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The Reason I Hate My Body

by Jeremy Nathan Marks

My mother is like every woman I have met of her generation. She will defer on the subject of war but consistently counsels peace. In college, my professor called this phenomenon “Mother Earth chastises Father Sky.” Raised to remain an indulged child, he married one of his students.

My college girlfriend wore boots to her knees long before knee boots resumed popularity. She wouldn’t sport any fabric that clung to her less than I. We both took the professor’s class and she said, “I am Artemis and you are Actaeon.” Our romance was a series of daily deaths, but she was immortal.

As one magazine said: “No one has to find you sexy.”

I would be lying if I told you that no one has. I receive regular looks from the pregnant and neglected. When the women at my firm ranked their peers, I came in second. On a trip south, I was hit on by a grandmother Pentecostal, not five years my senior.

Speaking of Pentecostals, I’m reminded of a different form of baptism I didn’t learn about in school. In ancient Egypt, Pharaoh used to go and spill his seed in the river to ensure that a pregnant Nile returned each year to raise bountiful crops in his kingdom. As the keeper of the cosmic order, Maat, only he could do it. I’m not kidding. This is a story no one tells you unless they want you to see how heathen your body is.

Women are more beautiful than men. I know this, since I always pray for peace, and a man’s bones are a blunt means. Nor do I practice abstinence because I hate my body; I am not unsexed. I hate my body because I feel that anything perishing by fire, languishing in betrayal, or demanding release from death is meant to be lost.

Copyright © 2019 by Jeremy Nathan Marks

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