Newsletter 3

Walking Works of Art
Newsletter 3

In this period of heightened awareness of men disrespecting women it occurred to me that an essay I wrote seven years ago (and showed only to Elizabeth and a couple of close friends) would be appropriate to this newsletter.

Like most men of conscience, I’ve been examining my personal history with women. Before I met “Betsy” (as Elizabeth was known in 1967) and ceased my philandering, I had been a straight man in musical theatre for ten years so there was never a lack of comely ladies in my life. But, happily, as I ponder the many experiences I’ve had with women I am unable to tag myself with any inappropriate behavior. If she said “no” I moved on. Period.

And I was always, and I remain, an aficionado of feminine beauty.

I live in The City. This statement requires a bit of expansion. New York City comprises five boroughs: Staten Island, which on the few occasions when I’ve visited, seems like a Midwestern state; Queens–suburbia; The Bronx, runs the gamut from a third world country to upscale mansions; Brooklyn–a separate city to most; and Manhattan – known locally as “The City”.

The vast majority of us who live in The City travel around town by subway, bus and foot. Taxicabs are everywhere, but expensive, and bikes (my preferred mode of transport) are used by we lucky few. The sidewalks in most neighborhoods, especially midtown, are crowded from 7:00 AM or so until well after midnight most days, and that’s where I find the subjects of this essay: women.

I make my living primarily with my eyes. I’m a video editor and I do some shooting (videography) and directing. All these are visual occupations first and foremost. So I look and I see. I see things most people don’t. This is either a hazard or a benefit of my profession depending upon the view.

Ben & Elizabeth a Love Story

Ben & Elizabeth a Love Story (Photo by Eben Ludlow)

Here I must inform you that I’m a very happily married man, blessed with a wife who is one of those rare creatures who seems to grow more beautiful (and sexy) with the passing years (fifty and change so far since first we met). So my roving eye is purely aesthetic, and I am a great appreciator of beauty. Having traveled extensively, I can tell you that while there are beautiful women to be found everywhere, Manhattan has a disproportionate percentage of feminine loveliness. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s that women here are more conscious of their appearance than in other places, but there it is, right before my eyes every day.

This phenomenon has caused me frequently to wonder: do they know that they are walking works of art? When they select their “look” – whether snug pants (or tights) displaying their fetching derrieres, or short skirts with high-heeled boots accentuating shapely legs, or scooped blouses inviting a look at their voluptuous bosoms, not to mention the makeup and the hairdos – do they know that they are becoming works of art for the enjoyment and amazement of the masculine race? I’m confident that some do, but most, I believe, are just trying to “look their best” and don’t really have a concept of the living art they have created.

I suppose that without some sort of sophisticated poll, survey, or doctoral dissertation, this question will remain unanswered. But I find it intriguing to contemplate.

Original January 2011 / Updated January 2018

In case you’re interested you’ll find my Books here.