Learn to Love Your (Naked!) Self
No one had mentioned this world to me. I went from pajamas to underwear to clothes every morning and back the other way every night. And somehow no one had said anything to me about what a good time was to be had between pajamas and underwear. After my Saturday of Nakedness, you might think there'd have been no stopping me. There was plenty stopping me: my parents, both of whom appeared, even in my dreams, fully clothed; school; boys; cold weather. But when I could, I'd lie under our willow tree, shielded by its long green curtain, and read P.G. Wodehouse and Dorothy Parker in nothing but my socks. Naked and laughing.
Middle age has not improved my appearance (I know there are women who turn 50 and become superbly fit, entering marathons and climbing Mount McKinley; I am not one of them), but it hasn't cost me much, either. I still tend to think, as a friend of mine once said, if I'm naked and smiling, I figure he's a lucky man. At this stage, the body's like a face: It tells the story of who you are and how you feel about it. And I would say to any man or woman, if you find yourself getting naked with someone who says anything uncomplimentary (or even neutral—who the hell wants neutral at a time like this?) about you and your parts, get up, put on your clothes, and go home. Of course he's only kidding; sure, she's just making an observation. No and no. In fact, if they don't make you feel beautiful, go home.
Best Naked Saturday Since I Was 8: The man I love is standing in front of me, in our bedroom. He's not naked; he's actually more than naked: He's wearing an undershirt, a very wide, white, and necessary mesh-and-Velcro lumbar support wrap, and the navy blue socks that are usually hidden by his suit trousers. His boxers are off because he's coming to bed; his undershirt and socks are on because his terrible back pain makes both the reaching up and the bending over difficult. He looks at himself in the mirror and laughs out loud. He puts his black fedora on his head and models the whole look for me.
Naked and laughing. Can't beat it.
Amy Bloom is the author of Away (Random House).
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