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.
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.