The Unintentional Nudist VIII: The Journal of David Sutcliffe
January 29, 2001.
I have started this journal to record my thoughts and observations in connection with the unusual assignment I have been given. As one of the College Trustees, I have been asked to serve on a special committee, the existence of which is supposed to be secret. In a word, our task is to evaluate the effect on campus life of a most unusual freshman, Tami Smithers.
The committee is headed by Dean Jorgon, and assisted by Henry Ross, our corporation counsel. The other members of the committee are trustees Anthony Noyes and George Comstock and Chair of Foreign Languages Mildred George. There was serious consideration given to adding Chief of Security Paul Burdick and Chalfont Institute Director Robert Fellowes, but though their input would be valuable, it was thought best to keep the committee small. We have been given permission to discuss Ms. Smithers with any of the faculty, staff or administration, and have been given access to all campus records.
To put it bluntly, since the first week she arrived here last semester Miss Smithers has been a committed nudist. According to Mr. Ross, nudism has been recognized as a valid religion in her home state and therefore the college is prevented from doing anything about her state of undress on freedom of religion grounds. Of course, public nudity is abhorrent to many in our conservative college community, and many of the Baptist and other traditional “powers that be”, including several large benefactors and some of the trustees, have made no secret of their desire that Miss Smithers be expelled. This is a situation, however, that the college cannot do anything about, unless it appears that Miss Smithers is disrupting the activities of the college or somehow corrupting the morals of the other students. The religious component of the matter no doubt explains why I, as a retired Professor of Religious Studies, have been selected to this committee.
Though a finding that Miss Smithers has been disruptive would provide a convenient excuse for the college to expel her, Dean Jorgon assures me that we are to maintain total objectivity in our observations, discussions, and recommendations. I believe him. As he has told me repeatedly, he greatly respects Miss Smithers’s religious beliefs and has given what strikes me as a dispassionate and objective account of Miss Smithers’s lifestyle as he understands it, as a basic understanding to build upon as the committee investigates.
To begin with, Miss Smithers is not a typical nudist. Like most people, I have only vague ideas about nudism (or “naturism” as it is sometimes called), but I do understand that typically even dedicated nudists do not go naked all the time. They tend to take off their clothes only in designated resorts or retreats, and then only in warm weather. Most nudist organizations are based in warm climates, not up here in the north country. Also, even at retreats the practitioners often have towels and (especially) footwear.
Miss Smithers, however, practices total nudity at all times, even up here in the dead of winter. I still find it hard to believe the extremes to which this young lady has gone in her dedication to lack of covering. To begin with, she has no shoes, going barefoot even in the snow. I am told that in her dorm room she sleeps without blankets or even a pillow. After washing or showering, she uses no large towels to cover herself. And she has been seen walking stark naked through cold winds, freezing rain, over treacherous ice, and whatever else the elements have to offer. For months now she has not been known to wear a speck of clothing of any type, indoors or out. Further, this is not a case of someone having clothes and deciding not to wear them. Miss Smithers simply has no clothes or shoes to her name. In her dorm room and at home with her parents she has books, pencils, and various belongings typical of an 18-year-old girl, but no clothes or shoes.
No doubt in this cold climate nudity must be carefully managed, and Miss Smithers, being by all accounts intelligent, is evidently aware of the dangers of frostbite or hypothermia. On subzero nights, for example, she stays indoors or scurries about for only a few seconds between buildings. But I have seen her myself, a few times when I was on campus to visit my old office, and to see her walking naked through the snow, once one gets over the shock at the sight, is inspiring. I am reminded of the prophet Isaiah, who went naked for three years, or of some of the extreme practices of fakirs or mystics. This truly is a young lady with a bedrock, unshakeable conviction that she should always be naked.
Of course one occasionally sees such behavior in people who are mentally unbalanced. But that is not the case here. In her first semester Miss Smithers has had perfect grades and perfect attendance in all her classes, the only student to have such a distinction in the entire student body. This is even though she has a difficult major, mathematics, and does extra credit math projects for her instructors. She is sensible and well-liked and has friends like any normal girl. Her professors all speak well of her. Rod Sykes, an African-American junior, is apparently her boyfriend, because they are often seen walking hand in hand and kissing. The unusual choice of an interracial relationship (at least on this campus) somehow seems to go hand in hand (so to speak) with Miss Smithers’s unusual choice of religion.
What are the tenets of this religion? Miss Smithers has never explained them, but to be fair she has never been asked to do so. She has never elaborated on the simple declaration she made to campus police (who mistook her nudity for streaking) the first week of the semester. Of course, I take the position that it is not necessary for an adherent to a religion to explain his/her articles of belief. There are some major religions that make a point of not having any such explanation. It is odd, though, to see such a strong showing of conviction by someone so young. Miss Smithers is only eighteen, and to me at least, physically appears hardly more than an adolescent.
Another mystery about her religion is how Miss Smithers came to it. I had already known that nudism was recognized by her home state as a legitimate religion two years ago. I remember reading about that case in the Religious Studies Journal and feeling very disappointed. A group of wealthy vacationers made the religion claim in their attempt to preserve a nude beach on the ocean shore. It seemed to me to be a cheapening of the religious premise, but somehow the state’s Supreme Court bought the argument.
Miss Smithers, however, did not seem to be involved in that affair. Also, she is from a different part of the state, from a more working-class area, and does not seem to have even been aware of the court decision when the Dean first mentioned it to her. As I understand it a few calls have been made to the people involved in that litigation and none had ever heard of Tami Smithers or her attendance here at Campbell - Frank.
To sum up, this committee’s mission is to study Miss Smithers’s lifestyle and her effect, if any, on the life of the college, and present a report to the full Board of Trustees by April 1. We are not to let Miss Smithers or any of the other students know about our endeavors. This seems sneaky, but I recognize that disclosure would change the dynamics involved to such an extent that our efforts would be wasted. The Dean will ask me to go along with him on several occasions when he has to meet with Miss Smithers on other matters. I have also been given her class schedule so that I can be at the right place to see her go by and see how she interacts with others. I will also be assigned to be at other places depending on what her activities are. Again, this seems like eavesdropping, but as the Dean has pointed out, I would not be observing anything that was not readily observable to the general public.
This promises to be an interesting project, which I hope will contribute to my ever-developing understanding of the religious premise and how it motivates people.
Today I made my first close-up observation of Miss Tami Smithers. As arranged, I went to Professor Brignon of the Art Department, who explained that Miss Smithers had agreed to serve as a model for their figure drawing classes. Miss Smithers had come to their rescue, because the college had announced that this semester it would be opening up these classes (along with some others) to the community and to the students at the local community college, only to be suddenly faced with a shortage of models. Fortunately back in December Miss Smithers agreed to fill the void. The classes are held five days a week at 8:00 a.m. sharp. Previously there were five models who worked in rotation, but Miss Smithers agreed to fill in “full time” for all five classes. She deserves much praise for getting up every weekday and braving the early morning cold this time of year, though I realize that she is not only getting credit for these courses but is also being paid the going rate for a nude model (which understandably is quite high).
As agreed, I would observe at the first class of the semester by pretending I was one of the students. I bought a large newsprint pad and got there early and sat in the back. The class was in a large standard classroom with plenty of light from the windows. I could see that there was also a pedestal set up in the middle of the room, a polished hollow wooden cube about three feet high. Though there was plenty of light from outside and from overhead on this bright winter morning, there were also small spotlights, not yet turned on, that hung down a little from the ceiling and pointed in toward the pedestal. Two concentric circles of chairs with easels had been set up.
Professor Brignon came in from the supply room and welcomed me. When I told her the room seemed a bit chilly considering there would be a nude model -- a couple of the windows were opened a crack -- she said that due to Miss Smithers’s habits she had quite a resistance to minor drafts. I then remembered that I had already been told this by Dean Jorgon, and remembered that Miss Smithers would be coming here -- no doubt running -- from Pilgrim Hall, which is halfway across campus, and the temperature when I left the house was two degrees above zero.
Students gradually poured in and took their places. I was struck by the mix. There were grandmothers, people even older than I, going down through middle-aged, and then the returning students, then the usual early-20’s college crowd, and then very young people who must have been from the community college but seemed to me to be like high schoolers. I was glad to see that the room was filling up nicely. It’s good that the college is able to attract such large numbers of different kinds of people from off campus. They were also very talkative; they had clustered in little groups where the people knew each other. The room was alive with chatter.
The chattering stopped suddenly as the naked young woman, Miss Smithers, walked in and wordlessly went to the pedestal and sat on it. Obviously everyone knew this class involved a nude model, but apparently they didn’t expect such suddenness. They were probably expecting the model to arrived clothed and then discreetly change out of her clothes in the supply room. As it was, the class sat wordlessly and stared at Miss Smithers, who was flushed and breathing heavily, obviously because of the brisk run from her dorm. I had been expecting a cushion or sheet of some kind for her comfort’s sake, but evidently Miss Smithers, who uses no blankets or pillows on her bed, did not require such amenities. She sat with her bare buttocks on the cold-looking painted wood of the pedestal, eyes downcast, hands folded primly over her lap, bare feet crossed, as she caught her breath.
Professor Brignon introduced herself to the class and welcomed everyone. She also introduced Miss Smithers, calling her by her first name. The campus nudist looked up with a brief glance and nodded before looking down again. Miss Smithers appears to be, in spite of the exposure dictated by her lifestyle, quite a modest and unassuming young lady. Upon instruction from the professor she quietly and obediently climbed up to stand on the pedestal, the thump of her bare feet resounding throughout the room, and assumed a classic statute pose, looking out the window.
The class went to work. I tried to keep up appearances by doing some perfunctory sketching, but I’ve never been any good at drawing, and anyway my concentration was focused on Miss Smithers and the class’s reaction to her. I’ve never been in a class with a nude model but it seems that models are very serious about their work. Miss Smithers did not smile; she looked stonily out the window. I was also once again aware of the chilly temperature of the room, especially after the wind blew through some of the partly-opened windows, causing even me to feel cold. I felt greedy wearing all these clothes, including a flannel shirt, a sweater, heavy boots, and thermal underwear, with all the others wearing heavy clothing as well, while this young woman was standing up there in the cold without a stitch to protect her. I could see her nipples were hard and erect from the cold, and there were goose bumps on her bare buttocks. She was a real trouper. The sacrifices that people make for art!
The Professor had Miss Smithers go through a series of poses, three minutes each. This was the first class and we were only to do some quick, sketchy renditions. For some reason I had been under the impression that models in such classes create their own poses, but the Professor was very particular and dictated each pose to Miss Smithers in detail, speaking loudly so that the class could hear. No doubt the Professor wanted to maximize the educational benefit to the class by letting them know exactly what was being asked for.
Most of the poses seemed like typical statue poses -- standing at attention, pretending to be throwing a javelin, sitting with head in hand like the famous “Thinking Man”, etc. But some were very unorthodox, or at least they seemed that way to me. In one pose, for example, Miss Smithers faced the other side of the class, legs together, arms extended up and out. There was apparently a slight misunderstanding; the Professor came over and gently coaxed Miss Smithers’s legs apart, getting her to spread them by degrees so that finally she formed a very wide “X”. From my view it was amazing to see such a display of feminine beauty, unmarred by tan lines.
Naked women tend to look like they are in an incomplete or unnatural state, and clothes tend to make impressions on a body -- tan lines as I mentioned, or indentations caused by belts or other tight things, or skin that is pale because it is always covered up or encased, cramped toes, bunions, etc. But the body of Miss Smithers looks totally, well, “natural” without clothes, as if this is the way it always was and always should be. The fact that she is a trained gymnast and her body is in superb physical condition only highlights this fact. Even her pubic hair, never pressed by clothing and continually ruffled by the wind, seems unusually fluffy and lush. I think the other students were also struck by these thoughts. Certainly everyone around me seemed energetic as they tried to render the well-toned muscles in her buttocks, her legs, her outstretched arms.
