Naked In Public: The French Edition

It’s been awhile since I’ve flashed anyone, so yesterday I stripped in the middle of the supermarket. I kid. For now, I don’t doubt that I will do that by accident or on purpose at some point in my life.

Currently I’m in Quebec on a six week long immersion program to learn French. The phrase “Comment dit-on?” (How do you say?) is being passed around quite a bit.Especially the other day when I went on a seventeen kilometer long hike up into the mountains. Nothing like an excessive amount of exercise to make you forget your name let alone words in another language. 

Anyway, so there I am slowly descending down a cliff, hopping from giant boulder to giant boulder, the sun blazing overhead and I’m me, which means that I am completely coated in sweat. If someone had laid down some vinyl, I would have turned it into my personal slip and slide. 

Afterwards the group I was with was given the opportunity to change but not shower. Being the resourceful and shameless person I am, I decided to take an airplane shower. In the middle of the crowded park bathroom. To give the other women a heads up I shouted “Comment dit-on it’s about to get gross?” and started to take off all of my clothes while splashing myself so vigorously with water that my pants were soaked after. 

Huzzah, I’m back.

Naked in Public: The Nature Edition

Tis the season for stand up paddleboarding, a time when Canadians shuck off their parkas, then pack up and head to the local provincial park to balance on flat pieces of fibre glass. Paddling my way down a river is one of my favourite ways to pass a late spring morning. The fact that this sport is the sexy, new activity that every celebrity is trying, of course adds to my enjoyment.

(Photo Credit : celebuzz.com)

Of course I look exactly like this while paddling on the river. Except that I’m not in Hawaii. Or that tall. And I don’t own cute bathing suits. Ok this looks nothing like me paddleboarding. (Photo Credit : celebuzz.com)

Tragically it does not add to my canine companion’s enjoyment of the activity. Although I would counter that if Maddie was given a paddle, her love of the sport would increase exponentially. Yesterday found me peacefully making my way up the river, Maddie perched on the nose of my board, staring balefully at me, her doggy eyes questioning when we would head back. On a separate piece of fibreglass paddled my friend Natalie*. 

There is one thing that you need to know about Natalie; she is the most organized person on the face of the planet. On this day my friend had packed; a towel for the beach, dry clothes in case she became sweaty or fell in and sunscreen even though she applied a coating to her entire person before venturing out of the house. By contrast I brought; Maddie, a doggy lifejacket and the slightly off colour dog towel to dry Maddie off afterward.  I have no doubt that if I had chosen to perch Maddie on Natalie’s board, the public nudity would never have occurred. In life, some people are destined to make good decisions while the rest of us get to flounder about and watch. I really wish I didn’t watch so often.

So there Maddie and I are, paddling along. Well, I was paddling and Maddie was trying to telepathically communicate how much she hates paddleboarding, when the little dog shifts, loses her balance and falls in the river. The little King Charles Cavalier can swim, however dogs don’t come with handles whereas lifejackets do, thus she was wearing hers. Grabbing hold of the polyester handhold, I removed her squirming form from the water and placed the dog gently back on the nose of the board. 

As you can see, Maddie loves water. (Photo Credit: northofthegrid.com)

As you can see, Maddie loves water. (Photo Credit: northofthegrid.com)

There Maddie sat, miserable and now sopping. However it was a warm day, so I hoped she would dry quickly. Glancing down a couple minutes later, I realized her little doggy haunches were shaking violently. The only thing I had with me on the board was the now soaked dog towel. A brighter person like Natalie might have stowed such an item on the back of the board, where there was little danger of contact with sopping wet water dogs.

So I did what any sane, animal loving person would do. In the middle of the river I started to strip. Off came my sweater. I wrapped it around Maddie’s tiny back, the sleeves I secured around her stick thin legs. She continued to shiver. 

I had no choice. “Don’t look back” I cried to Natalie, not so much for my dignity but to save my friend from the shock of seeing my doughy, pasty, white torso on the serene river as I removed my shirt. “I wasn’t going to” was her reply. In Natalie’s world stripping to save animals from hypothermia is never a possibility because precautions like hot water bottles and extra, dry blankets would have been packed in water-tight Ziploc bags.

