An ode to moles and beauty spots

Image by the fabulous Stuart F Taylor

My partner has a teeny constellation of beauty spots just above and to the left of his belly button. They are one of my favourite things about his body. Well, I mean… apart from his dick and his eyes and his hands and his wrists and… look I just really love quite a lot of bits of his body, OK? I am shocked – SHOCKED – that I have not yet waxed lyrical about how gorgeously beautiful moles and beauty spots are, and why I love them so much.

Beauty spots are like fingerprints, that’s the first and most obvious point. No other human being on the planet will have the same constellation of them as you do: they are unique. Those teeny dots on your body are yours in the same way the shape of your smile is, and the map of your stretchmarks and laughter lines. They are uniquely and brilliantly you.

Sometimes even you don’t know what your moles and beauty spots look like! That’s also part of the joyous magic. If they’re on your back/bum/thighs or other inaccessible places, it’s possible that the first time you will ever have become aware of them is when I kiss them and tell you how pretty they are. There’s a genuine thrill in realising that I get to bring this sexy news to you, and then take a photo on your phone so I can show you just how perfectly this splatter of brown dots falls on one of your shoulderblades. How neatly this one nestles above your buttocks. How cute is this one that peeps out of the folds of flesh when you twist your body to one side.

A guy I used to date had a lot of moles all over his body – strangely most were in places that wouldn’t normally be exposed. So you wouldn’t imagine him to have many and then – BAM – when he took his clothes off there was this glorious dot-to-dot laid out in front of me. It was all I could do not to trace my tongue in a line through each of them.

Naturally, if you have a lot of moles and you’re regularly out in the sun, you need to keep an eye on them (here’s the NHS guidance on moles), and I only mention it here because it gives me the chance to reminisce about how the greater-spotted guy in the previous paragraph used to let me rub high-factor suncream into his back, and let him know if there were any moles that looked to be getting ideas above their station. It was one of the nicest jobs in the world: running creamy hands over his prettily-speckled skin, in the warmth of the sun, on holiday. Lazily smothering him and caring for him and taking the time to explore every single square inch of his body.

Then there are those who have maybe just a few moles or beauty spots – sometimes the sexiness isn’t in the constellations or patterns but in the stunning beauty of a single dot placed right in the perfect location. Like the incredible nipple-adjacent beauty spot on this gorgeous picture of ZebraRoseSub, on her post about overthinking porn (which is a great post in its own right, not just for the image, go read it!). She has a beauty spot just next to one of her nipples and honestly it is the most beautiful fucking thing. Like a tiny dot made with pen when you wanted to write a love letter on her body, but got so caught up in her beauty that you lost the capacity to do words. Like a tiny checkmark in a box marked ‘YES’, next to the question ‘do you want to kiss me all over?’

Like the fullstop at the end of this sentence: ‘You are astonishing.’

I’ve written before about the glorious joy in watching as someone’s body changes over the years – knowing that they will never be entirely and precisely the same person they were yesterday. Those extra atoms of fat in particular places, or those neat lines round their eyes which cut deeper after an evening of laughter. The silvery marks on their hips or upper arms which expand and contract with their flesh. And the marks and scars that are records of tiny or seismic events in their life, which get stamped as a record on their body. It’s glorious.

Moles and beauty spots and freckles of all types add their own extra texture to the picture that makes up your body, creating an entirely unique pattern that marks your skin as yours, and yours alone.

Inevitably, when I look at myself, it’s much harder to see the appeal of these marks. I have a beauty spot on my face which I love, but one on my collarbone that I find unpleasant and misplaced. The few moles on my arms that are cute are still never quite cute enough to detract from the one I find ugly. Will it always be like this, I wonder? Will it always be easier to see the beauty in other people’s bodies than in our own? I hope not. I’m practicing.

Meanwhile, while I’m practising love for my own map, it’s fun to explore other people’s. To follow the markings that take you on a journey all over someone’s body. Playing connect-the-dots with all the parts of them that make up who they are.


  • Molly says:

    My Mum, daughter and I all have exactly the same mole at the top of our bums. It is like a family heirloom passed down from one to the next


    • Girl on the net says:

      OMG that’s cool! I did not know that could happen! I wonder how far down the generations it has travelled/will travel? Like, maybe that mole has seen far back in history, and will see many centuries into the future? I like the idea of your great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren having similar conversations about theirs and maybe finding your blog/photos in digital archives and going ‘OMG we found our ancestor!’