Miss Smithers then turned around and made the same pose facing in our direction. My comments apply as well to the front of her body; again, her breasts, never being covered or restricted by a bra, had a natural shape lacking in other women which I can’t describe, with the nipples perched just so; there is just something about the slope of her breasts. It was amazing Miss Smithers’s breasts did not sag, given the lack of a bra, but perhaps that was due to her youth or her exercise regimen.
What also struck me was the facial expression that she assumed for this pose. She was looking up at the ceiling with a mixture of anguish and pleading. I recognized this glance as the classic expression of Jesus looking up from the cross -- “Father, Why hast thou forsaken me?” -- and it was clear to me that this was deliberate, given the fact that her body was forming a cross. I found myself smirking; probably she and I were the only ones in the room who were in on the joke. My cynical side also recognized this expression as a triumph of acting ability. Here she was, getting paid nicely and also getting college credit for simply standing around naked like she always was. Anguish and pleading were the last things that would be naturally felt by her. Indeed, in many ways nudity seems to be working to Miss Smithers’s advantage on this campus.
In another pose directed by the Professor, Miss Smithers was bent over, legs slightly apart, touching her toes. From my side all one could see were her buttocks and the backs of her legs -- but one could also clearly see her vulva and her anal area. Were we supposed to draw these parts?
The Professor quickly removed any doubt as to that. Coming up next to the pedestal, she faced us on this side of the room and motioned to Miss Smithers’s “private parts” (I suppose I should call them), which were almost at her eye level. In her French accent the Professor said, “I know the main thrust of this class is to render the muscles and the joints, but pay the very close attention to Tami’s vulva and anus. These are parts of the body like any other part, and to learn to draw them one can master the kinds of curves and lines that come in handy when you to draw other things. Wait while I please to get the light.”
With Miss Smithers still bent over, the Professor turned on the spotlights, and the brightness allowed us to see every nuance and crease and hair on our nude model’s body. One light ended up being trained especially on the parts I’ve just mentioned, making them all the more prominent. Miss Smithers must have had an itch or something near her eyes; she rubbed them, her head still down, and quivered a bit, her hanging breasts swaying slightly, but then returned to her former hands-down posture, her head hidden behind her legs.
“You can see very well in Tami’s crease here, so please take the most advantage of it,” the Professor said. “Look for example at Tami’s anus, the lines how it puckers. It is like when you kiss,” she said, puckering up her lips and lifting her head upward as if about to receive a kiss. Some of the younger girls erupted in nervous laughter and the Professor broke into a mischievous smile as she went to the other side of the room.
Still pointing at the relevant parts of Miss Smithers’s anatomy, the Professor asked the students on that side to take notice of the slope of the young lady’s hanging breasts, and the angle of her nipples, which were constantly erect and hard in this chilly room, and to pay careful attention to the curves there.
I was struck by this young woman’s composure. The Professor had told me that, with modesty not a concern as with other models, the class could absorb the extra learning that came with more intimate poses that would not be possible with the typical model. Miss Smithers never made any motion to cover any part of herself. Nor did I ever get the sense that she was an exhibitionist who got a thrill of some kind from displaying her body.
Such a total absence of self-consciousness as to one’s body, such a total dedication to being fully exposed at all times, showed me at first hand what had only been reported to me: that Miss Tami Smithers had a deep, unshakeable faith in her beliefs which few of us, no matter what our creed, ever achieve.
In the last minutes of the class the Professor had one more pose for Miss Smithers which required a prop. To everyone’s puzzlement, she pulled from the supply closet a piece of rope tied into a big circle. She got up on the pedestal, made a loop, and flung it over one of the floodlight supports. “This last pose will simulate a ballet dancer in a kick most high. For Mademoiselle Smithers it should not be strainful because she is also an accomplished gymnast. But even she would find it most hard to maintain the pose without the assistance.” The Professor twisted the rope into a figure 8 and drew Miss Smithers’s leg up into the other loop. The naked young woman shifted to accommodate this new position and followed the Professor’s detailed instructions, and when the Professor got down from the pedestal, Miss Smithers was standing facing the doorway, her ankle suspended from the loop, her arms wrapped around the upended leg as if cradling it, and her head resting on her arms. It was an extremely high kick; her bare foot was well up over her head. Obviously only a gymnast could be so limber. I could see the toes of her lower foot flex and unflex as her body balanced into a stable position.
The Professor then brought over a little goose-necked lamp and put it on the pedestal in front of Miss Smithers. When it was turned on, it brightly illuminated the insides of her legs so that we could better see the muscles there. (It also had the effect of illuminating her crotch and I could not help but notice that her labia, bright and pink in the harsh light, had parted.)
The unusual play of muscles, tightened and relaxed, in various parts of Miss Smithers’s body occupied the class’s attention. The scraping of pencils on paper was the only sound in the room as everyone worked industriously. Some of the young community college kids even came up to sit down right in front of the pedestal with their pads, looking up for a close view, some from the rear but most in front, heads nodding up and down as their gaze went from the model to the pad and back again. As for me, I tried my best with my meager drawing ability. It was fascinating to try to capture the lines of the muscles on Miss Smithers’s buttocks, her back, her legs, and her arms. It was easy to see that with a dedicated nudist as a model this class could cover a lot more ground than if poses were strictly circumscribed by the typical model’s sense of modesty.
The hour was winding down and students could be heard out in the hallways heading for their 9:00 classes. No doubt the sight they were presented with as they passed by the door was arresting and unusual. Several stopped by to look in from the doorway. The Professor did nothing to discourage this impromptu audience, after all these were art students too.
As for Miss Smithers herself, I noticed that she maintained the same serious expression, at first looking up at the toes of her upraised foot, which she wiggled occasionally. Then she closed her eyes as if pained by something. She kept her eyes closed, her brow furrowed. It was a moment before I recognized the look on her face. She was praying! So there was some meditation attached to her type of religion, and she was taking advantage of these moments of stillness to engage in it. This was interesting. The intensity of her concentration impressed me, as the furrow in her brow increased. When, after a few all-too-short minutes, the Professor announced the end of the class and told Miss Smithers to come down, the young lady’s eyes opened and I could see that they were a little wet and red. Such is what happens sometimes when a devout person has an intense, fulfilling prayer that has provided insight and regeneration.
I wanted to introduce myself to this remarkable young woman but I didn’t want to do anything to hint at the existence of the committee. Instead I watched as she nodded to the class and to the Professor and started to leave. A grandmotherly type who had been sitting near the door intercepted her and tried to engage her in conversation. The grandmother was packing up her pad and putting on her heavy overcoat and she looked up at the naked girl as she asked questions I could only barely make out: Are you always naked? What is your major? How do you like this college? I couldn’t make out Miss Smithers’s answers but it did seem like she was time-pressed and she politely ended the conversation and left. She must have been in a hurry to get to her next class; I could hear the sounds of her running bare feet slapping away down the hall.
This was an amazing experience for me. I was just in awe of this young woman. While realizing that the Professor was exploiting the situation for the benefit of her students, it just was unbelievable that Miss Smithers could so casually submit to such intimate exposure, so totally free of the strictures of modesty which society has ingrained into the rest of us. It’s almost as if she has transcended our culture. In a way it reminds me of St. Francis communing with nature in the face of the materialistic, mercantile society which surrounded him. I will report my thoughts and observations to the Dean.
To begin with, she appears to be popular. At least that is the unmistakeable impression I get from watching our campus nudist, Tami Smithers, as she goes from class to class and “hangs out” in the Student Union. She is almost always with someone, often her boyfriend Rod Sykes or her roommates, Jen McIntyre and Mandy Rabinowitz, or with Miss Shanille White, who is active in the Black Students Association. People say “hi” to her often, and she acknowledges them. Of course, it’s easy for people to notice her; with her bare skin she stands out a mile away. Once in a while I notice some crude remark behind her (bare) back. But as a whole everyone seems to know her and like her, and in contrast to the social segregation that unfortunately afflicts college life in general, she seems to hang out with a lot of gay students and students of color.
She does seem somber, though, as if brooding on something. And then she snaps out of it, suddenly walking bolt upright, bare breasts thrust out, bare feet thudding confidently against the concrete or the tile floor, as the case may be. I noted before that she did not seem to have any exhibitionist tendencies. I want to modify that observation somewhat. There’s something interesting I’ve noticed. Often, sitting with friends in the Student Union, she takes care to sit in the middle, behind a table, arms and legs crossed, as if hiding herself. But when an “adult” comes by, someone well-dressed who looks like he/she might be a faculty or (especially) administration person, she uncrosses her arms and legs, whether she is sitting or walking, as if to show that she is totally open and unashamed. I don’t know why she does this; it appears to be an unconscious motion, and she does not smile while doing it, so I can’t really ascribe it to exhibitionism. I wish I could ask her about this, but I don’t want to give myself away.
Fortunately it is possible for me to watch her unnoticed, at least in the Student Union. The second floor has little offices that look out onto the cafeteria and lounge areas, and I’ve taken up residence (almost) in one of the empty ones that has a good view through a tinted window. I can keep a steady eye on her (and her friends) without being noticed. This makes me feel like a Peeping Tom, but once again, I am only observing what is apparent to any other person passing by.
I am struck by her physicality, her strength. No doubt this comes from being an athlete. Seeing her nakedness in the midst of the heavy winter clothing of others, she appears at first glance small and weak and cold and vulnerable and unprotected. This is especially true when she first comes in from the cold and her whole body, especially her hands and feet and breasts, are flushed red. She seems like an alien being, the only one with breasts and genitals and toes. But on further observation one sees she is well-nourished, well-exercised, strong, healthy, lightly but firmly muscled.
Today I saw an example of her athleticism. The big concourse is criss-crossed at the second floor level with permanent scaffold-catwalk type bars which bend down a bit as they meet the walls. (After twenty years I still don’t like the artsy affectations of this Student Union building design!) A handicapped student, coasting by on her wheelchair, got her ski cap stuck on her wheel and stopped. She pulled up mightily to free the ski cap, but it came loose suddenly and flew up to get stuck in the crook of the cross-bars of one of the catwalks. She looked up at it helplessly, and so did some others who stopped by. The bar was maybe twelve feet up and very much out of reach of anyone.
Miss Smithers came by and looked up with the others. Seeing that nobody could help her, the handicapped student appeared to give up and started coasting away sullenly. Miss Smithers told her to wait, though, and quickly padded over to the wall. Setting aside her backpack, the nude young woman crawled up the low end of the bar and then, leaning against the wall, grabbed a higher bar which was about five feet over the catwalk. Everyone in the concourse stopped as Miss Smithers, holding onto the upper bar, walked across the catwalk, her toes clasping the cross-bars, until she came to the trapped ski cap. Standing upright, her hands holding the upper bar, she looked down and clasped the cap with her toes and jerked it free, tossing it down right onto the handicapped student’s lap.
There was spontaneous cheering from all over the Student Union. Miss Smithers appeared not to acknowledge it as she tiptoed back to the wall, hands on the upper bar, breasts jiggling with each step, then swung down onto the floor with a loud slap of her bare feet. As she walked back with her backpack she bent down to accept the extended arms of the handicapped student, who kissed her on the cheek. Miss Smithers smiled at her and then walked onward, joining up with Miss McIntyre who was waiting. As Miss Smithers continued on her friend gave her an appreciative slap on a bare buttock.
