We’re used to seeing women’s bodies splashed across the media. Our bodies are admired, objectified, and critiqued. Many of us struggle with issues related to body image our entire lives. But, outside of male models and actors, we rarely see images of the male form, or hear real men talk about their bodies. So I was thrilled to find out that one of my male readers, 57-year-old Neil Fleischer, is a nude model. I asked him to talk about how being an art model has changed the way he feels about his body. Read on for his story.
Posing nude is something I’ve always wanted to do.
I was first offered the opportunity to model nude for art classes when I was a 22-year-old college student. While I was in good shape and flattered at being asked, I turned down the offer. I didn’t have the confidence. I was overwhelmed by all of the “shoulds” and “should nots” in my head. Also at the time, I equated nudity with sex and my early twenties raging hormones would certainly not have produced any kind of comfortable, relaxed images.
Fast forward thirty years. My body no longer looks like it did when I was a younger man — it’s not supposed to. Muscles that used to be there aren’t as prominent or have apparently disappeared. I’ve survived a major illness. That thick hair that used to be on the top of my head? History. But guess what has shown up? Confidence. Calm. Comfort in my own skin. Gratitude. And I began modeling…not for anyone else, but for myself.
I think that I have more in common with women my age (50s) than with the younger man that I used to be. We’ve been on the roller coaster of life, raised a family, realized that life is short and finally decided to embrace and fulfill our desires.
I now have a full schedule as an art model and an actor and my modeling work has led to opportunities in both film and television. Yes, I’m glad that some people still think I’m nice to look at. I’m happy that my wife thinks that I have a “great ass” and calls me gorgeous. But I model nude because I want to for me: my desires, my thrills, my serenity, my expression, my passion.
So whether it’s for art or eroticism or both, I encourage everyone to express themselves, however that may be.
Gia Coppola’s “Palo Alto.” Body paint and photography by Fred Hatt.