Ami Amore helps me with my Downward Facing Dog
I didn’t schedule this month’s Clothing Optional Yoga to coincide with 10 Naked Days, or vice versa. The way my life is arranged has reached a point where clothing optional events overlap by happenstance.
Although I don’t do it often enough, yoga has a special place in my life. It alters my mood to the point where I can often feel the moment in my day when my yoga wears off and the sense of calm that protects me from all of life’s annoyances disappears.
When my father died, it threw me into a depression that lasted the last few months of 2006. I was determined not to carry my melancholy into a new year, so when I looked for things to do New Year’s Eve, I settled on a hot tub party at White Flag Gallery and 24 Hours of Yoga at Marbles Yoga Studio. I soaked in a hot tub for the last thee hours of 2006, then did yoga all night with my severely relaxed muscles. It was a great way to ring in a new year and leave my woes in the past one.
Fun Fact: The first class I attended at 24 Hours of Yoga was taught by and attended by members of the Bench Press Burlesque troupe, who came straight from their New Year’s Eve celebrations, some still in costume. It was definitely one of the three strangest yoga classes I’ve ever attended, the other two being Bendy Yoga Girl’s Yoga for Kinksters and, of course, Ami Amore’s Clothing Optional Yoga.
Painting by Elaine Swanger - 5-26-12
After several days of being naked or almost naked in public places, I decided I wanted to spend a quiet evening alone with my girlfriend. Since she’s an artist who does a lot of figure work, it seemed fitting for me to pose nude for her. It was the third time I’d posed for her, but the first time privately.
Painting by Elaine Swanger 10-21-11
It was the fact that Elaine painted nude models that brought us together in the first place. Long before we’d ever met, I’d seen pictures of her that had been taken at figure drawing events. Normally, in these photos, I’m looking at the nude models, but Elaine (fully clothed, sitting on the floor, working intently on her painting) pulled my focus. I thought she was gorgeous and wondered how and when I could get to meet her.
It was probably six months or so before I ever saw her in person (May 7th, 2010). It was at a burlesque show at the Way Out Club where artists from her drawing group were sketching the performers. I was on a date, so I didn’t approach her that night.
It was over year later, when SEX+STL started having live models and artists at our happy hours that I actually walked up and introduced myself to Elaine (June 29th, 2011). Again, it was her art that had brought us together. I saw her again, not long after that, at Literary Nudes, yet another drawing event. It was there that I asked her out for our first date (July 17th, 2011).
If you made a romantic comedy about us, it would play out over a series of nude modeling events. Even the least explicit version of our story couldn’t be rated PG-13.
I hope that Elaine and I grow old together. I hope that as long as we are both able, I will pose and she will paint me. Even if that means that her artistic skills increase as my body deteriorates and she just gets better and better at capturing my decline.
Nude modeling gig, 3-2-12
I’ve loved Cheap Trx since they first opened back in the mid 90s. To give you an idea how long ago that was, what is now their tattoo and piercing shop was once a cafe and smart bar. Remember smart bars? If not, ask someone between the ages of 35 and 45.
When I was looking for public places that I could be naked in, my friend Teri (pictured) invited me to come to Cheap Trx, where she works. Teri was the childhood best friend of one of my sisters and we all went to the same Catholic grade school together. The fact that she now works in the sex toy and fetish gear shop wear I’m being photographed naked, proves that we both came out okay in spite of the nun’s best efforts.
This photo was taken by Molly Algernon. Molly and I have been talking about working together for a while. I think her “Nude in the Lou” series, where she photographs nude people in public places, is amazing. So far it’s only featured women, for fear that shooting a naked man in public might get the model and the photographer arrested, so when I got the go-ahead from Cheap Trx, it seemed like the perfect opportunity.
I love the patrons, casually standing around in the background and the fact that Teri’s shirt says “I <3 White Babies.”
Question: I have a strange question. I was thinking about coming by HandleBar tonight and wanted to know, what’s the least amount of clothing I can wear as a patron of your bar and not be asked to leave? Is it “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” or is it “Street Legal?” Like, could I be in a jock-strap or underwear, or would I have to be more or less fully clothed? Thanks.
Answer: Not a weird question at all. Actually, something we’ve handled before. We generally operate under the rule of “Each to their own, as long as it doesn’t disturb others.” Largely, I leave these decisions to the bartenders on duty, as well as empowering them to handle compromise between yourself and any patrons that may object to your state of dress. A couple hard and fast rules: Shoes must be worn at all times due to risk of broken glass. I usually ask that after dark behavior be reserved for after dark (think 9-10 pm, after our main dinner service is complete) and you work cooperatively with my staff to maintain the comfort of patrons who may be of a different mindset. That said, we respect your desire for self expression, and want to allow for that as well. Sorry to be vague, but each night varies greatly, making it hard to determine what will be ok. Bottom line, I’d show up dressed and work with the staff. I’ll give them a heads up.
I used to be an abuser of the phrase “pictures or it didn’t happen,” whenever someone on the innanet mentioned some activity they were engaged in that sparked my inner voyeur. Over time, it’s fallen out of my favor. I don’t know why, maybe due to over use.
Anyway, before I officially launched 10 Naked Days, I joked on Twitter that I wouldn’t be wearing clothes much for the next ten days. A couple of my Fetlife friends chimed in with “pictures or it didn’t happen.” Challenged accepted. I took a picture of myself in my living room wearing only headphones, sunglasses and an album cover. I yoinked a picture of the first commenter from her Fetlife profile and superimposed it over the album cover that was in front of my crotch (I have blurred her face here, out of respect for her privacy). It’s hard to see with my fingers in the way, but I re-titled the album, “Pics or It Didn’t Happen.”
A lovely family portrait of me and my sister, Kendra, by Ariana Bauer.
Kendra insisted on posting a low-res nude photo of the two of us in this post on her blog. As soon as I got a chance to redo it with a pro, I took it. Ariana Bauer is one of my favorite photographers. She took the head-shot that I use everywhere. She graciously donated her services to SEX+STL because she supports our mission.
I made another version of this picture where I Photoshopped out the scars on my forehead and cropped out my love-handles, but then I said , “Fuck it. This is how I look,” and posted the original version.