There are a lot of women that I know that are rather appearance conscious: "My boobs are too small", "my ass is too big", "my nose looks like a caterpillar on steroids". To a lesser degree, a lot of the men I know are becoming that way too.
I make a lot of jokes about wanting an emotionally stable stripper for a girlfriend, and I tend to have the appearance of being oriented toward physical appearance over everything else. Some of you have told me that very thing, perhaps in different words, and I have really sort of cultivated that bit of folklore. It's like the online equivalent of wearing a hat; it becomes part of the persona, part of the costume that I wear when you interact with me. (The whyfor of that is something that probably could use some explaining, which will come later.)
The reality is a little deeper than that.
I spend a good deal of my time with movies and photographs, looking at idealized images and analyzing them, trying to understand the aesthetics and absorb them into my own work. It's paid off: when I get a chance to actually light someone and photograph them, I can usually make some excellent photographs, or movies (they're very similar from a lighting perspective).
I have a friend who I love to photograph. She is attractive on a lot of levels, but my big turn-on with lighting her is that her skin has a wonderful translucent quality that eats light and feeds it back in a soft glow. I can make her look almost electric, and that is a powerful, heady thing for someone whose creative bent leans that way. I'd love to do a '40s glamour shoot with her; it would be fabulous.
At the same time, I know what she looks like without makeup, and I know how ultimately self-conscious she is about her appearance. And she's one of the well-adjusted ones.
Most of the women that I know end up comparing themselves to images that they see in magazines, television, movies, the internet. Media in many forms. And the reality of that is that none of it is real. There are professionals whose job it is to do makeup and hair and costuming and lighting to get images just perfect, then the Photoshop gurus come in and tweak every little thing to fit some exec's idea of aesthetics.
It's hard to try and get that across. But this video does it nicely:
Dove Campaign for real beauty
And yes, as much as I come across as a thong-following droolboy, the reality is that what I find beautiful in a woman goes a hell of a lot deeper than just how she looks.
I know that it's breaking the rules of teh intrawebs to let on, but I'm having a rare candid moment. In the morning, I'll deny it and be back to my old self.