Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cringing About The Nudie Neighbors

To protect the naked, I’ll just write that at our old house, in our old town, we lived catty-corner to a nudist couple. They were the real deal-- co-presidents of a nudist social club connected to Gunnison Beach, the largest nude beach on the eastern seaboard, located just five short miles from our addresses on Sandy Hook, New Jersey.

Marty looked out of our kitchen window curiously when the new couple bought the small cottage across the street and immediately put up a new fence. They hadn’t even moved in yet. We didn’t know about their naturism then. The original fence was a board-on-board variety with narrow gaps.

“The old fence was really nice. And expensive. Why are they tearing it down to put up that stockade fence?” Marty scratched his head.

Around the same time as this fence installation, Marty and I had been engaged in a discussion about replacing our walkway. I hated the existing concrete approach; he found it to be extremely functional. Why spend money on replacing it with bricks? Because bricks would look nice, I whined. And here come these new neighbors replacing, replacing, replacing things with abandon.

The new owners were a friendly, middle-aged, couple. The cottage was their weekend house. In addition to the new fence, they worked meticulously on landscaping projects. One spring Sunday afternoon they invited us to see the work they had accomplished beyond the fence. We found a terrific outside entertaining area with pretty ornamental beach grasses, paving stones that led to groupings of patio furniture sets, and a large hot tub.

“Wow,” I commented. “This is an awesome yard for parties.”
“Yes, we really like to entertain,” the wife replied, and we moved on to discussing the perennials she had just planted.

The parties started with gusto that summer. About once a month, cars would line the street from end to end. Party music would drift out, along with the sounds of happy summer people, ice cubes clinking in drinks, laughter. When dusk fell, steam from the Jacuzzi would rise above the fence along with an occasional group shout of “Tequila!”

One Sunday morning after an obvious shindig, (five cars were still left in the street by drivers likely passed out on lawn chairs) I relaxed with my next door neighbor, Jane, as our kids ran around the yard.

“The new neighbors sure seem like they have fun,” I said. “I hope I have that much fun when I am their age.”

Jane looked like she was debating telling me something. Jane is an artist, and much hipper than me.

“Well, they are nudists. The parties are clothing-optional parties.”
“They run the social club at Gunnison Beach. They are really active in it. The wife actually invited us to go to the party last night. She said if we came early we might feel more comfortable because people usually don’t get totally naked until later in the evening.”

Now this was interesting. Jane’s invite story answered what would have been my first question. Do nudists drive to parties naked? Do they wear trenchcoats in the car? Do guests strip immediately when they get to the party, and if so, are there cubbies or old metal lockers on site to hold your belongings? Apparently not. The removal of clothing is gradual. This made me consider all of the summer barbeques I have attended. Not once did I feel that my sundress was too cumbersome to continue wearing, and that I just had to remove it, at any point in the evening. This subculture right across the street was fascinating. Oh, one more question. Is there a Facebook photo posting policy?

I went to report the intelligence to Marty. I walked up our ugly concrete path that never did get replaced. I was extremely pregnant with Brendan. When pregnant, I look more like a caricature of a pregnant woman. My short-waisted physique offers no room for growing baby; my belly juts so far forward that it appears I am carrying a foal that will be born standing up.

“What do you think would happen if I went to the next naked party like this?” I ask Marty, rubbing my non-Hollywood- style mountain bump. “Do you think I would provide visual interest?”

“I am not going to any naked party.” Marty proclaimed, seeing my wheels turning, my curiosity totally piqued.

The next time steam rose from beyond the fence, I found myself cringing. The first level of cringe had to do with imagining the mottled, imperfect flesh of middle-aged nudists. The guests getting out of their cars were not generally the sort one might dream about seeing in the flesh. But the second level of cringe was that we were never invited. We were clearly too square to ever get asked to the nudie party.
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  1. you are hysterical! I believe the last offer on the table was $50 for a topless w/lei party appearance....I am still willing to pay!

  2. I think I remember Jane being happy that
    they were not swingers.