Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Eye of the Beholder

Chatting with an acquaintance outside the Starbucks at the bottom of Newbury Street, the conversation was brought up short in midsentence as my acquaintance craned his head to watch a fashionable young lady sway her way down the sidewalk in the direction of downtown. Once he regained his composure, he said, "Did you see the hair on that girl's arms?" I had to admit I hadn't noticed.

He continued, "She has arms like a mafiosa. They're covered with wiry black hair. She has arms like a bonobo." Then he mused, "I wonder if she has the libido of a bonobo?"

I wasn't much interested in her libido but I was interested in her hairy arms. I left my coffee on the table and a few bucks for my companion's cab fare back to Newton. I said, "I'll see you next week. I've got a little field study to do." I then caught up with the woman, keeping about ten paces behind in thick foot traffic. It is Indian Summer and seasonably warm this Columbus Day weekend. People were out as thick as gadflies on Newbury Street.

I followed the subject of my investigation as far as the Public Garden. She did indeed sprout thick, black hair on her shapely forearms. People stopped in thier tracks when they noticed. She was blond on her head, whether natural or not I didn't get close enough to determine. I did see that she was young enough not to have undergone any surgical, cosmetic augmentation of her shaplier attributes. She attracted quite a bit of attention, mostly from men. Whether this had to do with her features, which would normally be considered remarkably pretty, or whether it had to do with her hairy arms is an unanswered question.

Wherever this young lady strolled she was blithely unaware of the stares and doubletakes she drew in her wake. She kept her head upturned, enjoying the sunshine, the play of shine and shadow through overhanging leaves, and the slices of solar gold that cut between Newbury Street's eaves. She smiled most of the time, content to be walking the walk of the lovely. She was lovely. She did have a bonobo's forearms though. She didn't stop traffic but she slowed it. I still don't know the reason.

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