VH1’s new dating reality series is far from conservative, but eye-opening in more ways than one.
When Dating Naked was brought to my attention, I couldn’t help but sigh deeply, shake my head and think, ‘Okay, VH1. You’re keeping it a little too real.’
At the same time, I found myself wondering, ‘Are these people really naked? What are they doing during these skin-bared dates? And isn’t the awkwardness of Tinder and OKCupid enough?’
And just like that, I found myself (and my curiosity) sitting in front of the TV tuning in to the season premiere of the new “radical dating experience” – an extreme encounter that I initially found unnerving.
The idea of seeing two potential partners stripping their bodies before getting to know each other was unsettling. Each date was as though I was watching a movie in rewind and couldn’t hit stop and then press “Play.” It kind of reminded me of a one-night stand going down before any type of dialogue, without any action in between the sheets.
The kicker for me was that these stripping sessions happened outside in a “jungle” on some tropical island. And each time a new potential dating partner was introduced, they would meet in the wilderness with nothing but their exposed body. (Adam & Eve anyone?)
But after experiencing pairs of people “dating naked“ for 45 minutes, I decided that “radical” is not the word I’d use to describe this show.
Nope. Not at all.
In fact, nothing about being naked in your birthday suit is extreme, revolutionary or fanatical per se. Nudity (or watching blurred bodies) on television isn’t anything new. I don’t see groups of people looking to make this a fundamental part of dating in America, at least not in a very, very long time. If anything, unconventional would be more fitting.
Despite the awkwardly naked moments of the show, I will say that I did appreciate the moments of vulnerability. Nothing beats seeing two genuine people connecting through dialogue.
At the same time, this reality show got pretty thought provoking.
I found myself thinking about the future of dating in America. Have we reached a ceiling in terms of how we go about finding love? Are we now consumed with dramatic reality shows featuring people competing for the love of a Jane Doe? Will I see Odysseus-like suitors taking part in a nude Hunger Games-style tournament? Have we become a voyeuristic society consumed by the shock value or societal taboo of nudity? Do I really want the instant gratification of seeing all the “goods” before I get to the “bads?” What in the world will entertainment television think of next?
And that’s what it boils down to: entertainment.
Unfortunately, entertaining was not a thought or feeling I had while watching. The ‘naked’ factor got so old that I found myself browsing the Web 30 minutes in. I don’t see myself rushing home to catch next week’s episode at all.
If I happen to catch it while flipping through cable channels on a lazy Saturday afternoon, then I may entertain it out of sheer boredom.
At the end of the day, I’m just fine with the way real-life dating is now.
I personally prefer to take my time getting to know a man before noticing an interesting tattoo on his left hamstring. I’ll leave the visual instant gratifications in the high-speed world called the Internet.
Have you seen VH1’s Dating Naked? What do you think of the reality series? Share your thoughts below.