Such is the life of a naked, athletic, popular, intelligent, kindhearted girl.
I’ve also watched Miss Smithers outside. She respects the cold; a naked person in this climate at this time of year could hardly do otherwise. But to my surprise she does not actually run, except when it is bitter cold or windy. Instead, she walks briskly. After a moment’s thought I realized that an average healthy person is not harmed by a naked walk in the cold, so long as it lasts only a couple of minutes. This knowledge tempered my shock when I saw her enter the Student Union in a snowstorm with snow matted not only to the hair on her head but also to her pubic hair! As she entered the building she casually brushed the half-melted lumps of snow off her genitals and, in fact, as she was sitting down a minute later with friends, she waved herself with her hand as if feeling hot. Indeed it must have seemed hot to her indoors after walking naked through the snow.
She walks on the concrete usually, on the grass or snow often. In spite of being always barefoot, her feet never seem to be dirty. In fact, she seems to keep her entire naked body scrupulously clean, as if she had just stepped from the shower. As I noted, her nakedness makes her stand out, and the other students are only partly used to it by now. Plenty of them turn to look as she goes by, most of them (especially the young men) with an intense regard. She has friends who, it is obvious, adore her body. Sitting in the Student Union, with Mr. Sykes and Ms. McIntrye and Ms. Rabinowitz, it is not unusual while engaged in conversation or eating for Mr. Sykes to be absently stroking her hair, either on her head or her pubic hair, while Ms. McIntyre pulls a bare leg over her lap and massages Miss Smithers’ calf and foot. Once I even saw Miss Smithers do almost a split as she extended one leg over to Mr. Sykes on one side and Ms. Rabinowitz on the other at the same time.
When she sits in the Student Union with one or two friends for any length of time, others tend to accumulate. Sometimes there are more than a dozen young people sitting at tables that have been pushed together, with Miss Smithers at the center. She tends not to participate too actively in what is being talked about. The whole tableau resembles a princess -- a princess who is always naked -- presiding over her court. She is her usual somber self in the middle of that crowd, eyes often downcast; her manner resembles the dignity of royalty. It is only when she is with one or two of her inner circle that she tends to smile and laugh.
Can I say that she has any disruptive or immoral effect on the students or the college in any sense? My general answer at this point is “no”. But yesterday I did notice one instance of hidden, though public, indiscretion. I had gone up to my aerie in the Student Union when I saw that Miss Smithers was already in her usual seat, surrounded by Miss Rabinowitz on one side and Jeffrey Dillon, who is active in the campus gay & lesbian club, on the other. Each was cradling one of Miss Smithers’s bare feet, her legs being split wide under the table. There was a heavy coat on the unoccupied chair in front of her. Mr. Dillon and Miss Rabinowitz were chatting idly, but Miss Smithers was leaning back and her eyes were closed. She appeared to be resting or meditating, like I have seen her do at odd moments. Her hands were folded primly on the table.
Suddenly I saw her whole body shift and a grimace spread over her face as if in pain. Then her bare shoulders jerked to one side. I suddenly realized what was happening -- someone under the table, hidden by the coat, was performing oral sex on her! All this time her two friends were conversing casually, even though they were obviously fully aware, if not party to, what was happening under the table.
At this point none other than Professor Brignon of the Art Department walked by and, seeing Miss Smithers, stopped by to speak with her, standing next to the table. The naked young woman looked up and listened to the Professor with a very complicated look on her face, as if she were having trouble focusing or as if she were trying to hold back some kind of utterance. The corners of her lips were drawn back as if she were tasting something bitter. In her friends’ laps, her toes alternately spread and clenched (to the extent that toes can do that).
Finally after a minute or so Miss Smithers nodded at something the Professor said and the Professor went on her way. After she was gone Miss Smithers closed her eyes again and started breathing deeply. The full-body trembling, the red over-all flush, the moans muffled by her stuffing her fist into her mouth, finally the rhythmic shaking which jerked the whole table -- these were the unmistakeable signs of orgasm. All the time, Mr. Dillon and Miss Rabinowitz cradled their friend’s feet lovingly and when it was over and Miss Smithers sank in her seat, they each kissed her on the face from each side.
Then, Miss McIntrye emerged to sit on the unoccupied chair. After a few pleasant words the three got their coats and sat up and left with Miss Smithers, who was helped along with her unsteady steps as the four of them walked out into the bitter cold night. I went to the outer window and saw them, the nude Miss Smithers with her heavily clothed and booted friends, making the short distance to Pilgrim Hall, with Miss Smithers’ bare feet crunching into the frozen snow.
This episode, arguably, would be disruptive to the college, yet it appeared to be relatively discreet. I’m not sure it was even Miss Smithers’s idea; she seems too modest and unassuming for that. I think rather it was Miss McIntyre’s idea, even though it was Miss Smithers who enjoyed the semi-public orgasm. At any rate, this could be something to mention to the Dean.
I did see one last thing this afternoon which I should mention because it was an exception to my general observations as to Miss Smithers being somber. It was a bright, snowy day, not very cold, and the snow was just right for snowballs. Miss Smithers, walking alone from her dorm with her backpack, was struck from the side on her left buttock by a snowball. Upon looking up she was struck by another in almost the same place. A third snowball just grazed across her nipples. She looked over to see a group of about five young men approaching her with more snowballs in their gloved hands, ready to be fired. Upon seeing that the posse was led by Mr. Sykes, she gave out a playful shriek and, when a bombardment began, she dropped her backpack and ran away into the snowy field between the dorms.
The five young men trudged quickly after her, pelting her on her buttocks and the back of her head and squarely on her bare back, and she ran quickly, her bare feet kicking up little bunches of snow behind her. She slipped once, falling on her face, but she got up quickly and, snow sticking to her breasts and her pubic hair, she easily outran the young men, who were impeded by their boots and heavy clothing. When she was halfway across the field, a few hundred feet out, she suddenly turned and, expertly snatching up snow and forming it into a ball, reversed course and went after the men! With the skill of a shortstop, she hit Mr. Sykes on the chest and then scooped up and made and threw more snowballs at the other men. She was smiling and laughing the whole time, as were they.
The men formed a circle around her and threw snowballs at her from every direction, but she gave as good as she got, bending down and making and throwing her own ammunition. At one point as she bent down she shrieked good-naturedly as an especially big, sloppy snowball from behind apparently hit her between the buttocks. Snow was stuck to her hair, her face, her breasts, her belly, her pubic hair (a prime target), her legs, and encrusted to her toes. Her body was flushed from the exertion and the cold. I couldn’t help but notice that the spectacle was drawing appreciative looks from people on the nearby paths who stopped to enjoyed the show.
Finally, she threw a snowball at Mr. Sykes’s face and charged him, tackling him down onto the snow. The happy couple rolled over and over in the snow until finally, he pinned her down, sitting on her pelvis. Eyes met and the two engaged in a kiss that was very romantic in spite of the bizarre circumstances. Mr. Sykes’s friends looked for a moment and then turned and went away, eyes rolling as if to say, “There they go again!” After a very involved, intimate kiss Mr. Sykes picked Miss Smithers up and carried her over his shoulder like the prototypical caveman picking up his cavewoman. In this way he carried her back to her dorm, picking up her backpack along the way. I could see her arm around his shoulder to keep her from falling forward, melting snow wedged in between her buttocks and sticking to the soles of her bare feet.
This was a bizarre scene, as I say, but it made me feel good because it showed Miss Smithers, whom I am beginning to greatly respect, enjoying herself and being happy. She really does have a pretty face and a smile worthy of a fashion model. And lots of friends and admirers. All in all she really is a very lucky girl!
Today I was invited by Dean Jorgon to accompany him and Anthony Noyes to visit Miss Smithers. I met Noyes only recently in connection with this committee and already I don’t like him. He is overbearing and loud. Also, he doesn’t like it when people disagree with him.
What makes this a problem now is the fact that he makes no secret of his belief -- it is hard for me to believe that he really thinks this -- that Miss Smithers is faking her religion! According to him the streaking incident was just a prank and she invented the religion excuse so that she would not get expelled. In other words, he argues that she doesn’t really want to be naked. This is just ridiculous. Her constant nudity for the past five months, braving the snow and the rain, and her willingness to expose herself in various situations like the art classes, all these seem to be me to be pretty convincing evidence of Miss Smithers’s sincerity. But Noyes still suspects this brave girl of lying. Not only would Miss Smithers be insulted by his attitude, I almost feel a little insulted myself.
In our brief discussions about this the Dean has not commented on Noyes’s attitude. The Dean apparently wants to remain impartial. I respect this, but still find it hard to see how such a cynical man would be of any use to the committee.
To get back to what I was writing about -- today’s meeting with Miss Smithers was to be at Chalfont, where Miss Smithers had agreed to be the subject for experiments having to do with various physiological processes. At least that’s how it was explained to me. I’ve known Dr. Harridance, the Director of Research there, for a long time. We used to serve together on endowment committees. We’ve often commiserated on how the college’s fundamentalist background has lent it the reputation of being a bit of an academic backwater, and how things could be shaken up.
Just how much shaking up he was willing to do became apparent to me with a shock today. We were told that at Chalfont Miss Smithers would be in Lab 6. When we finally found it (after getting lost and then found again in that labyrinthine old building) we opened the door to find a small waiting room (empty) leading to another door. We opened that second door and --
The first sensation was of heat, as in body heat, and then the strong smell of, well, vaginal secretions such as a woman gives off when sexually aroused. We found ourselves in a brightly lit circular room about fifteen feet across. In the center was a circular console surrounded by three or four students in lab coats sitting with their clipboards, looking at various dials and gauges. And in the center, on a little stage elevated for maximum visibility, facing away from us, we could see the sweating, heaving back of a naked young woman in a kind of seatless chair. Her legs were extended to each side. Her head was slightly bowed forward. Her hair, wet from sweat, was plastered to her back.
I think the Dean and Noyes were almost as discomfited as I was by this sight. I felt like I had walked onto the set of some kind of perverted pornographic science fiction movie. Led by the Dean, we slowly and quietly made our way around the perimeter, barely being acknowledged by the assistants, until we were facing the front of the young woman. Indeed it was Miss Smithers. Her arms were extended out to each side and -- this was very upsetting -- handcuffed to a short post. Her bare feet, spread wide to each side, were cuffed to the sides of the stage. Her thighs were also strapped down.
The chair had a short back which she was leaning back on, but its oddest feature was the fact that the center of the bottom had been cut away. A piece of black plastic covered her vaginal area, and -- also very upsetting -- what I can only call a small metal dildo, about the size of a fountain pen with a little bulb on it, was hanging from her anus, connected by a wire to a spot beneath the console. A wire went from the vaginal patch as well. Little wires were taped to the skin at her forehead, her forearms, and just below her nipples.
There was a low humming sound coming from somewhere. Miss Smithers’s eyes were downcast and I then noticed that her whole body was shaking slightly. She was sweating all over and her breathing was shallow and ragged.
A door opened behind us and it was Dr. Harridance, in his usual good mood. “Welcome gentlemen,” he said, “welcome to our project on galvanic sexual response.” At the sound of the doctor’s voice Miss Smithers looked up and her eyes, which I suddenly noticed were wet with tears, widened into what looked like an expression of sheer terror and horror.
I just couldn’t keep quiet any longer. “Is she O.K.?” I said.
“Yes, that’s what she looks like when she’s sexually aroused,” the doctor said.
The Dean looked into Miss Smithers’s horrified eyes and said, “Miss Smithers, I need to have a short word with you.”
