tagExhibitionist & VoyeurRoommate's Revenge

Roommate's Revenge


My roommate's a nudist.

Sounds weird, doesn't it? Well, it is. I've learned to live with it, and I love her to death, but the fact is, it's a pretty unusual characteristic to find in a roommate. And if I'm honest, it's made my own way of looking at things a bit more unusual, too.

We met through mutual friends of mutual friends. I mention that only to show you there was a bit of an information chain to go through between me and her, and somewhere along the way the fact that she had a predilection for nudity got missed out.

Anyway, Erin had been living at her sister's apartment but the sister was leaving town, leaving the country in fact for a new job overseas. Erin was working at a café and would not have been able to keep up the rent on her sister's place even if she got someone else in. So, she needed to move out, and needed somewhere to live.

And what do you know, I had the opposite problem. I had no roommate, my last one had completely flaked out leaving a lot of unpaid bills. I was in danger of losing my apartment if I didn't get a new, reliable roommate fast.

Word got around, as it often does, and I ended up being introduced to Erin.

We met for coffee, twice in fact, and I conducted a bit of an informal roommate interview, as well as letting her know more about me. I sounded her out and she seemed, well, great actually, although she also seemed a little nervous when I was asking her more direct questions. I didn't think anything of it though – I mean, who likes being put on the spot like that? Anyway she didn't do drugs, didn't really party, liked a quiet home life, had a steady job, could make what we needed in rent easily enough, and didn't confess to any unsanitary habits. About the most unusual thing I could say about her was that she was a vegan and in this day and age that's hardly that unusual. She certainly intimated she would have no problem living with an unreconstructed carnivore like me, so I didn't worry too much about it.

And before you say it, no I didn't think to ask "do you have a compulsion to remove your clothes in all domestic situations?" Believe me, I will be from now on! But funnily enough it didn't occur to me at the time.

So I welcomed Erin into my apartment and told her she could move in any time she liked, which she was very happy about.

We'd been living together a few weeks, and getting along famously. Although she wasn't a party girl Erin was no shrinking violet either – she laughed loudly at all my favourite sitcoms, danced around the apartment to songs we both loved, cooked food that I had to admit was much more appetising than anything I could put together, despite the absence of either meat or dairy, and was genuinely a blessing as far as roommates were concerned. She was younger than me – 19, where I was 23, but that didn't matter much

The only thing I had noticed is that she often seemed, well, antsy... uncomfortable and fidgety, especially when she was just sitting around on the sofa. She also seemed to go to bed at early hours, which struck me as unusual, given that she was also a pretty late riser. These weren't things which worried me – but I notice stuff like this in people, and I wondered what if anything might be behind it.

Well, I was soon to get my answer.

One morning, over breakfast, Erin sat down opposite me, sporting a serious look.

"What's up?" I asked when I saw her face.

"Um," she said. "Do... do you know what a nudist is?"

Images flashed in my head – 1960s colonies where everyone played volleyball naked in blurry films called things like "Health and Good Living". Old people in hot tubs. Bodypainted hippies at Woodstock.

"Uh, I think so," I said.

Erin smiled, relieved. "Oh good," she said. "That'll save a lot of time. I need to tell you something."

I had begun to imagine what that was with an uneasy feeling, so it wasn't a total surprise when Erin said; "I'm a nudist."

"My whole family are," she explained. "That was why I was living with Chrissie. It was easier than trying to live with someone else who wasn't... the same. I guess it's just what I'm used to, growing up that way but, well, I don't really feel comfortable being clothed at home.

"I wasn't going to say anything," she continued. "I really needed a room and I know that people are... funny about things like that so I was just going to keep it to myself. I figured it wasn't really a long-term problem because I'd eventually find a place of my own or something. But these last few weeks I have really realised I love being your roommate and I love this apartment and I would like – if it's ok with your plans – to stay on here as long as I can."

Despite everything, I was touched. Erin was lovely – and truth be told I was as glad to have her here as she was to be here. I knew from bitter experience that a good roomie is rarer than unicorn poop in this crazy world, and I didn't relish the thought of trading Erin for somebody I got on with a whole lot less. But still, this was a new development...

