Naked Lunch
March 24, 2008

After discussing my recent rant about fermenting mulch baths with my mother and getting hysterical over The Women allusions, my mom said, "Have you heard about this thing where you eat food -- sushi, I think -- off of naked people?" Shrieking commenced. Mom assured me that it was definitely happening in Minnesota, adding, "See? California doesn't have a monopoly on weirdness! Minnesota does try very hard to be odd."

Seriously? SERIOUSLY?!

Okay, okay -- before I get a ton of emails tsk-tsking me about the cultural origins of this practice, I know it's Japanese. I know it's called "nyotaimori" or "nantaimori," depending if your buffet table is male or female. But still, it's NAKED! You are picking food -- FOOD YOU WILL BE PUTTING IN YOUR MOUTH -- off of a naked human! And we're not talking about 9 1/2 Weeks naked, where the food and sex thing is with someone you actually know. We're talking about going up with an empty plate and chopsticks and saying, "Hm, that yellowtail on his upper thigh looks pretty good."

...the model's sensitive regions are covered with flowers before the sushi can be arranged on bamboo leaves atop their bodies.

Yes, yes -- the human body is a beautiful thing, and it's not naked, it's art, blah blah blah, but it just seems...unsanitary, and it's really just a Gerbera petal away from body shots. Then again, I guess I should be comforted by the fact that Thom Pham, owner of Minneapolis' Temple, stipulates that his models "have to be completely hairless with perfect skin" and that he has backup models "just in case one of them gets a pimple."

These hairless models lay on the tables for more four hours a clip, so what if they fall asleep with the food on them? What if they snore? Or have one of those dreams where they're falling and their whole body jolts and the hamachi goes flying? And what if wasabi gets places? Talk about burning loins.

I'm probably not adventurous or sexed up enough to consider this titillating instead of ooky, but you know, I'm pretty okay with adding "eating off strange naked people" to my list of things I'll never do.

You should have seen the look of abject horror that washed across my sweet friend's face when I suggested she consider a naked people buffet for her wedding.

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