Note: As usual, everyone over 18. And as part of this little group of shorter than usual stories, there may be some editorial blunders. But I figure short and sweet in a time when we could all use a little distraction is reasonable. Stay safe.
“Look, we’re just going to have to make some adjustments,” I said for what felt like the twelfth time.
“I’m not arguing that-“
“It’s just that I think things are going to be awkward if we’re not considerate.”
“Of course, I said so all along-“
“But, seriously Mom, you’re naked ALL the time!”
“I told you-“
“You told me that you thought it would be important for us to get comfortable if this was going to last a while, and that we shouldn’t be freaked out by some of the intimacy that might evolve. You said, ‘we shouldn’t worry too much about lapses in dress code,'” I blathered a bit. “I thought you meant, don’t freak out if you walk by my room and I’m changing into my pjs.”
“You’re bare-assed, tits-out naked in the kitchen, the dining room, and everywhere in between 24 hours a day. That’s a little more than an open door walk-by,” I said completely rationally and calmly and not at all raising my voice.
“Can I get in a couple of words during your little break down?”
“It’s not a br-“
“It kind of is. I mean, I get it,” she said. “There’s a lot of pressure. It’s a quarantine. We can’t go anywhere and there’s a real chance we could all get very sick. That’s a lot of anxiety.”
“And so there are bound to be some tensions,” she added soothingly. “Besides you haven’t lived here in years, so of course it would be awkward.”
“So, yeah, you’re going to be tense. But, here’s the thing. After the divorce and after you went to college, I was not feeling very confidant. Not at all secure. I was alone and feeling pretty sorry for myself.”
That did touch me a bit, I admit. I had been so self-concerned that I hadn’t really thought about how the double hit of my leaving home and the Shithead filing for divorce would effect her. Still.
“Mom, I’m sorry to hear that but-“
“And then I started hanging out with a crowd of folks who were regulars at a local bar. Yeah, I mean, I wasn’t a drunk at the bar,” she waved away the concern. “But I was regular enough to recognize folks. We became buddies. And they invited me to the Lake for a weekend festival,” she stepped over to the fridge and opened it to get a sparkling water. It opened with a swish, and she continued.
“So, I said, sure. I hadn’t made new friends in years. It was kind of pulling me out of my funk. Then they added the kicker. The part of the Lake they were going to was the Hollow.”
I blinked, “The Hollow? Not The. Everyone. Is Naked. Hollow?”
“Yep,” she said. “Well, I was shocked. A little taken aback. I wasn’t sure if they were coming onto me or what was going on. But after we talked for a bit it occurred to me, ‘Why the hell not?'”
“Because you’d be naked in front of lots of people in a public place?”
“Okay, yeah,” she agreed. “But I got over that. I mean, it occurred to me that these folks were my friends now. Like real friends. And they wanted to include me in a thing that they were doing anyway. That, like, all of them were. It was a group of maybe 12 regulars,” she explained. “So, it wasn’t one creepy dude or anything. And everyone there was just ordinary. I mean, few extra pounds. Balding. Several different ages, 30s to 70s. It just seemed like my friends doing a thing. And that thing was… well, naked.”
“Okay, well, I guess I can see that.”
“So, I went along. I was nervous at first, but literally no one made a big deal out of it.”
“They just ignored that you were naked?”
“Well, they were naked too,” she pointed out.
“And, if I’m being honest, they didn’t really ignore it. They just didn’t think it was weird. They apparently hang out at the Hollow every nice weekend of the summer. So, it’s totally normal for them. But, I admit it wasn’t like they didn’t see me.”
“Which was kind of thrilling, you know?” she blushed a little. “I mean, men who I knew from weeks at the bar were eyeing me. I mean, I’m not blind, they’d been sneaking peeks at me all along. Eyeing my figure. Casually flirting. And, let’s be clear, that was always pretty nice. Not always something I reciprocated, but it had been a while since I’d felt desirable.”
“I find that hard to believe.”
“What’s that mean?”
“I mean, uh… You’re… uh… you’re a beautiful woman. Of course you should feel desirable. That’s just normal,” I stammered.
“Well, that’s sweet, but from my perspective, I’d just been dumped by my husband of many years and traded in for a much younger model, because- cliché,” she held up one finger. “And you’d moved out, totally normally, but it left me on my own and feeling a little less than. Not a mother. Not a wife,” and she raised a second finger.
“Sure, I see that.”