"I'm loving living with you too," I responded. "But, what are you saying?"

"Well," Erin continued, "basically what I'm saying is... I want to be comfortable, living here. And for me, being comfortable means not wearing clothes."

I think my face must have been a picture then.

"Only if it's okay with you!" Erin exclaimed hurriedly. "That's why I'm having this conversation. I wanted to make sure it was ok! But, well, the fact is, I've been trying to get by with keeping my clothes on since I moved in here and it's just not really working out for me."

I thought about the strange behaviour I had noticed in Erin since she moved in – the antsy-ness, the fact she couldn't relax – and the long periods in bed (where I presume she had been sleeping in the nude). I guess this really was having an effect on her.

"So let me get this straight," I said, "you're asking me if I mind having a roommate who doesn't wear any clothes in the apartment."

Erin nodded, looking nervous.

Well, how could I respond?

My first thought was, of course I mind! I had particular ideas of how I wanted my home life to be, and they didn't involve a naked person. I'm no prude in my personal life, but to me, private parts are private. Sure, you get changed in front of friends, you shower in the locker room at the gym – but that's different. Erin was talking about being constantly naked, and in a place where casual nudity was not something one expected. Was I really going to live in a situation where at any moment I could look over at my roommate and see her exposed breasts, her bare butt... her, um, hoo-hah? That, to me, wasn't a "normal" living arrangement, and I don't think the fact it made me uncomfortable made me a bad person.

But, on the other hand... this aside, Erin was a great roommate. I adored her general attitude, her courteousness, her selflessness. She was funny, fun, and very easy to live with. And I was already thinking of her not just as a roomie, but a friend.

It was obvious this was important to her, and I realised it had taken a great deal of courage to bring it up in the knowledge that it might have an adverse effect on our living relationship.

And, anyway, who was I really to insist that others in the world live by the same standard I do? Was the fact that I consider some areas of the body to be better kept for your lover eyes only - and your gynaecologist's - really a reason to force Erin to live in a way that, to her, seemed unnatural? It wasn't as though she was asking me to walk around naked as well, all she was doing was giving me some warning that she wanted to. Clearly, to her, nudity was not the big deal it was to me, and I still found that to be an idea that seemed out of step with society at large – but in her own home, should Erin not be free to follow her own conventions?

In the end, despite my huge reservations, I couldn't think of a good reason to object. Sure, I could put my foot down, play the whole "it's my apartment young lady, and here we wear clothes" card – but that wasn't really me. I've always been easygoing, and tried to be tolerant and understanding of others, and think of them before myself. And if my otherwise great roommate had this one imperfection, well, the lesson there for me was that there is no such thing as the perfect roommate, so you might as well settle for the one whose flaws you can live with. And I figured nudity was something I could live with.

Erin was, of course, delighted to have my blessing. That night, when I returned home from work, I walked into our kitchen and there she was, buck naked, cooking dinner for the both of us. She blushed a little when I walked in, and to be honest, so did I! It was one thing to talk about and imagine living with a naked girl, it was quite another to have the reality there in front of me. I think I spent most of that evening avoiding actually looking at her, and she probably picked up on that, causing her to be a little over-self-conscious and creating some awkwardness between us. But that only lasted a few days and then went away.

Let me be clear, I've never completely 'got used to' Erin's nakedness. Some people might but for me, the fact that I am expecting it now doesn't stop it from being a little weird to me that my roommate is constantly nude around our apartment and that she acts like this is completely normal behaviour for a person to be indulging in. I'm still thinking "naked girl, naked girl" whenever I see her, and I still find myself trying to maintain eye contact and avoid staring at her nipples, or the smoothly-shaven spot between her legs. But, her being nude is something that I have come to accept. It's kind of like how you accept that your apartment has a window 'there', or the bathroom 'there' – my apartment has a naked person in it. That's all it is.

