This World Is Not For The Innocent



I’m not sure where this painting came from but the woman is stood over the sitting man.


I can remember a young man where I worked gashing the top of this head. Skin had broken and there was a finger of blood on the apex of his head. He said it didn’t need attention but one of our colleagues (better not mentioned names here) pressed her hand on his shoulder and pressed him down onto a chair. With the help of First Aid box she proceeded to dab the cut and clear up the flow. He was quite an innocent lad - quiet, a bit unsure of himself. I can remember his eyes locked on her waist and, moreover, his neck was reddening with blood.


Years later I bumped into him in a local garage. I’d taken my car there for a new exhaust and he was sat there waiting for some work to be done. We had a predictable chat alternating between“what happened to?” and “can you remember...?” When I mentioned the time he gashed his head he was surprised and uttered things like, “How the hell did you remember that!” and “I’d hate to cross you - you must have a fabulous memory.” I only remembered the scene due to the look in his eyes and the horizontal line of blood moving up his neck - it was as though someone was tipping a jug of blood into his body. The waist broadening out to hips had obviously burned into his memory.


I’ve got some books on body language and looked up the akimbo (hands on hips) posture. Its quite a complex one with a few meanings:-


1. Authority - spreading your general body size to appear bigger, standing apart from other, not sharing space.

2. Defiance - making your elbows like arrow tips as if to say, “Don’t come near me.”

3. Anger - your elbows say, “I’m so angry, don’t come near me.” Lots of footballers put their hands on their hips when disappointed.

4. Sexual poise. The finger are pointing to the body as if to say, “Look at this body.”

5. Separation. At a party someone may be stood between two sets of people. If a hand goes on just one hip its saying, “I’m keeping my  distance from you people on that side.”


I can remember seeing a pair of Mick Jagger’s trousers in a frame on a wall in a Hard Rock Café (in Amsterdam I think.) The hips were so narrow I doubt some children would be able to slide into them.


Men don’t seem to have hips do they but, for women, they’re one of the major gender signals. The average female hip width is 36cm (15.3") compared to the man’s 36cm (14 inches.)