Skinny-Dipping Shenanigans (And Why I Didn’t Partake)

So last Friday was the date of the infamous cast party. One woman (yes, me, in case you were wondering), and four chaps make up a group performing very 40s style British radio plays to a live audience. Our characters are the epitome of decorum and wartime morals. But then the belated Christmas Party heralded the arrival of the first time we had all spent together alongside copious amounts of alcohol. The bar in question is along the harbour and very near the sea. It sells beautiful flavoured beers and speciality ales from Europe.

The evening got off to a spiffing start. Stories exchanged, laughter ensued. Beer flowed. Some of it flowed onto my skirt as coordination diminished. Then our Soundman had the brilliant idea of skinny-dipping. ‘Marvellous’, quoth I (stupid, STUPID me), ‘see how many people in the bar you can persuade to join you.’ He then stood up in the middle of the bar, silenced the revellers with several taps of a spoon on his glass, and announced these intentions. Nobody actually listened, and they soon returned to their own respective parties, and our evening carried on.

Towards three in the morning, it was time to be moseyin’ on home, and I thought it had all been forgotten, but the two louder members of our group had set the dare, and would not be dissuaded.

I shall step aside from the storytelling here for a moment and point out that I was not disapproving, as I feel that is not coming across. I honestly wasn’t, it was immense fun seeing these guys really let their hair (and later, their trousers) down. I was laughing like a loon along with the rest of them.

So the two ringleaders, as it were, headed for the beach, throwing clothes behind them without a care. The two quieter members of the group exchanged glances and shrugged; one of them awkwardly stripped and sort of lumbered towards the sea, and the other (our director, writer, and my other half – and usually rather reserved in these matters) waited, clearly having a drunken internal struggle. He then removed trousers and pants, and, retaining t-shirt and jumper, leapt towards the sea, bottom twinkling. He suddenly disappeared, having completely slipped onto his arse and into the sea. Later, when he returned, he THEN decided that would be the best time to remove the top half of his clothing. Interesting take on the whole thing, I feel.

As the boys made their way back towards me, white bodies gleaming in the moonlight, they queried me as to my intention to join in. I laughed and protested it was too damned cold. In reality, I was struggling with several inner demons at the time (more on that later). I was chortling and chuckling at their actions, however.

I can now definitely say I saw a new side to my fellow cast members. What a revealing evening it was. They really let it all hang out. Etc., etc. (I could carry on with these jokes for a while, but I’ve only just started this blog and don’t want to scare you away too soon…).

So, why didn’t I join in? I didn’t think I was a complete prude about such things – I have been involved in a Calendar Girls style nude (but strategically covered) photoshoot in the past; however it turns out that my problems with my body are far-reaching and very deep-seated. I won’t go into it in detail, as that requires a much longer, separate post, but basically, even though these guys were friends (one of them my SI, no less), and even though this was purely in fun, and not in the least sexual, and that I was enormously tempted because it looked funny and I have never skinny-dipped in my life…I just couldn’t. I was terrified of being judged. I felt I would be worth much less in the eyes of these men (my friends, people who respect me and know me for what I can do) if they saw my body and judged it unattractive. A ridiculous thought, and yet one I can’t get away from. I tried to kid myself later that had there been another female joining in, then I would have, but that is a complete falsehood. If another female had been there, I would have felt worse, as then I would also be worried about being compared unfavourably to her. All these sorry thoughts in my head have confirmed that I have still not dealt with these issues, these teenage issues, that I have tried so hard to get away from. It’s certainly something I’m going to have to address.

On a lighter note, I can definitely say the ice has most surely been broken between the cast. God help us when we tour in May…

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