A strange look came from her eyes as her brows knitted and her mouth opened. She looked like she was trying to say something but could not manage it. “Ahhhhh . . . ohhhhh . . .” The plaintive moan was both womanly and girlish (after all she is only 18).
“I’m afraid she’s in no condition to speak right now,” Harridance
said. “Let’s go inside. Brendo, keep her at the plateau phase,” he said to one of his assistants, as he led us into a small side room with a coffee machine.
As the three of us sat in the little room, sipping black coffee, all of us shaken by what we had just seen and with me especially wondering about the young lady’s ongoing ordeal, Harridance explained.
“This is a project we’ve been wanting to run for a long time now, involving galvanic skin response during sexual excitation. It’s an unexplored field because other researchers have had to confine their data collection due to concerns about ethics. The subject’s modesty must be scrupulously guarded. But with Miss Smithers, that’s not a concern. The anal contraction monitor, for example. In previous projects they’ve had to have it covered by a sheet or only partly visible as the subject pleasured herself or was pleasured by a partner. But with the subject’s modesty not a concern, we can have it brightly lit and visible on a stage, allowing much more accurate readings.”
“You mean that -- that thing in her -- her anus? What the devil is that for?” I asked indignantly. I wasn’t really angry at my friend Harridance; it was just a knee-jerk reaction to what I had seen.
“The anal sphincter contracts during high arousal and during orgasm,” he said. “The anal monitor detects the strength, location and frequency of the contractions, which are the only reliable measure as to the onset and duration of orgasm.”
I looked at the floor, still a little upset. “I know she’s being, uh, sexually stimulated, but she doesn’t exactly look like she’s having fun in there.”
When there was no response I looked up and saw Harridance looking at me kindly. “I don’t mean to get personal, but didn’t you ever look at Ethel’s face when she was having an orgasm?”
My wife, five years dead. I thought about it. He was right, it was a very personal question, but I could see what he was getting at. I remember, long ago when we were both young, the first time I looked at her face when I knew she was in the throes of ecstasy, only to be shocked because she looked like she was contorted in pain. I gave a quick look up at Harridance and shrugged. “Yes, well . . .”
Dean Jorgon spoke up. “Henry [Ross] went to see Miss Smithers at the dining hall a couple of months ago to discuss her participation in research, and when he got there a friend of hers was, uh, pleasuring her under the table.”
“Hmmphh!” Noyes said. “If that’s not disruptive, I don’t know what is!!”
“Well, not at the time,” the Dean quickly interjected, “and he warned her that such behavior was not acceptable.”
I almost rolled my eyes. First I see Miss Smithers in a semi-public sexual act in the Student Union, now this dining hall episode. It’s a good thing none of our Baptists friends are hearing about this!
“Anyway, Henry told me that during her, uh, sexual excitations Miss Smithers did indeed look like she was in fear, or terror, or in pain. . . In fact, she experienced an orgasm right in front of him, and afterwards she cried. An intense reaction to an intense sensation, I suppose. Her friend told Henry that this is how she always is right after orgasm. At any rate, it is obvious that her religion extends to a lack of self-consciousness about sexuality. Therefore, what you see in that lab room, though it might look like torture if it was an average girl, as for Miss Smithers she is taking it entirely in stride.”
“Exactly,” Dr. Harridance said. “And because it is O.K. with her, we can proceed without restrictions to get the most accurate measurements possible.”
I had another concern. “Why is she . . . tied down?”
“It’s mostly because of the anal probe. The sphincter is a very delicate area. During sexual excitation her body is apt to jerk violently. That’s why the body must be immobilized.”
“The body” . . . His descriptions sounded so impersonal. Yet to be brought to orgasm in front of observers seemed to be the ultimate in personal exposure, far more than merely being naked in public. Still, here she was, Miss Tami Smithers, just another episode in her life . . .
The four of us sipped coffee wordlessly for a moment. I was still a little worried about the girl’s comfort. Motioning to the door I said, “How long has she been . . . like that?”
“About . . .” Harridance looked at his watch. “Forty minutes. Her schedule is to come in for three hours every Thursday. This is her second week. In a bit we’ll bring her up to orgasm and then let her rest. We intend to escalate the stimulation gradually in future sessions to see how her skin temperature responds. There are other things we want to look at also, after that. . . After the stimulation period ends she showers in the washroom next door and then rests for the remainder of the time on the stage, with the assistants monitoring her skin response as she gets back down to normal. She can even go to sleep if she wants.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised, after such a workout,” I said.
“Yes . . . but remember that this ‘workout’, as you put it, is entirely within the scope of the agreement she signed,” Harridance said. The Dean nodded. This agreement had been mentioned to me before; I had been told it was perfectly valid and had the signature of her friend Jeffrey Dillon as a witness. I’d like to see that agreement sometime, though I realize it’s not really relevant to the task of the committee.
“It isn’t very difficult to get her stimulated,” Harridance continued. “She is very active and responsive sexually. She has told us that she is stimulated to orgasm every day by her roommate.”
I rested my head in my hand. Lesbianism in the dorms. Another Baptist horror story come to life. I was beginning to see how this girl’s habits could indeed be called disruptive, though they seemed unrelated to her religion of total nudity. Or were they?
Harridance sighed, looking at the door to the lab. “Even now I can see that the data we are collecting will be very helpful to the state of knowledge. This could be big, really big. If we’re lucky we’ll make a big splash and end up with more grant money than we can handle. And it’s all due to her. . .” He took another thoughtful sip of coffee. “We’re paying her thirty dollars an hour, but it doesn’t seem like enough for what she’s doing for us. She deserves more, somehow.”
The Dean said, “Maybe you’ll be able to figure out something. But don’t get ahead of yourself. This is only the second session.”
Harridance was deep in thought. Then he shook himself into alertness. “Well, time to get her finished off. Let’s go.”
We followed Harridance back into the bright circular lab.
February 4 (cont’d).
We followed Harridance back into the bright circular lab. I didn’t want to look but I couldn’t help myself. The slight, slender body of the nude 18-year-old-girl was shaking even more than before. She was gasping, her flat midriff heaving in and out, her toes curling and uncurling below the ankle cuffs. I can’t deny the fact that I am a human male, and even at my age I found myself feeling some sexual arousal at this powerful sight. I immediately tried to suppress it.
Dr. Harridance stood in front of the naked, laboring girl, his face maybe only about five feet from hers. “Miss Smithers?” he said loudly.
The naked girl opened her eyes and wearily looked up. I saw her eyes flicking to the four of us and her face twisted again into a rictus of anguish and fear, or at least that’s what it looked like.
Continuing in his loud voice, Dr. Harridance said, “We will bring you to orgasm now, and then you can rest. Again, on behalf of myself and the Institute, we thank you very much for your help.”
Her eyes narrowed as if she was about to cry.
Harridance motioned to his assistants and I heard the humming sound get a little louder. The naked girl took in a deep breath and began to moan. It sounded like a moan of arousal, but also sounded like someone softly weeping. “Ohhh . . . ohhh . . . ohhh . . .”
After a few seconds her whole body tensed up suddenly. She bared her clenched teeth and forced a scream through. Her pelvis thrust forward -- or at least made the attempt. Her whole body lurched violently. I looked down at the “anal monitor” planted in the girl’s delicate lowermost orifice and realized the wisdom of keeping her movements restricted.
Her eyes widened with urgency as she looked up toward the ceiling. I thought I detected a hint of that upward anguished look -- “My Lord, Why hast thou forsaken me?” -- that she exhibited during the art class, though this time, her bugged-out eyes made it seem like such a prayer was being shouted -- “MY LORD!!! WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME??!!!” Of course, she was probably not thinking any rational thoughts, being in the grip of an intense orgasm.
The contractions began with mighty but restrained lurches of her entire body. The assistants tensely and quickly checked the dials and meters, looked up at the spasming girl, and wrote numbers on their clipboards. Her body jerked tightly up and out at rhythmic intervals, to the extent allowed by her bonds. I looked down and saw the anal monitor wiggle violently forward and back, evidently from the rectal contractions. I took a quick sideways glance at my companions. Harridance was alertly looking at the girl and then at the dials and and back again. The Dean and Noyes were simply staring at the nude girl, partly amazed, partly recoiling at the sight.
Maybe it was just me but this seemed like a long, long orgasm. Halfway through it, Miss Smithers closed her eyes, her teeth still clenched. At length the contractions became sporadic and, with one final jerk of her pelvis, ended. I think we all exhaled at that point. Miss Smithers herself caught her breath with deep gasps, her tummy moving in and out, as her entire body drooped from the cuffs. Drops of sweat formed on her forehead, over her breasts, on her thighs. Her head lolled weakly on her shoulders. I heard one of the assistants whisper to another, “Thirteen contractions that time.”
Then, to my amazement and horror, Miss Smithers began to sob. Tears flowed from her eyes and she babbled like a little girl who had fallen and split her lip. It was very hard to look at, but then I realized I shouldn’t have been surprised; as I now knew, it was the normal reaction she sometimes had to having an orgasm.
The assistants got up and, leaning over the console, began the work of detaching the wires. The patch over her genitals was affixed by some kind of adhesive which was apparently a bit uncomfortable to pry off. As the assistant removed the patch and put it aside, I could see that it had a small knob and a bristly pad that faced inward, no doubt to provide a steady friction and pressure onto the clitoris. Then one of the assistants reached down and very carefully removed the anal monitor. The nude girl winced in pain as I saw that the monitor actually had two bulbs, each about an inch in diameter. Harridance seemed to anticipate our thoughts as he said, “The anal probe has plugs on it that go on both sides of the sphincter so that it can’t be accidentally dislodged during orgasm.” I squirmed, reflecting on how unpleasant the sensation must have been for Miss Smithers. Or was it?
The cuffs were undone, first the wrist cuffs, then the thigh straps, finally the ankle cuffs. Miss Smithers, drenched with sweat, still sobbing softly, seemed grateful to bring her legs together as slipped off the sweat-slicked chair and sat on the base of the stage. She brought her knees up to her forehead, cradling her toes in her hands. Her head was bowed down. Around her, the assistants went back to their stations, adjusting dials and checking and re-checking their figures.
“You can say what you came for now, before she goes in to shower,” Harridance said to the Dean.
It was time for the Dean to give the little speech he had told us he was going to give. “Miss Smithers . . . can you hear me?”
For a few seconds the naked girl did nothing. Then she nodded slowly.
“I’ll make this quick. I’ve come to talk to you about your involvement with the gymnastics team. I’m sure you noticed the, uh, disruptive behavior at the last meet at the end of last semester. This can only be detrimental to the college, as well as not being respectful to you or to the team as a whole. Therefore, we have decided to once again waive the athletic component of your scholarship.”
Miss Smithers didn’t seem to react to this news, except to wipe tears from her eyes, clasp her hands around her shins, and fix a dull, red-eyed stare down at her toes, which she flexed and unflexed once or twice.
“On the other hand, we have always hesitated at giving our scholarship students a free ride. Not that we are accusing you ahead of time of being lazy, not by any means . . . But we have decided to in lieu of the athletic component, assign you to a part-time task on campus.”
Again, she did nothing except stare down without emotion.
“In the past students in your position had been assigned to tasks in the library, or in various administration offices doing filing work, things of that nature. Unfortunately, all those jobs are filled up at the moment. Actually, for you it is maybe not so unfortunate, because, let’s be frank, those jobs have the reputation of being very dull. I think you’ll like the assignment we have found for you.
