Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

Naked Ambition

on June 1, 2011

I’ve been meaning to tell this story for awhile now.  In fact, I wrote myself a note and left it on my desk.  I cleaned off my desk on Friday, and found the note, so now’s a good time to write this all out because to be honest, I had no idea what else I would write this week anyway.  But it’s also appropriate to tell this particular story now, because it took place on Memorial Day Weekend four years ago.  This is one of those stories that sticks with you, and the memory of it is so vivid, it could have taken place this weekend. 

The Scene:  Warm, sunny, Memorial Day, 2007.  Robert Moses State Park, Long Island, New York

My friends, Tim and Jen, and I drove out the the beach early, and grabbed a good spot for our blanket: close-ish to the car, the concession stand and the bathrooms.  Tim was recovering from an Achilles Tendon injury, so walking on sand wasn’t easy for him.  But, he was a great sport and played paddle-ball with us through the morning.   We sat in the sun through the morning and into the afternoon.  The early-day clouds cleared a bit and the sun was strong.    Jen and I decided to go for a walk down the beach.  Tim, because of his injury and because someone had to, volunteered to stay with our stuff.

Jen and I walked down the beach talking and joking.  We walked through a mostly empty section of the beach and then back into a busier section.  There was something different about this particular busy section of beach: everyone was naked.  We continued to walk and talk, and I was silently thankful that my sunglasses disguised what must have been some incredibly rude staring.  I tried to stay facing forward and not gape.  And, to be honest, these were not the best beach bodies I was surrounded by.   About this time, we noticed there was a man, naked, walking a few yards ahead of us.  He turned around:

“Hey, do you guys mind if I walk with you for a little while?”

“Um…..”  Seriously, what do you say to that?  “I guess not.” We didn’t want to be rude to the nude stranger.  He seemed perfectly pleasant, and it was clear that he was not concealing a weapon. 

The naked stranger, whose name turned out to be Bill, joined us and walked us through the finer points of nude beach-going in New York.  Turns out, according to Bill, it is perfectly legal to be naked on National Park beaches, but on State Park beaches (like Robert Moses) you have to wear a suit, at least a bottom, you can go topless anywhere (again, according to Bill, I make it a rule not to fact-check the pantsless).  Bill demonstrated his willingness to follow the law when we crossed back into another State beach, he put his swim trunks on (seemingly from nowhere, seriously, to this day I have no recollection of him holding a swim suit when we met).  When we crossed back into the National Park, he asked, “do you mind if I take my suit off?” “At this point, why would we mind?  You were naked when we met, Bill.”

Bill chatted us up about our jobs briefly, before starting to talk about his new business:  an at-home spa services company.  They did massages, manicures, pedicures, facials and other spa treatments for parties and groups in people’s homes, hotel rooms, etc.  It sounded a bit sketchy to me, just this side of an escort service.  But the more Bill explained, the more legit it sounded.  After awhile, we turned around and headed back toward Robert Moses.  Bill again donned and de-donned his suit again as we passed through State Park territory.  When we got back to the place we had met him, he ran to his bag, and got out his business cards and some laminated sheets detailing the services his company provided. 

We shook his hand, said goodbye and walked back to Tim. 

We’d been gone about an hour, and in that time, the tide had come in, and poor Tim had to drag all of our stuff up the beach with his injured leg.  We apologized and told him why we’d taken so long.  He laughed, we gathered our things, got an ice cream, and headed home. 

In the car on the way back, it struck me:  Bill was giving us a sales pitch!   Who could forget something a naked man told you on a beach?  So simple, yet so brilliant.  If you’re interested in at home spa services, I know a guy.  He may or may not be wearing pants.

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