VH1's Dating Naked pairs two young, attractive, almost always opposite-sex couples (only judging from the pre-premiere clips and promos!) on an island. They are naked while riding horses, etc., again on an island. This is neither the sexiest nor most psychologically audacious way to accomplish what is the obvious goal of this show, genre, or any product of human art ever: which is touching the live-wire boundaries between two people (races, nations, religions) and seeing what sparks.
But if you want sexy and if you want audacious, well, we have thoughts. (Warning: that means NAKED PHOTOS, more nudity, so much nudity.)
Dating Naked should instead be called Dating with Wolves
Wolves have a strange legacy in American pop culture, when you really think about it, by turns rustic-mystical and wild. And so now I am imagining two people who instead of getting to meet new horse friends have to make battle/peace with some wolves, forcing themselves to expose the breadth of their wildlife expertise and also their ability to collaborate in a high-pressure environment. Maybe they are trapped in a pit! With the wolves!!
Dating Naked should instead be called Dating Dangerously
It is not, I think, that concepts like privilege are lofty and abstract but that they are immediate and mislabeled. We do not usually call the ability to be naked on national TV a form of privilege, but it is! This is the danger, in really naming things, and mostly the danger that people with different privileges would recognize the other and we would all be bettered. Like wife swapping but for your life. Like, basically, what if Switched at Birth was a dating show?
Dating Naked should instead be called Dating on a Sex Swing
The bravest thing that I think one person can ever expose to another is not his or her genitalia, but his or her sexual kinks. There are as many kinks as there are things to be kinky about, which sounds obvious until you begin to really dig in and realize that, yes, some people get off on cookies and tires and boiled eggs. The only way to get to that is to get to that. The lights come up on a new episode/blind date and there it is! A sexual trapeze.
Dating Naked should instead be called Dating Down! and also Dating Up!
The thing that we all want to see, if we are being truly honest, is whether or not any of this really works, this dating thing, and to say that it definitely works when pleasant-seeming fit people get together and strip is the most frictionless kind of fiction. I would like instead that people of different body sizes have to go on a dinner date, maybe like a Golden Corral, and have to arrive at some equanimity between so many different toxic messages about our bodies, ourselves, and buffets. Because the thing is is that all of this is tacky, which is to say that it is more conceit than pretense, and we have had for too long a tendency to confuse tackiness in reality TV with smarm and that shit needs to quit.