“We have decided to assign you to the campus grounds crew. I have been told the work is not that arduous, and you will get some fresh air away from the books. Your, uh, lifestyle will be taken into account as far as outside work during the cold weather. . . The job will be ten hours a week, which is roughly the amount of time previously taken up by the gymnastics team. Coach Snyder, by the way, supports this move, though reluctantly. She says you really ‘gave your all’ for the team and will be happy to provide a reference if you need one in the future.”
We were all waiting for Miss Smithers to respond to this development. At first it seemed like it would be odd news, but after the Dean explained the situation this morning and I thought about it for a while, it seemed like a humane and reasonable solution, given the problems at the gymnastics meets which the Dean had told me about.
The Dean, apparently having given up getting a reaction from Miss Smithers, sighed. “You will report to Mr. Winant at the physical plant. I’ll send you an intercampus note with all the information.”
The Dean then gave Miss Smithers an odd look, somehow sterner than before. In a clear voice, he said, “Dr. Harridance tells me that what you are helping with today is only the first . . . in a series of increasingly intense experiments . . . which will continue all semester.” God, if he wanted to sound ominous for some reason, with his stern diction and long pauses he certainly succeeded! I remembered that this was essentially what Harridance had told us over coffee, but then I thought, What could be more “intense” than what she had just been through!
The Dean waited a moment and then addressed the naked young woman again as she continued to rest her head on her hands, staring downward. “Miss Smithers . . . is there something you’d like to say?”
She took a slow deep breath and then just as slowly exhaled. She looked up slightly, without focus, into the middle distance. We could see the dried tracks of her tears on her cheeks. I thought I detected an strange glint of determination. Then she slowly and deliberately shook her head.
The three of us left soon after that, each of us a little weak and shaky at what we had seen. It had been an intense experience for us too. As we walked out of the Institute and gratefully took in some of the cold winter air, I asked the Dean what it was he was waiting for Miss Smithers to say. He didn’t answer me directly, but shook his head and said, “She is a pretty tough girl.”
Remembering what I had seen, realizing what Miss Smithers was willing to do for the cause of science, I could only agree. I looked over at Noyes and said, “So you still think she’s only faking!” The man just grunted and said, “We’ll see.” I shook my head in disbelief. Some people are just impossible!
I’ve learned that it seems to be the habit of Miss Smithers, or at least her roommate Jen McIntyre, whose idea it seems to be, to go to the Student Union around 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which according to schedule I’ve been given is after Miss Smithers’s calculus class. So I’ve gotten the most out of my second-floor perch by being here at those times. It was boring at first, but lately I’ve been picking up little nuances and changes from day to day in how Miss Smithers and her friends interact.
The last few days, for example, it seems like our campus nudist has been frowning a lot. It’s not just her usual somberness. She seems unhappy about something, and it seems to do with Miss Rabinowitz. Sitting in her usual place the other day, surrounded by her “court”, Miss Smithers seemed to make an effort to maximize the distance between herself and Miss Rabinowitz, who was sitting next to her and trying to engage her in conversation. I’m not sure but I think this unhappiness has something to do with Miss Smithers being naked. Of course, probably a great deal of what Miss Smithers does and thinks is directly related to her nakedness. Her service as a model for the art classes, for example -- and especially that grueling (it seemed to me) job as a subject for those physiology experiments at the Chalfont Institute. I still find it hard to believe that within the walls of that old place, an 18-year-old girl is mechanically stimulated to orgasm during protracted sessions on a weekly basis!
This really is a fine little office I’ve been given. I enjoy the solitude. Nobody knows I’m here and, unlike my old office in the Faculty Building, there are no interruptions. I come here to read, or to do some writing.
I was here last night, catching up on my letter writing, when I looked up and saw Miss Smithers entering the concourse area with another girl. The girl had long unstyled hair, wire-rimmed glasses, and was wearing a parka opened to show a flannel shirt, jeans and hiking boots. She kind of looked like one of the Christian students, or one of those outdoorsy local students -- it is easy to sort students here out among various “types” -- and indeed it turned out she was taking her naked friend toward a room where the weekly born-again Christian prayer meetings are held. Inside I could see a couple of dozen students milling around, all a very clean-cut crowd. There was one older person, Rev. Boughton I think his name is, who has a little church on the edge of town. He was dressed as casually as the others.
Miss Smithers’s friend took her by the hand and was leading her to the room but when they were still some distance away (and still out of view of the people inside) Miss Smithers balked. It looked like she was changing her mind about attending. The two spoke for a minute, and then the girl in the glasses looked at Miss Smithers for a moment without speaking, and then the two separated, the girl going to the meeting and Miss Smithers walking away. It seemed to me that the girl was disappointed that Miss Smithers was not coming to the meeting.
I watched Miss Smithers wander off, staying out of eyeshot of the people in the prayer meeting. She went over to the lounge area, where there are couches and overstuffed chairs with pillows. (In the old days because of the constant spilling of drinks and beer -- this was back when the drinking age was 18, and campus drinking was common -- the college was forced to remove this furniture. I’m glad that since the college re-installed it several years ago the students have been fairly careful to keep it clean.) Miss Smithers, not having taken her usual backpack, seemed even more naked than usual. All she had with her was that little pouch wrapped around her ankle where she keeps her I.D. card, money, etc. She glanced around furtively, then hugged herself as if cold, looking down at her bare feet as they slowly and silently glided across the bare tile floor toward the furniture.
She sat down on one of the couches and once again looked around. It was quiet, except for some faint voices coming from the prayer meeting at the other end of the concourse. As is usual this time of night, the lights were dimmed and there was nobody in the concourse area. Then Miss Smithers did an odd thing. She took two of the big pillows and, sitting back, put one over her breasts and the other over her crotch. She then brought her feet up to sit cross-legged, so that her legs and feet were hidden behind the lower pillow as well.
It seemed strange to me that such a dedicated nudist would be covering herself. Yet there she sat, only her head and her bare arms visible, and then she closed her eyes. It seemed once again like she was praying or meditating. Then she hugged the pillows to her body and smiled and exhaled peacefully.
What kind of behavior was this? Here was a committed nudist apparently reveling in covering her body. Maybe she was backsliding, yielding to temptation. In the context of her religion, was she -- sinning?
After looking at her for a few moments I discarded this idea as absurd. Miss Smithers had shown me over and over that she was too committed to being naked, and had never shown any evidence of wanting to be otherwise. A far more likely explanation was simply that she liked the feel of the soft pillows against her bare skin. This made me realize that her religion was not pure self-denial or asceticism. There were some benefits to being naked all the time. I tried to imagine what it would be like to feel pillows against one’s skin after being naked for an extended period. It would probably feel pretty sensuous. I remember as a child the feeling of wearing long pants to school in September after being in shorts all summer. Like a blind person whose ear becomes sharp, it is easy to see how a naked person would become more alive to tactile sensations.
This theory seemed to be confirmed as Miss Smithers rubbed the pillows against herself and shifted beneath them, her mouth parting in a relieved smile. Then she put her head back, still smiling. It was such a pleasure to see this worthy, brave young lady in a happy mood, in contrast to her usual somberness.
And similarly it was disappointing when, at the sound of a door opening somewhere, Miss Smithers quickly threw the pillows aside and stood up. She was back to her bolt upright mood, breasts thrown forward, stomach in, almost a military posture, and then she strode out of the Student Union in the direction of her dorm.
. . .
Today I observed Miss Smithers again but it was unexpected. I was at Mountain Bank, sitting at the assistant manager’s desk straightening out some things with my certificates, when the flash of bare skin caught my peripheral vision. I turned to see Miss Smithers entering through the revolving door, coming in behind the same girl who had tried to get her to go to the prayer meeting. I was a little surprised to see our campus nudist off campus. Then again, the bank is only a couple of blocks away; you can see the bank’s time-temperature sign from almost any part of campus.
It was a cloudy, slushy day. As she came in Miss Smithers, who once again did not have a backpack but only had her ankle pouch on, shook the slush off her toes and then gingerly followed her friend to one of the tellers’ windows.
The reaction of the other people was instant and electric. Everyone stopped talking and stared at this naked girl, whom they had certainly heard about, but probably never actually saw. I imagine Miss Smithers had been off campus before, but evidently no more than once or twice. These people clearly did not have the sense of familiarity (though not indifference) which characterizes the reactions of people on campus. The naked girl moved through a thick silence of unspoken tension.
It took a second before the security guard recovered his wits, but once he did he shot out to confront her. The man was about fifty years old and overweight and probably not very smart. He stuttered as his gaze went nervously back and forth between Miss Smithers’s face and her lower body. “Miss, Miss, please leave now, you can’t come in here like that, please leave now, Miss!!”
The guard’s words seemed to loosen the tongues of the people in the bank, mostly retired people like me at this time of day. I overheard loud whispers to the effect of, “There she is!” and “Is she nuts, in this weather?” and “Shameful!” Miss Smithers seemed frightened and intimidated and started to turn to leave when her friend stood right in front of the guard to intercede. Her friend was about to say something when the bank manager, Brian Ratigan, interceded.
I’ve met Mr. Ratigan from time to time. He’s almost my age, and he always seemed to me to be one of those men who drinks a little too much, laughs a little too loud, gossips a little too often . . . and overall is a little too crude. A strangely abrasive personality for a bank manager. Tall and red-faced, he wears a toupee which is far too “young” for him and dresses like a real dandy. He knows some of the trustees; his bank has made several large donations to the college over the years.
He seemed to be almost expecting to see a naked girl walk into his bank. He came over and in his usual boisterous voice, which could be heard all over the bank, said, “It’s O.K., George. Young lady, you can come with me.” He then escorted Miss Smithers and her friend to his office, which is enclosed by glass walls. He had them sit down and I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but from the conversation between him and the friend, and Miss Smithers’s tentative and infrequent speaking, I gathered that her friend was helping Miss Smithers open an account. People kept looking at the naked girl from time to time, but their view of her was mostly blocked -- all one could see was her bare shoulders and her bare heels and calves crossed under the chair -- and they basically went back to what they were doing.
I continued with arranging and counting up my certificates at one of the customer tables. When I was done I looked up again. Miss Smithers was leaning forward to sign some things on Ratigan’s desk, and I couldn’t help but notice that he was watching her breasts jiggle as she wrote. It was a lascivious look, probably entirely in character for him, though I was surprised that he would be so open about it. Miss Smithers’s friend didn’t notice, being occupied with the forms the naked girl was signing.
Then they were finished and Ratigan gave Miss Smithers her account book. She looked it over; she’s just a teenager, and possibly it was the first bank account she ever had in her own name. Then the two girls got up and turned to leave.
As she was turning, Miss Smithers bent over to try to put the account book into her ankle pouch. It wouldn’t fit, and as she tried to squeeze it in I was appalled to notice Ratigan, still sitting at his desk, staring at her rear, right at her private parts! No doubt these private parts were plainly visible; I thought of my own view of her anal area and genitals which was afforded by her bent-over posture during that art class, and realized that Ratigan must be presented with the exact same view. My opinion of this man immediately took a nosedive. The fact that he was taking such shameful advantage of this young lady (even though she didn’t realize it)!
After a few seconds of struggling Miss Smithers turned slightly and gave one last try at fitting the account book into her ankle pouch. Now that she was at this angle I could see her face was very red; no doubt blood had rushed into it due to its almost upside-down position. This was another treat for Ratigan’s lascivious nature as he stared intensely at the girl’s hanging, swaying breasts. Finally Miss Smithers gave up on the ankle pouch and handed the account book to her friend, who put it into her coat pocket.
The two girls quickly walked out of the bank, Miss Smithers’s nakedness once again causing everyone to stop and stare. We all watched her as she walked away into the distance on the slushy sidewalk, her feet and buttocks starting to flush red from the cold, next to her fully clothed friend.