Of course, it definitely helps that Erin is, well, she's pretty easy on the eyes. I don't mean I'm attracted to her, heavens no, but if you gave me the choice between living with a slender, petite, tanned 19-year-old girl who was constantly naked and, say, an overweight middle-aged woman with the same habits, I would choose Erin every time. I'm no body-fascist but it's a fact that some people look better without their clothes than others, and fortunately for me Erin's body was never going to offend my eyes.

But this isn't the story of "how I got a nudist roommate and learned to live with her funny ways". That wouldn't be a very interesting story, given that I have pretty much told it already. No, this is the story of a prank that got a little bit out of hand.

So the longer that Erin and I lived together, the more confident she became about asserting her nudist way of life. I guess she felt that, now she had my "blessing", she was in a more secure situation, and that I had somehow given her my tacit support in her campaign to be more herself.

That sounds bad and it really wasn't. Erin was still the same sweet, great person she always had been, she still cooked lovely vegan feasts for us and danced around to my tunes and laughed along at the TV with me and went out on the town with me and my friends. It was just that, well, she had absolutely no shyness now.

She never wore clothes. Covering her nakedness was always done at the last possible moment, and disrobing was done at the first opportunity. The only times I ever saw her dressed were when she was immediately about to leave the apartment, or when she had just walked in the door. If I missed these particular moments, it might be days between my sightings of the rare "clothed Erin".

Not that clothed really described her. She would frequently throw on just a light dress or baggy sweater when she had to run errands (with her slender figure she was in no danger of "popping out" but it still seemed like risky behaviour to go outside with no underwear and only loose, light clothing for coverage). She seemed when not nude to constantly have calculated what the least amount of clothing she could wear without getting arrested or assaulted was – and then worn slightly less than that.

It wasn't just her clothed/nude state that seemed dominated by her nudist beliefs, either. She had, it turned out, quite strong opinions; about nudity, the way our society treats women and their bodies, about freedom and liberation from clothing. The fact I agreed with many of them – particularly when it came her rants against sexualisation and in favour of better representation of women's bodies in media – didn't mean it wasn't sometimes a little much for light conversation. I guess this was something to do with the way she was raised and the beliefs her family held, but she did seem increasingly keen on asserting her rights as a nudist.

So with that in mind, you're probably thinking "what happened when you had company?" Well, I'm glad you asked, imaginary reader! Of course, the answer is, my friends all got to see Erin naked.

In truth, by this time they were our friends, not just mine. My friends all loved Erin just as I had, and as Erin seemed to have had no friends of her own, she naturally appreciated being welcomed into our little circle. I don't know what conversations Erin had personally with our friends about the fact that she preferred to live her home life in the altogether. But I do know the conversations I had – conversations that would typically take place when I would arrive home with a friend in tow to be greeted by Naked Erin in the kitchen or watching TV, or the times when our doorbell would ring and Erin would make no move to go and get dressed and I would just usher our visitor in with the words "I hope you don't mind but my roommate is a nudist and she doesn't have any clothes on at the moment..."

Sure, it was awkward. I did try and persuade Erin to dress for company, but she had a series of compelling arguments up her non-existent sleeve (people had already seen her now; my friends were all girls too; she could never know exactly when people would call and accidents were bound to happen anyway; it was social prudishness that was the problem here, not her way of life...) and I found myself again unable to object. Oh, I could have fallen back on the foot-stomp "my apartment, my rules" but like I said, that's not me. At the end of the day Erin was my friend and this mattered to her, so I felt like I couldn't really push the issue. And, much like me, our friends soon came to accept the site of Erin's bare butt as a normal part of life in our apartment.

There was one area, though, where we still couldn't reconcile out different philosophical outlooks on the subject of wearing clothing at home, and that was when it came to guys.

Now, I'm a single woman living in the city. I'm 23, I'm pretty attractive (even if I do say so myself) and I have a wide social circle. Like many in my situation, I date. I have a dating life. I go out with guys for drinks, for dinner, to movies, to the theatre, to a hundred other places. Sometimes I do this once with a guy and that's it, sometimes I do it.multiple times with the same guy. Sometimes, if I'm having a good enough time with a guy and/or I've had enough to drink and I'm fairly sure his refrigerator isn't full of severed heads, I will go home to his place and we will perform various intimate acts of the sort I would never tell my grandma about.

