I have a fascination with naked old ladies.
There are hoards of them in the locker room at my gym. Unlike the women half their age who try to conceal their bodies with a locker or a towel, the naked old ladies ––NOLs —face each other, forming a kind of nude gauntlet. They tell stories, laugh and ask about each other’s families—and it’s hard not to be taken in by their joyfulness.
Yesterday, when I returned from the shower, two rotund NOLs were sitting side-by-side on the bench near my locker. They were chatting casually while applying lotion to their own bosoms—like two retired Playboy bunnies in a pay-per-view movie for the geriatric set. As I put my shampoo in my locker, one of them straddled the bench and leaned forward. As if on cue, her friend spread lotion on her back, love handles and all, humming loudly and off tune. I tried to avert my eyes the way I do when driving by an automobile accident, but as with the car wreck, I couldn’t resist glancing at the last second.
I dressed quickly and headed out. But one of them stopped me. Still nude, she stood facing me, her stomach dangling above her thighs and her breasts riding atop it like two car-top carriers that had been part of the journey for years. She handed me a hair dryer and asked if I could turn it on for her. Without glasses, my 40-something eyes couldn’t see the print on the dryer any more than hers could, but I fiddled with the heat and speed settings until the dryer finally turned on.
It was then that I felt a strange kinship with these women. They’ve lived long enough to know that true beauty doesn’t come from how your rear end looks in a thong, but from a joyfulness that shines brightly and warms even the most reluctant passerby. And as I get closer to becoming a card-carrying NOL, I hope to revel in that same joyfulness and pass it along to others.
Starting today, underwear is optional.
Like most writers, Wendy Jones prefers to fade into the background rather than be in the limelight. Because it’s in the background that she gets to silently observe humanity and take notes on everything from the peculiar to the funny to the small moments where people silently show their goodness. Wendy has always been fascinated by human connections and uses storytelling to show that what we have in common is more powerful than the differences between us.
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