It's in the Way That You Frame It...? (Part 2)
Along the same thread, in my own personal bathroom I’d like to post a photo, in a nice frame, of myself topless. It’s very artistic. From time to time guests may use that bathroom. Is that ok?
R., from Los Angeles, CA
I love all of these questions about personal nudity you have- refreshingly atypical interior design/ feng shui questions.
First, I would like to point out that you used the words “I’d like to post a photo...”- my hunch is that you have an untapped exhibitionist streak and would actually get a thrill from posting an “oopsy” on the internet. You seem to be craving more opportunities to sport your birthday suit more often. Pull the shades and go for it. Or don’t pull the shades- your choice. My shade-pulling conservatism comes from the fact that I’m a feng shui consultant and I can’t think of a passage in the I Ching that describes one’s neighbor’s naked soul case as being a particularly harmonizing influence- for the neighbor.
As for your own sense of abundance and harmony, in the privacy of your own bathroom, you may do whatever you wish. That is the gift of having a private home. If your loo is also the guest loo as well, then it is no longer your personal bathroom, and what you display there will be up for assessment.
This is when I have to commend you on having respect for the visual arts, when you justify your artistic nudity by telling me it will of course, be “in a nice frame.” (For a moment, when I first read your question, all I could focus on was what you conceptualized as being a “nice frame”- are you picturing a slim chrome profile, a modern black gallery look, a gilt Baroque exclamation, or something commemorative, like an American flag surrounding your proud display…)
On the one hand, thinking about the frame style is understandably part of your vision, and I get where you’re going- a classic frame makes the image more “nude,” less “nudie.” On the other hand, the frame won’t change the image that radically.
A cautionary tale about the limited power of a frame:
When I was six years old, I was in an very elegant older woman’s powder room, and right next to the toilet, centered above the toilet paper, was a very naked and hairy Burt Reynolds smiling at me with a cigarette and a strange comic smile. The centerfold photo was in a frame. That is the entire cautionary tale. By telling this tale, I've actually conveyed some powerful advice, which I will recap for you, as I'm sure you are preoccupied with trying to recall the image of that legendary centerfold.
A frame does not have magical properties. A framed Naked Burt Reynolds on the bearskin rug is still a Naked Burt Reynolds on the bearskin rug. I’m not sure art historians would come up with different interpretations of the piece if it was hung with thumbtacks or scotch tape.
Don’t scare your guests. There will be different reactions from Those Who Know You vs. New Friends. Are your potential guests going to be prepared to enter the Garden of Earthly Delights? It’s wonderful to create one, but I believe in creating transitional zones, (one of the most fundamental and important ideas in feng shui) so your guests don’t feel they’ve accidentally entered a room you forgot to lock… Put some subtle teasers in the hallway, so they know they are headed towards your "private side" and that it’s a little bit playful. These visual hints could be anything quirky or sexy, you know, anything besides a rosary or an embroidery sampler.
Context is important. This goes for everything in life really, but is especially true for artwork. Where you are photographed, where you place the photograph, who you are, who the potential guests are…I don’t want to make you paranoid, but as I discussed in my previous post, nudity, when it is highlighted and isolated, is provocative. So just respect what you do with your artfully-documented nude selfie.
In your photo-nude-scapades please have your head photographed as part of your body. This is a BIG problem with sexual/sensual imaging of women these days- women are presented as bodies without heads- the heads in female-centric images are quite often cropped out. I won’t launch into the obvious problem of objectification going on with this strange guillotine-like marketing fetish. Just reminding you to not participate in this bizarre practice. Your body looks great with a head- please keep it attached in your selfies, unless you are going for something really abstract.
Break some rules. It's clear you want to. From what I hear you say at the end of your question when you say, “is it ok,” you probably need to break some rules. Damn right it’s ok. Liberate yourself. Get a little edgy, question your socializing and rewrite your own rules. Individuate. And if staging a "Burt Reynolds" is what's going to feel like you're waving your freak flag, then strip down, strut your stuff, and print it. Then afterward, choose a trustworthy frame shop.
If you need some clarity, some change, or a refresh either inside or out, you’re in the right place. Aubrey Thorne is an astrologer, integrative coach, and feng shui designer in Los Angeles. She works with clients all over, both in-person and online. Feel free to contact Aubrey to ask a question or to schedule a consultation.