A few years back, we had some really bad landlords.
I don’t mean bad in the sense that they were violent drug dealers or similar (although I suppose anything is possible), I mean bad in the sense that they were very distrusting, wouldn’t fix anything, and kept turning up unannounced and letting themselves into our house (which is technically illegal in New Zealand). They were an older couple, and telling them that they really couldn’t just walk into a house that they’d tenanted only seemed to make them very suspicious of what we might be doing there. There was one day that I came home early from work, and caught my (male) landlord walking through the front door. He made up some nonsense excuse about coming to fix the skylight (which had been broken for two years, and which did not require him to access the interior of the house). I’d always assumed he’d actually just come by to sniff my panties at a time that he assumed I’d be out. Another day I came home to find that for no apparent reason they’d ripped out all the lilies that I’d planted in the garden. Yet another time, I was walking (naked) from the shower to the bedroom and found them standing in our backyard peering in through the window. I lived there for four years, and the whole time they called me Tracey… My name is not Tracey.
However, in the days just before we finally moved out, I recall joking with our (single, female, divorcee) neighbour that I’d finally be able to walk around the house naked with impunity. And she laughed and replied “Not that you’d really do that!”… And I just looked at her quizzically and changed the subject. Because doesn’t everybody walk around their house naked? Especially when you figure there’s no one around to see you. I thought it was peculiar that she’d find such behaviour peculiar.
I was reminded of that conversation tonight as I closed the curtains in our bedroom. It’s hot at the moment, and I’m just in my underwear. But I was also in full view of the street and noticed a neighbour walking their dog in the twilight… Meh. So what if they see me in my underwear? It’s no worse than a swimsuit really. And I’m old enough now that people are more likely to scream and run rather than watch with bemused anticipation. Their fault for looking.
Perhaps this is a show-person thing again. I did a lot of stage performance when I was younger. I dressed and undressed in front of a multitude of strangers. It’s a functional action when you have a quick change, and there’s nothing even remotely sexy about it. Therefore I’m fairly indifferent to being disrobed or changing clothes in mixed company… unless of course I get surprised by people peering in the window intentionally. That’s a bit creepy.
Of course, not everybody feels that way though. Some people obviously find the momentary glimpse of skin to be very sexy indeed… or else they wouldn’t go creeping in the first place. And some people really don’t walk around their house naked. Perhaps because the neighbours might see, and perhaps just because it makes them feel uncomfortable. It must be hot on a day like this though.
It does still strike me as peculiar too – seeing non-sexual behaviours as inherently sexual. There’s a lot more to explore in the subject than I have time for on this muggy evening, but I will come back to this one day soon.
As for now… cool shower, I reckon.
P.S. Thanks to Gil Elvgren for the lovely lady. Still one of my favourite artists ever.