Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Feeling Great Naked

I was about to spend a good chunk of the next day naked. 

And at midnight the night before, I was woefully unprepared.

My body hair situation put me on equal footing with a Neanderthal adolescent.  Street urchins who had never known decent shoe the first had prettier feet than I did.  And while I wasn’t overweight by any stretch, I was feeling a little large and in charge from the one-woman cookie-eating contest I killed it in over the holidays. 

It wasn’t pretty. 

I shaved my legs and slathered my crotch with what smelled like floral scented battery acid.  My feet would have to do.

For all this trouble you would have thought that perhaps I was auditioning for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue (where I’m sure I would have been directed to the Ooompa-Loompa casting down the hall). 

Or maybe I had been invited to spend the day playing 50 Shades of Hamm, as in Jon.


I was going to a Korean spa for a birthday retreat. A spa where the women’s pool/steam area was completely nude, and the co-ed saunas were clothed. The birthday girl, a dear friend, who like me was a retired dancer and mother of two, described the spa as super relaxing.  The nudity was no big deal, she claimed.  Somewhat humiliating was changing in a dressing room with a bunch of in-their-prime twenty-something dancers.  Not being at a spa with real women. 

Still, I couldn’t show my naked self looking like Chewbacca’s little sister.

On the appointed day, I entered the ladies locker room.  Bare lady bits everywhere.  Canya give a sista some dark glasses? Maybe horse blinders?  I stripped down, lathered up in the open shower stalls, and got in the pool with my pals.  It was the ultimate female bonding - everyone relaxed in the water, seeing but not judging, happy to chill. 

I even got a body scrub, one where you lie on a table and a woman scrubs you down like a potato - half massage half scouring.  She scrubbed EVERWHERE, but still I felt like a child being bathed by her grandmother. I'd venture to say a hummus tub worth of dead skin was sloughed off, and I got off the table with skin as soft as my 2.5 year old.  

In addition to losing all that dead skin, I shed my negative views of the female body.  I saw skin old, young, smooth, tight, dimpled, loose, and tattooed in every hue. I saw women whose bodies bore the topography of scars from childbirth and mastectomy and other surgeries.  I saw women who were leggy and coltish, muscular, fleshy, pear-shaped, apple-shaped, statuesque, petite.  There were women who rocked it hirsute and who were cue ball hairless. There were girls whose bodies had yet to change.  It was the feminine continuum, and I was part of the spectrum.   

I like a well toned, well groomed body as much as anyone.  But we've gone way too far over the cliff in the idea that only a narrow band of bodies are acceptable or beautiful.

Or even lovable.  

What makes our bodies beautiful is our ability to enjoy them.  Our ability to be free and happy in our own skin.  With so much bombardment with the idea that if we don’t look a certain way we are less than, a woman who is able to walk around naked, without apology, just being who she is, is a wonderful thing.  

So I'm not advocating joining a nudist colony, unless that's your bag, of course. If you want to be more at ease with your naked body, being naked together with other real women helps. Not the stealth dressing room kind of nakedness, where people are tripping over themselves to conceal, but the I've-got-nothing-to-hide kind of nakedness. The what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of nakedness. 

It redefines normal, and gives depth to beauty.

It is what it is. 

Looking good naked is a great goal.  But if you never truly feel good naked, what's the point?


  1. Wow! You are brave! As heavenly as that scrub/massage sounds I don't think I could do it. And that scrub/massage really does sound divine.

  2. Really, you're like a piece of meat. As soon as you relax there's that sandpaper feeling again. They throw your limbs around like they're cutting steaks. But seriously, I have super dry skin, and it makes sense that no moisturizer could penetrate - dead-skin wise I was wearing a medieval coat of mail!

  3. You are a much braver soul than I, girl! Though I'm sure after a few minutes, you become immune to the nekedness, no? My daughter has no problem running around in the buff. Perhaps I need to take a lesson from her. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a completely prude - changing costumes in 30 seconds in tiny ass dressing rooms with men and women leaves zero time for modesty. But I don't know about spending a whole day buck naked.

    1. I think as a dancer you can handle it. It's almost as if the body becomes clothes - and we look past people's "clothing" all the time, don't we?

      ps - I love how kids will just strip down in front of company etc. Freeing indeed!

  4. Oh, I love this one! Love it. I have to get to a point where I can truly embrace my body instead of embracing the IDEA of my body. I loved reading this and now I want IN on a Korean spa. Can I do baby steps...like, some fig leaves over my lady bits?

    1. Girl, this should be the HBU pre BlogHer retreat! Is this what they meant in The King and I (Getting to Know You)?

  5. Wow, I love this. It is so true. I can strut around my own house in front of my own family all nakey, but in front of other people, even friends - no way! I give you props for doing it.

    1. Come to think about it, I do not walk around the house in the buff. Only among strangers. Maybe I don't care what they think? Hmmmm, what does that say about ME?!!

  6. This is fantastic, Keesha. Your last line about truly feeling good naked is perfect. I so wish I was more comfortable in my own skin, and I think it's awesome that you did this. Sounds like a wonderful retreat and escape--for body and mind!


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