At some point in late July—there is disagreement among historians and media specialists as to the precise date, but suffice to say that it happened two to three weeks after the events about which you, dear reader, have already taken it upon yourself to become informed—there occurred a most singular festivity in the small municipality of Santa Bernarda in central California. The exceedingly gracious Doña Mercedes, also known to us as the Lady Mechinelda, hosted a nude gathering in her backyard, perhaps the first such naked event in the entire history of Santa Bernarda since the arrival of the Spaniards in the sixteenth century, although we must hope that many further such occasions have been, and will be, celebrated clothesfree not only in Santa Bernarda, but everywhere.
The occasion for this unique reunion was the fiftieth birthday of Doff de Chonez, known thus to his friends, although his name for most of those fifty years had been Donald Lopes or Donaldo Adolfo López or something similar. From the perspective of this self-proclaimed nudist-errant, his fiftieth birthday was actually his first birthday celebrating his new identity. Doña Mercedes, who had requested Dr. Nicholson’s assistance, planned the event as a surprise, such that Doff de Chonez and Sammy Panzov would be detained by the doctor until all the other guests had arrived.
It is agreed by the esteemed members of the Society for the Historical Preservation of Santa Bernarda that the most honored guests, together with Doña Mercedes and the birthday celebrant, Doff de Chonez, were twelve in number: Dr. Nicholson, the priest (whose name, it can be revealed at this point, was Father Anselmo), Edgar, Minerva, Eric, Sheila, Beth and Cheryl, along with Cheryl’s mother (whose name, it can be revealed at this point, was Marilyn), and, of course, Sammy Panzov. Although Sammy’s wife Teresa had also been invited, and not without considerable insistence, she politely declined to attend, for the reason that she needed to hasten to the funeral, in Rancho Cucamonga, of her great uncle Reginaldo, a personage who, according to Sammy, had experienced not only a sudden death, but also a rather sudden coming into existence in the first place.
Taking advantage of the eight-foot high fence that Doña Mercedes had installed around her backyard many years previously—and, indeed, said fence had been the factor that afforded her what she had assumed to be the privacy with which she could refrain from wearing clothes outdoors, but which, as we know, did not impede her from inadvertently causing her neighbor’s second-floor-window epiphany about clothesfree living—those invited to this unique event arrived to her front door, left their garments in her house, and proceeded nude to her backyard, where there were tables of food and drink, a variety of insect-repelling incenses and candles, and música ranchera playing discreetly from a set of speakers.
But, dear reader, now that we are setting the ambiance for this most delectable fiesta, let us pause to consider the specification that, upon returning from the encounter with the Knight of the White Moon at Baker Beach, during which our nudist-errant finally met his Lady Mechinelda in the flesh, Doff de Chonez and Doña Mercedes had been spending many mornings, afternoons, and evenings together, developing the kind of relationship enjoyed by intimate friends and partners, to the extent that Doff de Chonez had fashioned a door in the fence between their properties, such that it was now possible to move freely, and nakedly, all along the extent of both backyards, and through both houses as well. In this way, Doña Mercedes had been able to help Doff de Chonez set up a rudimentary garden on his side of the fence, while he had been able to help her rake her yard and, of course, hang up her laundry, all while not having to perch, wrap or buckle any sort of textile over or around their bodies.
With this information, dear reader, you can now picture in your mind the scene at the party before the arrival of our hero: the young Eric, Minerva, and Edgar, with piles of various meats and vegetables, standing at the grill located in Doff de Chonez’s back patio; Sheila, Cheryl, and her mother Marilyn, preparing a salad in the kitchen of Doña Mercedes’ home; and Doña Mercedes in her backyard with Beth and Father Anselmo, discussing the features and qualities of various ornamental plants.
When the doorbell rang, Doña Mercedes asked Beth to go collect those who were grilling in Doff de Chonez’s backyard, and then everyone rushed onto Doña Mercedes’ back deck, just out of view of the window. Dr. Nicholson, who had arrived with Doff de Chonez and Sammy after treating them to a birthday cocktail at his home, knew that he was supposed to wait a minute or two and then open the front door. He did so, and they passed through the silent house, the doctor pausing only to quickly remove his clothing. He led the nudists-errant onto the back deck, where, as soon as they had passed into view, they were greeted by jubilant calls of Surprise! and Happy Birthday! and ¡Feliz Cumpleaños!
