Despite repeated assertions from Tobias Fünke that it’s a very real and serious condition, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the “never-nude” syndrome was one of Arrested Development’s many wacky comic inventions, like Carl Weathers basically being a hobo or the existence of Arizona. But the looming return of the show is a great opportunity to remind everyone again that, while they have not yet been recognized by the DSM-IV, “never-nudes” actually exist, and they’re exactly what they sound like.
“Most people are not ‘never-nudes,’ but they are ‘not-usually-nudes.’ A lot of people would feel somewhat self-conscious about being naked,” psychology professor Martin Antony tells MSNBC, confirming that, yes, there are dozens of them. Dozens. These people suffer from a fear of being nude—often provoked by a scarring experience, such as having “been bullied while changing in the middle school locker room”—that’s aptly named "gymnophobia," which leads them to obsess over their appearance, develop eating disorders, and, of course, refuse to take off their clothes in an effort to effectively hide their thunder (and their shame).
Still, even though Arrested Development plays the “never-nude” thing for laughs, it’s also apparently providing a valuable therapeutic service: Dr. Antony says he’d recommend gymnophobes work toward confronting their anxiety over undressing in front of their partners by first “wearing only underwear,” adding that “cut-offs—Fünke's cover-up of choice—are also acceptable.” So even just by talking about it, it turns out we’ve all made some tremendous strides today. [via Jezebel]