How To See Someone Naked

Ask them to take off their clothes. Ask them before they ask you because, well, you’re shy. Or something. They start undressing and it’s dark in your room and you’re getting nervous just thinking about the way skin moves when it’s pushed together. Will theirs feel like sandpaper or porcelain? Oh my god, wait. They’re already naked. You stand there like a queer in headlights.  Then study it carefully for a second before realizing something very important: there are ways to feel more naked without ever taking your clothes off. Knowing that, you start to undress quickly and without any shame. You move towards them, take their hand and make them rest it on your body. Then you begin the dance that everyone already knows about.

See them lift something. Maybe a giant box when you’re moving apartments. Watch them struggle with it and start to perspire. Think to yourself, “This is more revealing than seeing their O face.” Their breath starts to get short and they take a second to sit down. A feeling of disgust swirls above your head and you have to swat it away like a fly.

Go to their parents house for dinner and watch the evening devolve into a series of pointless arguments. Watch them act like a five-year-old who has just gotten their toy taken away. They scoff. They pout. They protest. You sit there moving the food around on your plate and wishing for an invisibility cloak. Look up when they slam their fist on the table and come to the conclusion that this is more revealing than their V or the curve of their hips. This is more revealing than the ‘SMACK SMACK” sound of your bodies thrusting together.

Take care of them when they’re sick. Bring them juice and tea and tissues. A body that once seemed so sexy and vibrant is now being reduced to mush. The body is shaking and wheezing. It’s not giving you orgasms. It’s not making you hard. Seeing this stark contrast makes you realize that you’re seeing them naked but in a different way. Naked doesn’t always mean sexy. Naked can mean revulsion and it often does.

Watch them fall down when they’re drunk. Take them home and feel pity when you see them clumsily ripping off their clothes. They’re completely naked now and moving like a jellyfish. Notice that their flesh never looked as cheap as it does now and promptly go to bed, rebuffing their sexual advances.

Drive with them in the rain and run out of gas in the middle of nowhere. They don’t handle this unexpected development well. They scream, they yell, they try to place blame. So here they are, melting down during a crisis, and you can’t recall a time when you ever saw more of them as you do right now. It’s pathetic. It’s nudity in a different form.

They lost their job. They’re crying to you in a restaurant at 4:30 PM and people are staring. You want to leap across the table and give them a hug, a hug that would create a job. They’re wearing a turtleneck and jeans but they might as well be wearing nothing but a thong because they’re undressing. They’re undressed. They’re naked. Take them home and give false reassurances as they fall asleep curled up on the couch. Feel guilty for every moment you felt disgust when they were being vulnerable to you. Take off your clothes and wait until they wake up from their nap. It should be any minute now. TC mark

image – rororapa

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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  • EAZ

    The flip side of this being that you witness all of the above and still think they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread.

  • Salvador Ramirez


  • Beatriz Simonini


  • future gopher


  • Sophia

    loved this. It goes along with the article a few days ago about loving flaws. Because when you really love someone, flaws are lovely, too. Thanks for another great one, Ryan.

  • Adam Ruhl


  • Jolene Fernandes

    A.C.E !

  • Anonymous

    Couldn’t agree more.

  • Rebecca

    Really liked this, esp the part about wanting an invisibility cloak during pointless arguments. Thanks for all the great articles recently!

  • Errin

    ….a queer in headlights??

  • Guest

    Good, but I can’t tell if you’re disgusted by them now, or
    if it’s just for the sake of the metaphor? Because
    sometimes those things might make you
    love someone more?

    • Gollysandra

      i like that it’s left up to the imagination. reading it made me think about how i love my s.o. more because of all these things, not in spite of them.

      nice job, ryan, great as always.

  • Anonymous

    Beautiful, absolutely beautiful.

  • Terrence

    Interesting, but honestly I think that it’s a bit forced in some areas. We understand from context that you are saying that there are many ways to see a person naked. To say it explicitly as you do many times in the article undermines the flow.  “Seeing this stark contrast makes you realize that you’re seeing them naked but in a different way…” 
    “Naked doesn’t always mean sexy. Naked can mean revulsion and it often does….” ”
    “It’s nudity in a different form.”I think that these lines can be cut out or modified in order not to hit us over the head with your point. It will make the article more powerful and artistic and less in your face. 

  • ohmenver

    beautiful. love you.

  • beatrice

    Very lovely article and it highlights the worst problem. To be rejected when you’re naked.

  • Ian

    Wow. This one was fantastic.

  • emily

    “Take off your clothes and wait until they wake up from their nap. It should be any minute now.”

  • guest

    that was aweomse

  • samanthaphoebe

    My favorite piece by you.

    Also, “queer in the headlights”…I died.

  • jason

    youre amazing… i read everything you posted

    • frecklesgalore90

      Currently reading everything he posts as well. It makes me want to write write write, which is great because its been too long since I have.

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