Our hero, who did not expect to see anyone other than Doña Mercedes, and perhaps Father Anselmo, was indeed surprised, if not to say astonished, and greatly moved, to be reunited with the owners of the Bed & Breakfast, and with his companions from his adventures along the coast. There followed many smiles and embraces, the retelling of memories and the new telling of more recent events, some dancing, and before too long, plates of food, and the singing of “Las mañanitas” with a birthday pastel de tres leches baked by Doña Mercedes.
|Naturals toasting. Source|
Just as the sun was beginning to set, Dr. Nicholson helped Doña Mercedes prepare the bottles of champagne and glasses for toasting. “To our amazing friend Doff, on his birthday, a toast,” began Dr. Nicholson. “May your birthday suit be your everyday suit for many, many healthy years to come.”
“Indeed,” added Father Anselmo after all had raised their glasses, “and may your naked example continue to illuminate people like me, uh… at those times and in those places, uh, that you become better able to understand… are appropriate.”
“Hmmm…” uttered Doña Mercedes. “Me toca. My turn, and then I’d like for everyone to have a chance to speak.” She cleared her throat. “A month ago, I only knew vaguely that my next-door neighbor was a man who lived alone and who I seldom saw. It turned out, as we all now know, that he saw a lot more of me… certainly than I would have intended. But, since I have come to know him over these past weeks, I am proud of how my simple habit of not wearing clothes in the backyard inspired him to a level of activism that… has not been without its problems, ¿verdad? but still, his passion is deep and his cause is noble. Muchas felicidades, querido Doff.”
At these words, our hero kneeled to kiss the hand of his Lady, but she pulled him up into an embrace, and gave him a sonorous kiss on the lips, at which everyone laughed while Doff de Chonez’ face turned crimson.
“You! You are my naked superhero,” said Marilyn suddenly, to which she added, “and I want a kiss, too!”
Cheryl doubted for a few seconds but then helped her mother forward, and thus, for the second time, Doff de Chonez was kissed full on the lips to much applause and laughter.
“Anyone else?” called Doña Mercedes. “There’s plenty more where that came from!”
But since no one else stepped in for a kiss, Edgar decided to speak. “Here’s, like, a toast to, like, the funkiest delivery I ever made. First denudery I ever made – that, too. And, like, I also owe you my first paid acting gig, so, like, thanks, and no hard feelings, right?”
Doff de Chonez shook his head in friendly negation while glasses were raised once again, and Dr. Nicholson looked a bit displeased, having tried to hide the fact that he not only had recruited Edgar to play the Knight of the White Moon, but had also paid him for it.
“A toast to Doff de Chonez,” proposed Minerva, “and Sammy, who, together, were the life of the party that night on the hill behind Nepenthe.”
“Hear, hear,” added Eric, “to Doff de Chonez, outstanding dance partner and wedding crasher.”
Our hero once again blushed at the laughter of those who understood Eric’s references.
“To Doff de Chonez,” echoed his sister Sheila, “unashamed interpreter of indigenous lifeways. If it hadn’t been for you, I don’t know when, or if, I would have made it to the nude beach. And what I learned, is that I really like it there.”
“I guess it’s my turn,” said Cheryl. “Well, you really startled us when you showed up that day, and you definitely pushed us out of our comfort zone, as they say. But, I thank you for showing us new possibilities for our Bed & Breakfast. And I mean not just for business but also for us personally, to feel more at home with our bodies. I know I feel healthier lately, and I’m sure it’s related to more naked time.”
“Yep,” added Beth, “it took me a long time to come around to it, but I have to say, naked is so much more fun.”
Everyone looked expectantly at Sammy, who raised his glass and paused a few seconds before speaking. “What I can say is, thank you, Your Birthdaysuitedness, for some crazy times. As they say, ‘clothes cover up character,’ but with you, there’s nothing to cover up. It’s all right there, naked as a newborn. I mean, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I think Doff de Chonez está loco. But that doesn’t faze me at all. We all have our own kind of crazy, and I really like His Nuditude’s crazy. Here’s to many more miscorrections!”
Doff de Chonez laughed and let slide Sammy’s malapropism. “Dear friends,” he began, “receive my deepest gratitude for arranging this celebration, where we can all be comfortable in our own birthday suits. Truly the occasion is fortuitous for me, for it is the first time I have a birthday with my new name.”
Our hero looked around at the assembled guests, caught the eye of his Lady Mechinelda, and winked. “And this reminds me,” he continued, “speaking of names, that I want to ask ye about the various labels used to describe going naked. Do ye feel a particular attraction to any of them? Nudist, naturist, nude-friendly…? How do ye talk about it in such a way that interests others?”
“I like ‘nudist’ best,” said Eric, “because I think people know what that means. But remember, you can’t just force it on people.”
