is a distinguished Canadian photographer and regular contributor
to Arts & Opinion. For more of Alex's photography,
visit his website at:
Argentine countrymen are supposed to be polite and the men
are gentlemen. So wrote my mother in some of her nostalgic
poems she wrote about a Buenos Aires she loved. But she did
reveal to me that she used to wear a girdle when she rode
the Buenos Aires colectivos (buses). This was an
astounding revelation as my mother had a beautiful body and
legs to die for. She confessed to me that the purpose of the
girdle was to thwart the Argentine gentlemen who would pinch
her bottom while standing in the full bus.
Nación Newspaper census in the middle 60s revealed
that there were more Argentine gentlemen in the summer than
in the winter. Well, at least in buses and in the incidence
of men ceding their seats to young ladies who would be standing.
The census revealed that in the summer, Argentine women were
especially noted for wearing little because of the extreme
humidity and heat of a city so near to River Plate. These
women would wear flimsy low-cut dresses. Many forfeited bras
to the heat. This explained why men stood up. From up there
they could look down there.
In this age of
pornography I bask in the pleasure of the idea that plain
eroticism has its place. With my body’s plumbing system
and associated works not working all too well at age 68, I
would like to point out that the ancillary nervous system
that sees to those functions is working properly. My imagination
is just fine, thank you.
I remember that
in kindergarten the famous Argentine Dilligenti quintuplets
were in my class. They were two boys and three girls. I liked
the girls a lot and I can distinctly remember, at that tender
age, lifting up their skirts to peak. I was never caught.
I wonder what would happen in the atmosphere of Canada’s
school system right now if a kindergarten boy were to repeat
my lapse into curiosity of the sexual kind.
In Mexico City
in the mid 50s and later in the early 60s, it was pleasant
to sit by the window seat in buses and to look down on cars
being driven by women. I could peak at their legs, and more
so when in the 60s the miniskirt came into vogue.
I would sometimes
ride the bus with my grandmother who -- upon spying some young
woman with crossed legs in the bus or on a park bench, showing
more leg than what was considered decent -- would say to me,
“Fíjate, esa mujer esta fotografiando,”
“Look, Alex that woman is photographing.”
In this 21st century
where you can think of any person, animal, place or thing
and realize that there will be a pornographic version of it,
I am comfortable in my own realization that pleasant cleavage,
nice legs, an arresting face, a nice turn of neck and beautiful
hair can all be much more satisfying than the stuff that demands
one check in one’s credit card.
As proof of it
I display here some pictures I took one lazy and hot summer
afternoon in Queen Elizabeth Park of a young lady and her
black Toyota Celica.
And you can keep
that credit card in your wallet.
Photo Essays of Waterhouse-Hayward that have appeared
in Arts & Opinion:
the Company of Argentines