Summer is Here: Sweaty Naked Glory

I was born without modesty. I guess we all are, but I’ve maintained it. I was a shy girl, hiding under my mother’s skirts, hiding under the booths at fast food restaurants because I called out to a friend who turned out to be a stranger (true story), but I also loved scaring my friends by jumping out naked in the locker room as we changed to swim. When the sun was out, I couldn’t help but roll as much up or down as possible to get that wonderful vitamin D all over my skin. I have so many happy memories of hiking around and stripping down whenever I spotted a sunny stream.

It wasn’t about looking good or being seen. I didn’t care. My comfort outweighed any possible fear. It’s so wonderful to be naked in the summertime.

Comfort is key — I can’t put up with anything. I couldn’t wear jeans till my teens, insisting upon an elastic waist. Tight pants and wool sweaters make me angry. In high school and even now I sometimes get in trouble for dressing too immodestly; I’m always trying to wear as little as possible. Clothes make me feel hot and bound. My main game today is a dress over yoga pants, stretchy and loose and free. When I’m home I wear nothing at all.

On Saturday, I expanded my comfort zone. For the first time, I joined Fremont’s naked bikers at the solstice parade. At 11 a.m. I met up with two friends and many, many more naked strangers at a shipyard in Ballard to paint ourselves and each other.

We started with my friend Sam, who went as the Black Swan with a painted-on leotard and a little black tutu. After Sam became swan, my friends painted eyes all over my body. I had eyes on my boobs, eyes on my thighs, a third eye on my chest and a vertical eye above my conchita. I even had winking eyes on my butt! There was a girl near me also doing eyes so we became eye friends. We took a picture together, but I won’t put it on the internet.

When I first got to the shipyard I wanted to stare at the sky, but I was fine with being naked and soon felt comfortable looking around at the crowd. The talent ranged. There were intricate patterns and a woman near me with beautifully streaked red, yellow and orange. There were artistic references and naked Santas. There were babies and grown-ups, skinny people and fat people. There was a glitter cage.

I feel like I strutted around even more proudly than usual. In the real world, I don’t know if I look good, and I don’t know if anyone is checking me out. But when everyone’s naked, everyone’s awkward parts are showing and if anyone checks someone out they’re a perv. So I felt good. I felt safe. I felt free.

At noon or maybe 1, I don’t know — I was hungry and hadn’t had coffee and more suddenly than had planned was naked and painted and didn’t know how to get back to the outside world — we left. There were a lot of people on bikes: thousands. We left in waves, biking thru Ballard screaming and coming to slooow down when we neared the Ballard bridge. There were a lot of us. We clogged the roads. We stood still for a while, entombed in the mass of ourself.

There were boom boxes. There were pulls off bottles. I smelled weed but never saw it.

Balancing precariously, one foot on the pedal, one foot pawing the earth, we trickled toward Fremont. We took the streets. For a second or two I wanted to race ahead, jump on the Burke and beat everyone to the parade, but then I realized that wasn’t the point. We moved slow. And then there were breakaways, waves. We were off.

From Ballard on there were crowds cheering. I loved cheering back. But there were some times when smiling felt like work. You’re saying naked isn’t enough?! Stoic face, frowning face, covered in eyes.

I did smile for every camera. Staring into the lens, probably more comfortable than I usually feel for photos.

A lot of people took two laps, but I wanted a hot dog. I went to Gasworks and suddenly was alone. The only naked person in sight. I felt like a pervert but I was comfortable and riding high so I persevered. I bought myself a hot dog, dressed it and ate, standing alone in a field, winking toward the city.

Bikers started trickling in. We sprawled on the grass amid goose poop. I found my friends. I declared I’d stay naked forever.

And then I saw a customer, put my clothes back on and biked to work.

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About Emily Suggests

Pineapple rock, lemon platt, butter scotch. A sugarsticky girl shovelling scoopfuls of creams for a christian brother.

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