John and I along with some friends recently went to see the movie “Wanderlust”. It was cute, predictable and gave us a few giggles here and there. The cute part was Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd together — cute couple right? The predictable part was that it was a rom-com and ended just the way we expected hoped it would. And the giggles? Well, it was a comedy after all. What I didn’t predict was all the nudity…male nudity. Full frontal male nudity.
The last time I can remember being delighted surprised by the sudden appearance in a film of the-whole-goods was in Eastern Promises ala Viggo Mortensen. Viggo’s naked sauna fight performance made the typical here-we-go-again male fight scene suddenly far more interesting to me. But that’s me.
Ole one eye is starting to appear in mainstream Hollywood movies more and more frequently. The male anatomy is finally starting to peek out past that strategically placed sheet, the fig leaf is falling away and you know what? The world didn’t end!
Can you imagine being shocked anymore at the sight of a woman’s breasts or bare butt in movies (or even on television) anymore? No biggy right? You see it all the time. To get a glimpse of the twig and berries in a regular movie is really rare and that explains my sudden fascination – with penises on film – not penises in general (that happened years ago). It’s very interesting to me. In fact it’s still so taboo that even as I write this post, I’m most comfortable referring to male anatomy using stupid pet names (twig and berries – there’s worse – bologna pony, Jack hammer, love muscle, don’t worry I’ll stop now…but I could go on…). The point is there have been years and years of imbalance when it comes to the baring of anatomy on mainstream film. I don’t like imbalance in anything.
James Wolcott of Vanity Fair wrote an article called The Hung and The Restless on this very subject. Wolcott gave me the impression that one of the main reasons there is far less male nudity in films is due to the fear male actors hold in the possibility of disappointing us. There is far more “mystique” in the hidden penis. I can see his point. (No pun intended) Plus there is the problem of a nervous penis possibly shrinking from the camera when the clapboard slams shut and the direct screams “Action!” I’m thinking back to all those onscreen men I’ve had crushes on over the years. Would my infatuation deflate if his penis didn’t live up to his bravado? I’m not sure. I’d like to think not, but…maybe.
I’m not offended by seeing a naked body, male or female, but I also don’t think nudity is very often that necessary on television or in movies. Quite often it comes across as more of a distraction to the story or worse, steals our opportunity to use our own imaginations (which can often be much, much better than the real deal).
On the other hand, I think if we are going to accept nudity on screen then we should accept all types of nudity; female, male, fit, unfit, tiny, large, the whole spectrum. If he gets to enjoy a booby shot then she gets to enjoy a shot of Mr. Happy. I’m just sayin’ Fair and square. Equality. Balance. Ohm…