Six degrees of nakedness.

07May08

Given the amount of time I spend semi- or fully nude, you’d think the women’s locker room at the gym would be the last place I worry about padding around in my natural wonder. Not quite. I am incredibly gunshy about being naked at the gym. Even showering, I select the most secluded shower so that no one walks by and catches a glimpse of me in the crack in the shower curtain.

Social context is, of course, highly important. In women’s locker rooms, there is a cultural of disapproval around naked women. I once witnessed a girl completely naked, with a towel on her head, applying her make-up. This painstaking process took twenty minutes. My immediate reaction was put your goddamn clothes on! While applying my make-up one hot day before the gym turned on the air conditioning, I stood in front of the mirror in my top and panties. Oh, the scorn! One woman pointedly walked around me and said, Uh, excuse me. I can’t blame her. Brushing up against my bare ass might contaminate her with the lezbo. A study recently released by a team of researchers in Ireland concluded that peerly too much visual exposure to a semi-clothed women can cause incurable cases of the lezbo.

I suppose those in my line of work are immune to this, although I myself am not. Prolonged exposure to semi- and fully nude women (and men) must be what caused this in me. Outside of the locker room, there are few things I won’t do nude. Cooking is one of them. But, again, context. On a couch with a garter full of twenties is a good place to be down to your skimpy thong. And is a place I have no qualms about nudity.

Around other women not accomodating of the idea of selling your flesh, I adhere to acceptability. I pay lip service to a centuries old fear of women’s bodies. As far back as the Greeks, women’s dark, moist, dangerous sexuality has been a pox on humanity. Art is one thing. Ever notice how there’s not social stigma to being an artist’s model? Cold, lifeless scultpures and paintings celebrate the nude female form. But add blood to those veins, introduce a live nude women to the mix, and witness the makings of a full-blown moral panic.

I ought to be ashamed, I know, flaunting my bare bod to the world like that. The thing is, I don’t have the moral panic about live naked chicks. I have abolished all traces of the body shame that drives women to hide their nakedness from even themselves. I was never the kind of girl who wanted to fucked with the lights off or my clothes on or not on top because I didn’t want him to see me naked. Frankly, I don’t understand that. For all its stretch marks and scars and moles and stray hairs, this is the body I’ve got. I’m over the brain-body dualism of Western culture. I am fully embodied.

It’s just kind of hard to tell all the other women in the locker room that by prancing around in my birthday suit. Alas, I am only one person.

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