Friday, July 23, 2010


Cross-posted from Gwen's Not Really, where I was guest posting while she was on vacation.

In Which A Guest Poster Writes a Spectacularly Disjointed Discourse Upon A Naked Not The Book By David Sedaris

First, let’s get one thing out of the way. “Nude” doesn’t equal “naked”. Lucien Freud paints voluptuous nudes. Noun. She wore nude stockings while toiling at her secretarial job. Color. Naked isn’t a noun. Naked isn’t a color.

Naked, then. Without clothes, without artifice. Lacking cover, unadorned. Raw. An adjective.

I sleep naked. Oh, sometimes when it’s cold cold cold, I’ll resignedly put on a nightgown. My bed is as naked as they come – a fitted bottom sheet, a handful of pillows, a duvet. No top sheet, no blanket, no quilt, no throw pillows. No frou frou. Naked. I like it that way. It’s calming.

Last night, I wandered downstairs in the late evening, past my naked living room windows, curtains being too fussy for the likes of me. I walked through the room in which my husband was watching television, and was amused to find the screen full of naked people – no, not porn, he was watching Taking Woodstock, and I stumbled past a scene of lots of people skinny dipping. I did a double take, “I’m naked, they’re naked.” It was some weird little cosmic moment.

After I retrieved my laptop, the whole reason for the naked excursion – hey, I couldn’t sleep – I clicked into Google Reader, and from there to Jo(e). Do you know her? Jo(e) writes and takes pictures. She takes exquisite photos of nature and people and buildings and things, and weaves quirky little tales around some of the pictures, giving all of her characters descriptive pseudonyms, like Boy in Black, or Retired Principal and his wife, Mother of Six. And there, to my distinct amusement, was more nakedness – naked photos on Jo(e)’s blog. It’s funny – on the one hand, Jo(e) wraps her blog in anonymity, and yes, Jo(e) isn’t really her name – and on the other hand, she winningly convinces people to take their clothes off so she can put their naked pictures on her blog.

And here’s the thing: all those naked people kind of look alike.

I’ve never forgotten a ballet I once saw – it was at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and it was by Bill T. Jones – and though I can’t remember when it premiered or what it was called, I’ve never forgotten the final scene. Dancers and extras filled the stage, perhaps 60 people in all. Black and white, old and young, thin and fat, male and female, all shapes and sizes and colors, all the permutations of people, naked. All naked. And you know what? They all looked alike. Without clothes, we are naked. Without clothes, we are indistinguishable from our neighbors and friends and co-workers and enemies. We may be voluptuous nudes, we may be repressed secretaries, but we’re all the same at the core.

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