The Joys of Being Naked
I must admit that, much to the consternation of many of my friends, I enjoy being naked. I’m not talking about streaking wildly across campus like Will Ferrell in Old School, though that does have a delightfully adventurous ring to it, even as the words pass across my 50-year old lips. No, I just mean that I have a definitive tendency to strut my stuff across the living room adorned in nothing other than what the good Lord gave me, and let me tell ya ladies, he sure did hook me up. Ok, I’m just joking with that last part, and heaven knows, no one is scratching at the walls to get to behold the majestic, unclad form of a middle-aged man, but my sausage party for one was never about anyone else anyway. It has always been about the freedom to be myself, and if anyone else doesn’t like that, well, they can kiss my entirely exposed, somewhat hairy backside.
Many of you may be wondering where I am going with this and don’t see a purpose here other than a vague warning about coming over to my house anytime after 7am, but by now, my readers should know I always bring my mental wanderings to a point. And here I am taking aim at the Puritanical aspect of our society which inculcates shame over our own naked bodies, a shame that is not only unhealthy but entirely avoidable. After all, if you don’t like what you see in my one-man peepshow, that’s on you. Not because I’m undeniably sexy as Hell, which may or may not have a certain degree of truth to it, but rather because you, my squeamish wallflower, always have the power to simply look away.
You are darn right that I walk around my house buck naked with the shades wide open and the windows amply ajar in order to allow for a refreshing breeze to waft on through. And if you just happen to be passing on by, you have two choices on how to respond. If you enjoy the view, well, good for you. You’re welcome. Feel free to linger for a moment or two and appreciate the grandeur. There’s a tip jar on the window sill. And if you don’t, there are still 350 degrees of peripheral vision where you can avert your gaze and just look at something else. I take it back, there’s actually a third option: You can simply shrug your shoulders and keep on walking.
And that, my friends, is my point in all this. In our modern world of hypersensitivity and perpetual victimization, we seem to wander around the universe seeking out ways in which we have been offended. But if you are somehow offended by the naked human form, that is your own uptight, repressive bullshit to work out on a psychiatrist’s couch and not the fault of anyone else. If you somehow glimpse a passing glance at my dangling member as I pee outside in the woods or change into my biking clothes by the side of my car, what’s the big deal? Do you start raging when my dog wanders by your house in nothing but his birthday suit? Do you look in sheer horror when a family of naked raccoons go scurrying through your garbage? Shoot, even Elmo has spent several pantless years on television, scandalizing the young minds of unsuspecting children. Nudity is not the issue. You are.
Or more precisely the issue is a society that somehow suggests there is something obscene with the form granted us by the divine creation. We rigidly adhere to the notion that clothes are a prerequisite and that anything less is a shameful offense against humanity itself. But what can be more shameful, more offensive to the one that created us, than covering with stigma and remorse the wonder that is the human body? Sure, some of us could do a bit more to hone the aesthetic presentation of our nakedness, you know clean the place up a little bit by exercising regularly and showering a little more frequently. Just ask my middle schooler. But in the end, we celebrate and embrace the one body we have been given during this lifetime. In other words, let that freak flag (or flagpole as the case may be) fly. I am not suggesting that I am going to attend my kids’ next PTA meeting dressed in nothing other than a pair of loafers and a giant foam cowboy hat, but if you get invited over to my place for a dip in the hot tub, know here and now that we adamantly live by the guiding principle that clothes are definitely optional.
In the end, this has implications far beyond my propensity for nakedness. We could all stand to get personally wronged less and learn to simply look away a little more. If you don’t want to hear the couple having what can only appear to be the most amazing sex in the history of the universe in the hotel room next door to you, turn up the tv and ignore it. If you don’t like the political signs in your neighbor’s yard, just keep on walking by. And stop getting your panties in a bunch just because I may or may not be wearing some of my own. We could all use a little less offense in our lives and a whole lot more not giving a shit. The choice, after all, is always yours to make.
Steven Craig is the author of the best-selling novel WAITING FOR TODAY, as well as numerous published poems, short stories, and dramatic works. Read his blog TRUTH: In 1000 Words or Lessevery THURSDAY at www.waitingfortoday.com