By Carmelene Melanie Siani
So, out of the blue you get an e-mail from a national magazine whose target audience is retired people.
They say they saw your pictures in a photo shoot you did once, wanted to produce a piece on the naked elder body and how would you like to model for them? In fact, what they’d like to do is a video of you modeling for the photographer who’d taken your pictures so they can do a story on the both of you.
You e-mail them right back. Sure! You’d love to!
You don’t even think about it. It’s your 15 minutes of fame. It’s your name in lights. It’s the little girl in you getting to be the star—it doesn’t matter that it took over 70 years!
So what if they want you to take all your clothes off? So what if there will be a room full of cine-photographers, other photographers, producers and directors there? So some of them will be—most all of them will be—men? Young men.
By now you’re so used to this body of yours; you’re so over trying to pummel it into some shape that you definitely know it is not going to be pummeled into no matter how many miles you walk, how many weights you lift or how many get-rid-of-the-cellulite diets you go on, that you just don’t care.
This is you. This is what you look like. No lies. You’re beautiful. Bring on the lights! Bring on the cameras! Bring it all on!
And they do. And you love it and it is exciting and it is different and it really is just like it is in the movies. They really do say take one and take two and could you stand over there and could you hold your hand this way and could you do that again? Nobody even notices that you’re stark naked. Not them and not even you. At least, nobody acts like they notice. After all, they’re not there to look at a naked old lady’s naked old body. They’re there to make a statement—to make art. Maybe even to sell magazines.
It’s liberating. Collaborative. Magical.
You think because you’re real in your body they are real in theirs, nobody has anything to hide. A certain kind of intimacy envelops you all—a certain kind of camaraderie—a certain kind of daring that you’ve become a part of.
Yeah. Let’s make art out of a naked old lady’s body and show it to the world! Let’s make the statement that old is beautiful! Air brushing? What’s that?
Ultimately however, in that we-better-think-this-over-way that corporations have of making decisions, the magazine backpedals. Ultimately they decide—even though for a minute they’d gotten their minds out of their corporate…uh, mindset—that no, sorry, this piece just isn’t what their market would want. This incredible video about how old, naked bodies are beautiful in their own way, just like young naked bodies are beautiful in their own way, is just not for them.
It’s too daring. It’s too—well, naked.
Oh, who cares what their reasons are for dropping the article I say to myself. Hell, even I knew that such a conservative national magazine like they are wasn’t going to have the naked balls to post naked pictures of my ass. Even I knew it would be too over the top for them. What were they thinking?
What’s that they say about timing being everything? Well, maybe the timing just wasn’t right.
I do know one thing though. Some day the timing will be right and some other day, somehow, some way, someone at that magazine will take another look at this photo shoot and change their minds.
I myself don’t want to waste energy trying to figure out one of the myriad reasons why they shelved the project. The fact that they did the shoot at all puts the idea that old is beautiful—especially old naked bodies are beautiful—into the ethos. In fact, it says a lot that some of the producers on the magazine staff even came up with the idea in the first place.
Right now, what I want to focus on is the fact that I was part of making this statement that old, naked bodies are beautiful and that it is a concept that has to start somewhere, no matter that it’s one step forward, one step back.
That’s usually how it goes when you’re changing the world anyway. And what better place to start than with a national magazine that has over 35 million readers?
Who knows, maybe my naked ass will someday be seen as the beginning of a revolution!
Photos: provided by author/credit: Jade Beall
Editor: Dana Gornall
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