[In naming this post “Nudity” I hope to bring a whole army of sleazeballs to my blog. Welcome, new, sketchy readers!]
In one month I’m going to appear nude in public. Semi-nude, technically, but when you’re down to undies and pasties and a couple layers of paint, does the distinction even matter?
I casually signed up to do this a few weeks ago, thinking it would be a fitting Last Hurrah for the relatively tight body of my 20s, an empowering welcome party for the snowballing imperfections of the 30s, 40s, 50s, and so on. Bring it, Age. But now it’s looming in the near future and me and my little Christmas-fudge-belly are feeling less confident in our decision. Sure, it’s in the name of art (or so I’m rationalizing it to myself so I can continue to feel superior to my sister, who in her line of business was often naked in the name of non-art), a Mardi Gras body painting thing at a friend’s art gallery/venue.
Society pretends to love an artful nude — Botticelli butts, ample thighs, rolling waves of flesh, etc. — but unspokenly we all know we prefer thin and wasted. It’s what we’ve been conditioned, in this modern age, to get our boners to. I am thin, but not wasted. Cellulite occurs. In summer I wear a one-piece or sometimes even a t-shirt under the auspices of UV protection. During romantic encounters I turn out the lights. In girlish slumber party-type scenarios, I sneak off to change in the bathroom. Most of the anxiety focuses around my stomach, which has never quite fit into the code of fascist beauty standards (fuck those, btw) we’ve decided to write for ourselves.
So why did I, a woman laden with a healthy load of body shame, volunteer to appear technically semi-nude in public in front of a crowd that includes but is not limited to ex-boyfriends, childhood friends, middle-aged former bosses? the wise reader might be asking.
It is a good question. I’m trying to prove something to myself, obviously….but what?!