Today was my first day at my new job - nude modeling for the art department. All day, I was a little nervous. Not about being naked in front of a class full of students, but more just nervous about the posing. I had been practicing some at home with my roomies while watching TV (clothed, of course). But, could I really come up with 10 different poses, 30 seconds apart? Would I end up inadvertently and completely accidentally posing like some sort of adult film star? Would I, in a hurry, pose in some weird way that I could hold for 10 seconds and then not possibly be able to continue with? These thoughts ran through my mind all morning, and by lunchtime, I was almost sick to my stomach with nerves.
I got to the art building early and hung out in the bathroom, hiding from students who might be wandering the halls. I didn't want to start up a conversation with anyone and then have them realize they would be seeing me completely sans-clothing within the next half hour. Once I felt it was finally safe to head to the classroom, I walked in and introduced myself to the professor. He was really nice and very appreciative that I could fill in. (Today wasn't supposed to be my first day, but someone called out so I was called in on late notice. I figured I may as well get a taste of what I'll be doing twice a week from the end of March until early May). I went back to the bathroom, changed into my blue terry cloth bathrobe, slipped on my slippers, and immediately started to sweat. I took a few deep breaths and walked back to the classroom. Students were setting up their huge easels in a big circle around a wooden platform with a purple rug on it. The professor started up class and talked about a few things and then asked me to come to the platform.
I walked over... and he told me that for my first pose, I'd be slouched in a chair on the platform. He modeled it once for me, and told me to copy. He said I could sit on my robe (I guess so that there aren't a bunch of naked people sitting on the same chair). And then, the moment came. I had tried not to build it up in my mind, but it felt momentous.
I untied my robe, slipped it off, and stepped up on the platform. I folded my robe neatly, sat on it, and slouched in the chair the way the professor had done just 30 seconds earlier. At the same moment that I felt a cool breeze flow over my body, the professor switched on a small space heater that I hadn't even noticed, next to the platform. He told me that I'd be holding the pose for 20 minutes, and then we were off. People immediately began swishing their pencils over their large notebooks of paper (like freezer-sized pieces of paper). I picked a spot to stare at (a large flower on a girl's purse). I barely felt vulnerable, and as each student stared at my body, I didn't even feel like they were looking at me as a person. It felt like they were looking at me as a group of shapes, a collection of lines and shadows.
After 20 minutes, I was allowed to get up, put on my robe and stretch and walk around. I tried to discreetly glance at peoples' drawings, but they didn't look like much more than an outline of a body. After a 10 minute break, we were back and then I sat for 40 minutes. About 30 minutes into that session, my right shoulder blade began to ache. I tried not to think about it. I stared at that same flower-print purse and tried to distract myself. I thought about everything from my Spring Breaks plans to the research paper I have to begin writing this week. My shoulder blade began to burn, and even the tiniest shift felt like heaven to my aching body. I knew I couldn't move very much, so I began breathing deeply. I think the professor could tell that I had tensed up, so he asked if I was alright. I told him that my shoulder was killing me, so he said "Okay, no problem. Just sit up, shake it out, and then get back in position." Easy as that! So, I followed his instructions and was able to finish the session without any issue at all.
After that pose, I got a longer break, so I walked around and checked out some of the drawings. To my surprise, they were beautiful! In my opinion, they didn't look anything like my body! Who was that skinny person with an average sized looking chest? It couldn't be me!
I did one more pose, this time for 40 minutes straight. It was lying down, and was pretty much a piece of cake. I stared at the ceiling and relaxed. I heard some funny comments from the professor, including "You're giving her a Frankenstein arm on such a petite body." and "What did you DO to her right breast?" and "Um... you made her head look like a lollipop. Fix that!"
Before I knew it, that pose was finished, and I slipped into my robe while he spoke to the class about their assignments. He dismissed them, and I went to the bathroom and changed back into my jeans and sweater. I went back to the room to get my bags and coat, and the prof. thanked me profusely and even congratulated me on being so good at holding the poses and not complaining!
That was totally the easiest 40 dollars I have EVER made!! And I am no longer nervous at all. I feel empowered and I feel like I did something totally outside of my comfort zone, and I love that!!