I am not comfortable with group nudity. I’ve managed to change clothes discreetly in locker rooms and dorm rooms, even while those all around me were letting it all hang out. I have never gone to a nude beach or a nude hot tub party. Sorry, that’s just not me.
But there was one time when I did end up nude in a group, and somewhere there is a picture of it. I don’t have it, and even if I did, I wouldn’t post it here.
It was March 1976, spring break of my second year of law school at Davis. Somebody knew someone who knew a guy who had a place in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and they offered it to my friend Bonnie. She asked me to come along, and then we invited two guys we liked, Ron and Doug. She and I both had a crush on Ron, but I was even more interested in Doug. This seemed like it was going to be a hot vacation, in more ways than one. Then Doug asked if another friend of his from LA, Mike, could come too. There was plenty of room, and Bonnie said “sure.”
Ron and I drove together from Davis to San Diego, then took a bus across the border to Tijuana where we got a flight to Puerto Vallarta. Flights within Mexico were much cheaper than international flights, which meant we saved a lot of money that way. Bonnie and Doug left Davis earlier, maybe visited family first, and I’m not sure what route they took. In any event, the four of us law students arrived on the same day, and Mike from LA got there a day or so later.
Our villa was spectacular, at the top of a steep hill, requiring a funicular ride to go up and down. We had a fabulous week there, going to the beach, eating amazing food, dancing in the discos at night, and checking out the sights. We saw the hotel where Night of the Iguana had been filmed (built for the movie to look intentionally run-down), on a cliff just south of town. The locals had lots of great stories about Liz Taylor and Richard Burton when they were there for the filming and afterwards.
Yes, but what about the nudity? you’re saying. Okay, I’m getting there.
The villa’s master bathroom had an enormous circular bathtub/shower in the middle of the room. We would take turns showering there when we came back from the beach, because it was much nicer than the conventional showers in the other bathrooms. One afternoon, Bonnie and I were taking a shower together, I’m not sure why, it just worked out that way. Then the three guys decided to take off their clothes and get in with us so that we could take a group picture. Possibly we were all in a state of altered consciousness at the time. Of course the picture was taken with a camera, and the film had to be developed after we got back to Davis. I remember seeing the picture. Bonnie had managed to position herself artfully so that one arm was in front of her breasts and the other in front of her crotch, which was all the more amazing because she was the one who set the timer on the camera and then raced back into the tub for the shot. The rest of us were all just standing facing the camera with everything showing.
Supposedly all copies of the print, as well as the negative, were destroyed, but I doubt that the people who promised to do it actually did. Somewhere out there that picture exists, but it will probably only turn up if I run for office!
Song credit: Blame It On Mexico was a 1981 hit for country singer George Strait.
The salient lyrics are:
Blame it on Mexico if you need a reason
Say too much guitar music, tequila, salt and lime. . . .
Loved the story, Suzy, especially because the nudity was so relatively unplanned and spontaneous. Mexico, indeed! Plus, I was expecting, knowing your sun worshiping days of yore, that it might have taken place outdoors in the quest for the perfect (i.e., no tan lines) tan.
Bonnie’s successful adventure in last minute modesty is very funny and nicely told. It also reminded me of just how frantic the taking of timer selfies was back then, as was the case as well with the picture of my roomies that I have posted — hairy, but fully clothed.
And your conclusion was great, and probably absolutely right as to the risks were you to run for office. But did you ever get oddly friendly smiles from the guy behind the photo counter of the drug store in Davis?
I was never a fan of the no-tan-lines tan, unrelated to modesty, just because I found it more satisfying to see the contrast between my tanned and untanned skin.
I think the photo developing booths in Davis got plenty of pics that were racier than mine. But maybe some guy processing photos got a kick out of it – or some woman, looking at the three fully frontal, very attractive guys.
Sounds like a great vacation, Suzy…with or without clothing. I love the Liz and Dick reference (we have it on our DVR right now; I’ve never seen it, but remember that it was filmed when they were really in love). Another instance where you and I, as similar as we are in so many ways, totally diverge.
How did you feel when those cute guys showed up, unexpectedly, in your generously-sized bathtub? Old-fashioned selfies are pesky things, but I doubt this will ever emerge again. Do you have political ambitions? We can use all the good women we can find (and hooray for your sister)!
It WAS a great vacation, I’m thinking about writing to the other people involved to see what they remember. You should definitely watch Night of the Iguana if you have it on your DVR! It is not uplifting, very Tennessee Williams, so be prepared for that. Liz isn’t actually in it, she was just there to keep Dick company, they had just left their spouses for each other.
Oddly, I think I was fine with the guys joining us in the tub, and I obviously agreed to the photo. That’s why I suspect there must have been drugs involved! And no, the political ambitions I had in the ’70s are long gone.
I’m not surprised that you were okay with this; there is a big difference between public and private group nudity and, as you acknowledge, mind-altering substances were no doubt involved. There is also something about a big, cool shower that makes people want to share. We fondly remember an outdoor shower in the Bahamas that saw more than its share of group bathing (and incriminating photos).
John, your wisdom never ceases to amaze me. Your comment about public and private group nudity makes a lot of sense. Thanks for always having the right thing to say!
Yes, (other John); excellent point about the distinction between public and private nudity — and a lot of other behavior for that matter. But I have to disagree with you about cool showers. Give me a hot shower or give me death.
There’s lots to talk about in yet another elegant yet wild account. Great intro and 2nd graph to introduce your thesis and carry us into the narrative with the tease of a photo once taken and never seen again until…
Then the universal dilemma of crush vs interesting guy. Profound yet casual. Woo hoo. I’m in agreement, satisfying tan lines are fascinating! In seventh grade I had a terrific crush on blue-eyed, dirty blond Linda who showed me how her striped bathing suit projected a striped tan.
Finally, I congratulate you on your civic spirit in hoping that you might have brightened the day of the guy or gal processing the photos.
It’s a great story. I’d love to hear it read aloud. I bet it would sound great, too.
Thanks for your comments, Charlie. I appreciate that you even commented on the comments. 🙂 I also like the phrase “elegant yet wild” and will aspire to live up to it in the future!
Youth isn’t always wasted on the young! Sounds like a great time was had by all. (Now I’m wondering about some pictures of me that my husband “can’t remember” where he chose to hide from prying eyes… Oh, well.) Enjoyed reading about this adventure in the sun!
Risa, thanks for reading. I”m glad you enjoyed my story, it was fun to retrieve the memories, which came back gradually as I was writing it.
Such a fun and finely crafted story, Suzy, and your personality shines bright throughout! Love it!!