Scanning any media source, and in particular watching television, the amount of bared flesh that passes for style is… how shall I phrase this delicately… surprising.
I still hold to that pretty position, but I don’t consider it applicable to “anytime, anywhere, any excuse.”
Too much of a so-called good thing is… too much!
How Much Flesh Do You Flash?
A hint of the heavenly? A flash of the flesh?
Surely, we all have to find our personal comfort zone given the skin we’re in, where we are in life, and what we’re trying to achieve. I find my own standards to be summarized as follows… for a social occasion.
Just enough cleavage, without “excessive” exposure.
A peek at the knee and a sliver of thigh as legs are crossed in a seductive but sagely slit skirt.
A smooth, round shoulder and the fine line of collar bone — one of the sexiest spots on a woman’s body at any age, and too often neglected.
I dare to bare in what I hope is good taste… provocatively, judiciously, showing if the circumstances invite an opportunity, and not showing off or revealing what is better left to private amorous antics.
Isn’t a little mystery a big plus? Isn’t it preferable to set the stage for the second act of a privileged performance that is shared at the pleasure of two consenting adults? Shouldn’t we savor the steps toward fuller engagement? And in a professional situation, shouldn’t we “just say no” to any suggestion of too much?
When you meet someone new socially, are you all walls, games and guise? Do you offer a glimpse into your spirit, your humor, your real life — in order to spark interest as well as to find common ground?
Do you manage to do so without taking it too far too fast — telling all in ways that are uncomfortable for the other person?
Once upon a time, regardless of the arena, didn’t our mothers teach us “less is more?”
Sharing is critical to creating rapport in any situation that calls for cooperation or collaboration, even temporarily. So we observe and listen, hoping for a tidbit we can expand on in some way through questions or stories. Mind you, this isn’t purely about socializing — rummaging through the mental files for effective icebreakers when we’re out of practice, or tiptoeing back into the early stages of dating when it’s been years, and we’re wondering how much of our personal lives to divulge.
Here’s an example I recall.
Not long ago I attended a meeting in which I discovered that my college experience overlapped in years and region with the person I had just been introduced to. I noted the common background, we quickly saw ourselves as peers, the words flowed, and we laughed over enjoyable memories of a time and place distant from where we find ourselves today.
A connection was established. Cards were exchanged. Who knows what future dealings might blossom?
We both left the door open to any number of possibilities, personal and professional, and thus closed the door to none.
Cleavage as Metaphor?
So what do TMI and Too Much Skin have to do with each other?
Plenty… in our “more is more” pop culture society, our growing desensitization to thigh-high skirts and plunging necklines… and this from a woman — me! — who believes that bodies are beautiful and we should celebrate them.
Still, in the example I mention above, I can only hope that my metaphorical cleavage was just right and while I personally believe that less is more, “less is more” does not mean “none at all.”
It’s also important that we speak our minds and do so clearly. But everything about communication should serve a purpose, whether that’s fun, flirtation, or negotiation. That said, it’s easier to gauge what to say and how to say it – not to mention what to show and just how much – when we’re face to face with our target audience.
Online? It’s far more challenging though it seems so simple. Isn’t that part of the seduction as we continue to use the web as something of a free-for-all, encouraged by a sense of privacy that is utterly false?
Disclosing too much is a national virus these days, whether a matter of attire or describing sexual desire. And of course we get personal in our online writing! We offer a slice of life with others — including those moments that are triumphant or problematic — anticipating consolation and commiseration as well as “friends” and followers.
Getting to Know You…
I do not exempt myself from having overdone (or underdone); I remind myself to stop, to consider, and to take a breath before pushing publish or send, much as I would before opening my mouth in public.
We never know who may be listening, watching, and judging. We walk a fine line, a shifting one at that, based on audience and circumstances.
Disclosing confidences reflects a willingness to be vulnerable and thus approachable. But “confession” as a routine response to a question? Bad idea.
Granted, some of us make our living at speaking and writing from personal experience. We find our hook, and then we balance a need for legitimacy, credibility, and privacy as we nonetheless seek to connect in ways that form and solidify communities.
Our overdoing — anything — at times, inadvertently? It happens (of course); that’s often how we learn to do better.
When we’re young, the world is new; we are new in the world as we participate in the process of exploring it. We experiment, we feel our way, we long to be noticed. In a self-promotional world in which “being noticed” has become the norm, it may be years before we grow into a sense of what our parents — and eventually we ourselves — deem appropriate.
I dare to bare when it suits me; I enjoy the art of using my assets to their advantage and downplaying everything else. The impact of occasional exposure, metaphorically or otherwise, is greater when too much information (or too much skin) isn’t the norm.
Whatever we communicate and how, aren’t we better off when it’s done with specific intention?
The women I know, most of whom are in their mid-thirties or older, have perfected their sense of timing when it comes to turning up the volume on charm (verbally or otherwise), turning up the heat in private, and clothing themselves in the wardrobe, words and moves that make sense — just as they choose their clothing for a day at the office or a particular event.
Decisions are executed with clarity and awareness.
We all have moments when we’re tired, we’re frustrated, we’re angry, and so we vent, saying too much, revealing too much, vulnerable in the wake of words and emotions… and regretting what we’ve just disclosed. But generally, as adults, isn’t it in our best interest to take the five seconds required to think before we speak, or to re-read before sending emails and texts that say too much or say it poorly? How different is this from those critical early dating rules — attentively observing and listening while seeking common ground — and not a dumping ground?
We all seek to make a positive impression, don’t we? Likewise, we frequently walk a fine line as we disclose the flesh and bone of who we are, at the right time and in the right way, and ideally, reading our audience as we go. Even an audience we believe we know well. In my opinion — and maturity? — it’s wise to keep sufficient wits about us to consider something other than the immediate effect of flashing the skin we’re in… unless all we care about is momentary notice.
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