I think it just looks silly.

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