  • Zebra Rose says:

    Oh my word, I am *stunned* and deeply honoured to have inspired such incredibly beautiful and joyfully talented writing. I feel like the fucken’ Mona Lisa, y’all! I do not have thankyou words warm and big enough to do justice to how much happiness I am full of right now



  • Phillip says:

    I know exactly. You didn’t mention wrinkles like crow’s feet at the corner of the eye. I have a friend who was in town after twenty years. I said that I really wanted to see her. She said that after all the time that had passed that she was ‘just’ an old woman. “Why would you want to see me?” I quickly said the she would ‘never be an old woman to me’. I felt like maybe I just told one of those little lies that sometimes smooths the road, but are still lies. I saw her at her parents house and I knew in an instant that she would ‘Never be an old lady to me. ‘Not ever. She looked so good and the crows feet at the corners of her eyes were just perfect. She differs on this, but now maybe a little less than before!

    • Girl on the net says:

      This reminds me of the Beautiful South song Prettiest Eyes –

      If I’m honest, I’m not a huge fan of the idea that I might ‘never be an old lady’ to someone, because I’d kind of like us to be able to appreciate more the fact that age (especially in women) is not a barrier to beauty, and that older women can also be beautiful. But then I think this is what you’re saying in a roundabout way – crows feet and wrinkles are also part of what makes up the pattern of who someone is, and they’re beautiful too.

  • Llencelyn says:

    Thousands of years ago, at the tender age of 3, a dog bit my face. I remember pressing my hand to my cheek, then holding it out to see. Palm and fingers coated in red. That’s when I cried, more from the surprise than the pain. Hell, it didn’t hurt much at all, but I’d never seen that much blood gathered at one place.

    What truly hurt were the stitches. I was rather uncooperative at the time, with an abject fear of needles and sharp pointy things. After enough wailing and struggling, I was strapped to a table, allowing the nice people to treat my wounds. Of course, in my limited infant wisdom, I was unable to understand that they were helping. Toddler me only held anger and hatred and tiny balled fists of fury straining against my bindings, asking why they were so cruel.

    Wish I could thank them. They did a fine job. The scarring was minimal. On the left side, a small crescent-shaped dimple where the nostril meets the face and a short serpiginous streak at the corner of my lower lip. You don’t really notice them unless you’re scanning my face during a conversation.

    I know, I know. They’re not moles or beauty marks. And I cared little for them, until recently. You see, like most humans, I’ve seen my reflection hundreds of times by now and there are things I expect to see. For one, I’ve confirmed, numerous times, that I’m not a vampire. On the other hand, 30 years have come and gone and…the scars are fading!

    I had become quite fond of them after all, especially the lip scar. Made me a bit sad. And to think I wanted them gone when I first saw the “damage”. Again, silly infant me.

    • Jul says:

      This is so touching and familiar <3 Shortly before my 20th birthday, I had abdominal surgery with unexpected complications. Woke up in the hospital with a 5-inch incision bisecting my torso. Tits on top, navel at the bottom, and in between, a thick pink insult flanked by 2 sets of 20 pink dots where I'd been stapled up. The day I took the last steri-strips off and saw what had become of my adorable teenage middle, I curled up in the bathtub and wept. I felt ruined.

      I've had a long-term relationship with my scar. In the beginning, it was a major part of my life. I had to re-learn how to sleep, because if I lay belly-down on the bed it felt like there was a chopstick embedded in my abdomen. I spent over a year massaging it daily with cocoa butter and vitamin E, so that my body wouldn't contract around it. When I took my shirt off, it was the most noticeable thing about me.

      16 years down the line, I love my scar like I love my tattoos. Not just because it's a story about where I've been, but because it's beautiful. I love the way it looks and feels. It's soft now, like the surrounding flesh, and pale like the rest of my skin. I'd be heartbroken if it started to disappear.

      • Llencelyn says:

        Can’t imagine the times you might’ve wanted to wear something, but there it was, this ‘hideous’ flesh getting in your way.

        Still, funny ain’t it? It was something terrible. Now you fully embrace it. To lose the scar now would be like losing a bit of yourself. So, I hope your scar remains present and beautiful for many, many years. And…thank you for sharing! I enjoyed reading it!

        Oh, and… thank you! I enjoyed your tale!

  • Coryluscorvix says:

    Oh GOTN, you write beauty so achingly well.

  • Anon says:

    Reminds me of that Kate Nash song where she sings “I wish you had a favourite beauty spot / that you loved secretly / because it was on a hidden but that nobody else could see / basically, I wish that you loved me”

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