“I prefer ‘naturist,’” said Dr. Nicholson. “I think it’s more holistic, more of a philosophy that way. It’s about more than just taking off your clothes.”
“There’s a term I like to borrow,” said Father Anselmo, “from a different spiritual tradition: ‘skyclad.’ In my view, the implications are very profound: clothed by the sky. To me it means that the natural environment is our original and most basic wrapping.”
“And see, I like ‘skyclad,’ but I’d say I like ‘nude-friendly’ best,” said Minerva. “To me that sounds like less of a label, like less of a subscription to something, and more of an inclination. It gives people a vibe, like, you can be naked if you want, no pressure, but even if you’re not naked, there may be other people who are, so you need to be OK with that.”
“Aw geez,” muttered Marilyn. “It’s just ‘nekkid.’ That’s all you need.”
Cheryl smiled at her mother, evidently amused by her participation. “Beth and I were talking about this just the other day, and she came up with a word I like.”
“Nookies!” said Beth. “You know, ‘nude rookies,’ ‘nookies.”
“Oh!” exclaimed Sheila. “I like that. That’s my preferred word now, too. Let’s start a Nookie Club!”
“It’s more informal, right?” said Cheryl. “Less official. People might be more inclined to try it spontaneously.”
“But at some point,” said Edgar, “you’re, like, no longer a rookie. Then what?”
“I don’t know,” replied Beth. “I’ll get back to you on that one, when I’m no longer a nookie.”
Edgar laughed. “I agree with Minerva, like, surprise. ‘Nude-friendly’. Or ‘naked-friendly’. Relaxed. No need to declare, like, a political party affiliation or anything like that. It’s the word we use for gatherings with friends who, like, invite other friends we might not know yet.”
“Ooh, I like that too,” said Sheila. “Open and inviting.”
“But,” interjected Dr. Nicholson, “‘nude-friendly’ is very close to ‘clothing-optional,’ which is a controversial term. Some authorities claim that ‘clothing-optional’ cheapens and reduces naturism, with fewer and fewer participants at clothing-optional clubs electing to be naked.”
“I’m sure I don’t know about the clubs,” said Minerva, “but what I do know is that people feel comfortable at our gatherings, and many of them end up taking off their top, bottoms, or both, for the first time in a group of people.”
“Sammy Panzov,” spoke Doff de Chonez, “what sayest thou?”
“As I’ve always heard it said,” began Sammy, “‘the naked man weighs more than the clothed one,’ which is why I prefer to just say ‘naked,’ or pelado. But, I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t been interested by what Your Nakedness called it: ‘nudist-errant.’ That’s what I am.”
“Me too, amigo,” said Doff de Chonez, “and I am so glad for thy companionship. And thou, dearest Lady Mechinelda? What term does thou prefer?”
“Ay, mi loco querido,” she said. “You know, I have to say I never gave it much thought. I’m just… a natural. That’s my word, ‘natural.’”
“And truly,” said Doff de Chonez, “it is a wonderful word, probably the best word for it that there is! Thanks to all of ye for your help. A toast to us, ‘naturals’ all!”
After the toast, as the group broke into conversation, Sammy approached his partner. “Ehrr, Your Naturalness? When do you think you and I will head out on our next sally?”
“When we set out on our next adventure,” spoke Doff de Chonez, “it will not be just thou and I alone, but rather the three of us, including my Lady Mechinelda. I’ve spoken with her about this already, and thou canst trust me, Sammy, when I say that we shall sally forth, nude anew, in the near future.”
But beyond these conversations, and an assumed late-night end to the birthday party, any further information pertinent to the sallies of Doff de Chonez pa su Mecha has not been forthcoming. As of this writing, there are historians, chroniclers, literary critics, translators, journalists, assistant professors, librarians, gossip columnists, graduate students, and no few unpaid interns invading archives worldwide in the search for more material. Perhaps the rest of the story will be found at one of the naturist research libraries upon which these professionals are descending in droves, such as The American Nudist Research Library in Florida, The Naturist Education Foundation Research Library in Wisconsin, or The Western Nudist Research Library, this latter, after all, being located, as were these adventures, in the great state of California.
In the meantime, the author of what you, dear reader, have read, asks nothing in return for the vast labor which it has cost him to undertake the composition of The Nude Adventures of Doff de Chonez pa su Mecha in twelve installments, save your good word and your interest in his other writings. For with that, he will consider himself amply paid and fully satisfied, and will find himself thus encouraged to seek out and produce other stories, if not as truthful, then at least equal in invention and no less entertaining.