It’s morning somewhere.
On the ’90s nostalgia train this week: trip hop & Ally McBeal, sundresses & biker boots. Sneaker Pimps’ 6 Underground launched me in to a Bond-esque orbit. It was really just the 405. Driving, driving, driving. Sunroof, Slurpee, Sunset. Imperial Highway, I-10, PCH, Santa Monica Bou-le-vard. K.C.R.W. The bubble of film school, where you could navel gaze, roller blade & delay, delay. I worked for a woman who Fed-Exed her Armani suit from Cannes to LA. Because she had vacation plans in Italy, after. I drove the box up through the Hollywood Hills & left it with her caretaker. Her pool was kidney-shaped.
AIDS was reality’s shadow. A friend of my cousin; he’d come to WeHo from Florida. He played me Mariah Carey for the first time. Vision of Love. And paid me well to sand & spackle the walls of a condo he bought, about a year before. The down payment came from money he’d embezzled from work. He never got caught. He just passed away.
Vision of Love is still my favorite Mariah song.
And 6 Underground is the business.
Hi folks, you may not have noticed it yet, but there are a lot of naked people on the Internet.
Lots and lots! So many naked people! From ‘Whee! Look at me! I’m naked on the Internet!’ to ‘Holy shit! How did I end up naked on the Internet?’ to, of course, ‘My mom sold my soul to the Devil and Yeezus, and now a pervy photographer has my photoshopped ass naked on the Internet!’
It’s difficult to keep track of ‘em all – all those bodies, all those different kinds of naked. All those thousands and millions of selfies of people who want to show us (and our children) what they, or popular female celebrities they’ve never met, look like with no clothes on.
Whew! Excuse me while I put on a turtleneck sweater.
One funny thing about ‘naked’ is you won’t find many slang terms for it. I know. I’ve looked. We’ve got a whole bunch of ways to say breasts or butt or um, penis but only a few, fairly innocuous, ways to refer to being unclothed: in the raw, in the buff, in your birthday suit. They’re such nice phrases, aren’t they? Kind of sweet and innocent, like old ladies in the changing room who want to chat while they towel off and you try not to focus on the sagging and the stretch marks.
My small discovery about the word itself along with recent naked events on the Internet had me wondering: is there a healthy way to look at naked? I’m not European, so I have to ask this question. After all, naked doesn’t come naturally to (most of) us Americans. Plus I know we can’t really stop the spread of naked, can we? We parents know it’s going to happen – adults seeing nakedness, young people seeing nakedness, pets seeing nakedness when they stay up late with us watching The Sessions – so we’d better prepare ourselves. I mean, my kids are at an age now when we’ll be gathered on the sofa, just enjoying a PG-13 movie together and suddenly, ‘Whoa! That person has no clothes on.’ It can happen so quickly – usually with Hugh Jackman’s butt – that I barely have enough time to cover YO’s eyes and distract her with Skittles.
It made me realize that what I need – and please send me your thoughts on this – is a skill set, maybe some pertinent philosophy, or even a good joke about what it means to be naked.
I started by putting together a list of the different types of naked that one might encounter on a daily basis: online, at the movies, on TV or even in person. Feel free to print out this list and carry it with you – know your naked, I say – so if and when your kids have questions, as they will, you’ll be ready to reply with the correct name and classification of the observed unclothed-ness.
Call it our very own Taxonomy Nudus:
- THE NAKED – a state of nudity in which the person is naked both physically and emotionally. Stripped, exposed and vulnerable, often with greasy hair, in a messy bed, but lit well. Commonly spotted in Mike Leigh and Steve McQueen films as well as anything with Isabella Rossellini.
- THE NEKKID – the comedic flip side of The Naked. Where the helplessness of being naked + boobies + the specter of damage to one’s private parts is a source of laughter. Reached its apex with The Full Monty then Borat, now most often seen in movies starring a Jason (Segel, Sudeikis, Bateman).
- THE NUDE – so-called natural nakedness as seen in fine art, photography and French films. It’s artistic, non? Nudes are known for their body hair, normal breasts and seriousness of purpose. Can be an inspirational celebration of the human form and/or a source of endless, troubling questions i.e. anything by Robert Mapplethorpe.
- THE BRUDE – aka The Brag-Nude. Oh, this is a popular one! A posed, often filtered or photoshopped, document of a person at the peak of his or her naked powers. Utilized to show, among other things, how much time one has spent in the gym or at the plastic surgeon’s office. Once upon a time, The Brude was wholly owned and operated by Madonna. (Gee, remember when her book scandalized pop culture?) Now outsourced to anyone with at least 50 followers.
- THE NUDEY-JUDY – a carefree state of being that grips small children when they first get out of the bath, often involves running around the house laughing and screaming.
- THE STRAKED – the adult version of The Nudey-Judy. A certain celebratory naked, often seen amongst hippies and the British. Commonly spotted at sporting events and rugby dinners. The Straked spends his time thinking, ‘This party would be so much better if I took off my pants!’
- THE DISTRAK-ED – aka The Distraction-Naked. A Hollywood archetype. Usually applies to a skinny woman with perfect breasts who appears in a movie, either as a stripper or prostitute, to distract the audience from the fact that they’re watching a terrible movie. See, Robert Rodriguez. If an actress is asked to undress to serve the ‘director’s vision’, then we call that The Manipu-Naked. As seen in the films of Lars von Trier, the later work of Robert Altman and too many music videos and men’s magazines to catalog here.
- THE PE-TAKED – an amalgam of PETA+Naked. Can also be called The Protest Nude. A very public form of nakedness when people strip for a cause, and try to ignore the phalanx of photographers that are focusing on their breasts and not their banners. The Pe-taked is very, very popular in Asia.
One last classification to consider is the When-Two-People-Love-Each-Other Naked – such a rare and extraordinary creature. Unfortunately its natural habitat is shrinking rapidly, endangered by porn, reality TV, detective shows, action movies, gaming culture and an online civilization that’s turned its back on privacy, affection and respect.
I wish you luck in finding it.