I live in at least 2 worlds – World 1 where nudity is required, and where the use of a gown is the only veil to a complete acceptance of a naked body in a room of clothed observers. It’s non-judgmental – fat or thin, white or black, hairy or shaved, anything goes and observers just observe.
World 2 – put on a pair of red socks or a brightly striped shirt and there’ll be comments. Stepping out naked into the office one day and my career would be over. Even knowing I was part of World 1 would be enough to make some people regard me as a weirdo, and not to be trusted again. Nudity in World 2 is synonymous with sex, and people judgmental of each other’s appearance; revealing one’s nudity could only ever have a sexual motive….
Interestingly, people I meet in World 1 are surprised but never offended or unpleasant when I tell them I also live in World 2 – in fact some are intrigued…. Truth is very few people in World 2 know I also live in World 1 and for peers and my seniors it would raise concerns. The risks run high. Of course there will be some people in my office who have done life drawing and would see it as enjoyable and asexual, but they might still assume the models were slightly odd.
There is of course World 3 where I meet my friends and family – I guess that’s an in-between world where some people, especially those who are liberal minded or into the arts will take nudity in their stride, while some others would regard life drawing as an excuse to ogle at naked models…
I very often model on the same day that I am in the office… suit to work, strip naked at one, keep my suit on at the other…. Sometimes take calls in the modelling breaks… or take calls asking me to model while sitting in a meeting. One of these days I’ll probably take my clothes off in a meeting room by mistake! I like looking round the room asking myself what people would think if they knew where I had been only half an hour earlier. I have to remember to watch out for the dreaded charcoal stains – tricky one to explain although fortunately no-one at work sees my feet which can be interesting after a day in an artist’s studio.
It’s kind of fun and exciting to have a part of your life that very few people would expect …. I relish not being predictable. Luckily I am more or less the boss in my section of work so I can take liberties heading off for parts of the day. I’m sure there are many others here who would enjoy getting naked and feel they can’t for fear of what people would say. For most people getting naked is something they do either for sex, in the gym changing room or to have a bath or shower … all good stuff but quite prescribed and a long way from feeling at home with nudity. Let’s hope Spirited Bodies can encourage nudity and have people embrace it (and each other) as a good thing in itself!
5 thoughts on “Guestblog: Contrasting Worlds – Secret Life Model”
Fascinating, thoughtful post and what a beautiful painting.
There are so many ways to be “out” in the world and so many things we don’t publicize — often not because we’re ashamed, but because it’s just so complicated to move between worlds and people’s varied levels of understanding.
great post, much enjoyed. I also walk between worlds & am constantly surprised by the reactions when I tell people I am an artist’s model & yes, that does mean I model naked. they give me a cloak of daring and intrigue that really doesn’t belong on me. I work with engineers a lot of the time, and the whole art world thing would seem messy and bizarre to them, let alone the modelling. I enjoy the contrast, I relish both worlds, myself exists somewhere walking the lines between those worlds of work and all the other worlds I connect to via interest or history or experience. sometimes, meditating while modelling is the time when I am most myself, a perfect combination for my introvert/extrovert nature. Edges are where we define ourselves, p’raps, and how we keep some our secret self for ourself.
A brilliant essay with observations that could have been my own.
Recently I was interviewed by a local paper and must admitt that I feared a clash of the worlds at the office but either they didn’t notice the article, couldn’t make the connection to me or just felt fine with knowing. http://oblyg.blogspot.com/2012/04/intervju-i-tidningen-city-malmo.html
I’ll post a link to this at my blog http://oblyg.blogspot.com/