Every year, around this time of summer, I like to try and coerce my husband to take off all his clothes and do something outrageous.
Way back when, on a trip to California, I shamed him into wiggling out of his clothes and jumping into the crashing surf on Venice Beach, clad only in his trusty tighty whities. He still has nightmares about it today: "What if LAPD flew over us in a helicopter and arrested me for public indecency?" "What if those people down the beach from us could, you know, see it?"
When we first moved to Someday, I convinced him to go skinny dipping at Emmerton beach on a muggy July night. I had to use all my powers of persuasion and eye-rolling to get him to strip it all off and dash into the water. We were newlyweds, we didn't have kids, and I could still get him to do things that were a bit edgy. And I always stripped down first.
Several summers ago, we got caught outside in a beautiful warm rain in the back meadow. He was on the tractor and I was gathering flowers. I noticed that the barn downspout had turned into a waterfall; I stripped off my clothes and stood underneath it, laughing. "Come on!!!" I yelled at him. He just shook his head, grinning like a sheepish kid, and stayed on the tractor, despite my coaxing, cajoling and harrassment. I could tell he wanted to; he just lacked a little nerve. That winter, he confided that he would always regret not having jumped down and joined me. Humph.
He made up for his reticence the year I was pregnant with Dylan; we were in the thick of a big summer rainstorm, complete with thunder and lightning. My sister and I were hiding in the house. D had come in just before the storm hit, all sweaty from mowing the lawn.
"I gotta take a shower." he said.
"A shower? Just run outside," I suggested.
"What? In a storm? You're nuts. Plus your sister will see me."
"Oh, don't be such a baby," I said. "Just go and do it. It'll be fun! I dare ya."
After a moment's hesitation, he actually started taking off his clothes. He solemnly handed me his glasses, said, "If I get hit by lightning, it's your fault," and dashed out into the storm, wearing only his orange crocs. It was quite a sight. I felt a surge of pride...and terror, as the thunder crashed and my beloved husband's shapely behind disappeared out of sight of the house.
He eventually made it back in one soggy piece, dripping and exhilarated. I dutifully waited in the shanty with a towel and congratulations. There's just something about being naked outside that makes you feel alive, and I was glad he was finally getting on board.
I'm afraid my children have inherited my penchant for nudity, as their favourite time of day is that fifteen minute interval between tooth brushing and bedtime where they are allowed to shed their clothes and run around shrieking "Naked naked NUDIE!!!" Or maybe it's just the natural tendency of a toddler to want to be unencumbered by the annoying contraints of diapers, underwear, and other assorted bits of bodily confinement. I can't say I blame them.
We shared a moment of naked solidarity the other day when it was so hot I wanted to lock myself in the freezer. I don't do well in the heat, and neither does my son. We both end up red-faced and sweaty with the temper of a rabid pitbull when the thermometer goes anywhere above 75 degrees, so inheriting our cousins' kiddie pool last summer was a godsend. After a gruelling bike ride to the cottage and back, we stripped Jade and Dyl down and let them soak in the nice, cool water. After enduring sensitive comments from my husband ("Gee Kimmmy, are ya hot? Look kids, it's sweaty Kim!"), I proceeded to tear off my clothes and wade into the pool with the kids, much to their squealing delight. I think D was somewhere between horrified and turned on, but I was in the zone: naked, cool, and surrounded by happy kidlets.
It may be a long hot summer, but at least some of us will be naked enough to enjoy it.