Tonight I stopped briefly to look in at the Student Government meeting. The Student Assembly is a very big group, about fifty members, and they meet in one of the big lecture halls. Miss Smithers has apparently been elected Recording Secretary. The officers were seated at a table in front, next to the Vice President who presided from the lectern. This was a sight that is obviously unique to any student government meeting in the world: a naked girl sitting cross-legged on the table, writing notes of the meeting on a legal pad. She was hunched over, partially hiding her breasts with her arms. Her toes flexed from time to time as she wrote. At one point she leaned back and stretched her arms, treating the whole room to an unobstructed sight of her breasts and her flat tummy -- her pubic hair was hidden under the paid -- before slouching forward again to resume writing.
Today I made the 30-mile drive to Plainfield to see the college drama club’s production of “Ariadne”, a play about Greek mythology. The college really has a very good drama operation. The few times I’ve seen their stagings, they’ve always done a very good job. I had been asked to observe this particular production because according to the Dean, per the agreement she had signed Miss Smithers had been asked to participate by the director, a professor whose name I’ve forgotten. They had been rehearsing for a few weeks and this was the first of five scheduled showings at various venues in the area.
The Plainfield theater, at the local community college, was a little “theater in the round”, a smallish stage surrounded by little grandstands on four sides. The whole room was painted black, no doubt to give greater prominence to what was on stage. As the show was about to begin and the lights dimmed I saw that the stands were almost full and estimated maybe a hundred people in attendance.
Ariadne, as I recall, was a princess of some kind who eloped with Theseus, only to be abandoned on the Island of Naxos. I forget what happened to her after that, so I don’t know if this play was an accurate retelling of the story. There was no synopsis on the playbill, but I did see on the cast of characters (about ten in all) that Miss Smithers was to play Ariadne herself! Naturally I assumed that she would play the part in the nude and my first, uneasy though was that this was an all-nude production, like those god-awful “avant garde” productions of the late 1960’s. But when the first scene began, between Ariadne’s father and Theseus, I was relieved to see that everyone was clothed -- very completely and floridly clothed, in fact. A great deal must have gone into the wardrobe for this production. I wondered how a naked character would integrate with the rest of the play.
The first act went by without any appearance by Miss Smithers. Ariadne was referred to often, and was the center of the play, but in an ironic twist the playwright had decided to keep her off-stage. The lights went up at intermission and I wondered when she would appear. Just then I overheard two very young local co-eds sitting in front of me. One was saying, “I can’t believe it.” The other said, “It’s true. The girl who plays Ariadne is going to be naked. And she goes around naked in real life all the time at Campbell-Frank, too!” “That’s impossible. She must freeze to death!” “Well, that’s what I hear.” No doubt the rumor of seeing a naked girl onstage accounted for the relatively big turnout!
The moment I was waiting for happened midway through the last act. The entire stage went black; I couldn’t see a thing. Then some recorded music started, mournful, slow, it sounded like an oboe accompanied by piano. Suddenly the bright, white skin of the naked girl, standing still in a frozen pirhouette, appeared at one end of the stage, lit by spotlights.
Her bare white body shone so brightly that it almost hurt my eyes, set against the total darkness of the rest of the stage. Nothing else was visible but Miss Smithers, as she turned and bent and stepped slowly and nervously through the steps of her mournful dance, meant to depict a young maiden left abandoned on an Aegean island. The director had done well to choose Miss Smithers for this part; her nakedness only emphasized the sense of abandonment and helplessness. The light was so harsh and bright that one could see the tiny shadows cast by her nipples and even by her individual pubic hairs (this was a really small theatre where everyone felt right up close to the actors on stage).
Her movements were awkward and nervous. I don’t know if this was intentional, but if so it was appropriate, given her role. Also very appropriate was her facial expression -- a combination of fear, nervousness, and hurt showed in her pretty eyes, as if she could not believe that this was really happening to her. The woefulness of her mood was very touching -- she was playing the part of a scared, nervous, bereft princess, and playing it expertly.
She made it to the other end of the stage -- you could actually see her quivering -- and then she looked up and around, toward the people in the stands, though in the bright lights I doubt if she could really see us. The spotlights to her face brightly showed the fear, terror even, in her eyes. This was a girl who was terrified. She then closed her eyes with a pained look, and carefully executed a stage fall onto a three-step black staircase on the stage. There she lay, motionless.
Other characters came on and dialog resumed, but it was hard to pay attention to it. I’m sure everyone’s attention, like mine, was fixed on the bright naked body draped on the black stairs. The end of the play came a few minutes later, with -- I forget his name -- the character who saves Ariadne from the island, and becomes her new lover, picking Ariadne/Miss Smithers up from the staircase. Her eyes still closed, he embraced her, and Ariadne’s father smiled and put his hand on her cheek. Miss Smithers managed a nervous smile and the lights went out. She had not spoken a word.
The play was over and it got quite an ovation. The cast stood as one to acknowledge the applause from each side. Miss Smithers, being her usual unassuming self, hid in the middle, out of view, but the others pushed her out in front, and the applause intensified. Though only onstage for a short time, with no words to say, her striking and intense portrayal had made a strong impression! The director came onstage to acknowledge the cheers, then he took Miss Smithers by the hand and led her to each of the four sides of the stage, holding her hand up like a boxing champion, to the increased applause, in which the rest of the cast joined. I can’t get over how popular this quiet girl is -- even among actors who are famous for being jealous! As for Miss Smithers herself, she had the usual uncomfortable expression that modest people have when they are thrust into the spotlight.
Afterwards there was a little reception in the lobby. I looked for Miss Smithers, wishing to congratulate her. I was apparently not the only one. But someone said that she was not feeling well and had excused herself to go to the ladies’ room. I waited for a while but she still didn’t appear. I left, figuring it was just as well that I didn’t speak to her -- after all, what was I doing here except as a member of the committee, and the committee is supposed to be secret.
Today I was heartened to see that Miss Smithers’s legacy would last at this college long after she graduated.
It was an unusually warm day for this time of year, over 60 degrees. Upon leaving the house I needed to put on only a sweater. I decided to take a walk along the college quad. Fitting for the first day of spring, there were students (and some faculty) sitting outside on benches, eating lunch, a few students with guitars. At times like this the college is at its best. I didn’t see one, but I would not have been surprised to find a photographer taking pictures for the yearbook, or for the new college catalog.
I was coming up to the center of the big quad, next to the Student Union building, where traffic is heaviest and where there used to be a kiosk with a bulletin board, when I saw a small crowd of students watching something in their midst. When I got closer I saw that the focus of their attention was Miss Smithers, who was up in the air posing for good old Jan Latimer. Jan is retired now like me, but for many years was one of the bright lights of the art faculty. His sculptures have been seen in several prestigious galleries in Boston and New York and Montreal, and a couple of them have been permanent installations around campus. He does figures, but in a ragged, abstract style. At first they can seem careless and crude, but they grow on you.
He was sitting at his easel, puffing on his pipe in the warmish sun, making a detailed sketch of Miss Smithers’s pose. I stopped by and said hi. He explained what was happening. In place of the kiosk the college had decided to put one of his sculptures there, which he considered to be a very flattering thank-you for his years with the college. (Actually the college has long been grateful to him for staying here; someone of his standing could have moved to a more prestigious faculty a long time ago.) He had heard of Miss Smithers’s exceptional modeling skills from Professor Brignon and had enlisted her services.
Jan said it was best to have Miss Smithers pose in the exact spot where the sculpture would be so that he could design it for maximum effect. This was in addition to several photographs he had made of Miss Smithers in this pose in his studio.
He had decided that the sculpture would represent a dancer.
Accordingly, Miss Smithers was standing on one leg on a narrow but rather high pedestal about five feet tall. She was bent forward at the waist with her arms spread out in front of her as if flying, and the other leg extended high up and to one side behind her. To keep her in this position Jan had set up posts upon which she could rest each hand and the rear foot. I could see how this pose would be of great benefit to Jan’s talents. High up and spread out as Miss Smithers was, it was easy to see every inch of her well-toned body, which as I have noted is a perfect specimen of the female form.
Jan told me Miss Smithers was staying aloft thus for ten minute periods, and then rest for a couple of minutes before resuming. They had been there for about half an hour, with half an hour more to go. Naturally the sight was attracting many onlookers, many of whom obviously knew Miss Smithers well. I could hear some of them actually conversing with her. “You look so fine, Tami!” and “That was a tough lecture in calculus yesterday, wasn’t it?” were typical comments.
Miss Smithers responded, but oddly didn’t look down at who she was answering. Instead, she kept her chin elevated, looking up at the sky. Presumably this was so that she could keep the pose Jan wanted. I did notice a somewhat pained expression on her face, probably from the exertion of her stretched-out pose. She also closed her eyes for periods as if praying. She certainly seems to meditate or pray often.
I walked around the circumference of the crowd, getting a look at the young lady from various angles. The sun lit her very well, the shadows putting her various curves and planes into sharp relief. Her breasts sloped down gently from her forward-bent torso, her nipples stiff and erect as they always seem to be, casting little pointy shadows of their own. Her arms and hands extended delicately. Her rear leg was perfectly straight, toes pointed in the same direction, as only a flexible gymnast can do.
I couldn’t help but notice that her legs being so spread, her vaginal lips were separated and her anal area was clearly in view, indeed almost on display; the sun was hitting it directly. There were a lot of people back in that part of the circle, including Miss McIntyre, who was speaking to Jeffrey Dillon. I was surprised to hear the frankness of Miss McIntyre’s remarks; I knew she was a lesbian, but she seemed totally uninhibited as she extolled Miss Smithers’s features to Mr. Dillon. “Look at those pussy lips, they’re so open and pink, I could just lick them!” she said, loudly enough for people around her to hear. “Tami, you are just so beautiful! And look at that asshole, Jeffrey! See how neat and round it is. . . I’d love to stick my tongue right up into it!” This last remark brought some good-natured gagging from some people around her. “Oh, Jen!” one of them, a full-figured Latina-looking girl, said with friendly exasperation.
“It is fine looking butthole,” Mr. Dillon concurred. As for Miss Smithers, she obviously heard these remarks, but continued to keep her eyes closed and her head turned toward the heavens. She sniffled. How ironic! I had been told that throughout the frigid winter months this naked girl had never once reported sick to the health center. But now that the weather was finally warm she seemed to be coming down with a cold!
As I said goodbye to Jan and went my way, I looked briefly back at the naked girl stretching out over the watching crowd in the middle of the quad. I wondered if, despite her unassuming nature, Miss Smithers would nonetheless feel pride at the thought of her likeness (or at least an abstract representation of it) presiding over the center of campus. Once the sculpture was installed (Jan said, probably when school begins in September) she would pass her nude figure several times every day, as would everyone else, for the next three years until she graduated. Everyone would know it was her, especially since Jan’s planned title, to be affixed to the base, was “Tami Takes Flight”. It would probably appear in the college catalog and every semester’s schedule of classes, perhaps on the cover. After she graduated, every time she returned to visit, it would be the first thing she sees, for years and years. And every time she saw it, in person or in a catalog, she would think back to this day. Again, what a lucky girl, to be so honored. I wonder what her thoughts were upon realizing all this!
Tonight I visited the Gloria Humboldt Gallery to see the Junior Exhibit of Miss Smithers’s friend, the Fine Arts photography major Jeffrey Dillon. I was told that Miss Smithers had been a model for some of his work. I’d been to Humboldt only once or twice, I think a few years ago to see an exhibition of Latimer’s. It’s a small, unprepossessing building near the middle of campus, easy to miss if you’re not specifically looking for it. Students from the Fine Arts school are required to put on two exhibitions, I think, one in their junior year and one as a senior.
I had seen posters out in front of Humboldt for student exhibitions in the past, and it was apparent that attendance is usually sparse, probably just the student’s friends and a few faculty. But when I got to Humboldt just after the 8 p.m. opening time for Mr. Dillon’s exhibition, I could hardly fit into the front door. There were people everywhere, most of them students, but a good many faculty too. I made my way through the lobby and then came upon the first room -- the exhibit rooms in Humboldt are set up so that you go through one at a time, circling back to the lobby again -- and then came upon the first samples of the impressive work of this talented young man. I didn’t see anyone I recognized, though there were certainly plenty of people.
The first room was made up of large black and whites of various scenes around campus. Most were still lifes, of a snowy field, bare trees against a gray sky, icicles hanging from eaves, things of that sort. All done well. These were winter scenes, in which there was little color, hence I suppose the choice to use black and white film.
One picture served, in retrospect, as a foreshadowing of the rest of the exhibit. The great lawn in from of Old Main, lined on each side by trees, covered with virgin snow. It was a bright, sunny early morning, judging from the harshness of the light. The trees were bare and shiny with ice -- this might have been right after that ice storm we had a month or so ago. Frozen snow lay in the crotches of the branches. The scene was silent, still, and lifeless -- until, after looking closely for a moment, you saw the sole figure of a slender, naked young woman, resting her back against one of the trees, one bare foot raised up in back with the sole pressing flat against the icy tree trunk. The girl’s eyes were cast down pensively. This, of course, was Miss Smithers. With such a provocative picture one’s imagination tends to work overtime. It was hard to tell if the girl was waiting for something to happen, waiting for someone to arrive, or whether she was the last person on earth, all other people and all her clothes stripped away, wondering what to do now that she was left naked and alone in this icy wilderness.
I shook myself loose from these thoughts and went on into the next room, which was considerably more crowded. I soon found out why. The photographs here all included Miss Smithers. The photography of naked women is an old and much-practiced tradition, of course, done with varying degrees of artistry, tact, and skill. But I have never seen the naked female form “used” in quite the way Mr. Dillon made use of Miss Smithers’s nude attributes. I will try to list all of them, describing each photo in turn:
The mountain north of campus, next to which in sharp close-up is an upturned bare breast with a stiff nipple sticking up. The breast is remarkably like the mountain in shape. I (and no doubt many people on campus) have come to recognize that breast as Miss Smithers’s.
As everyone knows, the statue of Joshua Campbell pointing “onward and upward”, just off the quad, has been removed temporarily for cleaning. Three girls in winter coats sitting and chatting on the bench that makes up part of the pedestal. On the pedestal, pointing “onward and upward”, is the nude Miss Smithers, with a puckish smile on her face. Quite an improvement, one must admit, over stern and heavily clothed old Joshua.
One particularly arresting picture was taken up mostly by the black, dirty soles of Miss Smithers, her toes spread, as her smiling face looks at the camera from behind, slightly out of focus. The smile on her face is one which you don’t see often from her: wide, good-natured, relaxed. The picture is both repellent (because of the dirty feet) and appealing. The rapport with her photographer Mr. Dillon is obvious.
In another photo the same smile looks out at you, squinting in the sun, from Miss Smithers’s full frontal nakedness standing in front of a long, snowy rise. The snow behind her is virgin except for a track of her bare footprints behind her, beginning from behind the rise, which she made heading toward the camera. The beginning of the rise seems a couple of hundred yards away. The photo seems to be stressing the fact that despite the cold, Miss Smithers has slowly and relaxedly walked naked and barefoot through the snow from behind the rise, a jaunt which must have taken ten minutes at least.
One picture almost made me laugh. Two girls, again in heavy winter coats, pucker their lips for the camera. Between them, the pucker of the anus of the bent-over naked girl, clearly visible between the buttocks which she is spreading with her hands, completes the trio of puckers. Though one can’t see her face, it is obvious that this is a young woman totally at east with every inch of her naked body.
Four girls in a line this time, the right foot of each poised on a railing in front, showing off their footwear with a supermodel’s haughty look on their faces. Indeed the shoes, high heeled and shiny black, are quite elegant looking, at least as to three of the girls. The second girl from the right, totally naked, displays her bare foot in the same pose as if it were another shoe. Her expression is as haughty as the other girls’. This could be the death of the fashion industry!
Another indoor shot, taken in one of the dance studios in San Beueno Hall. Six female ballet students leaning in toward the barre, one foot up, doing a stretching exercise. One of them is without leotards, tights, or ballet shoes.
The stylishly clothed Miss McIntyre looking right at the camera with a horrified look, covering her breasts with one hand and her crotch with the other, as if caught naked. Next to her, looking on and smiling, the fully naked Miss Smithers, arms at her sides, feet slightly apart, totally at ease.
Five people sitting in a row, holding up consecutively numbered sheets of paper. Each has one for each hand. Miss Smithers, in the middle, holds up numbers “5” and “6”, but her legs are extended up and forward and she is holding “7” and “8” clasped in the toes of each foot. The sheets therefore go up to “12”, instead of “10” as one would expect. The point evidently is: With her bare feet available to her, Miss Smithers in effect has four hands.
A somber picture, taken on a foggy day. Three female students, in their winter clothes, are playing hopscotch like little girls. The yarn bows in their hair, and the doll one holds in her hand, add to the sense of anachronism. To one side and closer to the camera is the brick edge of a building, in front of which stands the naked Miss Smithers, back against the wall, hands crossed behind her back, looking down with a sad expression, as if the others wouldn’t let her play with them because she was naked. Or was she hiding from them? Whatever the story that is being told, it is so totally unlike the way people cluster around Miss Smithers in real life that the scene is a bit jarring.
In a far more comforting scene, she is walking away from the camera with a male student, African American, elegantly dressed, his black hand making a sharp contrast as it wraps around her bare white shoulder. It has recently rained and the affectionate couple is walking down a muddy path, the mud all over her feet and his shoes. The man I recognize as her boyfriend, Rod Sykes.
A playful picture taken on a snowy day of Miss Smithers, her bare body and hair dusted with powdery snow, pointing an icicle at Miss McIntyre as if to say, “This is a stickup!” Miss McIntyre, her eyes fixed on the icicle, obligingly has her hands up. Is Miss Smithers demanding that Miss McIntyre hand over at least some of her clothes? Or is she an allegorical winter nymph, robbing Miss McIntyre of the joys of warm weather?
March 29 (cont’d).
Not all the pictures had Miss Smithers in them. There was a series of studies of parts of campus buildings, taken at odd angles in closeup so that they are unrecognizable. Only by looking below at the descriptive titles does one realize that one is looking at a sight he sees every day on campus. But even here Miss Smithers made it into one picture, and in a striking way; what looks at first glance like an aerial long view of a three-way snowmobile track turns out to be the dimple at the top of Miss Smithers’s buttocks. Again, something you see every day on campus, magnified and presented in a new light.
Three tracks of footprints on a snowy path, taken at night in harsh artificial light. Two were from seemingly immense hiking boots with well-pronounced treads. The third track, to one side, was delicate and made by bare feet, the print of every toe clearly visible in the powdery snow.
Finally I got to a room where the conversation was more muted, where people’s attention was absolutely arrested by the photos. These photos were of Miss Smithers and they were unambiguously sexual. There was a series showing just her head and bare shoulders, with her looking at the camera with what one immediately recognized as the expressions of a woman in orgasm, or approaching it. The look of dull amazement. Then, heavy-lidded capitulation to feelings beyond her control. Then, eyes bugged out as the orgasm crests. Finally, squinting, the photo out of focus, as if her spasms had knocked the camera out of place. It was impossible not to find these pictures arousing. Yet, there was no explicit depiction of erogenous zones, just the face and shoulders of a young woman.
I thought back to that unsettling view we had of Miss Smithers strapped down and wired at the Chalfont Institute, artificially stimulated to orgasm. Interestingly, in the series I am describing one there was none of the look of terror and agony that crossed her features in that Chalfont lab. Presumably when these photos were taken she was only acting.
Other photos were more explicit. In one, Miss Smithers is standing in front of a teacher’s desk, legs well apart, spreading her vaginal lips with her fingers, and pointing to what looks like her clitoris. Mouth open in mid-word, she is matter-of-factly educating the students who listen attentively from their desks.
A related photo reminded me somewhat of Chalfont again. Here she was sitting on top of the teacher’s desk, leaning back, as a hooded figure had her (his?) head pressed against her crotch. Miss Smithers, sweating (one could guess that her naked body had been sprayed with an atomizer), eyes wide open and looking up slightly, was again in mid-speech. Around the desk the students were again taking down her words, writing busily in their notebooks. This was perhaps a later point in the “sex education” lecture depicted in the previous photo. Or one would guess.
I looked again at the hooded figure and realized why it was covered. Mr. Dillon probably felt he was avoiding trouble by not showing actual, explicit sexual contact. Even in this open-minded age the college does have its sensibilities, as I well know from the fact that I have been put on this committee!
These photos were in the last room before one came back to the lobby. There, I saw a new sign directing people to a reception in the lounge downstairs. I went down, with several people in front of me and behind me.
The chatter of cocktail party conversation is something that is recognizable and all too familiar to anyone who moves in academic circles. Usually I think of it with dread, remembering all the times when I had to stand around, a look of interest frozen on my face, and listen to bores. But here moving around in effect incognito -- I had yet to see anyone I knew personally -- I was very interested in seeing who was here and hearing what people were saying. The black felt-covered floor and draped walls in this elegant room mellowed the chatter and made it even more agreeable. The traditional wine and cheese tables were there, only as the sign in front of the filled cups indicated, the wine had been replaced with grape juice, no doubt in light of the many people here who had not reached drinking age.
It was a young crowd, overwhelmingly, though sprinkled with some faculty, a couple of whom I recognized vaguely. I looked around and saw that there was a “front” of the room, at which Jeffrey Dillon himself stood, poised and proud, accepting the congratulations of several people. He was a tall, elegant figure in a haircut which I think was deliberately meant to evoke Oscar Wilde, and a long black coat. He wore a silver chain necklace and a black turtleneck, looking like a good-natured Mephistopheles. Behind him, mounted on the drapes, were blowups of two of the photos I had seen -- the wide view of the great lawn with Miss Smithers in the distance leaning against the icy tree, and one of the head and shoulder shots, the one where her eyes are wide open as if she were cresting in orgasm. It was very bold of him, I thought, to feature one of the more risqué photos at his reception.
As I approached him Miss Smithers came into view, her bare skin immediately getting one’s attention. She was radiant! Her dark red hair had been braided around the top of her head, upon which sat a small silver tiara. A silver necklace was draped around her, with several jewels lying over the tops of her breasts. As I got closer and looked down, I saw that she also wore a couple of those toe rings which have become popular (at least in the warm weather). She looked the very essence of a princess, especially with her dignified bearing. She was gracefully shy, her eyes downcast as she stood near Mr. Dillon and accepted the thanks of her admirers. Mr. Dillon clearly was allowing her to act as the “co-star” of this reception, as indeed was proper, considering that most of the photos had utilized her as a model.
I stood back in the middle of the crowd, which had begun to focus their attention on Mr. Dillon and Miss Smithers as a man with a big flash camera stood in front of them and prepared their pose for a picture. I looked around. Miss McIntyre and Miss Rabinowitz were nearby. So was the girl with the wire glasses I’ve written about. Miss Smithers’s boyfriend. Mr. Sykes, was diplomatically standing in back, letting his girlfriend have her moment in the sun. It was a very affectionate crowd; seemingly everyone was a personal friend of Mr. Dillon and Miss Smithers. It had the air of a birthday party. I felt good for Mr. Dillon, who is an “out” homosexual; it was good to see that this sweet-natured young man would have such a warm and appreciative reception to his exhibition, into which he had obviously put so much thought and effort.
