I’ve been thinking about nudity.
As I sit here on a cool autumn morning, it’s apparent to me that evolution is the reason why so many of us are uncomfortable with nudity: the prehistoric dumb fucks who liked to run around in their birthday suits died off from exposure before they could reproduce.
So perhaps discomfort with our naked bodies is embedded in our DNA.
Or perhaps it’s part of the long shadow cast by our Puritan forebears, sort of how we still eat turkey and pumpkin pie.
Yet I don’t think human beings have abandoned their naked desires. Witness my experience with my two daughters: I have one child who figured out how to undo the tabs on her disposable diaper early on, and thereafter delighted in flashing her goods indiscriminately. My other child stayed in diapers a while longer because she was unable to grasp the concept that a product called Pull Ups could also be pulled down. For that reason, it’s no surprise to me that my toilet training impaired daughter, now a pre-teen, is rejecting certain clothing as “too revealing.”
“Too revealing?” I asked as I put the scoop-neck (scoop neck!) blouse back on the sales rack. “Where did you even learn that expression?”
I’m blaming one too many family trips to Amish country because she didn’t learn it from me, a woman who stopped getting dressed in the laundry room (that’s where all the clean clothes are!) only when we got our driveway repaved and sweaty, tar-covered men could see right in the window.
So as a species we seem to be conflicted about nudity. On one side we have folks who like to send their nakie pictures out over the internet, and then on the other side we have some other folks who are shocked and mortified that people do this.
I’m thinking all these thoughts as I read “Sex and the Theater: An actress bares all onstage” in the Washington Post over the weekend. It’s a great read in which an actress, Rachel Manteuffel, discusses her feelings about appearing nude in a play, Campsite Rule, written by humorist Alexandra Petri.
I wanted this role, for all the reasons above, and one more: I am interested in exploring where funny and sexy intersect.
As you might suspect from reading this blog, I am also interested in the point where funny and sexy intersect. And I’m very much in favor of funny and sexy intersecting as much as possible, over and over again, rhythmically, in all sorts of positions. In fact, back in my salad days, the #2 determining factor in whether or not I got naked with a guy was if I found him funny. Of course, the #1 determining factor was whether or not he found me funny.
In the end, the production of Campsite Rule went on without any nudity. The director decided dirty bits swinging and swaying around the stage would detract from the play’s dialogue, so everyone stayed covered (for the most part. The sheet covering Ms. Manteuffel’s breasts did slip during one performance).
I’m sure my turtle-neck wearing daughter would approve.
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