“RUDEY RUN!! RUDEY RUN!! RUDEY RUN!! RUDEY RUN”!! Naked and running at full speed, both arms held high above her head, my two-year-old niece is circling the living room, into the hallway, through the kitchen and back into the living room. Lap after lap she races, yelling “Rudey run” continuously at the top of her voice. When she enters the living room we get the full volume, then it fades into the distance until seconds later she zooms by for about her twentieth lap. Abruptly she stops, completes a somersault then slowly, and with deliberate intensity, locks eyes with each of her six audience members – her performance is concluded and applause is clearly required. She practically receives a standing ovation.
My rudey runs aren’t so positively received.
Since leaving home seventeen years ago, I can’t remember a time when I wore attire for sleeping; suddenly I’m co-habiting (with non-boyfriends) and my nocturnal nudity is an issue. The Australian climate doesn’t help; the heat requires me to drink so much water that I frequently need the bathroom. Each night I wake, look at the bedroom door and assess the risk of scurrying to the loo in my wondrous glory or bothering to put some clothes on for the expedition. Each night my wondrous glory wins – I don’t think I enjoy the adrenaline rush when I hear the sounds of someone else moving about in another section of the house …
It’s possible that my nightly scampers have been witnessed. This morning, with a less-than-subtle hint, my mother entered my bedroom and opened my wardrobe.
Mum: Simone … I put a blue satin dressing-gown in your wardrobe if you need it.
Me: Oh, okay, thanks.
Mum: It’s really nice and it might be useful after you’ve had a shower or when you’re getting ready for bed at night …
Anyone would think my abundant white flesh and unrestrained jigglies aren’t appreciated. Banish the thought.
My exhibitionism isn’t shared by my family. The female members are generally more inhibited and I’ve no recollection of seeing any of them naked. My father isn’t quite as shy and I have more memories than I care for of him in the bath, the shower and dashing (with abandoned laughter) for an evening skinny dip in our pool. The memory of shining the garden spotlight on his naked buttocks and watching him run faster (while squealing with panicked delight) is still far funnier than it should be.
It’s not just my immediate family that has suffered my bareness. A bathroom I once shared with my sister and her husband was without blinds. My brother-in-law assured me that he’d “checked” and you couldn’t see anything from the garden when I was showering. Bless your diligence, Richard, I’m reassured … I wouldn’t want to fall victim to any peeping Toms …
The apparent unpopularity of my flashing isn’t my only concern. On my travel tours I’ll be sharing rooms and a naked stranger isn’t ever welcomed. The time has come to invest in some sleeping apparel; some piece of constraining, twisting, clinging nightwear. Sigh. I want to be free – free as a two-year-old (except without a nappy, and I’m not sure how I’d feel about a cage around my bed).