I had a moment of peculiar disconnect today thinking about the oddity of clothing, nudity and morality. I mostly like clothing. It’s comfy, keeps me shielded from the elements and sometimes looking snazzy as shit. Outside of cases in which I feel crushingly insecure (read the shirt saga if you’re interested in how deep this goes). I love not being sunburnt and clothing is a big part of this happenstance. Hooray for clothing! I also like being naked. Lots. I’m mostly comfortable in my own skin and realise that my body does all sorts of fantastic things for me. It helps me climb trees, bend down to pick up bits of banana I drop on the floor (and rue their passing) and do all sorts of sweet and sexy things. My body’s great. My skin is a big part of that. I know how little I want a chunk of banana once it’s fallen on the floor. Imagine how disinclined towards my internal organs I’d be if they kept flopping around where dust and pubes run rampant. No bueno. No bueno at all, dudettes and dudes.
It’s no wonder then, that sometimes I marvel at what a strange facade this whole clothing thing is. We all realise that we’re pretty much naked under these clothes, right? Surely nobody’s under the illusion that there’s little more than a layer or two of material between their genitals and the open air? We’ve all got an assortment of bits and bobs and they’re equal parts miraculous and awesome. Yet again, I’m a fan of clothing’s ability to negate harmful weather effects. Sun hats come with a real life +50% fire resist. I do find it weird though, when the usefulness of clothes becomes conflated with some sense of morality or modesty. We’re not fooling anyone by putting a piece of cotton or something over anything. We can see that you have a body under your clothes. Are you wearing yoga pants? You’re clearly not hiding anything (by the way, being a drug mule while wearing yoga pants is not a sound business strategy, let me warn you). Also great. I’d hope that you wouldn’t feel like you have anything to hide. I’m on team miraculous/awesome when it comes to bodies, remember? It’s 100% your choice. Hey, if you enjoy the sensation of wearing clothes and how a certain aesthetic makes you feel then that’s excellent. Go you! Feel good about that.
The thing I do find funny is when we buy into this whole charade we’ve got going. It’s happened to me once or twice and that’s when this aforementioned state of disconnect kicks in. One time I can remember was when I was helping My Favourite Ex move stuff around in her new apartment. It was hot and sweaty in that gross, sticky manner. The influence of a sunny day and carrying heavy objects didn’t help. I wanted to be wearing less clothing, but felt sheepish about asking so. I put up with it for awhile. Then the thought occurred to me, why would that be weird? We’d had sex a bunch before, so granted, she’d seen me naked. We had no particular interest in sexing (if the word is good enough for Usher, it’s good enough for me), so what would be weird about it? I explained as much to her and she said it was fine without blinking. I got to strip down to underwear and didn’t feel so burdened. It was fantastic. A similar occurence happened this weekend at my friends’ house. We were hang out in an inflatable pool, so I had togs to change into. I’d been naked in front of this couple before, but for some reason it felt necessary to go upstairs into the bathroom and do my business behind the secrecy of a wooden door. Once again, it was self imposed. I’m sure they wouldn’t have batted eyelashes, yet it felt necessary. It’s super important to be respectful of others’ comfort levels, this I know. On the other hand, neither of these scenarios pushed boundaries.
I don’t know if there’s a grand treatise at work here. When I don my thinking cap, why are we so concerned with each others’ bodies? For what reason do we believe that’s something we need to police? Is it all because we assume that widespread nudity would cause men to implode due to lustful frenzy? ‘Cause that’s a pretty fucking offensive notion that assumes no mindful agency beyond animalistic instinct. Are we so intent on convincing one another that our bodies are shameful and must be hidden? Or so sacred that they can only be unveiled under a unique planetary alignment? I’m not saying everyone has to be naked all the time. I’m neither erring on the side of clothing being verboten. I’m merely advocating for the choice to believe that personal value is irrespective of how much skin you do or don’t show. Stripping down does not make you an irredeemable sinner, nor do layers of material imply prudishness. These things don’t matter and it’s odd how preoccupied we are with them. School dress codes, specific ratios governing appropriate prom-wear, public indecency. All I know is that last week my girlfriend and I walked past a gal in a public park sunbathing topless. Nobody was harmed. Hopefully she avoided sunburn. I’m pretty sure society didn’t crumble. There are worse things, y’know?
Like that fucking dog Marmaduke. I hear he’s a holocaust denier.