Hi. Our good friends next-door are having their annual Labor Day-weekend skinny-dip party in their private, backyard pool. It's bring-your-own-food-to-grill, but no bathing suits. Clothes must be left in the changing tent at poolside. Last year we were out of town and unable to attend. (Approximately 10 couples did.) My significant other is unsure if we should go. We're both kinda shy. But given that everybody is naked, no big deal, right? Your thoughts?
Adult Swim: My first thought is, what neighborhood do you live in, and are there any houses for sale? Where I live, we spend Labor Day reading through old Samuel Gompers speeches - and not in the nude, I might add. But your neighborhood seems so...so Love, American Style. For those of you born yesterday, that was a television show back in the early '70s, and I can honestly say it taught me everything I know about how to schwing. Each week, a new set of B-list celebrities would take us through the ins and outs of modern romance via multiple storylines - a dry-docked Love Boat, if you will. And at the time, it seemed racy. In retrospect, it was corny, cheesy, even cheese-corny. But when those magic words flashed across the screen - "For Mature Audiences Only" - I would get the TV-watching equivalent of a woody.
Not that your next-door neighbors have any hanky-panky on their minds. There's always been an innocence to skinny-dipping that isn't quite there in, say, hot-tub parties. We spend the first crucial months of our earthly existence splish-splashing around our mothers' wombs in our birthday suits, and it's a feeling that never leaves us - a sense of warmth and security, of returning to the sea from whence we came. Surely this is why, after all these years, I still prefer baths over showers: I want my mommy. Then again, I'm pretty lazy, so maybe I'd just rather sit or lie down to get clean. Lazy or not, I've rarely passed up an opportunity to skinny-dip, especially in ponds, lakes, even (this was pre-Jaws) the ocean. There's just something about shedding the fig leaf of shame, letting it all hang out.
There isn't that much to hang out, of course, unless we're talking about a heated pool. Shrinkage, as George Costanza made painfully clear in that Seinfeld episode, is a fact of life - not such a bad thing in ponds and lakes, where the fatter the worm the bigger the fish, if you know what I mean. There are indeed documented cases of snapping turtles...well, I won't take you through it, just go ahead and add it to your list of castration anxieties. The opposite of shrinkage is expansion, and if you want a rock-solid excuse for leaving the party early, keep fantasizing that Christie Brinkley is about to hop in the pool and say "I'm in the mood for some fun." Okay, what else is there to worry about? Oh, consider the possibility that, thanks to YouTube, a candid shot of your nibbly bits will wind up circling the globe more often than the MIR Space Station.
Given all this, I say...Go For It! After all, how often will you be given the opportunity to make complete fools out of yourselves in front of people you'll be forced to pass on the street for the rest of your lives? Put another way, how often will you be given the opportunity to bring down barriers that separate you from people you'll be forced to pass on the street for the rest of your lives? My only real advice is that you not base your decision on the fact that you're "kinda shy." Extremely shy, that would be different. So would extremely not-shy. But if you're kind of intrigued by the idea (and you must be or you wouldn't have written to me), why not see how it goes? If it doesn't work out, you can always put your house on the market. And, hey, if the price is right and you can see the neighbors' pool from the bathtub, I'll take it!
For the best swimming goggles money can buy, write to: Mr. Right, Isthmus, 101 King St., Madison, WI 53703. Or call 251-1206, Ext. 152. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.