Want to practice your life drawing skills? Here’s what the ad says: “Bare Talent. Come hone yours at the Museum, Thursday January 3 at the Life Drawing Studio.” Sounds fine, perfectly normal. Life drawing means rendering sketches of nude models, after all, hence the catchy phrase “Bare Talent.”
But here’s the kicker. The ad, from an art museum deep in the heart of the United States, ends with the caveat: “Don’t worry; there’s no real nudity.”
Cooking class! Don’t worry; there’s no real food. We’ll just use fake fruit and magazine ads.
Algebra tutoring! Don’t worry; there are no real integers. We’ll throw around some numbers and letters, but no one will suffer any math anxiety. Guaranteed!
Football practice! Don’t worry; there’s no actual exertion of energy. It’s all theoretical. No aggression, just lots of X’s and O’s on a chalkboard.
C’mon! How nudophobic can you get, when there’s not even “real” nudity at a life drawing class? And–most damning of all–when the museum staff feel compelled to assure their potential participants, “Don’t worry”?
“Don’t fret now, folks, don’t get your undies in a bunch (although, geez, if you do, you better tough it out and keep those undies on); we’ll draw only from statues so that nobody could possibly be offended by the ordinary yet absolutely extraordinary sight of an actual unclothed human being who is holding still and not even moving around very much.”
I can only hope the museum’s extreme caution, probably meant to increase the number of attendees, yielded fewer participants instead of more.