09 March 2004

Disrobing Aragorn

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting on my bed carefully disrobing my new twelve inch Aragorn action figure, when I started to wonder why I was doing it. I'm sure some of you (assuming there is more more than one person reading this) have nasty thoughts just from the title of this post. But, while I am weird and I did once write an editorial about 1/6 scale action figures called "Twelve Inches of Fun," there's nothing lewd about naked plastic Aragorn. Not for me, anyway.

Even if it is the closest I'll ever get to seeing Viggo Mortensen naked.

(Though if recent theories about the universe being infinite and therefore everything that is possible being actual somewhere are true, then there are all kinds of almost-mes answering the door at this very moment to find all kinds of almost-Viggo-Mortensens on the doorstep, eager to disrobe with a sexy little dance. I'm not sure if that is a comforting thought or a depressing one. Or just another example of how I'm a freak.)

So. Taking the clothes off little Aragorn is not a naughty sexual peculiarity. It's something I've done with every action figure, doll or other toy I've ever owned that had removeable clothes. Ever since I was old enough to take the clothes off things, if the clothes came off, I removed them. It does have practical applications. For instance, removing the clothes from an action figure allows one to determine exactly how the figure is articulated, so one does not accidently rip an arm off trying to bend it in a way it wasn't meant to bend. Taking twelve-inch Eowyn's dress off meant I discovered that her arm had been bent backwards in the process (I assume) of putting her dress on in the first place. If I hadn't known that, I might have broken her trying to put her in a suitable pose for display.

Disrobing figures also means one can get the clothes to go on better. At least for the less expensive range of twelve inch figures, the people who put the clothes on in the first place probably don't get paid a whole lot, and probably don't much care how the figure will look once you take it out of the box and put it on the shelf. And hey, I'd never have discovered that Ringwraiths wear shoulder pads if I hadn't unclothed (as far as possible) my Witch-King of Angmar.

But I'm not sure that those practical considerations are the real reason for pulling the clothes off my toys, or at least they're not the main reason. I think it's partly human curiosity--the need to see how things go together, to see how the clothes go on, and if they can come off. It's a deep seated instinct. I won't go so far as to say that every little girl has it, but every little girl I've ever known has (and a lot of little boys, too; I once found a G.I. Joe of my nephew's stripped naked except for a pair of pants around his ankles. He had rubbery legs and I suspect Ryan couldn't get Joe's trousers back on once he'd got them off). The little girl I was had the instinct, and so does the little girl not so deeply hidden inside the woman that I now am. 1/6 scale Blackbeard is next.

(And yes, that was the naked Aragorn post I kept mentioning. Anticlimactic, isn't it?)

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