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Today is "Marriage Equality Day" for the state of California, the day when civil courts will issue gender-neutral marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

As a long-married straight woman, it would seem at first that I wouldn't care that much whether or not the social advantages of marriage were extended to gay men and lesbians who choose to partake of them. But I do, and this is why.

I like being married. It's been one of "the high signs of [my] lifetime," to paraphrase the David LaFlamme song. At the same time, I recognize that marriage - living in a committed relationship with another person on a long-term, day-to-day basis - is hard. So hard that some marriages don't navigate the rocks, and become shipwrecked. So hard that it requires not just the support of the couple for each other, but the support of the wider community as well. But when marriage does "work," and when the people around you are committed to helping you make your pairing work, and you likewise are committed to others, it can bring not only great joy, but reinforce the bedrock of society as well.

There's an old, mystical idea of "soulmates" which goes beyond the romance-novel concept. In Howard Schwartz's Jewish folklore compendium, Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism, he talks about a more traditional view. Soulmates, when they find each other, don't only experience the deep personal joy and satisfaction which comes from full unity with someone you love. The union of soulmates also changes the world in some way for the better.

The same-sex couples marrying today in California will have for an anniversary a highly significant day. It's one that we can only hope will engrave itself in American history as the day those soulmates publicly acknowledged their union, and openly built up the great common good with their passion, energy, and commitment.

So today California, and hopefully same time next year, the rest of the United States. So for this day, here are some more of [livejournal.com profile] wooferstl's photographs, this time of "the man in full, paired."

Woofer and Matt, picture-heavy and safe for work )

ETA: Earlier [livejournal.com profile] wooferstl photos: The man in full, alone

men_in_full: (de vos bacchus)

I found these three videos, made by a European masseur named Massimo. In them he gives a therapeutic deep tissue / shiatsu massage to a large-bodied older man. They're sensually appealing, even erotic in places, although nonetheless. The man receiving the massage looks so happy and relaxed; his relief becomes palpable as his kinks and pains get rubbed away. I also like the way Massimo handles him, tenderly and with compassion - in the words of Don McLean, "soothed beneath the artist's loving hand."

It's common to see "medicalized" images of fat men (on the scales, or in a doctor's office, or looking worried about some health stat or another.) The man in these videos, though, isn't just a "patient" to be "fixed;" he's treated as a cooperator in his own healing. The sensual enjoyment of being helped shows on his face.

It's rare to see sensual, mostly-nude fat men, too. Take any TV show: every male character takes off his shirt at one point or another *except* for the fat guy. Many men are afraid of mockery and so don't use the pool or sit out in the sun. This not only limits them, it also means that many people really don't see the fat body outside of a highly caricatured, often fat-suited fictional context.

Some fat men can't bear to have certain parts of their bodies touched, because it reminds them of "how big" whatever the "offending" parts are. However, to get the help out of massage, or physical therapy, or any other kind of body work (or love-making, for that matter), they have to let that resistance go. Then all those "forbidden" or "ugly" parts get moved back into the circle of the loved, accepted body.

Not explicit, but probably NSFW ...  )

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