Plan to model nude stresses man out

  • By Carolyn Hax
  • Thursday, November 6, 2014 5:51pm
  • Life

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My girlfriend is considering doing nude modeling in an art school. I understand that it is only for art but I am still very hesitant. She doesn’t want to discuss it, and even though it’s not happening yet, she said she will not tell me when she starts it. I’ve told her it’s bothering me and she understands, but she may still go ahead with it.

I am really stressing about this. We are talking about getting engaged soon (and she’s promised she wouldn’t do it after that) but it is really stressing me out.

— Stressed

I’m going with (a) Overreacting — but only to the modeling itself. I won’t end my answer there, though, because:

It’s her body. Period. Understanding and respecting that means you either accept it as-is or, after thoughtful discussion of your discomfort, leave.

This is legitimate work, and, cheez, this is art school; it’s not about sex or peeping or whatever else makes you uncomfortable about it, it’s about honing the student’s abilities. Yes, there’s a history of artists taking up with their models, but (a) art-school modeling is likely before a class, not one-on-one, and (b) if she’s unfaithful, then modeling didn’t make her do it.

Even if she stops modeling after you get engaged — or even if she agrees not to do it — there’s still the fact that your girlfriend is comfortable enough with nudity to see it as a legitimate revenue stream. You, I get the impression, see nudity as a private thing, and possibly see access to her nudity as something that’s exclusively yours.

If I’m right about this, then the difference in your views/attitudes/values and hers is substantial — and that difference deserves your attention, not the details of how you express it. Now, before you commit to each other.

You are “really stressing,” as in, acutely emotional about it, and she’s dodging you! You and she have to, have to, have to be able to talk this out. You can’t just “solve” it by her backing down. You need to articulate your misgivings and she needs to do the same, and you both need to trust yourselves and each other to be completely honest about your feelings and opinions, and then see whether it’s possible for your two worldviews — “Woo-hoo, I can get paid for this?” versus “You are for my eyes only!” — to coexist.

Re: Modeling:

Oh dear Lord. I modeled at art school throughout my four years. My fiance thought it was the best thing ever! It was the highest paid job on campus! Give the woman a break, boy.

— Anonymous

If only that were all it took.

Re: Modeling:

I went to art school and had to draw/paint the nude models. After looking at them for three hours straight trying to get the drawing or painting to look right you only see color or shapes. But then I’m female so …

But every so often we had male models, still the same applies.

— Anonymous 2

Maybe they both should model. Win-win.

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