Just letting it all hang out

A chap identifying himself as “Sky Clad Therapist,” a description which in this age of intentional vagueness is refreshingly direct, tells the tale of a couple of times when the neighbors happened to be looking in:

If the past four years of my life are any indication, casual nudity is likely to be more tolerated by others than one would believe. I was first seen nude by a neighbour woman who had come to our house through our back yard. Seeing me sitting nude in the kitchen, she stopped and continued looking until I realised that she was there. I was in a panic as I was sure that she would report me, tell everyone in the community about the pervert two doors down, and worse still, tell my wife. None of that happened. I reached for a towel to cover up and then opened the glass patio door which had been locked for her. Since that time, she has frequently seen me nude, almost always arriving without notice when I am likely to be nude.

A similar situation occurred with my next-door neighbour three years ago. I was sitting on my back deck, tucked into a corner by the patio doors when she came into our back yard in search of some garden produce. When she finally realised that I was there, sitting without any clothing on as I wrote using my laptop, she hesitated, then approached to ask about getting something from our garden. Like the first neighbour, she has seen me nude on numerous occasions with one major difference. She only gets to see me nude outdoors, and never with the intention of doing so on purpose.

I posted my first experience of this sort, fourteen years ago:

In the back yard, I’m not generally visible, and there’s a fence surrounding the area that’s as tall as I am, further shrouding the premises, so no one acknowledges my presence out back, and given my particular predilections, this is probably a Good Thing.

Then today: “Hello!”

I figured it probably wasn’t for me anyway, and ignored it.

On the third “Hello!” I dragged myself over to the fence, and there was your basic Sweet Little Old Lady, apparently a dweller in the apartments on the adjacent block. Given the topography of the area, which slopes down from the west side of my house, she was basically staring me in the navel, or could have been had it not been for the fence and the trees on its far side.

And it was a tree she wanted to talk about. “This apricot tree hangs over on your side,” she said.

I pointed out that I kept the more blatant intrusions trimmed back, and had in fact pruned a few branches this morning. “It’s not time yet, but when they’re ripe, would you mind terribly if I gathered them from your yard?”

“It didn’t produce much of anything last year,” I noted.

She apparently remembered the previous owners, didn’t recognize me, and figured that she’d renew an existing arrangement. Which was fine with me. “Just come around to the gate.” No harm done; I wasn’t planning to pick them, and I was happy not to have provoked a discussion of my attire.

And then: “You’re working on getting a tan?”

Um, yes, I was. “It’s good for me.”

Apparently it was good enough for her, too. “Thank you.” And she disappeared into the mysterious wilderness next door.

We didn’t exactly become close friends, but there’s a great deal of comfort in knowing someone is not going to go berserk over some exposed flesh, and there were a few giggles the one and only time she saw me dressed.

Both of the good doctor’s incidents took place in the presence of women, and I’m thinking his experience parallels mine: women, if they spot an unclothed man who’s not making a nuisance of himself, are not at all alarmed and might possibly be amused. (What’s a nuisance? A friend of mine made her first trip to a nude beach, and some rude fellow set up a camera or two in her vicinity, which is considered Bad Form at best. She raised holy hell, as she should have.) Men, however, are not so sanguine, and at least one I encountered objected as loudly as he could.





7 comments »

  1. Lynn »

    13 February 2018 · 7:31 am

    For the record, I would be one of the ones to go berserk. Or just move as soon as possible.

  2. Holly H »

    13 February 2018 · 8:04 am

    The one thing about Little Old Lady’s behavior that I don’t approve of, has nothing to do with the central question at hand. I think the polilte thing for her to have asked was “Are you planning to pluck the fruit from the branches that extend into your yard? If so, that’s fine. But if NOT, would you mind if I come over to harvest them?”

    Sigh. People are so rude.

  3. CGHill »

    13 February 2018 · 9:07 am

    And the matter was settled next year, when the city took out those trees to locate a new sewer line.

  4. fillyjonk »

    13 February 2018 · 9:17 am

    I’d be quietly freaking out, telling myself “maintain locked-and-loaded eye contact so he doesn’t think you’re staring at his junk because then you will feel awkward”

    Then again, I feel similar stress when one of my (female) students is wearing a low-cut blouse. Or one of my male students has a shirt unbuttoned enough to show chest hair (though that is rare; most of my male students wear t-shirts)

  5. nightfly »

    13 February 2018 · 11:15 am

    Well, as Nixon said to Zapp Branigan, “I didn’t travel all this way just to look at another man’s gizmo!” But since he was reduced to a head floating in a jar by then, it’s not like he could turn himself away very easily.

    I suppose other guys’ mileage may vary. Folks familiar with gym or athletic locker rooms probably have more of a tolerance than the average suburban couch jockey stumbling into the yard to let the dog take care of business.

  6. McGehee »

    13 February 2018 · 11:58 am

    The one time I remember being stared at in the shower was at the Fairbanks Athletic Club. I was just getting a quick rinse before hitting the pool, so I already had my swimsuit on. Starer was unclothed.

  7. Holly H »

    14 February 2018 · 10:02 am

    I would freak out a lot more impolitely than you, fj. I would apologize and pivot on my heel to flee. For a “Progressive”, I’m quite the prude.

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