Friday, June 26, 2009


What is it in human skin that renders it so attractive? What possible meaning can we give to the creases in each others faces?
I remember feeling skins so rough I could barely believe it was human: hands all roughened from hard work, from burns and skin conditions. I also remember skins so soft and subtle they seemed almost nonhuman. The skin of a woman so white I called her my cloud. What do we give when we caress? What do we set in motion in the others' skin when we touch them?
A simple touch can be understood and misunderstood in so many ways, specially nowadays. We refuse to touch, we are afraid to touch: too many things involved in a simple handshake, or two kisses, like the french, or a hug, like the latinos. And, after all, what do they say about us? How does that really define us?
If I go now and put a hand on your shoulder, will you shake it? If I come from behind and tickle you, will you think I'm flirting with you?
The skin reacts without us wanting it. Our skin is so sensitive and alive that sweats, breaths, excretes -how gross is that! -and of course, we don't touch ourselves. That would be sinful.
Thirty layers of skin, separate them, look each and every one of them through a microscope and I bet you won't have a clue about why is that we shiver when we come in contact with some people, and not with others.
Of course, there is the chemistry thing: we are little more than a bundle of chemical substances and bones, nervous system, but over all, we are skin.
Skin someone: peel them off that skin.
Xipe Totec, an Aztec deity related to life-death cycles, but also to war; he flayed himself to feed his people: the ultimate sacrifice, feed your beloved ones with your own being; but pay attention, it was not his entrails, it was not his heart,, not his limbs, his liver: it was his skin: the biggest part of oneself.
Skin tells us where we end and the rest of the world starts; it protects us, and shows some of what we are: the more skin we show, the more unprotected we feel; and yet, who could argue that the moment we feel more safe, more separated from the world and close to ourselves is the moment when we shed your clothes, that other -more modern- skin and give ourselves to another body, to another skin?


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