I Modelled Nude and Got Complimented on My Feet

I Modelled Nude and Got Complimented on My Feet

This black fur rug feels a bit porny. Don’t make eye contact with the older lady in the corner. Oh god… I hope no one heard my stomach. Should have grabbed that damn chocolate bikkie. Really can’t see a thing with this light in my eyes. Gross, I can feel the sweat sliding down my leg. I hope I’m doing this right.

I was in a life drawing class with a nude model.

I was the nude one.

Weeks ago, half drunk, I had mentioned how I’d like to model nude — for art — to a friend. How “cool” or “interesting” I thought it would be, while silently noticing it would be a nice tidbit I could add to my “image”.

It turned out my friend wasn’t as drunk as I was, and not even a week later, forwarded me a message about a small studio in the area looking for models.

My initial feeling was thrilled. Just what I needed to set forth in my search for a new puzzle piece of my identity!

I messaged the woman hosting the event and immediately offered myself up on a silver platter. Use me as you like.

It took a few weeks due to a global pandemic and timing, but finally, a date was set and I was gonna be nude in front of a bunch of people for money — and art, of course. I even cancelled an actual shift I had that night at my actual job for better money because I so wanted to have this experience.

The afternoon came and I worried over what underwear to wear, not that it was staying on long.

How much or how little I should shave? Are these the best earrings to be wearing? Because, of course, the artists will definitely be focusing on my earrings when I’m standing naked in front of them.

I arrived early, greeted my host and was shown where I’d be lying (on the porny rug). I was also told how long I would be modelling: three 10-second poses, two five-minute poses, one 10-minute pose, one 15-minute pose, one 20-minute pose and two half-hour poses. I was not directed on what poses I should take, nor was I given a fancy silk robe — which I tried not to take personally.

It was all up to me.

Fucking panicking, I quickly tried to Google good poses while the artists started to trickle in and chat around snacking from the complimentary table — which I was much too nervous to peck at.

Everyone circled around my porn rug and the lighting was adjusted while I sat bare-bottomed in the middle of our small circle of roughly 15 people. Thank god they had notepads and pencils in hand, otherwise I would be thinking this was to be some kind of culty sacrifice situation. The 10-second poses were starting and I was swift to move into position, but quickly realised I wasted all the good Googled ones early on. What a fucking rookie.

I had to think how I could look dynamic — not beautiful, but interesting. What would be a compelling pose for them to draw me in? How should I place myself so I give different angles to a circle of people that don’t care if I look good?

Looking good was not the point of this exercise. There was no judgement on any social concepts of beauty. No opinions on whether I had too much or too little. Just what I could do to make everyone’s drawings better.

I have only ever been in one other situation where I’ve been naked in a non-sexual state: at the onsen (public bath) in Japan with a group of mates and some older Japanese ladies who did not give a flying fuck about letting it hang. But in that case, no one had been staring. No one had been looking at my lines, my curves, my bumps. No one was, like, really staring. That would have been rude.

So this experience of actual eyes following my shapes and angles, and how I would move every time I took a breath, was thrilling, then kinda uncomfortable, then boring. Eventually, I got distracted by what was bouncing around my own mind, like what I would be having for dinner.

It slowly became almost like a form of mediation. Someone was there making sure I held my position, held my state of mind, held my very own thoughts. I started to reflect on certain aspects of my life: like if I was sweating too much, for example, or other times I had been naked and how that had affected me. Soon I was staring at a spot on the wall wondering how it got there, what it looked like. Being naked in front of a bunch of people was starting to feel very dull. Very normal. Very human.

How people view you changes constantly and often for nonsensical reasons. The concept of whether you are beautiful or interesting or worthy of attention is always going to differ based on the individual. No matter how much others and the media push down our throats about what to look for or what you should be or even what you would expect to be complimented on is as ever-changing as the tides. So really, it’s all bullshit.

At the end of the life drawing session, I had people briefly make comments about how well I held my poses. They thanked me for my time as if they were thanking me for passing a cup of tea. I got dressed, feeling it strange to be naked outside the circle of concentration I had been living in for two hours.

As I shrugged on my jacket and took action to exit the studio, leaving the artists to chat about their pieces, a girl approached me. Younger than me, she was also smaller in size and manner.

“I just wanted to say thank you for today and that I think you have very pretty feet.”

The comment stunned me and I thanked her in my best customer service voice. I was hit with a divide of emotions. Should I feel flattered, or ever-so-slightly insulted, because I’m sure my tits were hanging out the whole time?

I resolved it was better to just take the compliment.

Cover by Billie Body Brand; inset by the author

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