On any given morning, just before the sliver of light from behind my gold curtains (yes gold, they don’t call it a boudoir for nothing folks) pierces into the comfy darkness of my room, I reluctantly hit the first snooze button and begin to piece together my ensemble for the day. Is it a scarf day? A high waisted shorts day (my favourite kind)? Could today be an ankle boots Monday, hmmm. I roll over, feeling the crimple crumple of sheets against my skin and 9 times out of 10 wish it was a I-don’t-have-to-get-up-for-another-hour day.
I sneak one bare arm out of my 4th story window and do my weather “litmus” test, which is about as reliable as the rhythm method, and make my way to my very overstocked cupboard. That’s usually where I get my first glimpse of her. You know... the naked me. Staring back at me from a dimly lit mirror in the passage. More often than not we greet each other momentarily and go about our own business but every now and then we take 5 mins to just see each other. I like how in this light you can see the contours of my hips, the nook where my bum meets my thighs, those little dips and dents in my collar bone that always make me think of baby swimming pools. A little twirl and a stretch and then we go our own separate ways again. This isn’t the time for grabbing that cooshy bit on your tricep, or picturing the pale (almost see through) white skin a shade of irresistible caramel. This is a very deliberate 5 mins of appreciation for the skin I’m in.
Mimi: “Friend can I ask you something?”
I love conversations with Mimi that start this way.
Carly: “Fire away.”
Mimi: “When you’re with someone, like naked, aren’t you thinking about your body the whole time?”
Carly: “What do you mean?”
Mimi: “Isn’t it hard, you know, not to think about the bits you don’t like when someone is touching you?”
Carly: “I see what you’re saying and I’d like to start by pointing out some facts. Fact 1: If your naked with someone this should mean you’ve done plenty of over the clothes fondling already (hopefully). So I always think of it as them watching the trailer to a movie they might want to see. Surely if they didn’t like the trailer they wouldn’t see the movie right?”
Mimi: “I suppose...”
Carly: “A person can get a general lay of the land over clothes, so if they want to take them off, they couldn’t have been repulsed by the idea of you sans clothes.”
Mimi: “I’m not sold”
Carly: “Fact 2: In my experience when someone touches your body (even the bits you’re not crazy about) I get the sense that they are more focused on the TOUCHING of the body aspect than the finer details like potential cellulite, the odd stretch mark or the slice of cake that immediately went from being a moment of heavenly chocolatey rebellion to an extra layer of cushioning on your ass.”
Mimi: “You really think so?”
Carly: “I know so. Fact 3 (the most important one): So you’re there. In the bedroom. Or kitchen table. Or backseat. Wherever. You’re there already. There’s two ways to handle the situation. Either, you can be super insecure about your body. You can turn the lights off, flinch every time a hand brushes over your belly button, and constantly wonder which angle will make you look more like Jessica Alba... OR you can let go and just enjoy it. You can show the person your with how confident and uninhibited you are. You can enjoy your body. Which one sounds sexier to you?”
The words roll off of my tongue like I’m hosting some “love yourself” seminar for singles and I can see by the look on Mimi’s face that the penny (or in this case panty) has dropped. She gets it. It’s taken me a long time to get it and sometimes I’m not sure if I’m 100 percent there with baring it all – and not just between the sheets.
There’s something wonderfully scarey about being naked. It’s why we have nude beaches, strip poker tournaments and streakers running across our sports fields. The same could be said about baring it all when it comes to relationships. Wonderfully scarey business, sometimes a little more tricky than getting your bra undone in one swift unclip. So if we can skinny dip with no skarm or make breakfast minus our PJ’s, why is it that when we reach the point of emotionally undressing ourselves in front of someone else, we chicken out?
Sometimes I think getting to know someone when you are in love is a bit like a game of truth or dare. You allow small bits of truth to trickle out of you, daring the other person to do the same... with your defence mechanisms in the balance, slowly but surely peeling away. I guess we are all just looking to find someone we can be completely vulnerable with. No bells and whistles and no perfect ensemble to cover up the bits we don’t like. But then maybe its not so different to how I feel about being naked in the literal sense. Maybe its about owning and acknowledging the parts you’re not crazy about but putting more focus on the parts you love. Maybe being vulnerable is the ultimate gift when it comes to love because you allow someone to enjoy the best of you... if you can enjoy it too.