Made of stars

Everywhere, simply everywhere I look, I see stylized, photoshopped and airbrushed images of women – and men – that look nothing like the people involved.  I’m tired of looking at faked people.  It’s long past time to get real, and I’ve begun to take note of every article and every photograph that celebrates that realness.  And believe it or not, there actually are a few scattered here and there.

When a Facebook friend posted an article the other day from a website called Elephant Journal, which is dedicated to the mindful life and in touch with pretty much everything, I followed the link and did some exploring.  I liked what I saw.

One article in particular stood out for me that morning, and I decided that it had to be shared.  Here, yours to enjoy, is Dale Favier’s “What People Really Look Like.”

What People Really Look Like

What people really look like  adj

I’ve been a massage therapist for many years now. I know what people look like.  People have been undressing for me for a long time.  I know what you look like:  a glance at you, and I can picture pretty well what you’d look like on my table.

Let’s start here with what nobody looks like:  nobody looks like the people in magazines or movies.  Not even models.  Nobody.  Lean people have a kind of raw-boned, unfinished look about them that is very appealing.  But they don’t have plump round breasts and plump round asses.   You have plump round breasts and a plump round ass, you have a plump round belly and plump round thighs as well. That’s how it works. (And that’s very appealing too.)

Women have cellulite. All of them.  It’s dimply and cute. It’s not a defect. It’s not a health problem. It’s the natural consequence of not consisting of photoshopped pixels, and not having emerged from an airbrush.

Men have silly buttocks.  Well, if most of your clients are women, anyway.  You come to male buttocks and you say — what, this is it? They’re kind of scrawny and the tissue is jumpy because it’s unpadded; you have to dial back the pressure, or they’ll yelp.

Adults sag.  It doesn’t matter how fit they are.  Every decade, an adult sags a little more.  All of the tissue hangs a little looser.  They wrinkle, too.  I don’t know who put about the rumor that just old people wrinkle.  You start wrinkling when you start sagging, as soon as you’re all grown up, and the process goes its merry way as long as you live.  Which is hopefully a long, long time, right?

Everybody on a massage table is beautiful.  There are really no exceptions to this rule.

At that first long sigh, at that first thought that “I can stop hanging on now, I’m safe,” a luminosity, a glow, begins.  Within a few minutes the whole body is radiant with it.  It suffuses the room; it suffuses the massage therapist too.

People talk about massage therapists being caretakers, and I suppose we are; we like to look after people, and we’re easily moved to tenderness.   But to let you in on a secret:   I’m in it for the glow.

I’ll tell you what people look like, really: they look like flames. Or like the stars, on a clear night in the wilderness.

Dale Favier at his massage table

Dale Favier has taught poetry, chopped vegetables, and written software for a living.  Nowadays he writes in the morning, does database work (for a wonderful non-profit promoting literacy) in the afternoon, and does massage in the evening.   It’s pretty much the perfect life, and while he’s uncomfortably aware that he’s running an unsustainable karma deficit, he plans to keep it up as long as he can.

Dale blogs about massage and health at

What Elephant Has to Say about Elephant:

elephant logo

Why “elephant”?   Click here for the blow by blow.

We’re dedicated to sharing the good life beyond the choir, and to all those who don’t yet know they care about living a good, fun life that’s good for others, and our planet.

The mindful life is about yoga, organics, sustainability, conscious consumerism, enlightened education, the contemplative arts, adventure, bicycling, family…everything. But mostly it’s about this present moment, right here, right now, and how we can best be of benefit, and have a good time doing so.



    1. And did you add a tummy tuck, and a six-pack, and a mustache, and some five-o’clock shadow, and perhaps make the hands a little larger and the nose just a touch narrower and the jaw a shade stronger….and so on and so forth?

      No? Then I guess you can be forgiven for one teensy white bit!

      The Photoshopping Police


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