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[Then I brought out an article in which it was reported that Martinez had once gotten an erection in Russian History class.]
AM: Oh, you want me to tell you about the boner thing?
PhD: Frankly, yes. Inquiring minds want to know.
AM: Well, it only started getting half hard; it wasn't even a full-on boner or anything. And it was during class, and then it went soft again by the time the lecture ended. It was one of those things that just happened.
[When Maury Povich asked Andrew a similar question, he launched into a similar explanation, using the word "boner" frequently. It was bleeped out of the broadcast; Povich and the audience cracked up, totally unable to deal with the term.]
PhD: Of course, a lot of people equate sex with nudity.
Philip: I'm one [who thinks so] -- I mean, not always, but I get naked to have sex, and for me it's part and parcel of the whole thing. [Andrew laughs.]
PhD: So what's your attitude? Do you think nudity always has a sexual aspect, or just sometimes?
AM: Well, more traditional nudists would argue very strongly that there is no relationship between the two, and I think the fact that nudist colonies are as repressed or more repressed [sexually] than mainstream society would indicate that you can totally eliminate the sexual liberation aspect of nudity and make it just as repressed as normal society. But nudity would tend to have a liberating effect on people's sexuality. It's not like being nude is a sexual act, but there is some sexual relationship; if you start getting in touch with your body, and accepting your body, accepting pleasure, you're feeling all these sensations all over your body. Inevitably you're going to feel good. Accepting skin touching and seeing skin are going to break down a lot of the sexual barriers which are created. So in that sense, there is some relationship, and I think that's where I break from more moderate nudists. They would argue that if you do break down one of these two taboos [sex and nudity], it's going have an effect on all the others.
PhD: OK, now what about the argument that having someone as handsome as you nude in the classroom would be too distracting.
AM: I guess I would say that we all have to deal with sexual arousal in the classroom at some point -- let's say, a woman walking in wearing a really tight skirt and tight blouse. That could be very arousing for a lot of people, and yet none of us would be empowered to say, "Oh, would you please put on more baggy clothes, because you're making us all aroused?" I deal with it by turning around when I get aroused by women, and I hope a similar thing would happen for guys or women who are aroused by my nudity. And I guess also it's a gradual thing. I don't think nudity is that much more arousing than wearing no shirt and shorts. You know, there's not that much more flesh being uncovered. As the amount covered gets smaller, maybe it increases sexual arousal a little, but the curve probably goes like that [gestures in the air]: reaching an asymptote [two lines getting closer and closer without ever actually touching].
PhD: I heard you mentioning in your interview with Playgirl that your "Nude-In" was actually the first time you were fully nude on campus. Before then, you'd been stripping down slowly, but you didn't start going to class totally nude until then.
AM: That's right. My freshman year was normal in terms of nudity, except at one point during the year I started taking off my shirt in class or wearing it a lot less often.
PhD: When was the first time that you noticed people reacting to the fact that you weren't wearing enough clothes (by their standards)?
AM: It would create a scene, walking with no shirt down a big lecture hall aisle. I'd be walking around and people would whisper "No shirt! No shirt!" And maybe some guy would say [in deep, disapproving voice] "Put a shirt on, man!" Just the lack of a shirt was enough to set them off, inside a classroom.
PhD: So how does that make you feel? When everybody is looking at you?
AM: Well, it makes me a little self-conscious. I start being aware of how I'm walking, and the kind of ethos I'm having with the people around me.
AM: It's a speech term. [Andrew planned to major in Rhetoric.] There's ethos, pathos, and logos. Ethos is the moral standing of the speaker to the audience -- how the audience sees him in terms of his credibility, that he's a good person who can convey something that they want to hear. In general I thought that it sucked that people freaked out so much about my not wearing a shirt, but it was to be expected, kind of.
PhD: Now tell us what you were saying to yourself the first time you went naked.
AM: It was a series of small steps. Any time I go to the next big step, there's a mental process that goes on. In my head, I say to myself, "OK, Andrew, you know, this is something you can do, you're willing to do, you want to do, it's right to do. So do it!" And then there's still part of me going [using a singsong voice] "No, oh, I don't wanna go, oh shit, uh, oh, God!" and "You just have to do it, Andrew, do it!" And then I'll sit there and say things like, "Oh shit!" to myself. [At this point, he motions with his hands on his hips as if he's about to pull his underpants or pants off.] And then eventually I do it, and I go "Whew!" but then I have to deal with all the consequences.
PhD: So you're testing yourself, to see if you have enough nerve to do it.
AM: Well, it's like I expect myself to do it? And I think it's right to do it? And I resent myself for not being able to? Like if I didn't do it, I'd really resent my weakness?
PhD: Is there a sense in which you're testing Berkeley to see if they're as strong as you are?
AM: Maybe a little, I mean, it's like I'm saying, "OK, you guys talk about all this multicultural stuff, and so much of the liberal arts curriculum now is learning how fucked up Western society has been, and how many people it's oppressed, but yet we still act very Western -- the way we dress, the way we talk, the way we expect justice to come around -- and so maybe I'm saying at least in Berkeley, are you as open and multicultural as you thought? I'm hoping they will be [tolerant], and they'll just let me do my thing.
PhD: The city of Berkeley is basically letting you do your thing, with some exceptions, right?
AM: [Enthusiastically] Yeah! I don't even know about any special exceptions for me.
PhD: So if we both took our clothes off right now, we could walk around the city today and that wouldn't be any problem.
PhD: Speaking of which, other than the Nude-In and the X-Plicit Players [a nude performance group], has anybody ever joined you in the nude, here in Berkeley, walking down the street or whatever?
AM: This one lady did. She came up and said, "aren't you going to get arrested for this?" And I said no, it's pretty much legal, now, and she goes, "you mean I can take off my clothes, too?" And I said, Uh huh. This happened right down the street. And then she took off all her clothes, and walked with me for two blocks or so. And then her friend came up to her and said [switches to high, mocking sing-song voice], "Put on your clothes! Put on your clothes!" But other than that, no, not many people have done it. [Right after this interview Andrew shucked his clothes, and he and I took a nude walk out to Telegraph Avenue. There I lost my nerve, so we turned around and walked back.]
PhD: OK. Now let's go back to your boner. Throughout the semester, as you were taking clothes off bit by bit, probably some people who saw you regularly in class were wondering how far you'd go. And they were shocked when they saw that you'd gone all the way and taken off your underpants. But in fact that's not "all the way," sexually speaking; you could have started acting overtly sexual next. So where do you draw the line? In other words, if someone is offended by the idea of seeing you masturbate in class, and you're not offended, does that give you the right to jerk off in public? Of course, some people would say sure, what's wrong with sex? And other people say, no that'd be totally inappropriate. Where would your logic draw the line?
AM: I draw the line at doing everything I would normally do, except for being naked. I wouldn't beat off in class with my clothes on, so I wouldn't beat off in class with my clothes off.
Philip: But when you're clothed sometimes you hug and caress and kiss and do things which may cause sexual stimulation.
AM: Yeah. But in Russian History class, if someone had seen me getting a boner, I would have been embarrassed. I would have been really embarrassed. I would have thought, "Oh, my God, holy shit!" But then I would say to myself, Andrew, OK, this is another one of those mental things. Andrew, there's nothing wrong with it, you need to deal [with it]. You need to get over this, it's another one of those steps. You have to progress. So I'd just sit there and act normal, even though I would be embarrassed. Does that make sense?
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