“That’s a tough bedava bahis one-two punch. And here were guys gently flirting. It was sweet. Then I was naked under the sun with a whole group of folks, some of which were flirting with me for the first time, because… well, I guess they saw me in a new light.”
“I mean, of course,” I smoothed over. “You’re a beautiful woman and while they may have overlooked your charm and grace… they’re not going to overlook those… what did that generation say… oh yes, ‘Bodacious Ta-tas.”
She, of course, slapped me very gently. And said, “you little shit. I’m not that old.”
I chuckled, “No, but I bet a few of the geezers wanted to test out whether they could manage the non-chalant brush by.”
She smiled, “Okay, yeah… and when did you become an expert on naughty old farts?”
“It was an elective at that fancy school you sent me to while you were flirting with old dudes at the Lake.”
“But none of this tells me why I’ve been staring-“
“Staring?” she asked with one eyebrow arched.
“Observing your … er… hooters? Jugs? Gazungas?”
“I don’t know… none of this tells me why you’re bare assed all the time since we’ve been in this lockdown thing.”
“Okay, that’s fair,” she said as she headed over to the leather couch in the living room. “look-“
“Haven’t had much choice.”
“The thing is, since you’ve been gone and I’ve been hanging out with Shari-“
“Shari? Shari is the ring leader? Really… And Don? Wow… I would not have guessed.”
“Clearly,” she nodded. “Anyway, since I’ve been friends with Shari, Don, and the folks from the bar… well, I’ve pretty much gone fully textile-free when home. It has been amazing.”
“For… what, six years now?”
“Yeah. You know, of course I am dressed at work and all the normal places, but when I’m home never. You remember that trip I took to the Caribbean last year?”
“Sure, I was kind of jealous. But also proud of you for traveling with your girlfriends.”
“Yeah, not just my girlfriends. We brought their partners too.”
“And it was a naked trip. There’s a nice resort we went to. Everyone in the altogether… together. It was a blast.”
“Wow, really? Well, of course, really. I guess that explains the lack of tanline as well. But, still, this is just a lot.”
“I get it. And I hadn’t really figured out how to tell you about all this until now. I mean, how do you say, ‘Hey kid, I spend most of my life naked and hanging out with other naked people… don’t freak out.’ But given the end of the world, it seemed the right time to mention it.”
“I can see that. Well, and-” I gestured at her very naked figure. “I guess that’s obvious.”
“So, when you texted that you needed a place to stay in town for a while during the lockdown, I thought… might as well use the chance. I can explain and maybe you won’t runaway screaming into the night because… well, pandemic.”
“Sound logic for a pervy lady,” I nodded.
“Hey, nothing pervy about being naked. You started out that way, jackass.”
“Well, yeah, but, you know, I also couldn’t hold my head upright for a while either. It’s not exactly an analogy.”
“Okay, okay. I’m just saying this is perfectly natural. And frankly a ton of fun. It feels comfortable and once you’re used to it, the notion of sitting around in your home with a tight waist band or… god forbid… a bra… just seems insane.”
“Sure, more comfortable, but insane?”
“If you go take a shower right now — and I’m not saying you stink or anything, but say you needed to take a shower- will you be putting on your bathing suit?”
“No, of course, that’s ridiculous.”
“It is? Well, say you wanted to go for a swim, you wouldn’t do it naked of course, that would be silly. No one does that. But you would go put on your boxer briefs, right?”
“You know I wouldn’t. I’ve got a perfectly fine bathing suit.”
“Which covers the exact same real estate in a very similar fabric as your boxers right?”
“So, bathing suit… boxers… naked. Everything is about context and custom. No objective difference between you and the water in those situations, but you’ve got costume restraints, right? Me, I just strip it all off and jump in.”
“Fine. But, also, you know good and well that the social customs are powerful and if you just stripped to your bra and underwear at the beach it would cause a ruckus.”
“It would. And if you wore a three-piece suit to the beach it would as well. All about custom. Costume custom. So, why not choose a custom you’re comfortable with if you have the choice? I mean, I wear a bathing suit when I’m at Aunt Judy’s pool, right? We’ve been over there several times since my wardrobe preferences changed. But, it’s a courtesy.”
“And at home, you have a different set of courtesies than out and about. Okay, I get it. And I guess you couldn’t really just tell bedava bonus me without this conversation. So, I understand. It’s just a bit much to take in seeing my naked mother shaking her jubblies all over the house without explanation.”
“I don’t shake. Well, not excessively. And now you’ve got an explanation,” she said reaching out a hand to touch my forearm. “We okay?”
“Oh, of course,” I grinned. “I’ll even remember not to turn the AC up more than usual.”
“Yeah, just think of the reduced carbon footprint.”
“You’re a real environmentalist.”
“I’m a big fan of reduce-reuse-recycle.”
I chuckled, “So, I guess I’m going to need to just get used to this.”
“Is it such a chore? Am I so hideous?” she asked in a mock pout.
“You know damned well that you aren’t,” I said. “You’re gorgeous. Always have been. I could never understand the self-doubt you had after the divorce, but I see that you found an interesting way to rebuild your self-esteem.”
“Yeah, it’s doing alright now. Sure, the Shithead has his plaything, but in 20 years will she have a rack like this,” she said cupping her admittedly gorgeous breasts. Sure, they sag a bit, but still full, beautifully shaped, and with wonderfully dark nipples.
“Eh, no? I mean, how am I supposed to answer that, Mom?”
“Well, I guess. But, you know what I mean. I’m not 20 but I think I’ve still got it.”
“Whatever it is, lady, you’ve got it in spades,” I admitted.
“Awww, you think I’m pretty,” she smirked.
“And you’re fishing for compliments,” I countered.
“Yep. A girl’s gotta try. Now, you going to join in?”
“The naked bar cult. The weirdo pervy old lady band.”
“Eh, what? Like wander around the house naked? Together?”
“Hey, no pressure,” she calmly said. “You do you. But, I’m just saying that I plan to be naked. And if you ever wanted to give the nudie thing a try, you wouldn’t find an easier opportunity.”
“Well, I’ll give that all the consideration it deserves,” I quipped.
“Fine, fine. But, I’m telling you — it’ll change your life,” she smiled and got up. She walked into the kitchen and left me with my thoughts. Unfortunately, the foremost thought was that her ass did, in fact, look amazing as she walked away and that I was probably going to burn in hell if I couldn’t get the image out of my head.
So, yeah, quarantine isn’t what I expected.
We’re not getting on each other’s nerves too much, and I’m definitely grateful for a place to land. My lease came due as my job got tentative. And while I can work virtually, it was pretty clear that signing a long-term lease during a pandemic was questionable.
Mom seemed okay with me coming to stay here for a while. I mean, she even seemed glad of it, so that was nice. I admit, I didn’t want to be one of those dudes that goes rushing back to the parental basement at the first sign of responsibility, but I think we all can agree that pandemic and recession are unusual circumstances.
So, we were working out a new sort of life. We set up workspaces at opposite ends of the house. A bit of quiet. A bit of focused space. I ordered the groceries and take out, she did the home cooking. We worked until about 6 PM each day, then there was a quiet happy hour drink, followed by dinner and something on streaming. It was oddly, comfortable. Cozy even. You know, with the one exception — the naked thing.
Okay, she wasn’t naked all the time. It’s true. When we were working, Mom would get dressed fully for the office. In a way, it seemed overreaction. She would put on makeup, business casual at the least, and do her hair. The shoes were flats, but she was never barefoot “at work.” I, pretty regularly, worked in sweats and a tee. Barefoot and with a fair chance of not having bathed in the last 48 hours. Finally, I asked.
“Okay, what gives?”
“Me, given an ounce of encouragement.”
“Seriously, you don’t know that line?”
“Okay, that’s it. Doctor No on television tonight. I think Prime has it.”
“What are you talking about?”
“That line, you uneducated juvenile. It’s from the first James Bond film. I’ve really neglected your education.”
“Okay, fine. We’ll watch whatever you like, but what I was asking was — what’s with the wardrobe?”
“You are always so concerned with what I wear… geez. It’s what I wear to work, what about it?”
“We’re on quarantine. We’re at home,” I said genuinely curious. “There’s no office. And, you know, just a tiny sidenote, you walk around here naked the entire rest of the time. So, why the formality?”
“Aw, are you missing my bare behind?” she teased.
“You know that’s not what I’m saying, you harlot you.”
“Oh, fine. So, work life requires focus. You’re young and haven’t been doing the office place work life as long as I have. I find that if you want to stay on track and not get distracted, then you need to — or at least I need to- treat each deneme bonusu work day as much like it would be if I was in the office or not. Also, there are video conference calls and it would not due to have Deb in Accounting wondering why my tits are out.”
“Yeah, I guess I see that part, certainly.”
“Right. And after you’ve worked for a while you will figure out that there are never enough hours in the day. When you’re young, you can and probably should work a lot of hours. You’re learning and figuring out where you fit. Once you’ve been around a while, the challenge becomes doing everything you should do without burning out,” she said gesturing at her outfit. “This is how I draw a line around the work day.”
I nodded. I think I got it.
“When the day is done the bra-“
“And everything else,” I elaborated.
“Comes off. It just helps to keep me focused and to make a distinction between the work day and home time. You should give it a try.”
“You’re always so obsessed with what I’m wearing,” I whined in a bit of a tease.
She ruffled my hair and said, “You’re a grown assed man. Do what you like, but I can offer advice. I’m a mom. It’s what we do. Now, out of this kitchen/breakroom and back to work you slacker.”
“Yeah, yeah… but to be clear, ‘you are not the boss of me.'”
The next morning when I rolled out of bed, I thought, “Oh, give her the win. Why not?” So, I went to the closet and pulled out my official work clothes. I mean, we don’t wear suits, thank god, but the folks who roll into the main campus regularly tend toward the khaki and golf shirt chic.
I don’t mind the khaki, but I tend more toward the button down. Golf shirts just seem sort of douchey to me. Anyway, I laid out the outfit, hit the shower, and managed to not trip over myself as I brushed my teeth and buckled on the J. Crews. I slipped into my real grownup shoes, and headed back into my bathroom to finish up with the teeth. That sorted, I buttoned up the button down and thought, “What the hell” as I grabbed a tie and fancied things up a bit more. I figured I’d play it all for a bit of a joke.
As I grabbed a cup of coffee in the kitchen, Mom looked up from her yogurt and chuckled. “Nice. You decided on just the tie, no top hat or tails?”
“Well, you know, it’s not that formal a work environment here at Debauched Nudist, Inc.”
“You never know. Still, I appreciate the effort. I’d hate for you to bring down the tone of the joint.”
“That’s for after Five,” I replied.
Okay, I admit it. I don’t want to, but I kind of have to. She was right. I mean, about the work wardrobe. I was actually much more focused right through the day. It was surprising.
I had been chipping away at a project for a while and it never seemed to move forward. Then today, I just dropped right into a Flow state. I put in six solid hours before I knew it had happened. When I realized that my bladder was about to burst, it hit me that this ‘dress for work’ thing was pretty smart. It took me out of the distracted half-assery that I’d been managing and right into production mode. It helped tremendously. Damn. She’s totally going to gloat.
I wrapped up the last of this draft and forwarded it to the team for editing. I felt like I’d really done some good today. That was remarkable. Quarantine had been fine — I like Mom and I’m not super extroverted- but I’d been missing out on feeling like I was getting something done at work. I’d given up my lease and in part that was because I knew that my job was hanging by a thread. Feeling like I’d contributed meaningfully today really eased a bit of tension.
I chugged through the rest of the afternoon, and called it quits. I stood up and walked down the hall to Mom’s office. I figured I should thank her for the tip and take the teasing that it would inevitably draw. As I got near her office- the guest room- door I could hear that she was talking to someone. I didn’t want to interrupt but it sounded casual. I gently tapped the door.
“Oh, hon- c’mon in, it’s just Shari,” she called out.
I eased the door open, and said “Hi Shar-“
On my mother’s giant workstation monitor was Shari, her apparently better than I knew friend. It wasn’t a phone call. It was a Zoom chat. And Shari was topless. Fuck.
Shari is a woman of a certain age. Comfortably middle aged, I suppose. Round and rambunctious. Endlessly cheerful. Her hair is defiantly gray and generally worn in a short spikey do. Her makeup is what I’d probably call 80s outrageous. As of now, I know that she has wonderfully large breasts that show their age, but are capped with barbell piercings through each nipple as well as an intricate tattoo design encircling them– some sort of tribal thing. Had not anticipated any of that.
“Hey, Babe! So nice to see you. Your Mom says the tits are out of the bag and all.”
“Uh, hi Shari. Uh… yeah, I suppose you could say that,” I sort of scratched my five o’clock shadow. “Casual Friday at your job?”
She took a beat, then cackled. Mom chuckled a bit as well.
“Oh, baby doll, every day is casual day around here. Though you’re all tied up and tied down in that outfit. Here I was hoping to catch a peek of a handsome young man with his business casually out,” she teased.