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GROWING OLD UNGRACEFULLY: Breaking the Nudity Barrier

My selfie birthday present this year was modeling nude for a drawing class. I still can’t decide why I wanted to do it. Defiance? (Who exposes all at 77? —they told me I was their oldest model ever.) Vulnerability? (Nothing to hide, nothing to be ashamed of.) Playfulness? (Keeping my silly streak alive). Whatever, it was fun, and doubly so because I convinced Louisa to join me for the evening. She now holds the record as their oldest female model, at 68.

I broke the nudity barrier when I was 19 and an engineering student at the University of London. I’d signed on for a two-month summer student international exchange program. My destination country was assigned, not chosen, and I was thrilled to be going to Finland, especially as it involved a cruise from London to Helsinki through the Baltic Sea on a small Soviet passenger boat.

And he’s hardly changed at all!
And he’s hardly changed at all!

My host engineer in the Finnish Ministry of Works in Mikkeli, Eero Tiensuu, invited me to spend my first weekend there at his family’s lakeside summer home. After dinner in the long summer twilight, he announced we’d be going to the sauna. I said I’d get my bathing suit. “No need for that,” he said, laughing. “This is Finland!”

We—mom, dad, three sons ranging from 6 to 12, a 14-year-old daughter, and one very nervous Brit—trooped down to the lake where the pine sauna sat at the water’s edge. I tried to act cool as everyone stripped off in the little anteroom before going into the sauna proper. For this kid at that age in that era, we’re talking about a quantum leap. “Problem?” asked Mr. Tiensuu. “No, I’m fine,” I stammered as I clambered awkwardly out of my clothes. Inside, I sat on a bench with the boys facing mom, dad and daughter, trying not to look. Or at least trying to make it appear like I wasn’t looking. Until then, nudity and sex were practically one and the same thing for me.

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Source: Lost Coast Post

Original publication 6 October 2019

Posted on NatCorn 3 weeks ago

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