The Naked Daniel Radcliffe Picture Story

It’s Fun Friday, and since work continues to be stressful this month I thought I would take a moment to tell one of my favorite stories of the workplace.  That and I just told it to someone live and in person, so it’s on my mind.

So at the job I worked before the one I have now I had a really good friend, Kyle.  Kyle used to drop by my cube to hang out now and then.  Possibly because his desk was tucked way the heck back in the corner where no one ever went.  Anyhow, we used to have some terrific conversations about things.  He’s a fun, deep, interesting guy.

Kyle is gay, which was fantastic because we had the same taste in men.  He also loved my cousin Jake, which was really what got the original conversation going.  What conversation?  The conversation about how we shared a love of Daniel Radcliffe.

This, of course, was back in the day when the lovely Mr. Radcliffe was still mostly Harry Potter.  But I recall there was a lot of speculation between Kyle and I that he would someday break out of the HP mold and become a big star.  We always knew he had it in him.

Then came Equus.

Now, I don’t know if any of you remember the hype that surrounded Daniel Radcliffe doing that play. (The fact that as I wrote that sentence I accidentally typed the word “dong” instead of “doing” says it all).  The promotional pics that were being released leading up to the opening were a steady progression of less and less clothed Daniels looking very grown-up indeed.  It was such a tease of a campaign.  But it did the job.  All that people could talk about was that Harry Potter was going to get naked on stage!

Kyle and I knew there was going to be a Naked Daniel Radcliffe Picture.  The people marketing Equus had even announced the date it would be released.  I looked forward to it with about as much maturity as a school kid who had been told there was a hole in the wall in the boy’s locker room but who had to wait until after class to take a peek.  Yep.  That was me.

And then the day came.

Kyle bounced into my cube with his ever-present coffee cup and said, “Did you see it?” with a glimmer in his eyes.

“No! I haven’t had a chance to yet!” I replied with giddy disappointment.  “And I’m NOT looking at it from my work computer!”

“Okay, but you have to see it,” he teased and walked away.

Sure enough, that night I went looking for the Naked Daniel Radcliffe Picture.  It wasn’t that hard to find.  I did an image search for “Daniel Radcliffe” and my computer screen was instantly flooded with naked.  I giggled.  I blushed.  I looked at the picture at full size, took a good look, and then closed the window while laughing like the doofus that I knew I was.

I saw Daniel Radcliffe naked!

The next day I went in to work and waited for the inevitability of Kyle showing up at my cube.  Sure enough, before ten minutes had passed he was there.

“So did you see it?” he asked.

“Yes!” I replied with a giggle, blushing furiously.

“Well?  What did you think?”

“I don’t know,” I said.  “I don’t have much basis for comparison.  What do you think?”

And then Kyle uttered a phrase which will forever stick in my memory:  “Well, length is average, but there’s some considerable girth there.”

I died.  I must have turned about eight shades of red and laughed myself under my desk.  I mean, seriously!  What a silly thing for two people to spend time discussing over their morning coffee at work.  And I swear we weren’t being pervvy at all!  No really!

See, we all have a unique relationship with the people we work with.  Those relationships exist somewhere in a fuzzy gray area of friendship.  Too many work-buddy relationships are situational and limited.  Or maybe that’s just the way things are.  But just because you don’t see someone outside of business hours and just because that friendship stops when you move on doesn’t mean that people don’t play a hugely important role in your life.

That job was a really tough work environment.  I mean, I worked customer service and spent all day being yelled at on the phone by disgruntled customers.  Kyle was my sunshine and my breath of fresh air.  So what if we bonded over a naked picture of Daniel Radcliffe?  It wasn’t about the girth at all.  At least not for me.  It was about silly shared interests and finding joy in little things.  Or average things at least.

Kyle once said something else over lunch one time that I have carried close to my heart all these years.  I asked him why it was that the gay men that I had known were always the nicest, sweetest, most wonderful people I’d met.  He paused and corrected me to state that they were either the nicest or the craziest, most awful people you could meet.  Why?  Because when you realize at such a young age that you are so profoundly different from what society considers normal or acceptable it forces you to do a lot of painful introspection.  The effect of that introspection is either to develop a greater compassion for the people around you or to go completely crazy.

