Mickey, What is all the Nudity About?

“Why are you asking, Mickey? You are only talking to yourself, you know.”

“It’s important to make it clear. Some people think you are a pervert, a creep, or possibly a pornographer because you draw naked people so often and feature nudity at some point in almost every story you tell.”

“Like most people who think of themselves as nudists, I really liked being naked as a child. But that is not socially acceptable in Iowa in the 60’s. Prudish notions chastise you for being naked where anyone can see. You get shamed to the point that you see your own naked self as something detestable and bad.”

“But that kind of social rule is a good thing. It keeps you from having to see naked and nude ugly people or wrinkled old people naked in places like the grocery store or public school buildings.”

“But wouldn’t it be better if we lived in a more open and honest sort of society where even ugly people being naked is acceptable so that no one has to be ashamed of having a human body?”

“Of course not. You wouldn’t want to offend everyone by walking around naked everywhere you go.”

“I honestly think that if it were allowed to occur more often it would become something acceptable as natural and normal. And you know that I have an extra reason to think it would be good if children did not have to believe that being nude is somehow sinful, bad, and shameful. I was sexually assaulted when I was ten. It not only made me fearful of ever being naked, it nearly caused me to take my own life when I was seventeen. I went through a decade-worth of self-loathing and disgust with my own body that made showering after P.E. class a nightmare, romantic feelings towards girls something I felt the need to hurt myself for having, and a general belief that I was secretly a monster.”

“Wow! Your obsessions run deep.”

“And emotional scars become far more visible than the ones hidden under your clothing.”

“Is this next one a picture of you? It doesn’t look like you.”

“The model for this wasn’t me. And he was wearing a wet swimsuit. It only became about me when I added the faun’s horns and made him naked. It was painted after I was exposed to naturists at the clothing-optional apartment building in Austin, Texas by my then-girlfriend and her sister who lived there with her husband and baby. It was a painting that expressed the joy I saw in people who were unafraid to be naked in the presence of others.”

“How long did he have to stand there like that while you painted it?”

“He didn’t. I painted it from the photo I took. Although, not only was he not naked, but he was Hispanic with black hair and a much browner complexion.”

“Did you tell anybody about the assault thing before you painted it?”

“I told my then-girlfriend. She sympathized somewhat. But she was already convinced that being naked was good for you, and so she didn’t fully accept my reluctance to be nude with the others.”

“I overcame feelings of self-loathing and fear of sexual feelings through, first, sex-education classes from the Methodist Minister when I was thirteen. Secondly, through discussions with my then-girlfriend and the nudist friends I made by visiting that naturist apartment building. And thirdly through the patience and love of my wife.”

“So, why are you still obsessed with it now, especially in your artwork?”

“Now I no longer have to worry about losing my teaching job because I am openly associated with naturists. And my sex-life is pretty much at an end for health reasons. So, it becomes a matter of expressing my memories and interior conflicts as they apply to nudity, sexuality, honesty, openness, and innocence. I can actually be a nudist now if I want to be.”

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, health, nudes, Paffooney

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