“Eros will have naked bodies; Friendship naked personalities.” ~C. S. Lewis
“Happy 25th birthday Jody,” I say with a knowing smile and a wink. Jody rolls her eyes in response, like she has so many times before. She knows that for this particular birthday wish, I am speaking strictly, proudly, and knowingly of just how young she really is…
…in her birthday suit!
“Act your age!” Is that something you’ve been told? If so, congratulations! The only appropriate response to such an untenable command is, “Why?” Besides, what actually is age? How is it, and should it be measured? Let me explain.
Since meeting Jody I’ve solidified my viewpoint on the rather nebulous concept of “age.” It was starting to coalesce based on my own alternative understanding, but when I realize that Jody has next to no gray in her beautifully flowing and naturally colored hair worthy of any princess, AND that after having served almost 27 years in the military, you realize that chronological age is really a lame measure of age….
For instance, take Hello Kitty, a Japanese native. She is turning 40 this year, and shares the same birth-month as Jody. She too, as far as I can research, maintains her natural hair coloring. Coincidence? I think not. While Jody would not so much appreciate the same “cute-a-bration” that the Japanese seem to expend so much of their GDP upon, they both reflect that there are other, much more interesting ways to measure our time on planet earth than simply by the Einsteinium space-time continuum, as fascinating as that truly is.
Soon after seeing Jody in her never-out-of-style birthday livery, I quickly concluded that there were no less than three measure of “age:” biological, maturity, and…NAKED! Since that time four years ago, I’ve restacked the list and added a fourth: chronological, biological, maturity, and, of course, my favorite, naked age.
Chronological age, like most concepts that contain the suffix “-logical,” is as boring as it is straight-forward. As simple as a measure of how many times around the sun one has traveled, it’s the most pedestrian measure of one’s age. In fact, only when it is in the single or triple digits does it really hold the interest of a wide array of people outside of immediate family. Oh, and maybe a few more specifics milestones, like turning 16 to get a driver’s license, or 21 for drinking. Or, see my blog about Coming of Age in Japan. Of course these don’t compare to the truly odd coming-of-age rituals that are still practiced in the world.
Next we have one’s biological age. While this notion involves that dreary suffix noted above, it is, at least, slightly more interesting. Here we have the first distinction between space-time travel and life’s biological ticker. For instance, I have an Asian friend here in Okinawa who, pictured with her teen-aged children, cannot be distinguished as “mom”! Or, in Jody’s case, she biologically appears at least 12 years younger than her time spent breathing air on this earth. Some might say this is partly due to good genetics, but I beg to differ (sorry Mom). Rather, I believe the secret is in the same body lotion she’s been using since her early teen years. And she continues to use it daily…on her whole body…for what I like to think is my personal viewing pleasure! This show, suitably entitled “Lo Sensuale,” (which must be read and verbally stated with a haughty French accent), remains a highlight of my mornings, and to which I have permanently reserved front-row seating. Oooooooooooooh-la-la! Sorry, the show’s sold out indefinitely. Oh, there’s probably some value in the makeup she’s been using for just as long, the kind with embedded sunscreen. Jody’s biological age is clearly well over a decade younger than her chronological age, but the distinctions don’t stop there.
One’s general level of maturity can also be used to reflect, to some prosaic people, a more realistic representation of one’s overall age. We’re told, by all those really mature PhDs out there, that maturity helps one know the correct time and place to behave (or, the way I like to think about it, misbehave), and knowing when to act, according to the circumstances and the culture of the society in which one lives. How dreadfully boring is that?! In my case, Jody would consider me an adolescent boy at times! In other words, if you response to being called a “smart-ass” (cause you are being one) with, “…better than being a dumb-ass,” you most likely rate very low in terms of maturity. And in that case, you and I would be fast friends. If you say, in response to someone’s opportunistic phrase like “it’s not stiff enough,” with “that’s what she said,” we are kin on a spiritual level. Or, in terms of my taste in music (angry white-boy scream-o music) and movies (Zoolander, Dumb & Dumber, Wedding Crashers), I remain quite possibly still stuck in my (early) 20s. And my lack of maturity is something I believe that helps keep Jody young in this measure as well. Is it me, or is it true that potty humor never really goes out of style?!? While a high degree of maturity may help emphasizes a clear comprehension of life’s purpose, directedness, and intentionality, which contributes to the feeling that life is meaningful, great for the masses of atheists out there, all the proof of good and god in this world I need is my wife’s naked age!
Much like the naked truth being always better than a well-dressed lie, so too is naked age so much more revealing than the well-dressed person.
If you haven’t noticed, Naked Age happens to be my favorite measure of age! And yes, although many of you may not want to admit to having one, you do. It’s that inescapable birthday suit of yours that you can’t quite seem to part with, even though it may need to be ironed and/or taken in here or there. When I talk about this with new friends (and I always do), I see many people get visibly uncomfortable. Why, exactly, I remain dumbfounded about. Is it the American puritan heritage? Is it that we replace a healthy respect for nudity (like you can find in Europe) with violence and gore (missing in many areas of the world)? Is it the Church (all of them) and their insistence that sex is for procreation…and between a priest and young boys? No, I just think it’s because we Americans continue to characterize sex as dirty, shameful and overly private.
Jody, already famous for driving naked in Japan, shouldn’t be too embarrassed by putting into print what I so much like to bring up in public. And besides, it’s her birthday, regardless of the measure of age chosen. While I couldn’t give Jody the worldwide Hello Kitty celebrations, like the Hello Kitty Con in Los Angeles and the Thanksgiving Day-like parades in Tokyo, we did manage, like we always do, to have a quietly intimate celebration together. But Jody can be sure that she shares with Ms. Kitty much younger alternative measures of age. Taking a number of online tests online as Jody’s proxy, I have scientifically and irrefutably verified my own personal assessments of Jody’s age, all four of them:
Chronological Age: 45
Biological Age: 33
Mature Age: 20s-30s
Naked Age: 25
Happy Birthday Jody. Here’s to looking forward to a few years of you turning 25, again and again (wink)! Oh, and for the guys, remember, you’re only as old as the woman you date!
Thank god, because my naked age is most definitely NOT 25….
How old are YOU?
For some of the online tests I referenced, see the following: