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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Sunday, May 19, 2024

Take it all off: a tribute to private nudity

One day this semester, the maintenance crew of my apartment knocked on the door to check a crack in the ceiling. They knocked. And knocked. And knocked. 




'Hang on!' I yelled, as I feverishly threw on a shirt and jeans. The one in my ceiling wasn't the only crack I was concerned about them seeing. Yep. I was naked. I live alone, so being naked for me is a matter of course, and aside from the odd unexpected visitor here and there, my nudity has served me well. 




I've never been to a nude beach. I've never participated in 'amateur night' at a strip club. I've never even been to Mardi Gras. That's not the point here. Everyone in America's up in arms about public nudity. You can't leave your house without clothes on after, say, 7 or 8 years old. Entire talk shows have been devoted to the topic of women who wear thongs at the beach, and I've even seen friends of mine scoff and run from a woman breastfeeding her baby in a mall. I mean, it's breastfeeding for crying out loud. 




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But I'm not talking about public nudity. That is a social constraint one can't solve in a little column like this. But I wouldn't be a sociologist if I didn't believe that we could change the world, so I'm going to work from the ground up and ask everyone to exercise as little self-restraint as they can, and get naked. 




Lest you think I'm nuts, let me assure you I'm not alone in this. I know people who e-mail naked, watch Must-See-TV naked, talk on the phone naked, even write serious academic papers naked. I have a friend who swears she cooks her famous spaghetti and meatballs naked. Though I love spaghetti and meatballs like nothing else (see my previous column, re the joys of fatness), the risk to my skin is where I draw the line. 




But why am I so bent on nudity? What do I care whether you wear a parka or your birthday suit around the house, anyway? Think about this: How many of you think your face is generally OK to look at? Now how many of you think your body is equally as purdy? Studies show that people tend to like their faces more than their bodies.  




This is not because we all have gorgeous faces and ugly bodies, but because we see our faces all the freakin' time. Many of us have looked at our faces in the mirror for minutes and minutes each day, every day, for our entire lives. And many of us inspect the bejeebers out of it. Our bodies, not so much. We're not as used to the sight of our own asses as we are our faces, hence, the uncomfortable scrutiny in which many of us, male or female, find ourselves. 




So here's my plan. For at least five minutes a day, get naked'and get acquainted with your body. The key here is radical acceptance. Don't be critical; just matter-of-factly make note of all of the features. That's right, baby: Take it all off, and take a good look. Turn around, jump up and down, pose like your bowling trophy, whatever, just do it and accept it. 'This is my butt. These are my biceps. These are my shoulders.' Soon enough, your outlook will get better. Your self-esteem will get better. Sex will get way better. How your spaghetti and meatballs turn out is up to you. 

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