Monday, August 20, 2007

Question from 3-year old Noah: But Lola, why can't I be naked?

And why not indeed? I don't remember now what I told him but I remember fumbling for an answer that didn't convey a sense of shame about being naked. His parents say that he has recently discovered the pleasure of running around naked and I suppose this means he is beginning to discover and explore his body as a source of pleasure.

This, too, is connected to the recent reflections here about Eros -- at what point do we become aware of the body and the need to cover it? What are we really covering? And why do women have to cover their breasts and men don't? So much history behind a child's question.

These days I think of nakedness in terms of emotional vulnerability to the sensuous call of Eros. The difficulty of letting go and allowing one's self to feel -- to feel an abstract idea like love, faith, trust, longing, desire -- and feel it in the tip of one's finger, to feel it as the holding on to a breath, or the letting out of a deep sigh; to feel it as a restlessness, or a desire to dance, to embrace, to kiss. To feel all these sensations as one goes about making dinner, or making conversation, or writing an email or a... blogpost.

There is always a measured and rational kind of response to Eros that harkens back, I believe, to the way we have been civilized and tamed into behaviors that keep us out of mental asylums and prisons. The panopticon keeps us all under watch and surveillance.

So when Noah asks why he can't be naked - he is invoking a universe of discourse about Eros -- why this civilized society hates it and represses it so.

As it turns out, this summer's lessons/questions about Eros refuse to be relegated to the backburner.

Sigh. and more sighing...

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