Standing on the bright yellow board in my bra, my chalk coloured, winter skin almost fluorescent in the sunlight, I contemplated whether I could reasonably remove my pants to warm the poor, still shivering creature in front of me. I concluded that while the lifejacket would cover my nude mid section, I couldn’t expose the world to my discounted, moss green, lacy underwear which makes it appear as though my butt is growing lichens. Natalie and I continued to paddle for a bit, with Natalie shielding her eyes from the reflection of the sun flashing off my pure white arms. 

I don't bear any resemblance to Taylor Swift but my backend looks  exactly like this in my discounted underpants. (Photo Credit : www.mv.com)

I don’t bear any resemblance to Taylor Swift but my backend looks exactly like this in my discounted underpants. (Photo Credit : http://www.mv.com)

Arriving back at the dock with a dog is always a bit of a scene to begin with. Maddie dries herself by running back and forth and then stopping intermittently to give her little body a vigorous shake. Having just watched her shiver violently for almost an hour, I didn’t want to deprive her of this joy so I neglected to put her lead back on. So I dock, then off goes Maddie, freed from her floating fibre glass prison, my damp shirts trailing behind her, leaving me to attempt to help dock the paddleboard with a young ranger, my pasty muffin tops bulging out of the lifejacket as I scrunched myself up and scrambled on to the dock.

“I’m going to need some private naked time in your storage shed.” I said to the park ranger as I called Maddie out from behind the wall of lifejackets and oars.Trying to be discrete, despite the situation, I grabbed my shirt from where it had fallen on the dock and marched towards the open shed, with Maddie’s lead in the other hand. Natalie stood nearby, no doubt searching the crowd for a new friend.

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of people who are detail oriented and thorough enough to carry out a hit without being caught or suspected in response to having their name published on the internet.

My Painful, Stiff, Beaverless Death -Part Two

Surprise of all surprises I did not die. Although my muscles are still so tight that my toe touch in yoga has become a “reach just past your hips” touch. I’ve also developed the ungainly habit of rubbing my inner thighs in public. This wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t pair it with groaning “Oh God that’s good” while I massage my sore legs.

After hearing about all the fun I had cross country skiing with Natalie*, my friend Sula* decided she wanted to try the sport. Even after I showed her my almost death note, she kept insisting that it sounded like a good time. Seeing as Sula thinks that weekends spent in shacks without running water and indoor plumbing are a “getaway”,  it was unlikely I could convince her otherwise.

Away we went at eight thirty in the morning. Sula insists on arriving a minimum of thirty minutes early to any destination, so we pulled into the park before it opened. Rather than waiting thirty minutes for the rental shop staff to appear, we decided to embark on a five kilometer hike through the snow to add to our day of excessive physical activity.

When we returned, the chalet had opened, so we suited ourselves up and away we went.  Once again I did two trails. And once again it was exhausting and long. At one point the trail seemed so endless that I laid down in the snow and waited to freeze to death. Unfortunately this proved to be a slow way to go, even slower than my speed of skiing, so I sat up and continued on. At last Sula’s truck came into view and the torture was over.

With all three of my layers sopping wet and squishing with every step, I made my way toward the rental hut. Having marinated in my own juices on the car ride home with Natalie last time, I came prepared with dry clothes to change into for the ride back. What I had not bargained on was how tired I would feel and my lack of desire to walk the two hundred feet to the change room after skiing.

Out of the corner of her eye, while unlacing her boots Sula thought “I think Unwashed is changing in the middle of the rental shop”. A flash of my fleshy, pasty midriff confirmed this a moment later. Luckily I had just pulled on my clean, dry-fit shirt when a bus full of tourists burst into the shop.

The point of this post was to say I am fine, I am still probably coated in sweat and other disgusting things and I have kept up my habit of giving unsolicited shows of nudity. Essentially all is well in the Unwashed world.

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of those who chose not to throw society’s shackles to the wind and eat me alive on the cross country ski trail for energy giving sustenance.