Those words have always stuck with me to the core.  I may be straight, but I also knew from a very early age that I was profoundly different from what everyone around me growing up considered acceptable.  And Kyle was right, that does cause a lot of introspection.  I can only hope that I have used those reflections to become a warmer, more compassionate person, like Kyle.

So when I see this picture I don’t see something salacious or tawdry or provocative at all.  When I see this picture I am reminded of the simple joys for friendship.  I’m reminded of a goofy inside joke that brightened my day five or so years ago and continues to make me smile even today.  And yes, Kyle, whenever I see Naked Daniel Radcliffe I think of you, my friend.  And I always will.

 

[P.S.  Anyone tempted to leave a comment informing the the picture is a fake, please don’t bother.  That’s not the point of the story.]

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14 thoughts on “The Naked Daniel Radcliffe Picture Story

  1. This is a wonderful post! What a terrific description of the experience of growing up gay in this society – it really struck a chord. I’ve had quite a few gay friends over the years, and you’re right – they are all a little bit “more.” And as a lifelong societal outcast, I totally understand what your friend described as “painful introspection.” I have often wondered why witnessing cruelty to others got me so angry, when the same treatment given to me wouldn’t get much of a reaction from me. I think this is an excellent explanation.

    • Thanks Elizabeth! There’s no end to how annoyed I get over the way some people in this society are treated so unfairly. I feel so lucky to have known Kyle well enough to have asked the question in the first place and to have gotten such an honest answer in return.

  2. Great post, Merry! On so many levels. I recently left a job after five years and was surprised to realize that “my two best girl friends” who worked mere meters from my desk that whole time–I’m not really all that keen to see now that “our time” is over. I knew while we were hanging together that we weren’t a perfect fit, but they helped make an onerous corporate job so much more bearable, it didn’t matter. Now that I’m free, I need more than they can provide as “real friends” and they’ve shrunk back into the definition of “acquaintances”–even after all we’ve shared. Thanks for helping ease my guilt and phrasing it so sanely and succinctly.

    • Thanks Susan! Yeah, isn’t it weird how we spend so much time with our coworkers and call them friends and then one day everything changes. I’m sure you noticed from my other post about friendship that the more I think about it the more I think we just have to change our definition of friendship. It’s actually okay to love ’em and lose ’em.

  3. “Well, length is average, but there’s some considerable girth there.”

    Oh god that made me laugh hysterically too!

    But seriously, I agree completely about ‘work friends’. They seem so close while you work there, then the minute you leave, all similarities dissolve. I have ONE friend I’ve kept from all my jobs in the past, just the one I actually had something in common with. And I’ve had lots of colleagues, lots of them due to all the jobs I’ve had.

    • I still can’t even think that phrase without blushing and giggling. And I used the spirit of it, if not the actual words, in a certain novel I’ve been working on lately. *wiggles eyebrows*

  4. Painful introspection… think that can also be said about those growing up with abuse. Kyle is right, a deep, personal knowledge can lead to compassion or hate. Those who choose compassion, and I believe it is a choice, are the brave ones.

  5. Great post! Loved it. I married young and have never really worked outside the home much so I’ve never had this experience – but I have my online friends. This post brought a smile to my face on a crummy day. Thank you!

  6. Great post. One of my dearest friends since I was a kid is gay and I know just how hard his life was back in those days. He’s a wonderful, caring, compassionate person and became a doctor- the world is a better place with him in it.

    As to Daniel’s wand- well, I saw it live and in person as I went to see Equus. And yeah, the boy wizard is no longer a boy!

    • That’s the second part of the story that I didn’t tell in the post. Kyle asked me if I planned to go see Equus. I answered, “No! Now that I’ve had this conversation with you I know that the audience will be full of gay men! I wouldn’t want to intrude….” I just read that he’s going to take it all off again for a movie he’s filming right now too. *wiggles eyebrows*

      • awesome! Glad to hear it. He’s turning into a super actor. Saw him in How to Succeed in Business and The Woman in Black. He was wonderful and pulled off the American accent in Business quite well.

  7. “. . . when you realize at such a young age that you are so profoundly different from what society considers normal or acceptable it forces you to do a lot of painful introspection. The effect of that introspection is either to develop a greater compassion for the people around you or to go completely crazy.”

    I wish I could make my anti-gay acquaintances who are always stereotyping read this paragraph.

    Excellent post! Funny AND insightful to boot!

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