Occasionally, my kids surprise me with something that I didn't know about them. I've worked out of my house for their entire lives, aside from 90 days as a university webmaster I'll never get back. Spending so much time under my watchful eye, my children ought to find it impossible to acquire even a scintilla of independent life experience. But sometimes kids develop lives of their own, as I was reminded recently when telling my mother about the first time I saw a nude woman.
This is my first letter to Penthouse Forum. I never thought anything like this would ever happen to me -- er, actually, it wasn't like that at all.
Shortly before I entered school in the '70s, my family moved from Wichita Falls, Texas, to an apartment off Central Expressway in Dallas. The apartment had a fenced-in back porch barely big enough to hold a barbecue grill, as did the adjacent apartments. I became fast friends with a girl my age next door, and we visited each other by climbing our back fences and dropping in.
These visits were, of course, unannounced. One morning I scaled the fence to the neighbor's apartment per the normal routine, opened the sliding-glass door and stepped into their bedroom. As I did, the girl's mother walked into the same room, naked and dripping wet after a shower.
The sight of this pale red-haired woman wearing nothing but condensation would not have been a jarring experience, I don't think, except for what she did next. My friend's mother let forth a blood-curdling scream of terror as if I were the Zodiac Killer. I met that scream with one of my own, vaulted the fence like Bruce Jenner, and returned home to sit hunched over in front of the television, talking myself back to my happy place with the help of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.
Afterward, the woman and I pretended the event never happened. I didn't tell the parents and she didn't either. After 35 years I decided to break my silence -- I'm in my 40s, she'd be in her 60s and I couldn't pick her face out of a lineup. My mother had no idea this took place.
When I got a little older and began attending Sunday school at my Catholic church, I didn't have to be told that the sight of the unclothed body fills you with panic, nausea and shame.