And sometimes the same thing will happen, but instead of his place, it will be mine.

I learned very quickly that this was a bad idea if Erin happened to be home... The first time I brought back a guy and we walked in to see my roomie all buck naked, well, he couldn't keep his eyes off her. And though we still went into my room and did the deed, I can't help but feel that he was a little distracted the whole time. And that wasn't an isolated occasion. Each time I brought home an interested guy, they would practically forget all about me if they happened to see the resident nudist in her full glory. The polite ones simply drank in an eyeful, but one or two I caught actually flirting with her quite brazenly, and the final straw was when a guy told me he thought I was nice but wasn't ready for anything serious right now (you know, the standard speech) – then immediately texted me to ask if I could give him my naked roomie's number!

It was, I'm not exaggerating to say, affecting my love life. I'd be very cagey about guys coming back, which they unfortunately tended to interpret as lack of interest on my part in what they had in their pants... I mean, what could I say? It's not you, it's that if we go home now my roommate will be walking around with no clothes on and you will almost certainly find that far more interesting than our date has been so far?

If I did get them back to mine, I tried desperately to make sure their paths and Erin's didn't cross. I even tried lying to them, although the story I told one guy (that I had a very conservative roommate who wouldn't approve of me having a guy back if she knew about him) fell apart when he tried to sneak to the bathroom and encountered a friendly, smiling and very much naked Erin on the way.

Of course, I went to Erin and pleaded with her to wear clothes around my dates. Erin had at least the good grace to be a little embarrassed about what had been happening, but she argued that she didn't know I was bringing guys back and if I let her know she would try to stay out of the way, but she wasn't going to be putting on clothes just on the off-chance I might be getting lucky, and it wasn't like she was deliberately letting them see her; my dates and I had repeatedly walked in on her. And of course it was really our society's fault, blah, blah...

I was left once again, with a choice between indulging Erin's nudist ways and having to play the hard-ass, and I didn't want to do the latter. But this time it was an issue between us that wasn't going to go away, not without some drastic action.

I might have had a bit more sympathy from Erin were she similarly engaged in playing the dating game, but Erin, apparently, didn't date.

Maybe it was an age thing – she was only 19, after all. Maybe she was just shy. Or, maybe it was her nudism. I wasn't entirely sure. But she hadn't had a boyfriend since high school and never seemed to go out with guys.

She wasn't gay, though, she was definitely into guys – at least as far as I could tell from her conversation. But there hadn't been much happening in her love life since she'd left home at 18 to move in with her sister, and she didn't seem that inclined to make it happen.

All that changed, one day though, when she met Josh.

Josh was a new guy at her work, and he was apparently her dream come true. She was giddy for Josh, for a while he was all she talked about. He was a fellow vegan, apparently "super cute", with plenty of tattoos, and a frequenter of open-mike nights at local coffee places, where he'd perform sensitive songs on his acoustic guitar.

I know, right? But Erin thought he walked on water.

The best part was, he was apparently smitten with Erin, too. They were soon going out together on cute little dates, and I had to admit I was happy she had found someone, even if he did sound like a drip to me.

During one of her frequent Josh monologues, I asked Erin what her new beau thought about her nudism.

Erin blushed, suddenly bashful.

"I, uh, I haven't actually told him yet," she admitted with lowered eyes.

I was astounded. This was new. Erin, who by this stage had no problem with anyone who came to our apartment seeing her naked and who would wax lyrical on the importance of her body freedom, was currently keeping her identity as a nudist secret from this guy.

"Well," she explained when I asked why she hadn't told him, "guys can be funny about it sometimes. If you tell them you like to go naked, they think you mean that you like to go naked for male attention. Sometimes that means that they think you are gonna put on a show for them, you know? Or they go the other way, they think you're gonna put on a show for every guy you meet, and they get jealous." She looked quite sad, and I realised that her way of life, which was clearly very important to her, had also been a bit of a barrier in terms of her past relationships. "They think it means you're easy, basically," she continued. "Either easy for them, or easy for everyone."

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