I'm putting together a show about naked people.
Before you run away, let me say that it's a theater piece about being naked. I really wanted to explore what it is about nudity that terrifies people so much.
The piece is meant to provoke discussion and to broaden perspectives about what we think of our bodies and how we talk about them.
So it seemed to me that the best way to put my money where my mouth is would be to talk honestly about myself.
I have never really thought about my body from an objective viewpoint. I've never wondered if I'm attractive or not. To me, it sort of comes and goes. Some days are good, some days are bad. It makes me wonder though--can we objectify our bodies in a more scientific way?
Are they beautiful?
Are they ugly?
What defines 'beautiful' and 'ugly?'
So I decided to have a look and report back.
Here's what I can gather:
My feet seem to be normal. My toes are not perfectly straight. The big ones are, but the others sort of curve in towards the big one as if he's the Toe God and they're all bowing down to him.
My ankles are small. They're also the beginning of the mass of hair that is my lower body. I realize that as a guy I should be proud of having hair, but it's fairly dark and there seems to be so much of it, that it's hard to love. Ironically, I don't mind it on others, but on me, it just seems excessive. Anyway, the hair starts at the ankles, but not on the feet, so I feel like an orangutan at times.
Whereas my ankles are small, my legs get significantly bigger in the upper leg/thigh area, which makes me feel like a flamingo.
My stomach is nice, and it's probably my favorite part of myself. If I suck in my breath, and tense up the right away, I can give the illusion of a four pack, but only when lying down. Otherwise it's just flat, but still, pretty nice.
My arms are pathetic. They're small, and they're small from my biceps down to my "it's too bad you're not a piano player" fingers. My entire upper half just seems scrawny to me.
My chest is not flat. I'm pigeon-chested, which means a protrusion of the sternum and ribs. It's a relatively mild case, and many people have said they don't even notice unless they're really looking, but it's made me self-conscious since I was a kid. In fact, I refused to take my shirt off in public for years and years because of how insecure I was about it, and I remember thinking that I was never going to have a nice body because of it.
I think I have a decent face so long as my haircut supports it and my facial hair is kept in check. I know I have a great jawline. My teeth are lousy, but I've learned to hide them by keeping my mouth closed in photos. I like my hair. It's thick, it grows back fast (which can be a pain, but at least when I get a bad haircut it isn't the end of the world) and it hasn't gone gray...yet.
My back is okay but nothing to write home about. My behind is probably adorable, except it's hidden under about eight layers of the aforementioned hair. Since we're talking about the intimate parts, I guess I'll say that I like mine. It just figures that the part I like is the part you can't show anybody in public (unless you're a guy in a trench coat who likes hanging outside of 7-Eleven's).
That's my honest appraisal of my body.
I know some people would read this and say--"Why is he being so critical?"
Because we're all really critical.
How many of us actually think we look fantastic overall?
We all have parts of ourselves we feel ashamed of--and why?
Who determines what a good stomach is? Or a good jawline? Or good feet?
When did we reach all these conclusions?
It's funny that when you really take a look at your body--a real look--you have a hard time figuring out what the fuss is all about.