Some time ago I was cleaning up at the little club I used to run, in preparation for the evening’s events. I had been sweating, washing floors and hauling furniture. I usually bring a change of clothing. But not that day.
No one had come in for over an hour. I figured I was safe. With this in mind, behind the bar I proceeded to drop my pants in order to change into clean clothes. At that precise moment a lady walked in and asked for a latte.
Never before have I felt so close to the bar. In fact, we became one as I sought to prepare the latte without letting on that I was wearing no pants. Socks, shoes, shirt, but no pockets.
It reminds me of this bit by Seinfeld:
“Why is it so difficult and uncomfortable to be naked? It’s because when you have clothes on, you can always make those little adjustments that people love to do. Hitching, straightening, adjusting. You know, you feel like you’re getting it together. But when you’re naked, it’s so final. You’re just, ‘well this is it, there’s nothing else I can do.”
That’s why I like to wear a belt when I’m naked. It gives me something. I’d like to get pockets to hang off the belt. Wouldn’t that be the ultimate? To be naked and still be able to put your hands in your pockets. I think that would really help a lot…”
It may shock you to know that I have been in counselling. Maybe not. I once had a counsellor tell me I needed to stand in front of the mirror naked for one minute each day in order to get more comfortable with ‘me’. I told this to someone and they went “eeeew”… which did not help much.
So with all this rolling around in my noodle I continued to grind the beans, praying all the while that I would not have to move. So of course the lady blandly asked where the sugar was, it being at right angles to where I was hiding. I reluctantly told her and proceeded to push my torso inside the small floor fridge as she walked to the condiments.
As she left the club I followed her behind the bar, keeping my beautiful barrier between us until she naively walked out.
Imagine me naked. Ok, don’t. No one should have to see that. Most of us, myself included, are not in love with our naked selves. I tease my wife that she “secretly dresses me with her eyes”. One of my best friends, Jordon Cooper, says I have a “face for radio”. I am no longer as insecure about my looks as I once was, but can still testify that for most of us, physical appearance has a significant role in determining our self-esteem. My wife once pointed out to me that I was squinting while looking in the mirror at our bedroom sinks. I had no idea I was doing this but apparently was squinting in such a pronounced fashion that Annette thought my eyes were closed – a subconscious reaction to a psychological malady. Body image is a life-long issue for most of us.
A few years ago, again while naked, I had an epiphany. I realized in the shower one day that I had been berating myself all my life and was unwilling to move forward, heal, and stop the body dysmorphia. Like so many of us I wasn’t thinking about my body because I was overly proud or seeking to show it off, I was in fact transfixed on the negatives and unwilling to let the embarrassment go.
It has taken me far to long to realize that this is just a shell and no matter how hard I try or how much I whine I am only going to get older, saggier, less flexible, and probably balder. There is little, short of surgery, that I can do to arrest the passing of time.
A shell. Maybe a fat shell or a ridiculously thin shell, a hairy or bald shell, a saggy shell or a beautiful one, does it really matter? Isn’t it time that we stop letting plastic, Photoshopped, insecure skeletons or fake vampires with no nipples dictate how we feel about ourselves? It doesn’t really matter what you look like if you are healthy and can learn to like yourself. For some reason my wife thinks I am good-looking and that needs to be enough for me.
Even if she didn’t, I’m tired of jumping through hoops for a shell.