Saturday, March 28, 2009


I've always been something of an exhibitionist, it's true. We live on the first floor, and it drives my husband crazy. If I so much as walk through the living room in search of a lost coffee cup in anything less than full wardrobe, I'll hear about it.

"J," my husband will hiss, "everyone on the street can see you."

He's not wrong about that, and I should probably care, but I don't. It's always been that way, and in the years before we lived together, I was as naked as I wanted to be at home, damn the consequences.

M, on the other hand, has been fully dressed since he was five years old. His parents' nickname for him was "Mr. Modess".

"He went into the bathroom fully clothed," his mother explained, "and he came out of the bathroom fully clothed." He even sleeps in all his clothes, except maybe his pants, but even they get slept in sometimes. Once I woke in the middle of the night and realized he was sleeping with his hat on.

Maybe it was the lefty, Quaker summer camp that I went to when I was a kid, where swimming was "suits optional", but I think it's always been a part of me, so to speak. And the thing is, it's not like I have some kind of fantastic body image or gigantic ego that just screams for attention. Generally, at a new job, it takes twelve to eighteen months for me to relax enough to have a normal conversation with someone, or actively participate in meetings. So why the nudity? I can't say, I just enjoy it. Sometimes, sitting fully clothed on the couch or at the kitchen table, I'll grow envious of the cats, who never wear anything, and don't get into any kind of trouble for it. Sure, they've got fur, but that's a technicality.

Of course, I am hypocritical about nudity, I wouldn't want to accidentally see any of my neighbors in the nude in their homes, but I never said this was a logical proclivity. And it's not that I don't like clothes. I love clothes, I have more clothes than I know what to do with - most of them never get worn, and I like other people's clothes too. There's no accounting for nudity I guess. Picasso's Demoiselles d'Avignon had it easy, they got to pose nude, but were rendered virtually unrecognizable, avoiding any unnecessary embarrassment.


matt said...

HAHAHA I LOVED THIS STORY! ANd yes, you have never been shy in that department and I always appreciated it. Because I tend to have the exact same problem over here with my partner, he's forever fussing at me about putting clothing on. Oh well.

Macarius said...

This reminds me of an incident many years ago when we were young and you flashed a certain mutual friend in mixed company. It also reminds me of a story some famous stand up comedienne once told of how she was frequently nude in her apartment until her cat thought her tampon string was a toy. Now that you're all grown up and married to Mr. Modesty, i'll have to send you the American version of a burqa or a chador. Yes, that's right, a housecoat. BTW - i recently read a NYT story about some towns in Switzerland hoping to ban nude hiking in the Alps. Now that's extreme.

Anonymous said...

The Shy Nudist, if I may suggest a memoir title for you...