We’re All Naked

Ever since I had my giggle over the dick pic I found on the internet a few weeks ago, I’ve been thinking about nudity.  Yeah, welcome to my brain.  Sorry about that.

Due to the mysterious workings of the universe, last week I coincidentally discovered another instance of nudity that made me laugh myself silly(er).

I’m a Dr. Hook fan from away back.  ‘Waaaaay back in the 1970s.  Back when they were Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, doing raunch ‘n’ roll that bore no resemblance whatsoever to their later mainstream hits.

So I was tremendously amused to find an old video of the Hook boys shit-faced, stark naked, and performing some “blues”*Warning for those who missed the words “stark naked” in the previous sentence:  Although the nether regions of the video are (mostly) blanked out, this link is NOT SAFE FOR WORK… or any other place where someone might be offended by the sight of drunk naked guys improvising scatological lyrics.

Which, admittedly, may prove rather limiting.

However.

After I picked myself up off the floor and dried my tears of laughter, I started thinking.  Is it funnier because they’re naked?  Hell, yeah.  Imagine the same video with clothes.  Funny, but not as over-the-top hilarious.

Why do we humans arbitrarily designate certain areas of our bodies as “Not To Be Revealed”?  Why are those areas considered so offensive that you can get arrested for showing them?  And why do some of us laugh when the naughty bits get accidentally exposed, while others are horrified?  (Unless the bits in question are exposed in Art, in which case we all stand around nodding seriously and looking constipated.)

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the practical advantages to covering up.  Those probably became agonizingly apparent the first time primitive man tried to step over a thorn bush.

But how did ‘Ow!  I’m gonna wrap some mastodon hide around that’ become ‘Don’t show that or you’re going to jail’?

Who decided nudity was “obscene”?  After all, as Sam the Eagle points out in one of my favourite Muppets skits, we’re all naked.  And aside from minor variations in size, shape, and colour, it’s pretty much a case of ‘If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all’.

Maybe it’s because we humans are such perverse creatures.  Tell us we can’t have something, and we’ll immediately devote huge amounts of time and energy to obtaining it.

So maybe the simple fact that we usually keep our goodies covered makes it that much more fun (or shocking, depending on your attitude) to sneak a peek.  Though by logical extension, that would mean most Canadians should faint at the sight of any exposed skin, since we’re pretty much bundled up eight months out of the year.

I dunno.  I guess, like some grown-up version of the “telephone” game we used to play as kids, somehow the message got garbled from ‘You don’t usually see that’ to ‘You shouldn’t see that’.  It would be interesting to see how long it would take for our taboos to melt away if nudity was more widespread.

So you folks down in the tropics give it a try and let me know how it goes, okay?  ‘Cause it’s still winter here, and it’ll be at least three months before I get my first forbidden glimpse of naked arms.

* * *

Why does our society make such a big deal of nudity?  Why are naked marble sculptures considered “art” but naked magazine photos are considered “pornography”? 

Or, if you’re not so much into the philosophical discussion:  Have you been to a place where nudity is acceptable/expected?

26 Comments

Filed under Commentary, Life

26 responses to “We’re All Naked

  1. Actually, I prefer the phrase “If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them both”.

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  2. Pingback: We’re All Free! And Naked! | Diane Henders

  3. Loved Dr Hook. Necrophiliacs hittin’ on dead ones. If everyone went naked (cold weather not withstanding) I think the birth rate would drop precipitously. some of us just don’t look good naked anymore. Europeans are much more comfortable with the human body and sexuality. Possibly because they were not OD’d on John Knox and John Calvin? A German sporting wear store offered 10 free outfits to the first 10 people who showed up naked for their grand opening. (some double entendres intended). There were hundreds of naked people outside the store at opening.

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    • That’s fabulous. I’ve always thought Europeans had a much healthier outlook on nudity than we do over here. You’re probably right about the two Johns.

      Then again, the weather’s generally a little warmer there, too…

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  4. I prefer to keep my bits covered. Even if it were legal to walk around naked, I think I’ll always be more comfortable clothed. Also, it will keep people from being horrified. Some naked bodies are works of art, some are just utilitarian.

