It struck me as odd that Miss Bunting – a sexual animal who enjoys the company of men, had devised Spirited Bodies with her friends as exclusively female. I know there were good reasons for this but I also think that the aim of encouraging naked confidence is relevant for both men and women. So Miss B kindly invited me to put down some of my thoughts on modelling as a male, and perhaps to help out with a Spirited Bodies event one day for male and female models – in separate areas, or maybe not… ‘The Naked Date’!
* What do you think Spirited Bodies has to offer men?
I’d agree that historically women have generally been under more pressure to look a certain way and to conform to a society’s idea of beauty and the perfect body; but I’m not sure women realise that most men, probably of all ages, but younger ones especially, now feel under similar pressures. The six pack, the tan, the neat body hair, the lean muscles, the perfect teeth and the stylish clothes, the big cock; all desirable, all regularly portrayed as necessary to be attractive. The truth is that few men meet these ideals and most men look at themselves naked and say “mmmm, that could be better”. So the Spirited Bodies experience of being naked and seen by others in a positive and appreciative environment would be no less fulfilling for men as for women.
* What made you become a life model? Was it the chance to see lots of naked women?
I’ve always enjoyed being naked which is a good start for any life model. I also enjoy performing even if I’m quite introverted by nature. I could have been a musician but went for a safer career, then inevitably after a few years of doing an interesting but cerebral job I was looking for other stuff to do which would be completely different, challenging, and naked even. I started five years ago, and have never looked back.
There is not an abundance of naked women to enjoy usually as a life model. However, there are occasionally classes organised with a ‘double pose’ or where several models are posing in the same room and these are definitely enjoyable. I’ve found many female life models to be attractive and most express a certain physical self-confidence which can be erotic if you pick up on that sort of thing.
* What do you enjoy about life modelling?
Being naked – being naked with other naked models – expressing a mood or a thought in a pose – meeting interesting tutors and artists – meeting other life models (especially female) – enjoying the mental peace of the life class – seeing the works of art that are sometimes produced – seeing artists happy with their work – receiving thanks for my efforts – hearing tutors’ ideas and thoughts – helping disadvantaged people try something new – dating models!
* Why do you love being naked?
I love the feel of release after being enclosed in clothing; I like the sun on my body or even just the feel of the air or of fabric against the skin. I feel good about my body so nakedness is a sensual and enjoyable state to be in, if shared with others then even more so. Being paid to be naked – why would I say no!
* What happens when naked people waft through galleries?
What happens indeed! I guess most people smile; who minds seeing a naked body unless it’s someone flashing aggressively. We all love to see a beautiful body, it is both aesthetically and sexually pleasing. Nudity has long been a subject for artistic creativity, and so naked people in a gallery strikes me as an excellent idea and completely appropriate, there should be more of it.
The concept of having lots of women getting naked together is great and to be encouraged – especially in an artistic and non-exploitational environment. I’m all for any ideas or projects that encourage women to feel comfortable with their nudity and to enjoy it. I understand the women that have taken part have found the experience really rewarding which means that Spirited Bodies does what it set out to do. I’ve had girlfriends who have not been happy with their bodies or have been horrified at the thought of being seen naked by a stranger. That can’t be right.
* What do you propose for the ‘Naked Date’?
I think we could start with male and female groups posing in different parts of the gallery but perhaps within sight of each other. For the second half of the evening we could see if some people were happy to form a ‘middle group’ and pose together with members of the opposite sex. Those that weren’t happy could stay in the ‘one-sex’ groups. I think if you are encouraging and it’s promoted as being male and female, then hopefully most people would be prepared to give the ‘mixed’ group a go. Some men might get aroused if it’s their first time modelling with a naked woman especially if there are some fit women there, but I’m sure I can give some guidance on that …
* What’s it like being a naked man… in a world of naked women?
I love being a naked man – although it’s interesting that outside of a life class, people tend to see naked men as exhibitionists and flashers while no one seems to mind a woman getting naked! I think men and women should enjoy being naked, together if they want to be. I’d love a world of naked women – still looking for that one!
* Favourite/memorable encounters on the job?
The usual stuff like strangers wandering in unannounced, easels collapsing on me, tutors totally forgetting the time and running half an hour over, getting changed in cupboards or paint stores. Favourites would include:
– modelling with an exciting Spanish lady on a summer’s day with a small group of appreciative artists. (She was keen to try some really interesting poses);
– photographic work in outdoor venues (once standing on a Scottish mountain);
– working at Mossbourne Academy and other innovative schools and getting kids to be inspired by drawing the human form.
* How does life modelling add to your life?
It is an important part of my life – it adds to its richness both in terms of the experience itself and the people I meet. Yes, I do sometimes stand there thinking to myself, “What the fuck are you doing standing naked in a room full of strangers in some obscure building in London?!” but that feeling soon passes and I realise that I’m doing it because I enjoy it and who knows where it might lead, I’ll carry on for as long as I feel comfortable in my skin and for as long as I get good feedback from the artists. Maybe I’ll take up drawing life models when I’m done with being one!”