Monday, October 11, 2010

Kicking it up a notch... in the nude

Nude modeling. That’s right, this post is inspired by nude modeling. Turn back now if you’re uncomfortable.

When I learned last week that a friend would be sitting as a nude model, I was torn – intriguing and hilarious, endearing and disturbing, a yearning to witness it and simultaneous happiness that I did not have to witness it (though, annoyingly, my mind’s eye wouldn’t knock it off). Shortly after learning this enticing bit of news but just prior to the scheduled modeling period, I had the pleasure of running into this friend and took the opportunity to both congratulate and question him. Nude modeling may be known for paying relatively well, my friends, but that takes a lot of courage.

As we discussed it, he admitted to it’s now dawning on him that, oh my goodness, it’s real; he actually had to stand naked in a room of fully-clothed people, all staring intently at him. Naturally, I had to ask: what on Earth inspired him to do such a thing? You’d need to pay me much, much more to even consider it. Not surprisingly, his response was a typically insightful yet understated little remark: “Because it scares the hell out of me! And you can’t just have something out there scaring you like that.”

How interesting. This crazy fellow had signed himself up to sit in the nude for two hours in large part because it scared him? An intriguing idea… not a particularly new one, I suppose, this whole “face your fears” philosophy, but certainly a new realm of application. Nude modeling just isn’t one of those things that comes up every day. He had the option of turning back due to discomfort, but instead chose to run headlong into it.

Now, I’ve done a few things that would be less than comfortable for a few people, I suppose (some intentionally, some I fell into). I flew to West Africa for two months of this past summer, starting out with a bang for the first stamp in my passport beyond Canada. While there, I rode in a death van of Ghanaian public transportation more commonly known as “tro-tros,” and I hiked the canopy walk of Kakum National Park, a narrow bridge of wood and rope strung from tree to tree, suspended roughly 30 to 40 meters above the ground. I climbed into a bat cave, and I wove my way through the central Accra bus station just minutes after Ghana’s kicking the US out of the World Cup. Even more frightening for me, I surprised a large lizard into granting me the right of way and shared a cold shower with a cockroach or two… but never would I have the courage to be a nude model.

As a double major with plans to graduate early, spending my free time working at the library, doing research assistance, and freelance editing, I appreciate a good challenge. I’d hazard to guess that we all do, in some little way. When I’m back on campus, though, it’s just so damn easy to get caught up in the little bubble that can be Dickinson (please don’t cringe upon my saying that, Global Ed. people; I hope you catch my meaning). I can drop myself into books, wading through websites and online journals, pages upon pages of Word documents, and not once have to go out on a limb that extends notably past academics.

Frankly, I’m not about to declare intentions of nude modeling, as that just goes far, far beyond my levels of self-confidence.  I might, however, see if I can’t pick up the game a bit beyond the typical and take a small step towards something less than comfortable… within reason, of course. Ahem…

Note: As with last week, admittedly, this is fodder for my Dickinsonian editorial of the coming week... more inspiration floating around in my noggin (which never stops running, even when I'd like it to), but lacking time to turn it into a post, unfortunately. Fall Pause can't come soon enough... much more productive on pretty much all accounts then, Scout's honor.

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