Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Who Cares What Jennifer Lawrence Looks Like Naked?

Yeah, I know. Spoken just like a gay men -- the title of this post, that is. But seriously, until Jennifer Lawrence started trending on Twitter yesterday due to the leaking of nude photos that are supposedly of her, I'd never once wondered what she looks like in the altogether. If I had, I probably would have assumed she has a great body, so in a sense, those revealing photos didn't actually reveal anything at all.

The most surprising thing about what I saw when I clicked on her name under Twitter "Trends" isn't that Jennifer Lawrence went there -- if she did indeed go there, and I've yet to see irrefutable evidence one way or the other. I, for one, don't really buy her self-deprecating falling-down good-girl act. Jennifer can no doubt get, in the immortal words of the late Whitney Houston, freaky dirty when she wants to. The real shocker here: those hackneyed poses. Do straight guys really get turned on by a woman wearing nothing but an "I'm too sexy" expression? Isn't sexy supposed to be a little less manufactured and desperate?

Hopefully, the Academy Award winner is a good enough actress to at least sell a sexy moment in a less cheesy way. I wouldn't really know. None of her three Oscar-nominated performances have called on her to be particularly sexy. Hmm... Did I just find something that Jennifer Lawrence isn't able to do? If she can pull it off, there's no evidence in those photos.

Speaking of acting prowess, is Jennifer's superstardom shot? Of course not -- even if the photos are proven to be authentic. Plenty of rising starlets have come back from "Nudegate" and "Videogate" scandals with their careers eventually relatively intact. And it's not like we don't see naked actresses all the time. Halle Berry might owe her Oscar, in part, to disrobing, climbing on top of Billy Bob Thornton and demanding "Make me feel good" in Monster's Ball. Seth MacFarlane even did a "We Saw Your Boobs" skit when he hosted the Oscars last year about what is almost a rite of actress passage: doffing everything onscreen. Ironically, his song and dance included the line "We haven't seen Jennifer Lawrence's boobs at all."
So Jennifer Lawrence may or may not have ended up stripping after all for some low-budget snapshots. Who hasn't? Well, maybe not you, but I certainly have. Fortunately, I've never been famous enough to live to regret it, but there's still time. I may have long since destroyed the photos, but evidence of them could still be out there somewhere.

I'm not sure how my first boyfriend, Derek, and I ended up on the roof of his Hell's Kitchen apartment building -- or why. When I asked him to shoot me in the nude, he obliged without asking any questions, so I never really had to figure that out. Maybe I just wanted to be a little bad. I think I was itching to do something daring but in a safe enough environment that it wouldn't cost me anything. My biggest worry was that the photos would look terrible. After all, it's not as if my reflection in the mirror after taking a shower was anything to write home about -- or enticement not to put my clothes on.

Derek was an artist, though, and he knew his way around a camera. Maybe he could have worked some magic and made me see myself in a new way. It could have been the end of my body dysmorphia and the dawning of a new kind of self-esteem. Or not: If my body photographed as poorly as my face, boy, was I in trouble.

Unfortunately, Derek didn't have a Polaroid camera, so I couldn't see what I looked like after the first shot. Otherwise, it probably would have been a quick wrap. Trial and error wasn't a possibility either. Those were the days before digital cameras, so if you took one picture, you had to use the entire roll before you could see any of them. And unless you had a dark room or had access to one (and knew how to use it, which I actually did, having taken a photography class at the University of Florida), you were at the mercy of commercial developers.

Even if my nudie shots were to ever "leak," most people probably would forget what my nether regions look like long before they forget my face. Of course, at 23, my genetic blessings weren't nearly as apparent as Jennifer Lawrence's (I've become far more comfortable with the shirtless pose since my 39th birthday, which was the next time I struck one), but would anyone who has seen her alleged photos be able to pick the body in them out of a line-up of similarly flawless ones? Maybe it's the gay in me, but when I think of those photos, I mostly picture the expression on Jennifer's face -- so bored, so clearly not particularly invested in the role of exhibitionist.

I can understand the boredom. It's a body. We all have one, and we've seen them, too -- good ones and bad ones. So why are we still so obsessed with them? I often listen to my gay male friends talk about some guy they're dating or used to date or want to date, and before they get to eye color (if they ever do), they tell me what a amazing body the guy has/had, as if the idea of a gay man with a six pack and killer pecs is supposed to shock me or make me think more highly of them both. Personally, if you've seen one hard body you've seen them all. Ultimately, faces pull me in and what's behind them keep me around.

All that said, I have to admit, I get the titillation and curiosity factors. I've never been known to look away in lieu of looking at a celebrity penis. But I've also never seen one that I could pick out of a crowd. (I can barely remember anything Jennifer Lawrence's X-Men: Days of Future Past costar Michael Fassbender bared as a sex addict in the 2011 film Shame other than his character's soul.) A body is a body is a body. I am reminded of this every time a doppelganger shows up on a daytime soap and sleeps with the unsuspecting heroine who may know what her loved one looks like but clearly has never paid much attention to his other body parts in bed.

Could it happen to me? I'd like to think not, but every time I log onto to Grindr and see a bunch of interchangeable torsos, I start to feel more susceptible to doppelganger deceit. Unless there was some defining characteristic (like that one guy with only one testicle), I remember very little about the bodies I've taken to bed, even the ones I woke up next to on a regular basis. There are very few details about, say, Derek's face that I don't remember in detail 21 years after we broke up and a good decade since the last time I saw him, but the lower I go, the blanker my memory goes.

So I've learned to care as little as possible. If more people followed suit, those hackers and leakers and fakers who post nude photos of famous women that may or may not be real would lose all of their power. We'd have to find something more important to look at and talk about, and Jennifer Lawrence could go back to tripping and getting Oscar nominations for attention.
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