Monday, April 25, 2011

I Ain't Hiding (The Black Crowes - 2009)

Any similarities to actual events and persons in my family are not coincidental. This story took place on Tuesday, August 4, 2009.

"I have seen three emperors in their nakedness, and the sight was not inspiring." ~ Otto Van Bismarck, Prussian German Statesman (1815-1898)

Like Eve in the Garden of Eden, something changed, making my 3-year-old little girl embarrassed or at least flustered by my nakedness — or, more accurately, by the prospect of my nakedness.

It’s not like I parade around the house unclothed. My nudity is strictly confined to the bathroom and bedroom — and even there, I try to maintain a discreet level of modesty when in the presence of one of my daughters: a strategically held towel here, a slight turn of the body there. But as a parent, especially a stay-at-home parent, nudity happens.

Lucy is okay with nudity, generally speaking — actually, I think she prefers her birthday suit to any other outfit or costume, dress-up or otherwise. However, she apparently doesn't like me wearing mine — at least not within eyeshot.

I learned this one afternoon upon returning from a run while visiting my brother and his family in Upstate New York. It was there that Lucy found herself alone in a room with me as I began to change. This was nothing out of the ordinary; I had changed in front of my youngest daughter many times without incident.

Sure, I heard the occasional "Eeeww" — come on, who hasn't at one time or another? Or "Daaaadd," said as if my penis was some kind of overused sight gag. Akin to how someone might for a cheap laugh put on Groucho glasses, to her it was like I had this silly little private area thingy I liked to do — pretty funny the first time, but not so much anymore.

As I readied to change out of my running shorts, Lucy looked me straight in the crotch. Speaking unusually slow and deliberate she said, "Dad, are you going to change?"

"Yes," I said.

Sensing there was more on her little mind, I temporarily suspended the removal of my shorts. Motionless and in a trance-like gaze, Lucy continued to stare at my private area. Still speaking in slow-motion she asked, "Do you want me to leave?"

"No," I answered. Although, I must admit, her zombie-like fixation was beginning to make me a tad bit uneasy.

She stood frozen next to the bedroom door. It was as if my groin area, unbeknownst to me, had some kind of hypnotic power. Seconds passed before her need to clear her throat seemingly broke the spell. "I'm gonna leave now!" she blurted.

Lucy hastily opened the door and scurried out, slamming the door as she escaped into the hallway. I can’t be sure, but I think I heard a low pitched scream as she fled down the stairs — away from the room of naked horrors.

What the hell? My dadhood has been the recipient of my children's indiscreet ogling before — the duration of which only a toddler or unabashed pervert could getaway with. Awkward, but easily attributable to innocent curiosity or, in the case of the pervert in the park wearing the trench coat, mental illness. But this change in attitude seemed so sudden.

With the passing of time, I've come to realize that Lucy’s seemingly sudden awareness is likely just an early sign of my littlest one growing up. Not so much innocence lost, but maturity gained. It’s only natural you know . . .

Anyone got a fig leaf?

"I was born modest; not all over, but in spots." ~ Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

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