Dating Don’ts: Assorted Lessons & Observations From Watching “Dating Naked”

“Dating Naked” is a show on VH1 in which complete strangers gather at a resort somewhere tropical and mosquito-ridden and go on carefully staged dates with strangers, completely naked. It may sound like a ratings gamble, another entree in the already overrun category of dating shows, but the thing about it is that it’s actually brilliant. Sure, part of the entertainment is watching the kind of people that audition for shows of this nature — if you’re a connoisseur of dating shows like the brilliant “Next” on MTV or any and all iterations of “The Bachelor,” you’ll understand immediately that the casting directors pick the most ridiculous, crazy and slightly desperate people with a complete lack of self-awareness, because that makes the best television. This is definitely true of this show, but the fact that they are legitimately and truly naked as the day they were born ups the ante. I watched the show on the suggestion of many people whose opinion I valued, and let me tell you, I was not disappointed. Watching strangers who have  just met climb into a human hamster ball and bob in the waves on a tropical beach while completely naked is something that I don’t think will ever get old.

I though that I’d learn nothing from this show, that it would be just mindless entertainment, but I was pleasantly surprised. It turns out that reality television isn’t necessarily the place where human intellect goes to die. Here are a few assorted lessons and observations from “Dating Naked.”

If there were as many high-fives on actual dates as there are on this show, no one would ever find love.

Did someone successfully waterski for about five seconds? High five! Did you just meet someone for the first time and you’re doing everything you can to not stare at their penis resting against their thigh, because they’re naked? High-five! I imagine a high-five is a much more welcome and less invasive form of physical contact when you’re completely naked, though I did see some attempts at awkward side-hugs. In real life, any high-five on a date would be an automatic dealbreaker, because we’re on a date, not sliding home after swinging for the fences at your corporate softball game.

Body language actually speaks louder than words. 

When you’re dating clothed, body language is important, but there are so many other things to pay attention to. Remove the clothes, and body language becomes the most important thing, almost more so than the actual words that might be coming out of your mouth. Being naked is well, naked. It’s revealing, and pretty much everything you do is laid bare. A gentle touch on the forearm mid-conversation feels that much more loaded when neither one of you is dressed. Also, boners speak for themselves.

A bad, weird date, is a bad, weird date regardless of your state of undress.

You could be sitting in front of the hottest, most beautiful specimen of humanity whose naked body is gleaming with the sheen of sweat from your tropical surroundings, but if that person is also an idiot, the date still isn’t going to go well. Physical attraction can only go so far, so if the spark isn’t there intellectually, then it’s going to be like pulling teeth, regardless if he’s wearing a three piece suit or a pair of Tevas and a smile.

When you’re naked from the jump, douchebags and mean girls will show their true colors. 

The thing about meeting someone completely naked is that the part of dating that’s the most nerve-wracking is taken care of from the start. Instead of the three to four date lead up to the big moment when you finally undress in the dark after a couple of drinks and get to boning, the big reveal happens at the beginning. If someone’s going to be a shallow douchebag, this is when it happens. Physical attraction is really important, and sometimes, you can’t really figure out just how attracted you are to someone until you see them without all of their clothes on.

Change your dating routine for mostly positive and definitely interesting results. 

Dating naked isn’t feasible in real life, because it’s illegal and creepy and would lead to a lot of very uncomfortable situations very quickly, but take the soul of the show to heart. If you’ve been stuck in a weird dating rut, cycling through the same shrinking list of dudes on OKCupid or half-heartedly swiping right on Tinder to anyone that seems decent, switch it up. Take some risks! Agree to be set up on a date, even though that idea might terrify you to your very core. Let your Aunt Cheryl’s accountant’s son take you out for a drink. Swallow your pride and go to some weird speed-dating thing. Approach a cute stranger at the dog park. Ask out your longtime crush. Or, stop dating entirely. Your call. If you’ve been doing things the same way and yielding little to no positive results, try something else, and see how it goes.

Dating naked would leave nothing to hide — and that might be a good thing. 

Meeting someone in the buff lets you see every single thing that so many people would try and hide. That tramp stamp of two dolphins leaping to form a heart. That weird thing underneath your left tit that you think might be a vestigial third nipple. The constellation of moles on your shoulder that you have a love-hate relationship with. Long labia. Whether these are good or bad, they are a part of you and they’re out there from the beginning, which forces you to find the confidence you might not have had to wear these parts of you with pride. More confidence and less self-doubt are all very, very good things for a healthy and positive dating life. This is the best lesson of all.