Toughing it out: Naked and not afraid

I am a glutton for an outdoor television show wherein one is taught to survive in the wilderness, feasting on grubs, crickets and berries that may or may not kill you. It is called "Naked and Afraid," working into one title the two most popular elements of America's preferred entertainment, sex and fear.

Thumbnail image for al-martinez-sketch.jpgI thought that I had seen them all until a producer came up with an idea to combine nudity and survival in rugged locations supposedly throughout the world. I say supposedly because trees and vines and uphill grades all look alike, so who's to know?

What they do in N&A is place a man and a woman in that location as naked as rhesus monkeys, give them a choice of two survival items each (like a bollo knife, a flint fire starter, a cooking pot, or a copy of the National Enquirer) and cut them loose for 21 days.

Actually they aren't totally naked, only their behinds are. The front genitalia are blurred by the camera to conceal the real thing, although if you are over six and not suffering from dementia you probably remember what they look like.

I turned on the show from curiosity, not lust, although my wife, the suspicious Cinelli, said I was a dirtier old man now than I ever was a dirty young man. The culture was crumbling. We were like bears tipping over camping ground dumpsters and eating the crap inside.

"Oh yeah," I replied in my most accusatory tone, "what about your reaction to Matthew McConaughey in 'Magic Mike'? The male stripper? You actually drooled."

"I don't drool, ever. Anyhow, he was wearing a G-string."

"You drooled over me once."

"That wasn't drool, I had a cold and my nose was running." She could see my hurt and added, "I'm just kidding. I drooled. You were a beautiful boy. Still are (lower:) if I remember correctly."

So I went back to N&A, keeping my eyes on the blurred spots, hoping for just a peek. I saw the spots merge once as the two "shared body heat" on a sub-zero night in a flimsy makeshift tent of leaves and branches and crow's wings. Fish scales too maybe.

I dozed off, happy for the merged spots and realizing that Cinelli was right. I'm as dirty-minded at 85 as I was at 22. But it has made me a nice living.

More by Al Martinez:
Recently on Native Intelligence
New at LA Observed