Twenty-five years ago, while an undergraduate at Stanford, I got a job on campus as a lifeguard, deepening a love of swimming and water that has lasted throughout my life. I took the duties seriously and studied the swimmers with professional vigilance, relieved at the end of each day that no emergency rescue had been required. But the greatest challenge of the job was standing poolside in a bathing suit with my body on display.Work began in the locker room, where I changed into my Speedo and surveyed my reflection, assessing what would be on view for the next few hours. I was plagued by self-criticism. I imagined the swimmers judging my shape, until I made myself remember that I was there to guard their lives, not their fantasies. Later I performed my variation of the same ablutions everyone else did, showering and hair washing, the application of lotion and makeup -- preparations for re-entering the other world of walking upright on solid land.
But for me, being naked out of doors and in the water is one of the best ways I have ever found to restore my sense of blissful innocence. It takes me back to that place of my almost forgotten childhood, where I got to run around undressed without anyone telling me I had to cover up or be embarrassed.
You know, it's just like being a peddler. You want two breasts? Well, here you are -- two breasts. We must see to it that the man looking at the picture has at hand everything he needs to paint a nude. If you really give him everything he needs -- and the best -- he'll put everything where it belongs, with his own eyes. Each person will make for himself the kind of nude he wants, with the nude that I will have made for him.