The Naked Truth

I had tried avoiding him, I postponed our meeting twice, but after bumping into him at BAFTA I could avoid him no more. I had to give Marcus an answer about the Marilyn movie. I had to decide whether or not to do nude scenes. This could be a turning point in my career – for the better, or for the worse. Who could forget what Showgirls did for Elizabeth Berkley (or didn’t do, rather)? But there have been enough success stories to give cause for consideration.

Why don’t men have this dilemma? It’s very straightforward for them; other than romantic leads, male actors aren’t expected to uphold unnatural beauty standards and epitomize eternal youth. So guys like James Gandolfini can get a big break and no one expects or wants to see them naked on screen.

Then there’s the thought that your family, friends and that stupid kid who used to blow spitballs at you in high school would see you naked.

I was hashing all this through in my mind while Cheri and I were out for an afternoon run before my meeting with Marcus. We decided that we’d take quick showers and reward our hard work with a mani/pedi at New York Nail Company. Her place was closer so we went back there to get ready. I had second shower because she had to pop her spare towel in the dryer for me. She said it’d be done by the time I got out and she’d hand it to me. So I turned off the water after showering and waited by the door as arranged for my discreet towel service. But just then the door swung wide open to reveal Cheri’s roommate Gina standing there agape. I was in full view, inches away.

“Oh my God, oh my God,” we said in chorus.

We were both embarrassed. Cheri quickly rescued me with the towel, but it wasn’t big enough to cover my entire body AND to bury my head, and as much as I tried, I couldn’t metamorphose into one of the puddles on the floor. I reached down deep for a sense of dignity and walked out of the bathroom.

“Sorry, I was just going to brush my teeth,” Gina muttered without making eye contact.

I ran into Cheri’s bedroom, fell back on the bed and laughed.

“I can’t believe Gina just walked in on me!”

But as I was laughing, I started crying, too. I knew it was irrational. Gina was a woman for goodness sake; I guess it was the shock and unexpectedness of it all. Cheri and I laughed about it while getting our toes done. I picked OPI’s “Royal Flush Blush” to mark the occasion.

I knew my answer by the time I met up with Marcus and decide to finally come straight out with it. Before I could get to the elaborate justification I’d conjured up about Reese Witherspoon and Julia Roberts being the highest-paid actresses and never doing nude scenes, Marcus said “Oh, that? Don’t worry about it, we lost our funding anyway.”

“Oh,” I said “then… what are we doing here?”