Monday, 20 May 2013

Going Naked



Last week, I was having a cup of coffee with a friend of mine. She was at the end of her tether. How come? I asked. Well, she has a French boyfriend, you see. Everything is going well but there is something bothering her: he likes to wander stark naked in their apartment. All the time. She is not very comfortable with this. And the day before, he even went on the balcony -without his clothes on- to water the plants. When she confronted him, he simply didn't understand what the big deal was. To him, being naked in his own flat is completely natural. And the balcony is part of the flat. Of course it is.

I listened politely and didn't laugh. She was very worried. This is not good behaviour, you see. Memories started coming back to me. My neighbour, in Saint Tropez, spends the whole summer without any clothes on and we got so used to it that we were having whole conversations with her (we were fully dressed, for the record). I have to admit that I don't notice her any more. My grandfather, who still has sharp eyes despite nearing 90, pointed out that she has new breast implants, and he doesn't like them. Something is wrong with the shape, apparently.


I hate to generalise but, in France, being naked is less big of a deal. Young kids routinely go naked on the beach and nobody bats an eyelid. In short, I tried to reassure my friend and explain to her that it didn't really matter. She was a bit more upbeat in the end. She was convinced that this was nothing more than a cultural difference. A job well done, I thought. I was very proud of myself. Silly old me.

I went to their flat yesterday to bring back a forgotten scarf. I knocked at the door, and was greeted by the said boyfriend. Stark naked of course. I kid you not. Well, I have to admit that I almost had a heart attack. I dropped the scarf on the floor and couldn't get myself to get it back because that would have made my face even closer to you-know-what. I made my excuses and left as far as I could. I can't believe that I was so patronising with my American friend. He does indeed take it to a whole new level. This whole nudity thing is a bit too much, even for me. I couldn't make small talks as if he wasn't naked. I just couldn't. It was beyond me, don't ask me why. Maybe I am getting older.

Or maybe I am more British than I thought. It simply was too much for me. It reminded me of a neighbour who used to put the rubbish out for collection in his underpants (see here). Not nice. I wasn't expecting to see this. Don't get me wrong, he is very good-looking and everything, but I can't handle it. Note to myself: don't defend French men any more. Ever.

23 comments:

  1. I agree. I'd have the same reaction. I could never be a nudist!

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  2. Famous American Benjamin Franklin was the same when he was in France as well. His landlady/lady friend had to warn him when she was bringing up a guest. He also flaunted himself in front windows.

    I know this because I was once married to a man who went around in his underpants (which sagged) even when it rained when he would run out the front door to enjoy the weather. I just thought that was gross, but he said a man could do what he liked in his own palace (we lived in a humble
    bungalow). I really think many men may be babies on the beach forever.

    In your case I couldn't have picked the scarf up, but I would have kept my eyes on his eyes, trying to be polite. I don't even look at naked men in movies. I change the channel.

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  3. Ah, this brings to mind the case that some busybody brought against a soul here in the Commonwealth who paraded in his HOUSE naked. She, who was a Peeping Teresa, complained that she was offended. Really!

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  4. That's fine if he wants to walk around naked in his own apartment, but if his significant other has complaints any considerate person would work out a compromise. As for answering the door that way, that's plain rude because he's not considering how the person on the other side of the door would take it. He sounds a bit self-centered to me.

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  5. We call that exhibitionism. I would have had the very same reaction that you did and would have fled without picking up the scarf. In my opinion, it's one thing to parade around naked inside, it's quite another to answer the door that way. I think he has a problem.

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  6. I like to think I'm broad minded but I would balk at a naked man answering the door in London. Not perhaps quite so much in San Tropez, it's all a matter of what is appropriate don't you think? I suppose that going through my mind is that anyone who wants to go naked in the miserable cold grey damp weather here in London, with all its dust and dirt, might actually be some kind of a pervert of another type.... :D I mean who would want to go naked in the British weather?

    Yes, something very strange actually about this man.....French or not, I don't think it makes any difference..... in this case

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  7. Carolina HeartStrings20 May 2013 at 16:27

    Oh this is so funny. As a child the first nudity I saw was in France. My very British mother and staunch Italian American father were not at all offended by me seeing this. But I KNOW had it been in America or England they would have had a fit!

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  8. Don't worry, I don't think you're becoming more British (or getting older!). The "I open the door naked" thing is definitely too much, it's quite disturbing! I would have fled! Did you mention this to your American friend?

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  9. Metropolitan Mum21 May 2013 at 13:44

    Hilarious. You sure he isn't partly German? They do like the whole free body culture thing... :)

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  10. Goodness I'm not surprised you nearly fainted. Answering the door naked is being an exhibitionist. Sounds like your friend will either have to like his exhibitionist nature or lump it, or find someone else. I don't think he's like to compromise.

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  11. I wouldn't like to be in her shoes, I must admit. She has some serious decisions to make!

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  12. Well, to be fair I had no time for small talks...:-) I thought he was just French, but I might be wrong. Who knows?

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  13. I haven't mentioned it to her and I don't think that I will any time soon. I need to figure out what to do. My friends don't read my blog, I hope it will stay this way!

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  14. What can I say? In France and nowhere else, eh? Maybe it only works in France? Ir certainly didn't do it for me in London!!!

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  15. I think that you are right. I can't believe I thought it was only a cultural difference. I was clearly wrong. He does have a problem.

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  16. I think so too. I am still having visions of a naked man. Not nice.

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  17. I must admit that I haven't told her yet. I am not sure that I should. And I agree, he does have a problem, right?

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  18. i agree with this. I think that I am broad-minded, but it was simply too much. I hope that she will dump him.

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  19. Why was she looking? Some people really need to get a life!

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  20. I am never going back again. What is it with men flaunting themselves? I can't believe I had to see this. Honestly, what went into him?

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  21. Well, if we had been on a beach, maybe I could have understood. But this was in the middle of London. I can't believe it!

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  22. It seems to me that once in London, one should do as Londoners do - or don't in this case. Perhaps he's looking for a compliment or comment. You should have said, "It looks like a penis, only smaller."

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  23. I wish I had. I was so shocked that I couldn't say anything.

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