lookin' all good naked and such / by vanessa

I'm about to admit a very low-brow sort of thing. You might not think it a big deal, since jesus I'm not above pole-dancing and all, but since I hate chick flicks, Oprah's book club (for no good reason), and all other things marketed to women in the 18-55 demographic, this is difficult for me. So here goes: I LOVE "How To Look Good Naked", the show on Lifetime where they take a woman with no self-esteem, make her undress, give her a make-over, then make her pose nude and plaster her image in the 3rd Street Promenade here in Santa Monica. I just get all tingly when I watch it.

You can't turn a corner w/out seeing a billboard for this show. Is it like this in the rest of the US? The billboards got my attention. And then I read about it in the NY TIMES (+1 culture point for reading the Times) and so Renee and I decided to DVR it. (-1 culture point for making a noun into a verb.) Of course it's a little cheese and yes, we're to believe that a woman with her self-confidence in the gutter is transformed within 4 days or 19 minutes in TV time and all of this without therapy to deal with the underlying issues... and yet? I love it! I think it's a really positive message, with a few curious exceptions:

1. The show's host, Carson Kressly, whom I would marry if he weren't a) gay and b) plastic surgeried out (I enjoy irony), is like, (when a woman complains about her thighs), "Honey look at your perfect calves!" which of course totally misses her point. His diversion techniques are the subtlety equivalents of like, "*whistle* pretty bird...over here, pretty bird."
2. Make-Over Girl has to walk in front of a line of six disrobed women ranging in size, and place herself in between two of the women, based on who she thinks she's smaller than. In the two shows I've seen, she always over-estimates and Carson gets to tell her, "honey, you just added 3 1/2 inches to your stomach! You don't look like THAT!" The inference is, well, obvious. On the flip side, I have this dark curiosity to see a woman get on there and think she's smaller than she really is. Now, I know from my yoga experience that when I say, for example, "place your feet hip-width's distance apart" and every woman in the room steps apart wide enough to park a Buick in between the divide, that the statistical likelihood of Make-Over Girl thinking she's smaller than she is, is slim (no pun intended). But...I'm a sucker for the uncomfortable so there you go.
3. Lastly, when they place the professional nekked portrait of the woman in the Promenade, she has to ask strangers how she looks naked (hence the show's title). They always say really cool things, like "I love your curves", "great rack" (seriously -- this one is surprisingly frequent and apparently meant to be a compliment), and "you look like a real woman." Inevitably, Make-Over Girl is glowing from all the praise and that's great -- the idea is to show her that other people consider you beautiful regardless of your size, ergo, you are beautiful regardless of your size. Again, I love the message -- size does not imply beauty. But still, she is feeling good because OTHERS have told her she's beautiful. Seems like that could be a problem?

All that being said, I'm hooked.


I start teacher training at City Yoga on Friday. Yay for me! I haven't taken a teacher training in a long time and I'm just missing *something* and well, I need this or want this -- either/or. The assists that I get there are amazing and I dig the alignment principles, so yeah, I'm excited! I almost didn't sign up because I am travelling some and have a lot of things going on but after this weekend's workshop, I'm there.