VH1 is currently airing a reality show called “Dating Naked,” and you would be forgiven for assuming—or even, let’s be honest, hoping—that it was the stage for a hedonistic, debauched scene of young singles gone wild.
The nervous folks at the Parents Television Council certainly did; they issued a statement condemning Mc Donald’s for sponsoring such obvious filth.
“I want the whole white-picket fence, a dog, some kids, you know, everything,” Joe, a twenty-four-year-old from Long Island who is the male contestant on the first episode, says. “Dating naked gives me a way to trust someone possibly again.” His female counterpart, a thirty-six-year-old woman named Wee Wee, appeared to be a likely match: “I do have a ticking clock, so it is important for me to meet someone who would like to have children.” Later, she tears up when telling the camera, “I want a family of my own.” The other contestants in the three episodes that have aired so far sound, similarly, like walking, talking naked e Harmony profiles. Justice, then there’s no point in starting a relationship at this point,” says one Mr. “If I find the perfect girl here I could be ready for everything,” a man named Keegan says, already imagining minivans and soccer practices.“You talked a little bit about how you go through guys like they’re chewing gum, and I am not a piece of candy,” Steven, a thirty-something Australian living in Los Angeles, says to one of his dates. “I’m hoping to meet my true love on this island,” Diane, aged twenty-eight, tells the camera.Later, she clarifies her intentions: “I don’t want someone who is going to try to get laid on the first date. Sometimes the contestants go barefoot when walking on the beach or through the jungle, other times they wear socks and sneakers.You know, I want the romance.” As far as romance goes, the following staged dating activities are done naked, to varying aesthetic and practical results: conga playing, bird-watching, water skiing, water tubing, A. V.ing, salsa dancing, horseback riding, spearfishing, paddleboarding, zip-lining. Safety helmets are allowed at times, as are hats: one pair wears matching pith helmets on a nature walk; another sports Stetsons.And, for a naked dating show, there are plenty of covered moments back at the so-called Jungle Villa (Clothing Optional), where the contestants, contrary to the spirit of the show, seem to get to know each other better when seeing less of one another.
It has been widely noticed, by everyone from die-hard nudists to occasional gym-goers, that there isn’t much sexy about being naked in a nonsexual situation.
And dating, at least as practiced by these folks, is decidedly unsexy.
Nakedness can be grim, especially when hanging from a zip line in broad daylight, no matter how inclined you may be to fall in love. The human body comes in an astounding, and sometimes daunting, array of shapes and sizes.
Or, as the contestant Taryn puts it, “It’s crazy to me to see that there’s so many different types of guys, as far as their package goes, and all that.” “Dating Naked” joins a list of other nudity-themed reality shows, either already on the air or in the works.
There’s “Naked and Afraid,” a show in which two contestants are released into the wild, where they must perform “Survivor”-style challenges; “Buying Naked,” in which nudists go house hunting; and “Skin Wars,” which is about body painting.
Yet “Dating Naked” may be the most chaste of the bunch, and the show seems to recognize its own harmlessness.