1. Aphrodite of Knidos
You undress quickly. It is the opposite of your first time when you were 17 and you left all of your clothes on because of a combination of anxiety and the cramped confines of your car. Now, though, you are 23 and in the best shape of your life. You reveal yourself all at once.
After removing your socks and shoes, pants and shirt, you open the storage closet door and shuffle down the hall. The laminate tile is cold on the bottoms of your feet. The overhead lighting is brighter than you had first realized. When you enter the circle of art students patiently waiting behind each of their easels, you do so with your hand cupped over your crotch. This is your first pose: Aphrodite of Knidos. The venus pudica pose in which one hand is used to conceal a small but important part of yourself, and in doing so, you draw more attention to the very part of yourself that you are trying to hide. This is both metaphor and a reference to your actual bare genitals. This is both side hustle and therapy.
The art students are chatting idly, some on their phones. The professor is on her computer so you ask, “Am I supposed to be naked now or should I have waited?”
And she looks up from her monitor and says, “Oh, I meant to give you a robe!”
2. The Bather
There is a psychological theory that suggests you can induce positive hormonal and behavioral changes by assuming a powerful pose. This particular theory has already been refuted as pseudoscience, but you remember it when standing naked in front of twelve budding artists. After all, you’re supposed to suggest poses. That is one of the marks of a good figure model: the ability to capture motion and consternation and deep thought and humanity all while remaining utterly still.
You think powerful. You think superhero. Wonder Woman. Chest out. Hands on hips. Chin held high. But it’s difficult to fake power and certainty, especially when nude.
The professor tells you that she meant to bring in slippers so your feet wouldn’t get cold.