This blog post from Jillian Page got me thinking, since it alluded to a favorite Shakespeare line that has a lot of relevance to social nudity. Jillian began with the rhetorical question:
If all the world is a stage and we are merely players who have exits and entrances, as the Bard put it, are you happy with your current role? Are you proud of the part you are playing?
I’ve written here at some length on that exact Shakespearean passage. Check it out.
Jillian is an experienced nude model as well as a naturist. Yet for a recent modeling session, as she prepared for it in the morning,
I was, getting quite introspective and metaphysical about what lay ahead of me that morning.
I wonder now, as I write this five days later, if actors/actresses have thoughts like this before they step out onto the stage, be it a film set or a live theatre setting. Surely they must, at times . . .
Perhaps it was an extension of stage fright, what comes beyond the butterflies in the tummy stage. After all, I had done this sort of thing before. And, as a member of a naturism organization, being naked in a social setting is not unusual for me.
Maybe it was the realization that I would be performing, really — that I was expected to put on a show by posing in several positions of my choice.
Those of us who are not artist models sometimes have similar thoughts before we head off to get naked with others somewhere we’re not fairly familiar with. It may therefore be helpful to approach a situation like that the same way an artist’s model (or a theater actor) might.
Be honest with yourself, and think about what you are doing as putting on a “performance” for others. The truth is that we have to do this all the time in non-naturist settings. When going out on a date with someone new. When interviewing for a job. When talking with the boss or the boss’s boss at work. When speaking in front of a group. When preparing to talk with a spouse or significant other about some problem in your relationship. Even when we’re at family gatherings and have to deal with cantankerous relatives. Don’t think of this kind of “acting” as “faking it”. Because it shouldn’t be, if you try to “be yourself” – while keeping in mind Kurt Vonnegut’s advice: We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.
In a naturist setting, you may be concerned with how people you don’t know will think about your naked body, and how it isn’t perfect (just as anyone else’s isn’t). Or maybe you’re concerned that some others may spend too much time gazing at certain parts of your body. Be assured that models who pose for artists and photographers all the time are concerned with the same things – but they have learned through practice how to deal with those concerns.
And the way they do it is by rehearsing beforehand from a repertoire of body language that they will be using. This is in fact the technique Jillian uses to come up with new and interesting poses to use when modeling. It may seem effortless to everyone but the model, but the fact is that there may be much deliberate practice in advance.
Are you concerned that your butt (for instance) is too wide or too narrow? Then you have to do your best to appear as though nothing could worry you less. That doesn’t mean to flaunt your butt, or whatever. But it does mean to carefully avoid looking like you are ashamed of your butt or trying to make it less obvious. As for your sexy parts, you definitely don’t want your body language to suggest shame or embarrassment about them. You’ll know if that’s happening, because your body will tell you (as well as others) what the truth is.
Whether you’re an actor or model – or merely a social nudist – the fundamental goal is to “act naturally” (with respect to the role you’re playing, even if it’s just yourself). You’ll realize that acting natural often isn’t all that easy. To do it well, you’ll probably have to practice – just as a professional or amateur actor or model must practice their gestures and body language. Actors and models, if they’re good at what they do, don’t get such things right by accident. They have to work at it. That’s why it’s an art, and doesn’t happen automatically for most of us.
It’s not that hard to practice. Just take your clothes off, stand in front of a mirror, and imagine various concerns you have about how your body looks. Think about what you need to do to convince others that whatever you worry about isn’t of any concern to you at all. Think, like an actor, about how you would convey that impression. And keep at it until you’ve convinced yourself.
Of course, it would help if you spent a lot of time naked at home. Set up a few more mirrors if necessary. Then just glance at your reflection from time to time. Assuming nobody else is around at the time what you’ll see is how your body really looks whey you’re “acting naturally”.
If you live with others, you quite possibly want them to become used to seeing you naked (assuming you think they’ll be accepting of that). You may have to practice as above for awhile alone before you’re ready to let yourself be seen naked, but once over that hurdle, you’ll certainly get a lot more practice.
Go naked like nobody else is watching – and keep in mind this good advice:
You’ve got to sing like you don’t need the money,
Love like you’ll never get hurt.
You’ve got to dance like nobody’s watchin’.