I've done everything possible to avoid blogging for the last couple of days, from cleaning the kitchen to sorting obsessively through old photos, from sleeping eighteen hours to cutting out twenty-three paper hearts for Eve's valentines. There's a pair of boys' cargo pants sitting on the dresser by the front door that we bought at Wal-Mart before the cruise because Angus had no lightweight pants for formal night, so we went to Wal-Mart the night before we left even though I hate Wal-Mart and hate it even more now that they have groceries, and bought two pairs of pants in two different sizes so we could return the one that didn't fit, and then I washed the ones that fit before we left and left them in the dryer and forgot to pack them anyway (fuck) and now the pair that didn't fit is on top of the dresser and I keep opening the top drawer to verify that I have the receipt but I still keep not taking them back because, well, I HATE Wal-Mart, and I'm not sure the wretched Wal-Mart experience is actually worth the eleven dollars, and this just seems like a giant stupid metaphor for my life right now, because I'm just so almighty buggerfucking tired, and I sleep too much and drag myself around to get the bare minimum done, and looking at all the stuff left over after the bare minimum makes me feel horrible and guilty, which just makes me more tired..... and this is perhaps why I've been avoiding blogging, because once you uncork the sludge in my brain it's a most unsavoury stream of bleck that comes flooding out.
So I read a couple of blog posts this week about naked people. Specifically, blog posts that objected to people being unashamedly naked in the gym change room. Actually, one blog post finished up by concluding that she probably shouldn't be objecting to the naked person -- the other one was unapologetically against the naked person being naked, even though the person in question was nice and helpful. Now I'm not trying to take a stand against either of these bloggers -- one of them I really like and one I don't even know, and in any case both posts were clearly meant to be funny, not hurtful, because the people in question would be highly unlikely to see them. It's just that they reminded me of a couple of things. One was a few years ago when Jamie Lee Curtis posed in her underwear, in all her fifty-ish un-surgically-enhanced, slightly saggy glory. The other one was a picture of an old woman, about seventy, naked, taken from the side. She was not 'well-preserved', 'fantastic-looking for her age', and bore no resemblance to Sophia Loren or Catherine Deneuve. Life, childbirth and gravity had clearly taken their toll. Both of these photos generated letters that were very surprising to me in their disgust and vocal objections to having these photos printed. There were phrases like "I have no interest in seeing something like that" and "that is not something that should ever be photographed" and "oh god, my eyes, my eyes" (okay, I'm paraphrasing, but the implication was there). The comments on these posts were similar -- the tenor of the conversation was, if you MUST change clothes at the gym, then go ahead, but please spend as little time with exposed skin as possible, and for the love of god, don't go wandering around where someone else might accidentally see you and be struck blind or something.
And it sort of makes me think, what the hell? If somebody is comfortable enough in their own skin to stroll around the gym changeroom, put on makeup or skin lotion, be photographed for a magazine, and this makes you cringe, is it at all possible that you're the one with the problem, and not the naked person? There's enough talk about how our society is obsessed with looks and youth and perfection that one might think we'd be appauding someone who's clearly not too hysterically repressed to let it all hang out (in the women's changeroom, remember -- it's not like they were strolling down the median of the 417 or something).
I don't like how I look naked. I don't like how things bulge out and hang down where I'd rather they didn't. But I didn't like how I looked naked when I was younger and firmer and pre-stuffed-with-baby and all the issues that came along with that either. The female body is a freaking marvel, when you think about it. It can grow a whole other person, and withstand great pain in order to put this other person into the world. It can generate food for its young. And when people see it in its natural state, what they really want to say is "cover that thing up"?
I'm not comfortable being naked around other people. But I definitely recognize that as my hang-up. If someone else doesn't have that hang-up, more power to them.
And now, because I feel like that ending was kind of lame, I will conclude with the first thing that popped up when I googled 'naked jokes':
Sunbathing in the Buff
A man was sunbathing in the buff at the beach. For the sake of civility, and to keep it from getting sunburned, he had a hat over his private parts.
A woman walks past and says, snickering, "If you were a gentleman you'd lift your hat."
He raised an eyebrow and replied, "If you weren't so ugly it would lift itself".