Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Loving Yourself Naked

A friend to whom I'd explained the gold star concept said to me at the gym yesterday that she'd been thinking about it. "Who do you decide gets the gold star?" she asked. She is a highly accomplished person. I always envy her directedness. I am much more scattershot in my approach.

"You know," I said, "Everybody deserves one, that's the point." I motioned to all the hard-working folks who had managed to get their bodies to the gym and on to metal machines where they ran or pedaled or pushed, like rats on a wheel. They were all trying, whether to lose weight, get strong, feel better, no matter. "But it doesn't feel special, if I were just to go around handing them out to everyone. It has to be the right moment...There is no specific plan."

You have to know just the moment a star deserves to shine, be paying attention when it comes.

I was sitting at the end of the bar at a tapas restaurant in Manhattan last night, just after it opened, waiting for a friend. The waiters were gathered with nothing to do nearby. I was eavesdropping slightly when I heard one of the waiters say something about going somewhere naked. Another waiter shook his head. "You shouldn't go naked dude," he said.

The other waiter stood his ground, stood up for his rights, didn't bend. "But I look great naked!" he said proudly.

I looked up and met the gaze of the bartender. We laughed. "Good to know..." I said.

My friend arrived and we moved to a table, where Mr. Looks Great Naked soon visited, somewhat sheepishly.

"No worries," I said, "I think that's great. Though now, frankly, I can't stop picturing you naked..." As he blushed, I reassured him that, as the tables were bar height, it was only from the waist up. I reached into my bag and took out the biggest gold star on the sheet.

"You know what," I said, "You deserve a gold star. Loving yourself naked is awesome, and you should feel very proud." He accepted graciously and proceeded to pick out for us, in his boosted confidence state, some of the best tapas dishes I have ever tasted: croquettes with mushrooms and a delicious red-pepper mayonnaise, a lamb, arugula and onion crisp bread, octopus rice...Yum! I love this gold star project!

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