Randy from Baton Rouge
Randy from Baton Rouge who was a great dancer not so great kisser took me to the Propaganda concert Fall semester which I thought was a date but asked me after to reimburse him for the ticket not that I would have minded if the evening had been prefaced by this request and if the band had blown my mind instead I resisted paying for weeks and was relieved we weren’t running in to each other on campus until I heard he’d taken medical leave before finals due to emotional issues which my roommate said was despair at being outed by a Classics major who’d broken his heart and he ended up transferring anyway so that I never did pay him back and we truly stopped running in to each other, Randy from Baton Rouge I’m sorry.
Consider seriously if I really wanted to get back together or did I say yes because he had sixth-row seats to David Lee Roth’s first solo tour and I was curious to see if Diamond Dave was going to be better or worse than the Sammy Hagar-led Van Halen which I’d seen less than two weeks prior with my best friends not that either of those bands were my absolute favorites not even top ten but it was almost summer and I missed having a boyfriend and I thought maybe just maybe those old feelings would return but in the end what I realized was obvious, nothing could ever be as good as Van Halen circa 1984.
That Velvet Jacket
You try going to a Bryan Ferry concert where the theater is Art Deco and the cocktails are strong and Bryan’s singing in a maroon velvet jacket and not feel something for your date who happens to be the consensus best-looking guy in the graduate film program what with his dark ponytail and the way he wears a tool belt and gloves when he’s gaffing though you know you shouldn’t even call him your date because he has a girlfriend and you’re practically engaged and you’re just going together because you both love Roxy Music and no one else can afford tickets or wants to skip that night’s seminar on Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole, did I mention how strong the drinks were?
A little flash (absolutely) fiction on a Friday night.
© Jennifer S. Deayton
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.
“California, California, you’re such a wonder that I think I’ll stay in bed…”
I’ve come to believe I’m inspired by my imagined Los Angeles, not the real thing. My memories are stronger and more stimulating than sitting in block after block of stoplights on Santa Monica Boulevard. As the relentless sun browns my forearms, I curse the traffic, the strip malls, the lack of parking, the banal movement of people and cars.
I lived here for three years and now I’m back for a week. And I wonder how I enjoyed the energy when it’s so fricking hard to get from A to B!
My stats thus far: four missed exits due to 405 construction, at least a half dozen U-turns (some illegal) and one $50 parking ticket. And that was in the first two days!
Have I flown here on an idea? A wishful scenario? The streets may not be paved with gold, an agent and a three-picture deal, but can they at least offer me an available parking spot?
I can only hope. I decide to head toward the sea. I get past Lincoln, down to Ocean, I get out of the car and I walk to the beach, to the never-ending lullaby of waves breaking. The sun is setting, the breeze is strong and the seagulls are so much bigger than I remembered. Now I know why I’m here. It sounds silly but I feel like the Pacific tells me so. I go to LACMA and drink in the light and the art and the tall palm trees silhouetted against the bluest sky. They escape my description, so I take a picture instead. I meet up with film school friends and we drink and talk shop: editing, writing, movies. I gossip with my cousin about celebrities, and I watch Fast Times at Ridgemont High at 10 o’clock in the morning, just because I can.
My job is to write, so I try to experience the city with ears and eyes wide open.
I walk the streets of West Hollywood and I realize there are a lot of weird old people here: tube-top-and-pink-cowboy-boot-wearing senior citizens pushing poodles in strollers.
I hear a lot of Goo Goo Dolls, Soundgarden and Jewel and I think this city is stuck in the ‘90s.
I sit at an outdoor café and I smile at the conversation going on behind me. A customer, who keeps calling our waitress ‘Hon’ and ‘Honey’, is giving her some advice:
“The biggest thing you have going for you is you’re not from here,” he says. “You’ll go far in this town. We have a governor who talks like you.”
The waitress is young and slim and she comes from a country where ‘J’s are pronounced like ‘Y’s. I don’t know if she responded favorably to being compared to Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is in fact no longer California’s governor and who hasn’t had a hit movie since, well, the ‘90s. But she smiled and said thank you as the man paid his bill.
Did she imagine this LA?