If you’re in the mood for some merriment, do a dramatic reading of the premise of Discovery’s new show Naked and Afraid. The premise is, No food. No water. No clothes. And ah, that’s about it. The fact of the matter is, no matter how perilous the situations that these two inexplicably naked people get into as they attempt to survive the wilderness without modern conveniences, it’s always going to remain both faintly alarming and amusing to the viewer. As Kevin Fallon, a fan of the show, wrote in the Daily Beast this week of the discombobulating aspect of the show,
“You’d think that after 42 minutes of it, you’d become desensitized to seeing the butts. But you don’t. You just don’t. (Genitals and breasts, however, are pixilated.)
It makes for a viewing experience like no other: your heart is racing as the two survivalists attempt to save their fire from the rain so that, you know, they don’t freeze to death, but then … a butt! ... and you kind of giggle even as your pulse quickens in fright for these poor contestants. It’s a curious emotional experience, to say the least.”
So, it would seem that no matter how nonchalant we try to be, bums remain funny and there doesn’t seem to be any limits to how far pop culture, and fashion, will go in attempts to both shock, awe and confuse.
This brings me to some quite inexplicable trends that have gained traction in fashion of late – namely the side bum, aka Gwyneth Paltrow who’s been rocking the look for awhile according to The Cut, and the fact that everybody is showing the centres of their bra - from Rihanna to Demi Lovato. Though of course it's hardly a new thing, Victoria Beckham was working the look in her Posh Spice days. As was I on my 21st birthday, where the only thing more obvious than my exposed bra centre was my distinctly orange-inclined fake tan.
It's a different look to the current crop of bra-lets and midriff tops sported by everyone from Diane Kruger to J-Law. Mostly because it looks like an actual bra, yet the exposed bra centre look is all about it being deliberate.
It makes me think that we’ve run out of ways to be titillating. I mean, we're seeing raw bums on TV, toe cleavage was once a thing, side boob became an artform and Liz Hurley’s scandalous safety pin dress recently made a comeback. How on earth are we going to raise eyebrows unless we turn up to the office stark naked apart from a pair of bark sandals?
Indeed, we’ve probably reached the limits of body parts that we can flash and still potentially shock, I don’t know, maybe grandma? But perhaps dressing for a reaction is overrated anyway. Wear what you fancy.
Though with full respect to Gwyneth, I really have a lot of feelings about side bum, most of them involving ‘no’.