Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Naked Truth

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".

14 comments:

Nan | WrathOfMom said...

Have you had your thyroid checked? I know it's rude to give unsolicited medical advise (esp on the interwebs), but I've had several friends who've gone to the doctor about chronic tiredness and been diagnosed w/ thyroid problems. Yes, several friends. AND my dog. And all you need is a pill (in the case of my dog: a liver flavoured pill) to fix the issue.

If people (and I'm exempting my spouse from this category) want to be naked, they should go ahead and be naked. I don't care if they are old or if they are young. Just so long as they understand, I'm not making eye contact with them. EVER. AGAIN.

Yes, I have issues.

Nicole said...

I know the post you are talking about. My comment was that I admire people who can be that comfortable in their own skin. Why not? I can tell you that I have a hard time being naked around other people (in a change room, let's say, not like I'm going streaking). I think, they're looking at my varicose veins, they know I need a bikini wax, they can see I have a pimple on my back. I can't even go without makeup in public because I'm so worried that people will notice old acne scars. So if someone is comfortable enough to be photographed naked, that's a beautiful thing. I wish it was me.

I'm sorry you're so tired and it sounds like you're in a really blue period. I wish I wasn't so far away, I would take you out for a good margarita and some laughs. As it is, I will just send you an xoxo.

Kelly said...

This: "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"?"

A-the eff-MEN!

(And I agree about the thyroid check.)

Gwen said...

There are too many things wrong with me for me to have time to focus on anyone else's body. MOST people, do not have a detailed look at another woman's naked body and think "ahhh! You're worse than I am". In my opinion, most women will briefly look at another woman and find SOMETHING about that woman that is superior to herself. And then she will feel badly.

February is almost over (sorta). Life ALWAYS gets better in March. Good luck!

Alicia said...

I envy a friend that is so comfortable in her skin that she has no problem "gearing down". I have always been way to self conscious. I also envy her now that she is a new nursing mother and that she has no shame in nursing in public or in front of extended family or friends. That's the way it should be, but I always felt insecure when I was nursing. I find your views about nakedness very similar to views on nursing in public. I have told friends in the past that if they have an issue with it - that's their problem and to look the other way.
And I love that joke :)

Magpie said...

My father will love that joke.

Mom of the Perpetually Grounded said...

Could winter be dragging you down? As much as I love cold and really don't get it very severely, after awhile I find myself being more tired than usual too.

I have always hated the way I look, no matter what age, size or shape I was in. I agree, more power to anyone with that kind of self confidence. Great joke! ; )

Marilyn (A Lot of Loves) said...

I feel a little uncomfortable talking to a naked person that isn't my kids or my husband, but I don't waste the time judging them on it. Well...I would probably judge them if they were naked and I was talking to them anywhere outside of a gym changeroom. If we're in the gym changeroom, I kind of expect naked folk and I just deal with it.

Sandra said...

I have a few things to say:
1. I applaud you for this post. I think it's terrific that you are verbalizing this. I am the blogger who wrote the one post about the naked lady, that I, in the end, found pretty terrific in that she was so comfortable in her own skin. But yes, it's humourous blog, so that's the route I took.
2. I suspect you took offence to the comment I made about the fat lady at yoga. You do know that I think you are a fantastic blogger, and I certainly would never mean to offend you, and if I did, I'm so sorry. However, I never made a derogatory comment about the fat lady at yoga. If you must know, I'm amazed at these ladies. It's hot in that yoga room. I have to lie down between poses because of the heat. Yet many other women of all shapes and sizes plow through the practice. I could have included this in the post, but you must know that, again, my blog is a humour one.
And I didn't and don't want to hurt your feelings.
But I'm glad you wrote this post of your own. I give you a lot of credit for "going against the grain" as it were.
Please lets stay friendly. :)

hornblower said...

I don't have a problem being in the buff. I've been topless on beaches. And you know Vancouver does have a clothing optional beach. ;-)

My friend once surprised me at a regular Vancouver beach (not Wreck) - she hadn't put on her bikini bottom before leaving the house & as I was talking & setting up our blankets, one second she's just standing beside me & then next she whipped down her pants & put on her bottoms. I admit I was momentarily stunned by the audacity of it & then I was all - heck, whatevah! So a bit of her I don't normally see showed for 10 seconds. Whoopdeedoo.

For years I also breastfed openly - but that's a different issue in my mind.

The North American approach to nudity is very strange. So it's ok to see miss pouty lips wearing the ultimate push-up thrusting her bosom out at a bus stop? But see a photo of a naked average woman just standing there & that's somehow ... what? sick? distasteful? See, for me it's exactly the opposite.

Amber said...

I flipping hate Wal-Mart. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't return the pants for $11. It's just not worth the agony.

And nudity? Well, like you I think that if you have the confidence to display your naked self, especially in places appropriate to it, more power to you. But I draw the line at flashers. ;)

SuziCate said...

Your post is the second I've read today about hatinf Wally World. I don't like myself naked either, but more power to those who are comfortable in their natural abode.

Julie said...

i thought the post on the naked lady in the gym change room was hysterical. like most of her posts. i am one of those people who can be naked in the change room. while there are a ton of things i do not like about my body, how else do you get dry and into new clothes? i just don't have the dexterity to try and manouver all of that behind a towel. so really it's laziness more than confidence.

i've had radio silence on my blog for the very same reason. and have actually been contemplating not blogging any more. i have even fallen off reading them. not too sure what's going on.

alison said...

I'm not all that comfortable being naked or barely clothed either. I'm aware of the bulges and the sags that I have. But I was in a changing room on the weekend, and around lots of other men and women in bathing suits, people with all kinds of different body types. It was kind of liberating, actually, seeing all these people walking around un-selfconsciously, and I felt OK about being in my bathing suit.