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WRITE CLUB, Skin - 10/20/15

Do me a favor. Close your eyes.

Now run your tongue along the roof of your mouth.

Nice, right? Little nubbly, maybe, but nice.

Now run your tongue along that same roof of that same mouth, but as you do, imagine its covering of skin is gone. Imagine you’re running your tongue along the underside of your own skull, that the veneer enfolding you is gone and that you are suddenly lapping at yourself like a cannibal with a soup bone.

It is your skin alone that prevents each of you from being totally sickening right now. We are each of us just a sausage casing away from lurching around like a mess of slaughterhouse castoffs.

Whatever shame the beauty industry has heaped upon you, whatever deficiencies of pigment and elasticity, of smoothness and suppleness that bum you out about yourself – whatever dry patches or smelly regions – ANY of these shortcomings is INFINITELY preferable to heaving your skinless self around, leaking like a bloody stack of flank steaks.

Think of it. Soaking through all your clothes. Leaving a trail of your fluids like a goddamn slug.

Think of the keypad on the last ATM you used – imagine scores of skinless fingers gristling their transactions over those buttons, commingling into a gruesome human paste before you place your own glistening finger on there.

Think for a second about plunking down into a seat on the El, into a shallow bowl of the more horrifying soup warmed by the seepage of a thousand asses unknown to you.

Imagine you try to keep things sanitary, so you get a squirt of antibacterial stuff and you rub in, and IT IS TOTAL FUCKING AGONY SINCE YOU JUST WILLINGLY APPLIED ALCOHOL TO YOUR EXPOSED NERVE ENDINGS AND JESUS FUCKING FUCK DOES THAT BURN.

A properly administered high five would make you pass out from the pain.

Think now of a world without facial expressions – each of us a toothy Lon Chaney Phantom of ourselves, an unblinking and toothy wet mask. It’d be like living inside the world of Mars Attacks! which, like every fucking thing Tim Burton does has the subtlety of a two-hour dick punch with a frenetic fucking soundtrack by Danny Elfman.

It would be a world without nostrils, you guys. We’d all be drizzling snot all down our fronts all the time. Like even when it’s not winter.

It would be a where we couldn’t wink or whistle. Snapping your fingers would just be a clammy slide.

Kissing, you guys. Kissing. Would just be clacking teeth together with somebody while you ooze on each other.

And, before I move on. I would like for you each in your mind’s eye to view any scene from any porno ever. Look at it: the raunchiest, writhing-est no-skin porno scene. Do NOT look away. GAZE UPON the skinless porno playing in your mind right now.

STARE into the madness that is two or more bodies, glazed in their own juices, gyrating on each other in a viscous pile making a sound like couple of uncooked mutton legs in a washing machine full of Crisco; a sound like snatching a panicky trout from a bucket of Jell-O; a sound like hauling a nest of angry weasels out of a crawlspace full of Ranch dressing.

Look at it, you guys. LOOK at it. Because THAT is a world without skin.

Which isn’t to say that there would not be advantages. In a world without skin, celebrity chef and noted racist Paula Deen would have no place to put all that orange.

In a world without skin, Black Lives would not have to Matter, since we would all of us be red and raw as ground chuck and would greet each other with a soundless and bulge-eyed scream-smile.

In a world without skin, there would be no white privilege, since we’d all be sporting the same meat leotards.

In a world without skin, the Trump candidacy would collapse in chaos when he grows confused about who to hate.

In a skinless world, sexual aggression would cease because dudes would be rightly horrified by their own quivering jerky boners.

Cosmetic surgery would be a thing of the past, as we would all adhere to universal aesthetic standard of being totally fucking horrifying – a brave and sickening new world where videos of Kate Upton dancing are the stuff of Clive Barker nightmare.

So, yes. A skinless world – it might prove an inadvertently more egalitarian place, a place better equipped to judge not by the presence of our skin but by the content of our character. We might become better able to hate each other for the right reasons, the productive and just reasons. Like the looming class warfare which is so long overdue.

And yet.


Skin – despite the trouble it causes us – remains worthwhile.

Consider the massage. Consider the caress. Consider the kiss – WITH lips.

Consider – the thigh of a 16-month-old baby. Consider well the bulging softness of the baby leg – bursting and creased, like a ripening peach. There is no more delighting thing in all this world than the leg of a well-fed baby. To deny ourselves the chance of hand-chomping the velvety blubber of a baby leg that’s swaddled in the softest skin you can conceive of.

So to review:

On the one hand: a no-skin world of jackhammering squelchy porn that smells like a wadded up Band-Aid soaked in pus. 

On the other: the fleshy and sweet-smelling innocence of a pudgy, pudgy baby leg that leaves you cooing and hopeful.

The choice is yours.

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