By RODNEY HO/ firstname.lastname@example.org, originally filed Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Smyrna resident David Dees is comfortable in his own body.
He better be. He's spending 12 episodes naked on a show naturally called "Dating Naked" on VH1 where his private parts will be dutifully blurred. He dated more than 20 women on the Pacific island of Bora Bora in the French Polynesia over three months on the show.
"I am the 'Naked Bachelor,' " he said in an interview last week. And he's black, which none of ABC's "Bachelor" candidates have ever been. (This is somewhat of a trend, with WE-TV's "Match Made in Heaven" and the fictional Lifetime show "Unreal" featuring black men as leads.)
The show returns at 9 p.m. Wednesday.
The third season features him and another primary dater, a 24-year-old Milwaukee woman named Natalie Jansen, who is coming off a difficult breakup and is haunted by bullying as a child due to scars from a car accident.
Dees, a 31-year-old University of Louisiana graduate and Dayton, Ohio native, said he was skeptical at first but embraced the challenge and ultimately had a great time. "It was phenomenal. This was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
He said he got over the issue of nudity relatively quickly. "You start looking at things from a different perspective," he said. "People tend to become overwhelmed and consumed with physicality because you're naked. It provides a whole different context in dating."
While he was nervous at times, he had to remember his dates were in the same nude boat as he was.
As one of the two "lead" daters, "I kind of felt like it was my responsibility not to look like I was staring at everything right away. I didn't want to make them more uncomfortable. But you have peripheral vision. The more dates you have, the better you have at seeing more sooner."
Dees, whose last serious relationship lasted four years, said he was able to date women he wouldn't have otherwise considered. The trailer implies that he may even like the other primary dater Natalie. ("He's the full package!" Natalie said in the first episode, then giggling at her double entendre.)
Once he was able to tell his male buddies about what he did, "97 percent wanted to be me. The other three percent were terrified!" His divorced parents were split on the idea; his mom was okay with it. His dad? Not so much.
He said he learned a lot about himself through the process. "I listen much better," he said. "I wasn't too good a listener. I feel like I've come back a much better product than I left."
Dees, who has lived in metro Atlanta for two years, describes himself as a business consultant who provides life coaching. He has previously worked in the refinery business and construction.
Here is the trailer. Warning: lots of blurring going on in the private areas. So you'll know what you're getting yourself into:
"Dating Naked," season 3 begins Wednesday, June 9 at 9 p.m. on VH1