Theater Nudes

Posted by Adam Schwartz on

By Pierre Mirabeau

Nudity in the theater is sometimes just a part of the show. It’s all acting: I’ve kissed people I’m disgusted by, I’ve shouted terrible insults at people I love to death, I’ve “killed” people I could never take in a real fight. And I got fully naked onstage for one show, and it was fine. It was the character, it was the direction of the play. I don’t want to sound cocky and say I’m a pro, but, well, I am.

One thing I always feel uncomfortable about, though, is taking my shirt off onstage. People expect actors to be flawless, the ultimate specimen, paragons of beauty. And sure I work out, I enjoy a bit of grooming, I use a nose hair trimmer and I primp and preen and I try my best to embrace a bit of the chic life, but I always get self-conscious when my shirt has to come off.

I have a wide frame with broad shoulders, and aside from a bit of a happy trail most of my torso is pretty much hair-free. But on my shoulders a little farther down on my back, where it’s hard to reach but easy to see, I’m stuck with these scraggly patches that clump up and shoot off and just distract from the elegance of a good theater performance. And though I’ve dyed my hair for roles before, my back hair still stays a stark black shooting out from pale white skin.

I’ll admit, it’s really only mostly an aesthetic problem – it doesn’t take forever to dry my back after a swim or a shower, it doesn’t weigh me down or warm me up on an already sweltering day. It just looks weird. But it can get in the way of a show: one character I played needed to be completely hairless, and in order to fully play the part I had one of the bros I shared a dressing room with act as a barber and shave my back with his electric razor before each performance. But he wasn’t good at it, plus I owed him big-time for the trouble.

I need something consistent, inexpensive, and pain-free. Getting a body wax hurts and gets prohibitively expensive way too fast. Hair removal creams like Nair have the double problem of smelling like huffing paint under stage lights (yes, even after it’s all been washed off, the chemical odor still remains) and being impossible to apply alone. Laser therapy isn’t gonna happen on a stage actor’s wages, and the average razor won’t work unless I’m a double-jointed contortionist (I’m not). Even clippers don’t fix the problem because I can never get all the hairs, and my shoulders wind up looking like a pair of balding porcupines. The old methods simply don’t work.

These aren’t the rantings of some vain theater major craving some manscaping; like a lot of men, I’m just a guy with awkward hair in unwieldy places. I want a proper BAKblade – one that’s a fusion of, like, a long handle extension and a proper razor for a nice, pain-free, close shave. It’s nothing personal if you like your back hair and shoulder patches; but for me, I want and need a body hair remover that’s efficient without being expensive and is effective while doable solo. I don’t mind baring it all for a show, but I draw the line at scraggly, patchy back hair. For better or worse, it’s my job to look a certain way, and I need the right kind of body blade to make that happen.