Those of us of a certain age will definitely remember the incredibly clever Noxema shaving cream commercial, where a beautiful blond woman urged men to “take it off, take it all off,” and the actor scraped the razor over his shaving cream-covered face in time to the David Rose Stripper music.
This actually isn’t about shaving, but the commercial came to mind toward the the end of our visit with Richard’s long-time friend (R) and his long-time girlfriend (C). R and C have been a couple for 10 years now – maintaining separate residences but traveling together and enjoying each other’s company. We have heard a lot about her over the years and were very happy to finally meet her. We were nervous about what she would be like. She is a lovely woman.
Richard and R met when they were about 10 years old, and both of them are now on the far side of 70, so we’re talking about a friendship of more than 60 years. R left Southern California for Seattle about the same time that we left Southern California in our meandering fashion to arrive here. They skype regularly and have seen each other on occasion over the years, the last time was several years ago.
We did have a nice visit with them. We had a good dinner and pleasant conversation at the restaurant and a nice visit afterward in our hot little house, which was clean enough so that it wasn’t a total embarrassment.
They came back for another hour so the next morning before they headed off to Charleston.
R had very interesting things to talk about. He has decided to study calculus to keep his brain occupied (I guess!), and he is an amateur astronomer and goes to "star parties" and we chased some rabbits along the way, but then the conversation took on sort of a surreal quality, and I listened growing incredulity as R and C urged us--with great enthusiasm--to join them on a cruise, which, oh by the way, just happens to be a “clothing optional” cruise.
What?!? Clothing optional? Are you kidding?
“Oh yeah,” he says, “you have to wear clothes while the ship is in port, but once the ship leaves port and passes a certain point, the captain blows a whistle and everyone who wants to, takes off their clothes. And almost everybody does.”
“It's not sexual,” C says. “At first I though it was going to be 20-year-old guys walking around with … well, you know…” she says, “but it isn’t like that all.”
“Let me tell you about Mary (not her real name),” R says. “She is the woman who takes the money and she weighs about 300 pounds…” and he goes on to give a few more details about what the 300-pound Mary looks like without her clothes on. “She’s comfortable in her skin,” he says.
Yeah, well. I don’t have anything against people who want to get together and take their clothes off; in fact, I don’t think there is anything wrong with it if that is what they want to do. Even Christian people get together and take their clothes off (there are a number of Web sites for Christian naturists), and they indeed make some very interesting points about nudity.
But for me? I am not exactly comfortable in my skin to begin with (I could stand to lose about 40 about pounds, if you get my drift), and there would no way on God’s green earth that I would take my clothes off in front of Richard’s friend. I certainly don’t want to see him nude. No, thank you!
The next “clothing optional” cruise they are planning to go on, in 2017, will have a stop in Cuba. They are very excited. We are not excited. I do not believe we will be be joining them.
There will be no “taking it off… taking it all off…”