Discomfort, it is what nakedness is. Clothes, shoes, sensible hats, they are there to protect us banishing discomfort. Our ancient ancestors skinned animals and wove reeds to get rid of discomfort. Fleas, lice, gnats, ticks liked the comfort and the readily available blood, close and warm. The ancients kept the clothes, even with the itching, lesser discomfort than ice and sun and rain. Now we have brilliantly colored fabrics to express our emotional states that very few bugs find habitable and digestible. A year passes, and we discard those antique clothes and replace them with newer patterns to protect us from sartorial discomfort.
He, your male docent when the Temporary Museum of Enfant Terrible Culture opens, doesn’t suffer much from fashion discomfort. He is an exposed artistic type ready to risk all and accept the embarrassment of either nakedness or nudity. Nakedness is about the discomfort; sun-burn, shivering, inappropriateness, scratches, indelicacies, bug-bites. Nudity is about comfort in the glory of a body without cultural clothing; the body’s ancient timelessness, the clothes soon outdated.
He is unfortunately a part of a geography where being without clothes is social and meteorological folly. A nude, forthright and unadorned, is one way of showing the soul in art; wholesome, strong, rational, glowing. He however lacks the necessaries to develop an exposable soul unadorned by costume. And so He wears fancy hats of his own construction, twisting and pulling tendrils from his head. Occasionally self-made wings are cuffed and chained to his less-than-aviary arms. Various masks and torso wraps remove the discomfort in social situations but indicate nakedness to all. And, embarrassing, the nude has imperfections. The imperfections, discomfort, of He.
He may know the folly of his hats, wings, loin cloths, and lit bombs; but the discomfort hasn’t found a way to leave or an appropriate covering.