We all have one thing in common: We’ve cleared the nude bodysuit level of diva wardrobe initiation. Those other ladies felt they needed to snazz it up with rhinestones and mesh and other tricks of the trade, but not me. I worn mine vanilla.
The first time I tried it on I looked like a creepy child mannequin. During the planning stages, I requested a child’s 14-16. I knew for sure a regular human woman size would not fit me properly because I’m so petite that regular human woman size clothing, period, doesn’t fit me properly. And then Emily “pressured me to be thinner” (her words!) and talked me down to a 12-14. This scandalous decision resulted in a smidge of camel toe and compressed boobs that made me look like I had a set of men’s pecs.
Luckily, the day I decided to don the thing, a friend was over and she had a pair of those squishy gel breast things that stick to your chest, adding on a size or so. With those babies in, I was looking weirdly hot. I fluffed up my hair and put on some nude makeup to really hammer it home. With some platform boots, I was off.
My neighbors--who are immune to muttering prostitutes crashing through their tiny sidewalk gardens, firecrackers at 2 AM in May, chickens horrifically squawking in the slaughterhouse on the corner, and all the white fashion art kids who just moved in--could not contain their laughter. They guffawed, ogled a bit, and then thanked me. Dressing weird cheers people up.
On the train, the people who were awake could not stop staring. One girl mouthed to her friend, “I don’t know if I could wear that.” The guys no longer had to try to hone their X-Ray vision: I really might as well have been butt naked.
It’s been a good decade, but I’ve been naked in front of lots of people before—I was one of those clichéd punk rock girls who drops out of college and becomes a stripper in order to discover who she really is, insisting that there’s some feminist motivation in there. Naked to the world doesn’t necessarily mean naked to the self, however, and it wasn’t much different this time around. When I checked in with myself, I had no idea why I was doing this [because I made you? --Jane], or what I was getting out of it [an awesome post? --Jane]. Still, I kept going, hoping some clarity would come.
I decided to surprise the ladies in the xoJane.com office, and to get there that meant walking down a block-long red carpet flanked with adoring fans. At least that’s what I told myself as I was heckled, worshipped, and catcalled by the nightmarishly neverending stream of construction workers and shyster loiterers. “You win!” some guy yelled to me. "We all approve!"
In the office, almost everyone laughed, sort of congratulating me for having the guts to do this. Truly, what the hell was I doing?
I have to admit, that was the only time I felt like a diva—sitting there, in the office, everyone else looking cute, and me looking like a freak, the default star of the show, acting casual in nude spandex, peeling pistachios like it weren’t no big thing. Around women, I feel like keeping your cool in a totally weird situation is admirable.
Is this why we like divas, because they put themselves in seemingly dangerous positions—standing up in front of thousands and thousands of people, exposing their bodies and emotions and voices and dancing skills? And that they are collected in the midst of this (orchestrated) chaos, and therefore seem heroic?
On the way back to the train, two men in about 15 seconds individually told me, “Wow, you look lovely.” Now we know: When a man says you look lovely, it really means “I can barely keep my dick under control, I feel so horny for you.” The lecherous jeers got worse by the second; a man literally chased me down the street. “Please, whatever you want you can have it!” he yelled to me. “I will give you anything you want! Please! You have made my day already, God bless you!”
I disappeared down the steps into the subway. On the train, a man pointedly leered right at my crotch. Even when I tried to move on the train, he shifted so he could still watch me. That was very, very uncomfortable.
In one way, I felt awesome as a 33-year-old who was just broken up with, knowing without a doubt that yes, I have a sizzling little body (that bit of enhancement doesn’t count!) and that people do notice me. Mostly though, I felt embarrassed for myself and those around me for subjecting them to cheap shenanigans. I have no delusions that pulling this stunt qualifies me as “brave.” Like, who cares, I can wear something stupid for a few hours, big whup.
Of course people were going to look at me. Duh. You’d look at any person who looked unclothed in public. Though whereas people quickly look away from the mentally ill or unattractive no matter their state of dress, they kept on staring at me. And I didn't like it, so I tried to ignore it. I realized that during this experiment, I was blocking out all the attention while it was happening. And this is what I do in life when it comes to me as a physical being: I block out the attention, and then tell myself that no one ever notices me, that I’m alone.
The nude bodysuit was diva therapy, showing me that I can rise above the drama I’ve created, keep a level head in the midst of so much admiration I’ve manipulated people into giving me. Transfer that to real life, and it means simply that I’ve got a little more confidence in myself as a woman with presence. Let’s just hope it doesn’t escalate to throwing phones at my coworkers.