They say you need to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes to understand their experience, but I’m thinking we don’t need to take that literally. We could walk a similar mile in similar shoes, and still get some insight into their particular journey.
It’s one of the many lessons I learned last week, when I was the nude model for a group of artists in a sketch workshop on body acceptance. It was my second session posing for this workshop — I reported on the first one here last October, and I refer you to that post for background information on the workshop and an interview with its co-founder, Colette Coughlin.
Shoes, quite literally, played a part in my lessons last week. In an effort to be innovative and different — and to push the envelope, as I tend to do in life — I decided to incorporate some sexy stiletto heels into some of my poses: some strappy red sandals, and some domina-style thigh boots, the latter for one pose only, albeit a punishing 20-minute pose in which I also held a feathery flogger and wore a gold mask.
Well, I was a little too ambitious with some of my poses, which varied in length of time from just a few minutes each to 20 minutes over a three-hour period. I paid the price for a few days afterward, i.e. sore legs and back muscles, which I am positive was partially caused by the footwear I had chosen.
Now, I am used to wearing heels — I wear them every day. But I seldom wear these particular shoes and boots, which seemed to be more designed for sex appeal than practicality. And the whole affair got me thinking afterward that there are many women working as nude dancers and such who wear sexy, impractical footwear as part of their jobs, 7 or 8 or 9 hours a night. It can’t be easy, and they probably don’t see it all as very glamorous.
In fact, that was another lesson I came away with last week: There is nothing glamorous about being a nude model. Au contraire, it is hard work. And I suspect that most models — whether they wear clothes or not — would agree. And while others may consider being a model — nude or otherwise — or a nude dancer or a topless waitress to be very sexy, the people doing the work probably don’t see it that way. It’s just work.
Indeed, I haven’t seen nudity as sexy for a long time now, ever since I got involved with social nudism/naturism, which is partially about body acceptance and shaking off the various hangups that come with textiles. It’s also, obviously, about experiencing the great outdoors and other settings in our natural state, which I’ve written about several times here.
The mistake I made with last week’s nude modelling session was trying to incorporate some sexy footwear. But I did it because I wanted to get away from the same poses the artists see every week. I wanted to give them something completely different with some of my poses — the majority of my poses were of the more traditional sort.
My innovative poses weren’t complete flops. A few artists — there were 14 in all — told me afterward they appreciated my innovation, though not one liked the gold mask I tried for one pose. But I thought I would throw it in there just to see what they came up with.
And that’s something else worth noting: while they were busy observing me, I was observing them, too. I am a journalist, after all. So, the artists were being objective in their observation of me, and I was being objective in my observation of them. And I was really just an objet d’art for them, as are all their other models — who are of all shapes and sizes and ages.
Next time I pose for them — and it looks like there will be a next time — I’ll try some unusual poses again. But no more heels. And I will be a little more mindful of some of the positions I try to hold for longer periods of time, i.e. I won’t try doing a semi-reclining position with one leg up in the air for 5 minutes again.
You might be wondering why I will continue being a nude model, especially when there is no financial compensation for the hard work involved. Answer: I feel it is important to teach people about body acceptance, and that is the primary objective of these workshops. But it is also about me, too: I find it very empowering to be a naked focal point in a room full of dressed artists who are sketching me. I like being on the stage (she says with a wink) — even if I am not a great actress, apparently.
I doubt very much that I would want to be a nude dancer/sex object in a club, but that is a moot point at this stage in my life, anyway: it ain’t gonna happen. If I were younger, I would probably try it a few times, just for the experience and so that I could blog about it here. Because, as regular readers know, I am an adventurous soul . . .
I will try to add a gallery of images from the session in a separate blog post here during the next few days, as time allows.