There have been so many reports of super-gross men committing harassment and assault. I mean, it is crazy. The guys you sort of suspected might be creeps are actually way, way worse than you suspected, and some dudes who seemed like completely normal people are turning out to be creepers. No doubt most of this behavior is the result of a toxic mix of misogyny and power tripping.
But what’s had me sort of chuckling lately is hearing about multiple instances in which guys are answering doors naked except for a towel or a robe. If we were to assume the very best of intentions from these dudes, say, that they were genuinely Deeply In Love and hoping to Start Something Beautiful with the Woman Of Their Dreams, surprise nudity is a just terrible, terrible strategy.
And this is a fundamental case of something which I will call anthropomenism. You know how we are not supposed to expect animals to react like a humans would react, because they are not actually humans? In the case of anthropomenism, it appears that men are expecting women to act like men would act in a particular situation.
Men love nudity. They love anticipating nudity, but they also love surprise nudity. They love partial nudity, but not quite as much as complete nudity. A woman opening a door almost naked? Most men say, yes please. Hell, if my husband arrives home and I’ve already pulled my bra off from under my t-shirt for the evening, his day just got better.
A woman who is half-naked is, apparently, quite seductive.
Alas for men, that is not true for them.
Why? I don’t know. Is it, like Sam Bee says in her PSA, that women don’t ever really want to see penises, anyway? Is it because showing up naked just seems presumptuous, at best? Is it because women appreciate a little story line to their seduction? [Here is where I’ll tell you that I did a brief search to see if there was an obvious article with research about women preferring porn with a narrative arc, but I bumped into an article about feminist tentacle porn, confirmed that, yes, apparently there is an entire genre involving women with octopi and mythological monsters, and that’s when I decided I didn’t want to Google anymore, after all.]
Whatever the reason, I just don’t think most women are into surprise nudity. Like, ever. I mean, even if women plan to encounter naked men in, say, a Magic Mike sort of situation, it usually involves massive consumption of alcohol and a great deal of uncomfortable giggling.
Imagine you open a door and a naked (or mostly naked) person greets you. If you are a man opening the door on someone of your preferred gender naked, from what I hear, you are probably psyched.
If you are a heterosexual woman, well, the exact response will vary depending on the person involved, but none of the responses are yes. In the situations we’ve heard about, with powerful men or I-thought-he-was-my-colleague-or-mentor men, the reaction is confusion, fear, and disgust.
But what if the guy seemed generally pretty cool and even attractive to you? Even in these situations, I’m betting the reaction to surprise nudity would not be good. Imagine, if you will, the following naked-at-the-door-opening scenarios and my projected responses:
Guy you’ve dated for a while and like very much so far:
- Have I misjudged this and he’s actually a creep?
- How did I not see this coming?
- Is this the most awkward seduction ever?
- If so, should I act like I’m cool with this, or can I engineer an exit strategy?
- Is he actually a maniac and I’m about to get raped?
Your ultimate fantasy celebrity crush:
- Why? Why is he here? Doing this?
- Is this a practical joke that will be filmed and go viral and humiliate me?
- Is this an impersonator trying to break into my home?
- Am I about to get raped?
Your much-beloved husband:
- Wait, where are the kids?
- No, seriously: where are they? Does he realize the carpool’s due at any moment?
- Is there any chance he made us dinner? Or even ordered in?
- Does this mean he forgot we were going to watch the last two episodes of Walking Dead tonight?
- Why didn’t I shave my legs this week?
In other words, even for the likeliest candidates, surprise nudity is always a bad choice.
Hey, I think all of these guys we’re hearing about were just plain up to no good. For whatever reason, they enjoy making women uncomfortable, and worse.
But if there’s even the teensiest sliver of a chance that some poor schmuck is under the impression that something he would love would be equally well-received by his potential love interests, I want to help this guy. When it comes to surprise nudity, the answer is “Ewww. No thank you.”