My face was red, sunburned red. I was breathing hard, a sign that my forty-year-old body was a couple of decades past being a competitive athlete, past being fit, past having a beautiful belly button on a stomach without stretch marks.
I continued my workout on our driveway, passing the basketball to one of my seven-year-old twins. We played hard in the sun-filled afternoon, taking advantage of a hot spring day.
With the encouragement of my kids, I started dunking on the Lilliputian net, pretending I had a vertical jump, pretending I was young enough to believe I could.
Vivian and William giggled.
I took a breather and let the real stars play.
Soon, they invited me back to their game. We played shoot-til-you-miss, where the rebounders keep passing the shooter the ball until she misses.
Before long, my husband drove up and parked on the street. The three of us kept playing amidst smiles, waves, and “Hi Daddy” greetings.
Vivian’s shot bounced off the rim, and William passed me the ball. I sunk one from the imaginary free throw line. Two. Three. And kept going. My form was on. For a moment, I was twenty again, I was fit, and my stomach was desirable.
I walked over to my husband who had that grin on his face. I knew the one. I first saw it fourteen years ago when he picked me up for our second date.
He put his hand on my sweaty back. “Now that is sexy.”
I looked at him, my red face illuminating his. “Yeah, right,” I replied.
“Seriously,” he said. “This is when I find you sexiest.”
“When I’m sweaty, out of breath, and without make up?”
I forgot about his comments for a while. For weeks, actually. Ever since I had two babies and two placentas yanked from my uterus, I’ve become rather good at forgetting.
Then last week I started to think about what makes moms sexy. I thought back to this conversation with my husband and to a few other fleeting moments when I felt sexy, and I realized this: being sexy, being desirable has nothing to do with being a mother, being twenty, or being a woman. What makes any adult sexy – at least to me – is the following:
- Confidence: Confidence comes from the brain. The body merely follows the orders that come from within. And if someone owns that message – regardless of how many scars crisscross her stomach or how red her face is – she oozes sexuality.
- Expertise and Passion: Expertise and passion are why people fawn over “ugly” musicians and why I’m continually in awe when I watch the Olympics. If a woman (or man) is highly skilled at something, pursues her gift regardless of obstacles, and is willing to demonstrate and share that passion, she is irresistible.
- Humor: There is something disarming and sexy-as-hell about a sense of humor, about wit, about daring to be funny.
- Clothes That Fit Whatever Shape or Size You Are Right Now: For me, it’s an expensive bra that defies gravity, and pants with a 36” inseam. Both of these would have helped me to stand taller as a teen…and perhaps even to dunk the basketball, at least metaphorically.
What makes someone sexy?
When have you felt sexy?