Appearance versus Reality is the theme of Episode Fifty! Paul takes a stab at the new reality show on Channel 4 called Naked Attraction. The show format involves a clothed contestant and six naked bodies on stage, hidden from view inside frosted glass silos. The glass lifts and fully nude candidates are revealed, close-up genitalia and all. A critic of the show compared it to slaves on the auction block, the main contestant compelled to dismiss bodies based on physical attributes alone. Aside from the shock factor, the show brings up several interesting sociological questions: Can we get to know someone simply by seeing them naked and vulnerable? Pete makes the astute point that “people who get naked quickly often don’t want to reveal themselves (emotionally)…” Paul observes that he knows many men – and was one, himself, once – who assume physical intimacy equates to emotional intimacy. This is nudity masquerading as intimacy. Men in strip clubs who “fall in love” with naked women, or the intensity of a carnal one-night stand – either can fool a man into thinking he “knows” the woman on the other end. In fact, as Naked Attraction reveals in its finale, physical attraction alone is not a reliable basis for compatibility. To wit: many of the couples, previously quite keen on each other, admit after three weeks that there was little actual interest and that they’ve gone their separate ways. It’s an awkward resolution, to say the least. The men segue onto memory lane, and Paul admits that in his single days in New York, he spent time with a lot of women who were NSFR – Not Suitable For a Relationship. The men acknowledge that people mature, and Paul admits that he wasn’t such a catch in those days, either; he had a lot of growing up to do. Finally, the men discuss “dream jobs” in the context of Appearance versus Reality. Upon hearing that a former classmate is now President of movie production company Plan B, Paul’s immediate thought was “Damn it – I should have stayed in Hollywood. Look what I could have become!” The truth is more nuanced, however. Movie producing, though wrapped in the glamour of Hollywood, involves the same frustrations and challenges as any business: logistics, budgeting, personnel. To think it’s all Bentleys and Bodacious Babes in the South of France is foolish – there’s plenty of gruelling, tedious work involved. Recognising that all jobs have drawbacks is a sign of maturity, which is another way of saying an acceptance of Reality.
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