Since the dawn of time, with the exception of maybe a few weeks there at the beginning, nakedness and shame have gone together like snakes and planes. Ear hair and bassists. Milk and cheese. Drunk and uncles.
Like all of those examples, when shared, one's nakedness can be received with anything from elation to degradation. But you don't have to tell me twice about the vulnerability and embarrassment that accompanies nudity.
Here are five verbal reactions I've gotten after various dudes saw my unclothed human form for the first time. Much to no one's chagrin, this won't be a detailed account of my sexual history. That's for my gynecologist to know (hey, Greg!) and for my new gynecologist to find out (Greg's leaving the practice soon).
So sit back, relax, and put your feet in these stirrups here. I apologize if my hands are cold.
"DO YOU REALIZE HOW HOT YOU'D BE IF YOU WORKED OUT EVERY DAY FOR THE NEXT THREE MONTHS?"
You can't have your cake and eat it too, and if it were up to this guy I wouldn't be anywhere near a cake ever again (unless I'm fully clothed and standing next to one with a stripper hidden inside).
This is a banal observation. Who wouldn't be hotter after working out every day for three months? Think outside the bun, dude! But in the moment, benefit-of-the-doubt-me got it. He was just trying to help me realize my… uh… untapped potential. Zing!
A few other questions spring to mind: Why three months? Do you want me to complete that "Thinner Thighs In 30 Days" program three consecutive times? Can I stop working out after the three months are over? Also, why in the name of Satan's colostomy bag would you say this to a person's face?
In the moment, I could only assume he meant, "You don't look bad—the bones are there, underneath a squishy layer of goat cheese and herbs—but I prefer nude people look like Susan Fucking Powter."
What I learned: If you can't say anything nice, sure as hell don't say it to someone who just showed you her Geena Davis for the first time. Gratitude goes a long way. A simple "This is very kind of you, thanks" makes the moment pleasant and (God-willing!) forgettable. If not, chances are your reaction is emblazoned on his brain forever and the chick will have the opportunity to write a weird essay about it. Who wants that?
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING? I NEED A SHOT."
What kind of shot are we talking here, pal? Rabies, tetanus, diphtheria, polio? As far as I know, we've yet to develop a vaccine against seeing anyone's naked body, much less mine (Hope-atitis C?).
All joking aside (yeah, right), sometimes the truth punches you in the teeth before it sets you free. That's just one of the risks we have to take when we're open to self-discovery. So call it what you want: a nude surprise gone awry, the fast track to sadness, a fucking terrible idea. They're all apt synopses of this situation, Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, and e-books in Biden's Kindle library.
What I learned: You can't assume anyone wants to see you naked, ever. And if they must poison that person's liver before doing so, git along, little doggie. There are greener pastures and better metaphors that don't involve so many references to cattle.
"YOU'VE CHANGED A LOT SINCE THE LAST TIME I SAW YOU."
The circumstances that surround this particular quotation are objectively hilarious. My first visit to the gynecologist? Check. My mother's ob-gyn? Check. And he's a HE?? CheckMATE, my friend. The last time we interacted I didn't have teeth, and was umbilically obligated to my mom. You know what, doc? I have changed a lot since then.
Dr. Greg articulated this gem mid-breast exam, which resulted in no lumps in either the medical or Black Eyed Peas' definitions. While the nurse chuckled at the funny truth-phrasing, I stared at the popcorn ceiling and wondered how I could possibly reply. I decided on the nonchalant, "Yessiree, Bob!"
What I learned: Sometimes it's part of your job to make conversation while you check someone else's body for cancer. Maybe you speak without thinking to avoid the crushing awkwardness of that situation. Sometimes I just gotta roll with the motherfucking punches, baby. This one gets a pass.
"YOU LOOK LIKE A FREAKIN' PORN STAR!"
Where do we start? First of all, there was no censoring of this quote (or any of the others, for that matter). Someone really said "freakin''' in a romantic context—and not while singing "Ignition (Remix)." Next, we'll appreciate the gusto that accompanies this comment (bloom where you're planted!). And finally, blurting out something stupid in the heat of a moment is always understandable, but I would be remiss if I didn't take a second to flesh out some possible interpretations:
"You look like you're paid to be here!"
"Get ready—we are about to have a surprise orgy!"
"Intimacy is a business transaction to me!"
"I have never seen a single porn!"
"I have seen so much more porn than you originally thought!"
And if that last one was the case, what kind of stuff was he watching? Young and Confused Girlfriend? Lanky Co-Ed Sees Penis for First Time and Weeps? Sturgeon-Face Sluts 5? The possibilities end there.
What I learned: When it comes to complimenting your significant other, it's best to keep it simple. This may not even require speaking a sentence! Just make a noise. Oftentimes, it's better that way.
Now that you all know about my shamefully selective long-term memory and penchant for overanalyzing passing comments, I must admit I'm feeling a little exposed.
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Read more about the joy and shame of lovemaking: