When my husband and I vacationed in Jamaica recently, we took a side trip. We got ourselves a day pass to a different kind of resort. A nude resort.
I didn't promise my husband I would go through with it. "When we get there, I may chicken out," I warned. And he was okay with leaving that option open.
But I was curious. Not especially curious about everyone else. Curious about ME. Curious about how I would feel about completely revealing my body.
I did it. I revealed my body. I discovered my body. And I discovered a few interesting ideas.
1. The friends we vacationed with did not come with us to the nude resort. I discovered that this was an advantage. I don't think I could have done it with my friends there. Anonymity can be emboldening. And that itself is interesting. I can walk around naked in front of strangers but not in front of my best friends. Why is that?
2. Private acts should still be private. Most of the people at the resort were just having fun and feeling free. I enjoyed watching people swim, sunbathe, stroll the beach, laugh and play -- wearing nothing but sunscreen. But there were a couple of couples who indulged in public sex. I found that yucky. Clothes may be optional. Discretion is not.
3. Although I didn't find it too difficult to walk around naked, I found it incredibly difficult to speak to anyone. It was one thing for people to see me. It was as if I were in some out-of-body experience and I felt almost invisible. But it was too concrete somehow to have a conversation. I suddenly lost my cloak of invisibility, and became a real naked person. I wasn't embarrassed until I spoke.
4. My husband didn't have that issue. From the first moment, he was completely relaxed and happy. It was awesome how natural he is au naturel. He is literally comfortable in his own skin. And comfortable with mine too. I was delighted to find that he was really proud of my 60-plus body. How sweet is that?
5. There is a great benefit in age. At 64, I did not feel that my body was in competition with anyone else. There was an abundance of beautiful young women there. What did that matter to me? There's an exhilarating freedom to finally relinquishing the constant comparison. Who knew that nakedness and old age were so compatible?
6. Keep your sense of humor. I remembered mine in the ladies' room. For much of the first several hours I didn't move too far from my lounge chair on the beach. But sooner or later we all have to use the bathroom. It was my first long walk -- I think the ladies' room was about 2.4 miles from my beach chair. But here's the fascinating part. You know how there is always a long line for the ladies' bathroom but none for the men's room? Well, I always thought it was because women wear a lot more clothes, and have to get more undressed to pee than men have to. But guess what? There was still a line to use the ladies' room and none for the men's. And we women didn't have to undress at all. And yet we still had a wait. So there goes that theory.
7. Most important: BODIES ARE LOVELY. There were so many kinds. Sometimes I've thought, "You've seen one body, you've seen them all." So not true. There were big bodies and little bodies. Dark bodies and pale bodies. Small breasts and pendulous breasts. There were flat tummies and stretch marks. Poochy abdomens and six-pack abs. There were floppy penises and perky penises. Wrinkly scrotums. Post-childbirth vaginas. There were wide hips and bony butts. There was plastic surgery. There was supple youth and there was bent old age. There were scars.
And the more I looked, the more I loved them all.
Read more from Nancy on her blog, "Not Quite Old."