February 08, 2011

Naked at the blogger meet-up

French braid

“Do you remember learning how to braid hair?” asked the naked woman. She was braiding her hair as she spoke, twisting the strands into a lovely French braid, while I snapped photos of her nude body.

I’d met her for the first time that morning. We’d eaten an early lunch, talked about our lives, and then an hour later, she was sitting naked on a table next to my bed. A typical blogger meet-up.

The lack of clothing didn’t seem strange at all. We’ve read each other’s blogs for years. I would, in fact, brag to my readers about which blogger I’d just added to my blogger life list if it weren’t for the fact that I’m posting a naked photo of her. It’s complicated.

For two days, I’d been sucked into the chaotic conference frenzy: the bookfair, where editors were handing writers bits of chocolate to make up for the many rejection letters they’d sent; a party that involved jamming herds of eager MFA students into one hotel suite and letting them weave through the crowd like rats to get to the bathtub of beer; and late nights of storytelling at the bar, where I entertained myself by getting my friends drunk and then asking them stuff like, “What’s the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?”

It was a nice break to sit in my hotel room with a blogger I’ve known for years, and talk about the way that I used to practice braiding the yarn hair of my rag doll. Her quiet question stirred up memories of grade school. Suddenly, I was in my mother’s yellow kitchen, standing by the pencil sharpener while she braided my hair on first one side and then the other. I’m often amazed at how quickly we can achieve intimacy when we begin with the stories about our bodies: Where do you buy your bras? When did you first have sex? Who taught you how to braid hair?

(Readers who want to know the history of the naked photo tradition can check it out here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here. )

24 comments:

Paige said...

Gosh. My mother couldn't braid hair, and was fed up with my hairs' tendency to curl and tangle, so she got me the Klutz book of hairbraiding, and told me to learn myself.

But now my lover has hair longer than mine, and though we're long distance, when we're together, I love braiding his hair. It's less rebellious than mine, and so there are some braids (like twisted rope braiding) that will work on his hair, that never worked on mine.

I love the way the light changes from the top to the bottom of this photo; how it almost looks like it's shining out from the front of your friend's body.

Heidi said...

Another lovely photo!!!

My grandmother taught me how to braid hair. I wore blue ribbons around the ends of the braids, and red ones at Christmas time.

Anonymous said...

I never did learn how to braid my own hair, although I can braid someone else's.

Another beautiful woman.

I'm enjoying this series. I just clicked through the links you left in the last blog.

susan said...

Yes, that shining light is striking--and of course, another beautiful woman gracing your blog.

Paige, I taught myself to braid as well. I spent hours in college learning to French braid my hair, in fact, first working in French braided pony tails in order to be able to see better.

Sarah Sometimes said...

she has lovely arm muscles

Cindy said...

Feminine and sensual and strong. Great pic.

kathy a. said...

yes, another beautiful woman, and another lovely photo.

Sue said...

I love this picture!!!! Not only is the picture beautiful, but so is the woman in it. You have captured a true gem here jo(e).

LDF said...

One of my earliest memories is of my mom brushing my hair each morning before school. She'd let me choose the barettes.

liz said...

I love this photo. Meeting you was a joy!

readersguide said...

This picture is lovely. (My mother didn't braid my hair -- she instead pulled the top part back into a sort of half ponytail --does that make sense? But I loved braiding my own daughters' hair for as long as they'd let me.)

jo(e) said...

Readersguide: Oh, the half-ponytail was very much in style when I was a kid. I always wore my hair that way for photos and special occasions -- after spending the night in those pink foam curlers.

Liz: It was wonderful to finally meet you at long last!

Magpie said...

my mother taught me. and then i taught my husband and he used to braid my hair every night. then i cut it off. but now he knows how to braid the girlie's hair.

Amber said...

Another gorgeous picture!

My sister and I braided our hair when we were younger. We would braid it at night after bath while it was still wet. Then in the morning, our hairy was all curly!

My daughter is 5 and is getting long hair, but doesn't really like me braiding it. Bummer. I do hope that someday she will. For now, she does let me brush it for a couple minutes.

liz said...

(whispers) I love this conversation!

YourFireAnt said...

I think your model might've blown her cover.

;-)

kathy a. said...

the model is fabulous in every way.

my mother taught me braiding, but she had no patience for that. i probably taught my younger sisters, one of whom still braids. so does my adult daughter, sometimes.

Krishnan said...

Beautiful woman and excellent assets. :)

julieunplugged said...

I love the way her breasts peek out!

Amelie said...

You cracked me up with the "typical blogger meet-up". And this is, again, a beautiful photo.
I'm not sure who taught me how to braid hair. My mom rarely did it -- she wore a long braid as a child, but had it cut off as soon as her parents let her. I would love to have a daughter that lets me braid her hair though.

Krishnan said...

julieunplugged: i second you. :)

Zhoen said...

Braiding is so comforting. Another beautiful woman.

susanmtk said...

When I think of braiding, I think braiding my daughter's hair in a long flat fishtail braid that dangled more than halfway down her back. Ah, but now she wears dreadlocks--no more braids.

Anonymous said...

I know this woman, and how beautiful and intelligent and funny and vibrant she is, but, damn!