Tasteful Nudes : ...and Other Misguided Attempts at Personal Growth and Validation
“I run into Dave Hill all the time at the coffee shop in our neighborhood. He's always unshaven and badly hungover, with some 16-year-old groupie from Cleveland in tow—and he's just as funny then as he is in Tasteful Nudes. He is my idol.” —Malcolm Gladwell
“Dave Hill speaks, rocks, and now writes with a voice so powerful and funny and compelling that I’m pretty sure he's channeling some weird god from another dimension. Basically, this dude is a comedic Cthulhu, and when you read this book, you will either go COMPLETELY MAD or BECOME A SLAVE TO HIS MAD GENIUS. Pray for the latter.” —John Hodgman
"This book should affirm Dave Hill's rightful place as a major American humor writer. You will laugh. Buy two and brighten a friend's life as well." —Dick Cavett
From the Book Jacket:
Dear ridiculously attractive person who just so happens to be holding Tasteful Nudes in his or her soft and supple yet commanding hands,
Hi. My name is Dave, and this is my very first collection of essays. As you can probably imagine, it pretty much has everything. In fact, if you like stories about stolen meat, animal attacks, young love, death, naked people, clergymen, rock 'n' roll, irritable Canadians, and prison, you have just hit a street called Easy because my book talks about all that stuff and a bunch of other stuff, too.
Getting back to that prison thing for a second—I can think of almost no better place to read my book than from within the confines of a correctional facility. For starters, you will definitely have the time. Also, cozying up with a good book in front of your fellow inmates is a great way to show them a softer side that for some reason no one ever wants to hear about in the yard.
Fear not, though, non-convicts, my book makes for a solid read outside of prison, too. At the beach, on the subway, while whitewater rafting, during couples counseling, under local anesthesia—I have personally seen to it that my book is totally readable in all these scenarios, as well as in most other scenarios out there today. It will make you laugh, cry, and maybe even think so much that you will forget all your problems while simultaneously creating a few new ones. In limited instances it has been known to cause severe dehydration and the occasional groin pull, but honestly I don’t know what that’s about. That said, it’s probably not a bad idea to keep a glass of water handy and really stretch things out before strapping yourself in for a literary thrill ride you will want to experience again and again until you are either dead or your eyesight fails completely, whichever comes first. In fact, if I end up being wrong about any of this stuff, you can kick me right in the privates. Also, I will send you a nice ham (serves twenty). In short, you really can’t lose on this one.
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St. Martin's Press
May 22, 2012
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Adobe DRM EPUB
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Excerpt from Tasteful Nudes by Dave Hill
Desnudo en el Mar
I've never been entirely comfortable with nudity, at least not my own, anyway. Even though I live alone, for some reason, I can never get myself to sleep in the nude, no matter how many great things I hear about it or how much I drink before bed. (And I've tried. A lot.) And just about the only thing I can do in the bathroom with the door wide open is that thing where you look in the mirror and say "Bloody Mary" three times.
When it comes to other people showcasing their goods, however, I say bring it on. In fact, you might say it's been a bit of a thing with me for some time now. I spent my childhood dreaming that some doctor or dentist would accidentally leave an old issue of Playboy in the waiting room magazine rack. Or that my family would somehow stumble upon a nudist colony on one of our camping trips. And I remember being changed forever at the age of twelve when, one balmy summer day at Jones Beach, I saw one girl lose her top in the waves and another accidentally display her butt while trying to clean sand out of her bathing suit. In the car home later that day, I felt like a man, and it was awesome.
The occasional brush with fate or some romantic date's poor judgment aside, I still wanted more in the nudity department. Then as luck would have it, I was asked to cover a "clothing-optional dinner" by a now-defunct radio program.
"We couldn't talk anyone on our staff or even someone not on our staff into doing it," they told me. "Then your name came up."
"I'll do it! I'll do it!" I said, remaining perfectly calm.
As an inquisitive and occasionally hard-hitting journalist, I felt obligated to accept. The fact that I'd be hanging out with a bunch of totally naked people and actually getting paid for it made me feel like I was creating my own destiny. It was as if I had been working toward this moment my whole life.
The group behind these clothing-optional dinners held events every few months, usually in some restaurant with a spare banquet room, an open-minded waitstaff, and--presumably--chairs that wipe down easily. But the stars magically aligned and the dinner I planned to drop in on would be taking place on a small cruise ship that would sexily wend its way around New York City's sexy surrounding waters as sexy naked people enjoyed what would undoubtedly be one sexy, sexy meal. My great-grandfather was a sea captain,1 so it was almost as if my past and present had joined forces to give me what would undoubtedly be one of the greatest and most important nights of my life. I was born to be on that boat, dammit.
It was a rainy evening as I hopped in a cab headed for the water with John, a tech guy the radio show sent along with me to record everything the naked people and I said, and my friend Lucy, who was coming along both for emotional support and in hopes that this naked cruise was going to be every bit as awesome as I kept telling her it would be.
"Everyone on the boat is going to be fully nude and just kind of free, y'know?" I told her excitedly. "There's also supposed to be a very nice buffet."
"I'm sorry," Lucy said. "It just doesn't sound like my kind of thing."
"Please, I really need this."
"Fine, but you owe me one."
"You got it!"
I figured if things didn't go as planned, at least I'd be on a boat with a good friend, which is always nice. Also, to be honest, whether I took my clothes off or not, I didn't feel secure enough in my masculinity to go out there with just another dude.
The naked boat was setting sail from Sheepshead Bay, an area of Brooklyn that looks like it was once the stomping grounds of sailors, convicts, and whores but is now a port of call for sexy, sexy people with both a taste for adventure and a distaste for clothes, which is to say, people I totally could not wait to hang out with. I was certain the boat was going to be teeming with open-minded, uninhibited, and totally butt-naked superfoxes and maybe a handful of dudes with their junk out that I would just have to accept as part of the deal.
As our cab pulled up to the docks, it wasn't hard to spot the naked party boat. It was practically radiating good times. Even from far away I could see large swatches of flesh passing sexily by the boat's windows.
"Come to us, Dave, you succulent man," I swore I heard them call from the distance. "We're waaaaiting...." My expectations, however, were dealt their first blow as soon as we got a little closer and myopia was no longer on my side. There, awaiting our arrival in the boat's entryway, was Ron, the event organizer and--to his credit--the brains behind the operation. Pale, freckled, and fiftyish, Ron wore only glasses and had a build not unlike a lopsided baked potato with four toothpicks shoved into it. One gut picked up just below where the first one left off and, well, I was determined not to investigate any further south after that.
"Whatever, I'm not here to look at dudes anyway," I thought.
"Welcome," Ron said with a firm yet slightly-too-long handshake. "I'm so happy you've decided to cover our little event here!"
"It's my pleasure," I said before immediately questioning that statement.
"Wonderful," Ron said. "Now climb aboard, we'll be setting sail just as soon as everyone gets situated."
As I quickly learned, in Ron's vocabulary "situated" meant "pantsless." At this point, I was starting to think maybe this would be like the movie Eyes Wide Shut where all the men were old and flabby, but all the women were still scorching hot for some reason. But that delusion was shattered only seconds later as Ron led me to the main dining area of the boat. There I was greeted by about thirty absolutely nude men and women in their forties and fifties, a shameless sea of pasty flab, cellulite, and slowly graying pubic hair.
"Usually we have a bigger group," Ron explained, "but the rain has kept a lot of folks away."
"Are you sure it's the rain?" I wanted to ask him.