What makes you feel sexy? To use the clichè (forgive me), I guess it is different strokes for different folks. Sex is a challenging subject for a certain kind of writer (such as myself).
One, you risk appearing un-intellectual, particularly within the pages of this newspaper. Second, the writing on this topic has such bad precedents: Mills & Boon and Harlequin, to name two. So, it is with no little trepidation that I approach this column—how to write about sex in a way that will appeal to this readership?
So...what makes you feel sexy? Some are seduced by words—Sufi poetry. Others by clothes—a halter-top with a chiffon sari. Many women I know ogle at a man’s well-shaped behind, all the better if he walks well. Even better if he glances over his shoulder. Shoulders and biceps are old standards. Thighs—remember “thunder thighs”—always seem to excite Indian men. As for me, there is nothing like Latin music, particularly Spanish guitar, to get me in the mood.
My current favourite is actually an old-timer named Ottmar Liebert. As I write this, I have his song, Barcelona Nights, playing in the background. It is rhythmic, pulsating and very sexy. It makes you think of moonlit nights and wild curls, of crashing waves and dancing bodies (dear god, I can’t believe I am writing this). I am not tied to Ottmar. Give me salsa, meringue, rumba or even plain old steel drums. I find them irresistible.
Latin music is huge in Bollywood right now. Part of the reason I listened to the Dhoom 2 songs again and again was their Spanish interjections. If anyone knows who sang that Spanish verse Mi Amore as Hrithik Roshan falls off the cliff, please email me. I’ve been trying my darndest to find the original.
I think the reason why I and many others find Latin music sexy is because Latin people are sexy. Latinos move, shake and gyrate in a way that would horrify an Indian mother. They teach us the oldest clichè of all: that being sexy (or for that matter, being anything) is a state of mind and has little to do with clothes, bags or sunglasses. Whenever my friends coo over some “sexy” Louboutin heels, a Lanvin dress or a Lambertson Truex handbag, I only need to point to a Latino lad or lass. They seem to achieve the same sexiness without shelling out a few hundred (or thousand) bucks.
I’ve often wondered what it is that makes Latinos so sexy. After much thought, I’ve decided that it comes down to two things: passion and pain. Their music reflects a willingness to live life with an openness that lets in both passion and pain, time and time again. This is contrary to what science teaches us about our sympathetic nervous system, about adrenal glands and the fight-or-flight response, and every notion of human response to pain. When we encounter pain, we guard against it the next time. We close ourselves; we become cautious. Certainly, we don’t live large and take risks. We don’t open ourselves to let in passion and pain. In other words, we become strait-laced. Not sexy. Get my drift?
So, what is your average young Turk to do? You want to work in a bank and earn big bucks, you want to stay accountable, shoulder more responsibility and yet be sexy. I am no management coach, but here is what I would start doing. Download Spanish songs into your iPod. Learn salsa on your day off. Oh, and let your guard down a bit. “Shake your bon-bon.” You might be surprised with the results. Your spouse will thank me.
(After writing this piece, Shoba has decided that writing about sex (in an original way) is harder than writing about macro-economics. To all those who roll their eyes, she has two words: Try it. Write to her at thegoodlife@ livemint.com)