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    • I know I’ll always be more comfortable clothed. I usually don’t even wear shorts in the summer – I hate leaving a layer of thigh skin behind every time I get up from a vinyl chair. I don’t even want to think about the consequences of nudity. 🙂

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  5. I live in the Equator…we should be naked all year round then! hehehe. Love the post and it *is* kinda weird that we can look at naked statues or art as okay but not naked people in magazines aren’t okay…maybe religion has something to do with it??

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  6. Quite frankly, I like to be clothed mostly because it covers up more of my imperfections than when I’m not clothed. However, I’m all for anyone else letting it all hang out.

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    • I guess maybe if everybody’s imperfections were on view, we might not consider them imperfections anymore. I can’t remember which one of the supermodels said it, but someone commented on how they wished they looked like her, and she said, “Don’t bother wishing – I don’t even look like me.”
      (But I’m not about to take my clothes off, either – it’s minus 18 out there.) 🙂

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  7. LOL! Love the vid. (I’m sure you’re surprised.) Personally, I think somebody along the way discovered that making something “taboo” made it a helluva lot more fun, and that’s how titillation (isn’t that a great word?) was born. 😉

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    • I’m shocked that you watched the video.

      *tries to hold expression of disapproval, turns purple, bursts out laughing*

      Okay, not. And titillation is one of those lovely words that sounds naughty… and kinda is. 🙂

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  8. PS – It didn’t stop me from unzipping the pants on the cover of The Rolling Stone’s Album, Sticky Fingers. tee hee

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  9. Hey, I’m a nice Mormon girl, what do I know about exposed skin and wobbly bits? 🙂
    On that note, I believe it was none other than that rascally devil, Satan, that told Adam and Eve to hide their naked bodies when God made an impromptu appearance in the garden. (This was after they had partaken of the fruit and now had knowledge – enough that they were ashamed of their bits and bobs.) And so concludes my lesson on the origins of nudity. 😀

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  10. When I was in college, I spent a month in Southwestern France on the beach for college credit (nice, huh?) All the guys were so excited because they knew French women went topless. Unfortunately, I don’t think they planned for reality. It seemed most of the folks who bared all were the older, paunchy, and wrinkly crowd. Oh, there were a few nubile breasts and peni on display, but not many. 🙂

    By the way, in that video, Dr. Hook is a “high flying eagle” indeed. And I think he had a little “medicinal” help to get himself there…

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  11. Jason

    I think it was originally a sign of a civilized and proper society. Something to put themselves above the dirty, naked common folk they enslaved. A way to wear your money for all to see. Then the prim and proper took it way too far and then it was taboo.

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    • That makes perfect sense. And I have to say, I’m not interested in going back to “dirty and naked”, or even “clean and naked”. I’d make a lousy nudist – I hate being cold, I sunburn in seconds, and I’m not fond of bug bites or frostbite. 🙂

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  12. Back when I was single and living in Hawaii, I attended a clothing optional party a nudist group hosted a couple times. The first time I opted to remain fully clothed, because . . well, it was my first time. The second time I also opted to remain fully clothed because my cousin Flo decided to crash the party. My impression both times was that the whole premise seemed very “unnatural,” ironically. The host of the party got really comfortable, laid down in the middle of the floor, and let it all hang out. A nude woman (yes, there were a few nude women) sat on the sofa, and her nude friend reclined on the sofa next to her with his head on her lap. Another nude woman decided to give a speech (I completely forget what the speech was about). I just remember wishing she had spent more time showering before the party. She didn’t look all that clean, and this was judging only in my peripheral vision. (I didn’t want to stare at a nude woman giving a speech, go figure.) A couple others opted to “transition” for their first nude party by wearing a towel around the waist, which, by the way, is more awkward-looking than being fully nude at a nude party. I later heard the parties of this nudist group gradually turned into hook-up parties. True story.

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    • It’s amazing how our attitudes are so deeply ingrained that we automatically think nudity=sex (and it sounds as though that nudist group was no exception). I guess it’s a matter of centuries of reinforcement. I wonder if the people in that group were honestly trying to be comfortable in their skins, or if they all had ulterior motives to start with.

      But regardless, you’d think they’d shower first – eeeuw! 🙂

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      • Looking back, I’m certain that group had ulterior motives. Most of them were members of the same Unitarian Universalist church, which also happened to host the local Polyamorous Group. I never went to those parties, as I’m not polyamorous, but I heard the meetings mainly consisted of the members talking about how they weren’t getting laid. LOL

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