Monday, July 25, 2016

News You Can't Use: The Apocalyptic Rise of Nude Dating Shows

One might argue that rise of the "hook-up" culture and the easy, meaningless encounters it promises combined with the decline of traditional courtship rituals is having some sort of negative effect on society as a whole but this hypothetical arguer is clearly wrong. After all, we now have something called "nude dating shows" which, and this is just me guessing here, combine unclothed bodies and the high drama of "swipe right!" in front of an audience of drooling, hooting scumbags. Still, not everyone is convinced, including the author of today's subject who likens it to Saint John's Revelation. It's just limp penises, dude.

That’s it. There’s nowhere left for the dating show to go. Between TLC’s Undressed and Channel 4’s Naked Attraction, the entire genre feels like it’s reached its natural endpoint.

Talk about a small imagination. We haven't even started in with the chemsex, or the harems, or animals...

We’ve had shows like Blind Date, where desirability is judged by personality. We’ve had shows like Take Me Out, where desirability is judged by physical appearance. 

As opposed to basing desirability on not immediately screaming and giving me a full face worth of  wasp spray

And now we find ourselves at a terrible new dawn, where desirability is judged by genitalia.

"You seem nice, but that thing looks like it was made by a blind woodsman with a dull axe."

Undressed puts two strangers in a room and makes them undress each other before they sit on a bed and get subjected to a hideous Clockwork Orange-style barrage of orders from a giant faceless screen.

You're actually thinking of 1984 (All right contestants, here comes a chopper to chop off your heads!), which is why you get assigned to cover the naked dating craze and not prestige topics like accidental celebrity nudity.

Meanwhile, Naked Attraction – which starts tonight – promises to present its subjects with a cavalcade of naked strangers and ask them to pick the sexiest.

It's like choosing your favorite hanging dead rabbit from a Chinatown market.

Naked Attraction is barely even a dating show. It’s Am I Hot Or Not. It’s a knobbly knees competition. It’s a place where your parents can validate all the unspoken disappointment they ever felt about you.

Your parents are very disappointed you showed your completely flaccid joystick on the Sex Box.

It feels like we’ve painted ourselves into a corner here, doesn’t it? How can anyone keep making dating shows any more, now that there’s a programme about people picking willies from a lineup?

Tonight the slippery slope let me down.

The bottom of the barrel has been located. Dating shows: completed. Well done everybody.

That sounds like a challenge to me.

These people realise that nudity is weird and shameful, and that it should be hidden from a prospective romantic partner until the last moment possible, long after the point at which they can politely back out.

Your body is an evil thing, full of death, decay and demons. It should be covered as completely as possible and any intimacy (hopefully there's none!) should be done under the cover of complete darkness and under the influence of as many numbing agents as possible.

But perhaps my natural inclination to equate Undressed and Naked Attraction to the death of all civilisation is premature. 

And speaking of other things that can go wrong when you're "dating."

Hot sexy singles naked! Look at this, oh wow!

They understand that nudity is humiliating, because it is, and the parts of the show where the contestants work through their anxiety over this is much better than the rest of the show, where they tend to just get barked at by a Twister-obsessed Jumbotron. 

Personally I think the barking is the best part, but I suppose I could be wrong.

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

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