I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours

by Esther Levy
August 4, 2014
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Be afraid. Be naked and very, very afraid.

barbieassIf Chris Harrison and cable television have taught me anything, it is that there is no shortage of ardor looking to capitalize on the pursuit of “true love.” According to the formula that is ABC, this is typically supposed to happen across the span of six weeks, in a beach villa, on a tropical island, where there is an abundance of the two things that come both free and at a high cost: alcohol and drama.

The Bachelor, and its female counterpart, The Bachelorette, have been chugging along for 19 seasons based on this canon. The success of the series has spawned a slew of spinoffs including Bachelor Pad and Bachelor in Paradise, not to mention the plethora of reality dating shows that followed, including (but not limited to) Mr. Personality, Average Joe, and A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila.

It’s all become so obvious. For a while, it seemed as though the genre had been reduced to a puddle of Juan Pablo-induced tears until, that is, VH1’s Dating Naked was born.

The show, which premiered on July 17th, follows three young men and women as they meet and subsequently date while naked. Contestant numero uno, Joe from Long Island, put it like this: “Dating naked gives me a way to possibly trust somebody again. I’m here for love. I don’t want beauty and looks. I want somebody that’s going to be there and care for me. There are no secrets. You see me. I see you. Boom.” (Joe’s conviction was tested when Yasmin from Israel tempted and almost snagged him by the fruit of her exotic looms.)

The supposition is that the presence of nudity will allow for singles to date honestly. Host Amy Paffrath’s opener takes a page from the Homeboy’s Guide to Existentialism, stating: “In today’s modern world, we’re supposed to be more connected than ever, but it feels like we’re just further apart.”

Here’s the thing, though — save for the initial shock of seeing a naked stranger, the show is kind of underwhelming if not exactly tantamount on the thrill-scale to every other show swimming in the waters of reality dating. A preview for the newest episode even suggested the powers that be a production team’s scramble to orchestrate discomfort when two contestants are seen being sent on a yoga date, and bent into, er, awkward positions (here’s hoping he had his asshole bleached).

And as I continue to watch the series, I remain unconvinced that the premature display of ones genitals can be the magnet that brings people closer together. Unlike Discovery Channel’s Naked and Afraid, naturism does little to exacerbate the tension between contestants and their environment. Ten minutes in and the bodies are as unremarkable and hackneyed as the reality TV dating game itself.

It’s just, why? Maybe the deluge of ridiculous reality dating premises have led to a desensitization towards the absurd?

Amy Paffrath hawked the show for its ability to “bring us together” and maybe it has, if only through one collective guffaw. But if that’s the point, where’s the magic, where are our morals and for the love of cable, where is the good television?

REPLIES
  • Hereshoping Themayanswereright

    Gross…I hope it’s well pixelated. Guys definitely need to keep their lower parts covered.. nobody wants to see that!!

    • Esther Levy

      whoever’s doing the “blurring” has won the emmy in my eyes.

      • Hereshoping Themayanswereright

        omg yes. Lol

    • hf2hvit

      “NOBODY”? Your generalizations don’t work for EVERYBODY

      • Hereshoping Themayanswereright

        Dear random dick and balls enthusiast,
        Thanks for letting me know that generalizations don’t work for “EVERYBODY”. Who knew???

  • Ray, L

    Somehow I can’t believe your English Lit Teacher (you know the one who said you show great promise and an Ability to convey your Thoughts and imagination) Would ever see the day when The Sentence “I hope He bleached His Asshole” would be rendered so Non-Chalantly as you did in your post.. As for reality TV that’s the nub isn’t it? If the word Reality is in the title it usually is anything But(t)

    • Leandra Medine

      My edit! #hehehehehe

    • Amelia Diamond

      (Bu)(TT)

    • Teresa

      Personally , I fell over dying with laughter over the bleached asshole. I could just imagine his chocolate starfish come hither stare ;)

  • http://dolceandgabriella.wordpress.com Gigi Gastevich

    Yeah I don’t know, on shows like the Bachelor and whatever the only real drama is that they AREN’T naked yet. Because then they can do sexy strip things and skeevy things in the Fantasy Suite, and it’s like, “they’re finally doing what we’ve been waiting for them to do!” Seeing how dating shows only really deal in a few types of activities, it seems like Dating Naked is going to run into suspense problems…

    Love, Gigi
    Dolce and Gabriella

  • http://www.bisousnatasha.com/ Bisous Natasha

    Just go to a nude beach in Europe in summer and you have a TV show. Seriously, I know nudity is a big deal in America compared to those of us across the pond. But this whole idea that “the presence of nudity will allow for singles to date honestly” is nonsense. Clothed or naked myself or John Doe will not reveal our crazy side (criminal records, baby mama drama, etc) when on a date with you in our birthday suits. Sorry maybe it’s my background as an art student drawing naked people in Paris that makes me bored to death by naked people. Nice try VH1.

    http://www.bisousnatasha.com

  • Arthur C

    Great article! My wife loves these absurd shows and puts herself (and consequently myself) asleep to them. I’ve seen snippets of Dating Naked and it is a horrible, horrible show. And you nailed it’s problems on the head!

    • Esther Levy

      Arthur, your wife and I should hang out sometime

  • Amelia Diamond

    My main thought is that the show feels like a recipe for vagina disasters. Paint!? No. Horse back riding? NO! Sand?!?!?! NO NO NO!

    • Esther Levy

      so you’re saying you’ve never rode a horse naked then?

      • http://Medium.com/@hager_emma Emma Hager

        I could so see that being @ameliadiamond:disqus’s version of twilight skinny dipping.

  • Tara Edie

    It’s like my mother always said…”When in doubt, get naked”.

    http://www.southbysunset.com

  • Aubrey Green

    I don’t even know what to say. Although, I’m not really surprised.

    I can’t remember the source, but I read an article recently about a new ‘relaxation’ place (I think it’s only in Colorado as of now) that allows woman to choose a partner (a man) that stimulates them using their hands only. Kind of like yoga, but for your vagina.

  • http://www.yourdoseofcoffee.com lulu

    Big Love – it’s always a pleasure to read your articles!!!

  • http://Medium.com/@hager_emma Emma Hager

    Happy Anniversary, Esther!!!!!! I hope there are many outings to nude beaches in your second year of marriage!

  • http://mxpstyle.com/ Michelle

    Wut. Dating Naked is actually a thing?!

    — Michelle | http://mxpstyle.com

  • Calvin&Hobbes

    If they gave a Pulitzer for best sentence on the web it would go to Esther Levy for her unforgettable “I hope he bleached his Asshole” better yet I nominate that as the Definitive Catch phrase of The 2010-2020 decade, Joining such unforgettable Phrases as “Go ahead make my day, Wheres the Beef? And Whats your Sign?”

    • Esther Levy

      is this Calvin&Hobbes THE Clavin & Hobbes!?!??

  • Victoria

    that would be so disturbing

  • Tracy

    I watched this show and I loved it!

    http://fashion-soup.com/