I was reading recently that humans are the only mammals who hide their private parts. Obviously, we are also the only mammals to wear clothes. But what if we walked around with our privates exposed? Would you think differently of a good friend you discovered had a tiny wanker? Would an Amazon rainforest sprouting just south of one’s equator make you opt out of lunch? Would you be able to keep a straight face if your 1:30pm meeting had, er, ah, um…something reminding you of a droopy elephant?
Why are we so embarrassed about our privates? The chimpanzees certainly aren’t. Nor are the whales, monkeys, dolphins, or fishies. But us humans wouldn’t dare walk into a public park naked without being arrested. I don’t get it.
12 years ago I attended a naked hot spring retreat called Esalen. At first, I found it extremely awkward to be naked around strangers and went so far as to cover myself before entering the hot springs. But by the end of the weekend, it actually seemed normal and we even called each other by affectionate nicknames like FurryFrieda, DroopyDon, MohawkMaggie, and FreckleDick (short for Richard).
It wasn’t too long ago that I ran into FurryFrieda in the lobby of the Exhale Center for Sacred Movement yoga studio in Venice. Let’s just say when I screamed “Oh My God FurryFrieda how the hell are ya?! I haven’t seen you in years!” that she was less than thrilled to see me and the 73 people waiting in the lobby for Saul David Raye’s morning yoga class were very, very, very curious.
We (or at least “I”) spend so much time and energy covering up our fears, neuroses, issues, and privates that we have little time and energy left over to enjoy life. A 2004 survey by Dove Soap found that only 2% of women consider themselves beautiful.* Can you stand naked in front of the mirror, if not in front of DroopyDon and MohawkMaggie, and love yourself and all your imperfections?
Kahlil Gibran once wrote, “For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun!” For what is it to, in this very moment, stop what you’re doing, and realize: your life is perfect, you’re right where you’re supposed to be, and even if you have a tiny wanker, the people who really, truly, deeply love you won’t care in the slightest. At least I don’t think they will.