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National Editorials & Columns

I am an accidental nudist

I’ve become an exhibitionist.

It’s not my fault; I don’t mean to be flashing the goods. If anything, I’m a prude. But lately, I haven’t seemed to have my wits about me. Or my shirt.

My downward spiral into accidental nudism began a little more than a year ago. It all started innocently enough. I was cleaning the bathroom and opened a window protected by my security system, thus accidentally setting off the alarm. No worries. I quickly punched in the code on my security system and continued cleaning. Seeing as I was working with bleach and intended on taking a shower after I spiffed up the toilet, I was cleaning in the nude. Who cares, right? I’m in my house. The open window faced my backyard. I shouldn’t feel ashamed about being nude in my own bathroom! And I didn’t. That is, until the police officer, alerted by the security company, stuck his head in my open bathroom window.


“Oh, my gosh, you scared me!” I screamed.

“No one answered your door. I need you to come around front and let me in,” the officer said. “And, miss, you may want to throw a shirt on.”

Color me crimson. Who knew cleaning the shower was a gateway drug to the nudist lifestyle? Be careful to avoid my fate, friends, and consider hiring a cleaning person. Once the fuzz saw my fanny, there was no turning back.

This past spring and summer, I was pregnant and then super-pregnant. The staggering heat outside combined with the incubating-baby heat inside created a lethal combination. That is, a lethal combination for my clothes. Oh, sure, they claimed to be lightweight, but they were never light enough. One hundred percent cotton, nylon and poly-blends be damned. I tried to stay decent. I spent the later months of my pregnancy walking around my house in my undergarments, fighting the urge to disrobe completely. But as the temperature soared into the triple digits and my air conditioner broke, even the undergarments lost their battle.

So what? My nudity was my business and no one else’s. And it would’ve stayed my business if my husband didn’t have an annoying habit of opening the blinds every morning. To be honest, it’s not his fault. There is a kind of apathy that takes over in the later months of pregnancy. And with my air conditioner broken and my baby baking for a couple of more months, I left those windows wide-open.

Luckily, my foray into baring it all had remained behind walls. Oh, sure, there was that year when I was living in Australia and my girlfriends and I thought we would brave sunbathing topless at a nude beach. The extreme sunburn that followed is one that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. For a week, I wore suspenders with chopsticks horizontally duct-taped on them under my loosest shirts to keep the cloth from touching. It was a blast having to explain that fashion choice to my friends and teachers.

But that was Australia. Here, in the good ol’ US of A, I act like a proper daughter of our Puritanical heritage. I’m fairly certain that if you play “The Star-Spangled Banner” backward, you will hear this chant: Be prude, not nude. I followed that credo. Even when a dirty bathroom and a summer pregnancy sent me spiraling, I was sure to only wear my birthday suit indoors. That is, until this past weekend.

I had just finished breast-feeding my son, when I realized I had left his diaper bag in my car. I headed out to my vehicle parked a few houses away, waving hello to neighbors I had finally spoken to just a few nights before while trick-or-treating. The neighbors seemed a bit reserved but waved back at me. It wasn’t until I re-entered my home and felt the cooled air on my bare stomach that I looked down at my body panic-stricken. What had I done?

My husband walked by, smiled and said, “Next time, you may want to throw a shirt on.”

Words to live by.

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