April 17, 2009
IT’S GUEST BLOGGER FRIDAY! TODAY’S QUESTION WILL BE ANSWERED BY ME AND ONE OF MY FAVORITE PEOPLE, JOE K. THIS IS WHAT JOE, BRAGGART THAT HE IS, SENT ME AS HIS BIO:
Joe is a writer with a bad beard and a bottomless stomach. He lives in Astoria, Queens.
The truth is, he’s a music writer who’s written for a bunch of stuff you know, but he’s too modest to go on about it. And he’s very funny. Just so you know.
Would you ride the New York City subway naked for a day?
So when I agreed to be Guest Blogger, I was secretly hoping I’d get one of the gross-out challenges – eat or drink something foul, or do something brief-but-embarrassing (like, say, shit on a bar) and cash in quick. This question, to me, is a lot harder because it involves something I’m not especially good at: prolonged public humiliation. I’m not even completely sure this is a question of being comfortable with your own body. I think, at a certain point, you’re just naked on the subway, and I think the vulnerability that comes with that is completely fucking crazymaking. In fact, I’m going to go so far as to say that the only people who might be able to completely pull this off and come out unscathed are male bodybuilders. I think lumpy men like myself are making themselves a target for just about everyone, and I think women are going to be subject to all sorts of awful harassment no matter what the state of their bodies. I think if you’re going to do this, you need to be prepared for the name-calling that’s going to come with it.
What makes this challenge extra hard for me is the duration. Twenty-four hours straight is a long fucking time. And I don’t think you get to a point after, say, two or three hours where it feels perfectly normal for you to be naked on the subway. I’m pretty sure you spend that entire 24 hours in a heightened state of awareness about your own nudity. And, for me anyway, that protracted humiliation is pretty damned close to the same panic I think you’d get from being, say, buried alive for a day. And god forbid you fall asleep for a few minutes.
Having said all of this, my answer is probably going to come as a shock: I’d probably give it a shot. I have a level of resilience honed through years of being bullied, and I think the worst moments will probably be morning and evening rush hour. If I could bring a book and choose the subway line, I think I could get to a point where I was almost amused by it.
Plus, I’ve always wanted to live in London for a year. Pretty sure a million dollars would be able to make that dream a reality.
– Joe K.
I’ll keep this short and sweet. I’m not embarrassed about my body, and until Joe brought it up, it wasn’t even the part of the dare I found troubling. No, I’m more worried about the harassment. On a summer day – at least when you’re a woman – you can barely take the train fully clothed without some guy saying some stupid bullshit that he thinks makes him seem sexy when, really, it makes me want to vomit in his face or say something back like, “Is yours really THAT small that you’re forced to beg for it on the subway like this?” I mean, who’s actually had success with that bullshit? It’s fucking pathetic. Still, I would try to pull this dare off. I would bring a New York Times with me 1) to hold up and read (frontal boob coverage, although there’d still be plenty to see from the side view) AND 2) to put down on the seat, because NYC subway seats are Club Med for everything foul and filthy. And if any perv tries to get close, I’ll pull one of those crazy-cat-lady-from-The Simpsons screaming, arm waving, gibberish talking routines, which no one finds sexy, even when you can see all the goods. Oh – and I’ll be keeping my legs crossed very, very tightly for the entire ride. Safety first.
P.S. Live Wrong and Prosper is moving (!) to http://www.livewrongandprosper.com. The final day of posting on this site is today! I HOPE HOPE HOPE you’ll move with me!