I search for an image of HOT, to represent the heat bullying the sweat out of our bodies. Ten thousand women pop up in various curved positions with breasts pressed together like captured animals.
[ insert image of breast implants ]
I scroll down and never find a woman wearing curly hair.
There are no women here with cellulite or stretchmarks.
[ insert the sound of airbrushed blemishes erased and removed ]
I am naked, without pose. A wave of heat bounces off an invisible trampoline from sky to pavement, sky to pavement, sky to pavement.
There is no reprieve as the sun stalks skin uncovered and approachable. All movements are gathered into moans due to the swelter.
A plugged-in, borrowed fan breathes air against my bare back, but it is not enough to keep this HOT away. My nudity is not mirrored by these snapshots of women, laying on tanned backs with legs spread and hand inside silver panties. My nudity is not represented by the ones on their bellies with one finger in mouth representing their desire to suck on things. My nudity is not replicated by the one crawling with hips spread toward the camera and hair smoothed into a seductive wave.
How can I feel masculine and still wear little on my body? I haven’t let go of my vests and sometimes wear a tie still, but tank tops don’t come with collars, so I just use my perspiring neck as a guide. I feel the language of my breasts and try to press them in, like whispered braille. These two tiny dots that yearn to be invisible. My hairy legs are less opaque now that the sun has gotten involved in my skin tone. I cover with 50 spf sunscreen, though this star that circulates around the earth like a meddling mother is rarely subtle in the summertime.
I watch men react to these women.
Yesterday, as I drank coffee in a bike shop/cafe/bar. A man sits beside the window and makes kissing noises to scantily dressed women passing by. These women are just trying to find a reprieve from the sun. I panic that some man will whistle and the anger that boils in me, which is far stronger than the sun, will erupt into a weapon: sharp and dangerous.
Perhaps the hair on my legs and beneath my arms and the knots in my hair and my consistent scowl and disgust of them keeps these men away.
I finish the final remains of my coffee. I think about walking outside, straddling the one thing that doesn’t expect a phone call in the morning or a commitment of monogamy: my bike.
I think about pedaling to the farmer’s market and purchasing food that is here due to that stunning sun and the water produced from the sky called rain and the farmer’s who don’t waste time thinking about silicone or sexy poses because they are too busy producing nutrients.
I think I’m going to have to put on some clothes now.