"And I have to point out — despite my sensibility that wants not to offend women — that there is a lot of flesh. There are a lot of parts — tanned arms, even the tips of her fingers, when she jabs the air to make a point. I have to look. To set her up as a series of parts, and present her as a whole," laments writer Tom Chiarella as he grapples with tackling the subject of Esquire's (just-announced!) "Sexiest Woman Alive 2007", actress Charlize Theron. He even says as much to Charlize herself!
But I'll just tell you that I hate describing women's bodies. What am I going to say? Stunning? Red-hot? Great eyes? Fucking wow?
(Mr. Chiarella says that when he told Charlize that, she threw her head back, exposing her long neck to the world "with a kind of joy.")
Well: It turns out Tom didn't have such a hard time writing about Charlize after all! In fact, he employed a clever device to ameliorate his discomfort at objectifying the Oscar-winning actress: Writing the profile as if penning a screenplay, and giving us a descriptive, detailed, almost paint-by-numbers picture of Charlize's sexiest merits. (And it isn't her views on Roe vs. Wade!) Let's start from her top and work our way down, shall we?
Her eyes hold the gaze of the camera directly, disarmingly. When she was younger, she looked like she knew she was hot. Now she looks like a person who knows exactly what's going on — everything sorted and rich in the possibility of desire, everything painful and cheap, cruel and unspoken in the world around her — and it does not scare her.
Close on Charlize's mouth, her lips bent in her particular smile, sexy and knowing, a little bit leering, just sweet enough that you feel wont to assume some connection, some secret between you. This is the big trick of sexiness. The big lie. But it's no trick at all for her. She bites down on the pack of cigarettes and unspools the cellophane with her teeth, a luscious and familiar dissection.
Charlize grabs the chair next to the Writer and puts her legs up. They are as long as the afternoon.
She rises and presses both hands against her belly, either because she needs to pee or she is trying to center herself. But the gesture is startling and subtle. One forgets how tall she is. The hands seem to signal the end of things — the conversation, the banter, the lunch. Certainly the movie. The camera holds on this. It's an easy shot, a beautiful woman with her hands laid across the flesh of her flat belly.
CLOSE ON the WRITER's face, clearheaded, appreciative, he nods a little, witness this time to something grand. As she walks away, she must know the WRITER is watching her, and she must know that her figure, swaying almost architecturally on her towering heels, takes the sex with her. At the corner of the hedge, CHARLIZE turns and meets the WRITER's eyes. He is caught staring, but neither of them is surprised or embarrassed by his gaze. He likes regarding her, and she doesn't mind being looked at. They have told each other this much.
Right, we get it now: She pretty much asked for it.