Mr. Dillon put his arm around Miss Smithers as they smiled for the flash of the pictures. After the photographer said, “Thank you,” both of the young people looked on in surprise as spontaneous applause broke out. “Thank you, thank you,” he said, and looking over at Miss Smithers, “let’s have a hand for my model, the ultimate goddess, Tami Smithers! As everyone knows, Tami rules!!” He clapped and so did everybody else, as our campus nudist blushed visibly from her face down to her breasts, smiling and looking down at the floor. Mr. Dillon then put his arm around her and looked down at her nakedness and said, “Very easy on the eyes, too. . . I wish you were a guy!”
There was a lot of laughter at this. Then he said, “Tami, I’d be very honored if you’d sign your photo, that one,” he said, getting out a pen and pointing with it at the photo of the wide-eyed head and shoulders shot. She took the pen and, blushing again, walked over to the photo and bent down on one knee to sign her name in the lower right corner. A flash erupted as the photographer, prompted by Mr. Dillon, crouched in front of Miss Smithers and took another photo. Miss Smithers, who I noticed is left-handed, carefully inscribed the photo with a neat, tiny signature. She got up but then as an afterthought went back and added, “To Jeff, With much love.” When she gave the pen back to Mr. Dillon he hugged her, again to applause.
I can’t express how good this whole scene made me feel. The committee’s final meeting is set for tomorrow afternoon. I will emphatically tell them that in my opinion not only is Miss Smithers not disruptive, she is a most positive influence on everyone she meets and on the college as a whole!
This afternoon the committee had its final meeting in preparation for the drafting of its report to the trustees. The meeting was held in the little conference room down the hall from the Dean’s office in Rossland Hall, notable for having the worst coffee machine on campus. I had always remembered this room as the place where, in 1967, I was told that I was being granted tenure. But from now on I will remember it for this meeting, which was one surprise after another.
The Committee is headed by the Dean and advised by the college attorney, Henry Ross. Besides myself, the other members are the trustees Anthony Noyes and George Comstock, and the chair of the Foreign Languages Department, Mildred George. I’ve already written of my feelings as to Noyes, a big, overbearing, supremely cynical man. Mrs. George I know somewhat from my years on the faculty; she’s a warm, kind person and I’m glad she’s on this committee, as opposed to Comstock, a short, secretive man who, though he serves as a deacon at a local church, seems to always make me think of the word “reptilian”. Why Noyes and Comstock were picked for this committee is something I can only guess at. No doubt they needed some other trustees to be on it; why then these two?
The Dean, who has tried not to take sides, opened the meeting by asking us to give a summary of our observations, giving concrete examples, and then our recommendations. He stressed that the more we could put in our report in the way of specifics, the more persuasive it would be. He asked us to go in turn. I was first.
I recounted my observations from the second floor of the student union (leaving out the incident where Miss Smithers was receiving oral sex from under the table, it being potentially inflammatory and to me only of minor importance), at the art class, at the Jeffrey Dillon exhibit, etc. I said that Miss Smithers was an asset to the college community, a responsible young woman who was popular and exhibited great dignity in spite of her nudity, and that the distraction her nudity would inevitably create has been, at most, minor. I stressed her perfect class attendance and perfect grade record.
Mrs. George went next. She said she had not had time to observe Miss Smithers in various settings, her only close-up encounter being once when she found her crying in the lavatory “over a boyfriend”. This was last semester, and though Mrs. George didn’t know who the young man was, it appeared that Miss Smithers was now very happily involved with Mr. Sykes.
Mrs. George had been delegated the task of polling the faculty on what they thought of Miss Smithers. She said that though many faculty considered her religion to be an odd aberration, the comments as to her conduct and academic performance had been without exception positive. She received especially glowing reviews from Assistant Dean Congi, who said that Miss Smithers had assisted her in various sexual awareness workshops, including a special one on sexual dysfunction, given before a club of professional women in Rutland, in which Miss Smithers demonstrated the various stages of arousal, leading up to orgasm, assisted by her roommate. Dr. Congi had told her that this last workshop prompted tearful thanks from some women in the group who had never experienced orgasm, making it for Dr. Congi the most inspiring of all the educational activities she had conducted in her long association with the college.
At this news, Comstock’s eyes opened wide. “A demonstration of lesbian, uh, sex?? At a college-sponsored event? This is outrageous!” Noyes shook his head in disgust.
Mrs. George stressed that, though the workshop had its spectacular aspects, it was an off-campus event and it was not open to the general public. This did not seem to placate Comstock, who remained in a lather throughout the rest of Mrs. George’s remarks.
Mrs. George’s conclusions as to Miss Smithers were as positive as mine. Then they were rudely contradicted by Noyes, who was next to go. He has changed his theory. He no longer thinks that Miss Smithers’s nudity is an attempt to avoid punishment for an early episode of “streaking”. Now he tells us that for her going around naked is a sexual lark and she is playing us all for fools.
I asked him to give examples of particular observations which led him to believe this. Noyes rolled his eyes and sighed. “Where do I begin? . . . In the first place there’s that incident in the dining hall which Ross told us about,” he said, pointing at the attorney, who was expressionless as always. “Now there’s this lesbian demonstration. . . We’re paying her thirty dollars an hour -- thirty dollars! -- to stand around in art class naked like she always is. And giving her college credit for it! And now she’s got this cushy grounds crew job for thirty bucks an hour as well! She gets to show her body off to that -- crowd -- as well! She’s obviously turned on by exposing herself. Nothing but an exhibitionist. And getting paid for it hand over fist!” He stopped to catch his breath. “It’s better than working at Teaser’s,” he said, referring to that god-awful topless (or is it nude?) dancer place on the bad side of town. “Maybe we should invite the strippers at Teaser’s to help her out. Why doesn’t the college just go into the strip show business!!” He tried to calm down by taking a sip of coffee, which at least had the effect of re-focusing his mind. “Ugh. This coffee’s terrible!”
He was right about the coffee, which was causing grimaces all around the table. Too bad this small area of agreement was not enough to build on. I would have to just try to out and out talk him out of his view. It was a daunting prospect. One could see that, to someone predisposed to Noyes’s cynicism, the facts as he put them did follow an odd logic.
So I tried to focus on the more general aspects of Miss Smithers’s daily life. “She is a young woman of exceptional maturity and responsibility,” I said. She has a more diverse group of friends than probably anybody on campus. She is a unifying force. Now, as for her exhibitionism, as you put it, she could be doing things like dancing on tables in the Student Union, or showing her breasts to passersby. But she doesn’t do that. If anything she tends to stay in the background when she’s in public. As for the art class, and the grounds crew, things like that, those things weren’t her idea. They were presented to her as proposals and she happened to accept them.”
“In the case of the art classes, she’s gotten the whole department out of a potentially embarrassing hole,” Mrs. George chimed in. “They were having problems getting models. Jane Brignon is very grateful for that.” At this, in an unusual display of taking sides, Ross nodded his head.
I continued, “And then there’s that statue for Jan Latimer she’s posing for. Maybe an exhibitionist would enjoy having an abstract representation of herself looking over the center of campus. But Jan’s work is highly abstract. And, again, it was his idea, not hers. . . Finally, remember how, uh, uncomfortable her religion is. A just-for-kicks exhibitionist wouldn’t be naked all the time, even when it’s cold. This girl walks naked through the snow!” I was getting impassioned in my defense of this bravely religious girl. “Running around when it’s below zero out! Or in the cold rain! She sacrifices more for the sake of her religion than I do for mine, or you do for yours! It’s a very demanding religion! If it wasn’t for his prudishness, old Joshua Campbell would probably approve of such self-sacrifice.” I sat back, having made my case, or so I thought. I added in conclusion, “Since she got here she hasn’t worn a single scrap of clothing. Not one stitch. No matter where she is, no matter what the conditions.”
Noyes sat thinking for a moment, looking at me. For a moment I thought I had convinced him. Then he said, “No matter what we -- sooner or later -- “ . . . but he didn’t finish. I heard Comstock clear his throat. After a further pause Noyes said, evenly and calmly, “What about what’s going on at Chalfont?”
I cringed, remembering our visit to Miss Smithers being stimulated in the lab. Still I fought on. “What about it? She’s putting her body on the line for science. Doing Harridance and those folks a big favor.”
“And getting paid for it.”
“Of course. Subjects in scientific experiments always are. Or at least, often are.”
“Well,” Noyes said darkly, “according to Harridance, she’s up to ten orgasms per session.”
We all sat in silence; our gasps were inaudible. Then Mrs. George shook her head as in disbelief and said, “That girl really is a superwoman!”
“Yes, sir, she’s really getting her jollies,” Noyes said. “And getting paid for it. Quite a good deal, if you ask me. Probably if you ask anyone . . . should the word get out.”
I gulped. This Chalfont thing really was dangerous for the college. Certainly Harridance would keep his research a secret. But what about his assistants? Some of them were very young-looking, obviously only students.
The next exchange played out what I had just been thinking. “Are you saying you don’t trust Dr. Harridance?” Mrs. George asked.
“No, I trust him, but think of those student assistants he’s using,” Noyes said with a cocked eyebrow. “Some of them are barely older than the girl herself. Just seeing her naked body probably makes them want to go back to their dorm rooms and masturbate. These are immature boys who think with their glands. They are sure to spill the beans to someone.”
We all felt squeamish at this graphic evocation of young male sexuality, but he was right about the effects that hormones can have on a young man’s judgment.
“Then,” Noyes said slowly, “there are these to consider.” Comstock handed him a couple of blown-up 8 x 10 photos which he put on the table.
March 30 (cont’d).
The photos were both a little grainy but it was clear what was being shown. In one, taken from the quad at night, the lobby of one of the dorms is dominated by the sight of brightly lit female buttocks as a naked female, no doubt Miss Smithers, is bent over, fiddling with something on her ankle that was a blur, but which I recognized as her ankle pouch. Around her were several students waiting as if on line, clearly stunned by this sight. In this photo there is no attempt by Miss Smithers to be modest at all. She is clearly displaying her bare buttocks (and the private areas between them) to the waiting students and to the whole quad.
The other picture was even more shocking. A flushed, apparently drunk Miss Smithers bouncing on the floor, her bare toes pointed outward and her bent legs spread wide to reveal parted vaginal lips. Christmas tree ornaments are swinging from her nipples. On her flat, flexing stomach is written the words, “Merry Xmas!” with a heart drawn around her navel. Again, no attempt at modesty at all. In fact, her eyes are wild and her mouth is open as if shouting. She is smiling crazily, like a real “party animal”. This is entirely unlike the Tami Smithers I had been observing.
Mrs. George, flustered, said, “These pictures are out of order. This committee cannot be looking at these. I won’t be a party to blackmail.” She looked angrily at Noyes and Comstock. “How dare you put an investigator on her tail!” The pun was unintended and childish; I’m sure we were all thinking, “her bare tail”.
Noyes said, “I swear, they are not from an investigator. One was from a photography major. The other came to us from a, uh, friend of Miss Smithers’s in her home town.”
I was thinking: was this photography major Jeffrey Dillon? No, it couldn’t be; he would never take pictures of his naked friend secretly. In the party photo, I saw what looked like folded legs of (clothed) people in the background and part of a Christmas tree. I said, “The one picture is obviously just her reaching down to get something from her pouch. That’s where she keeps her I.D. card and money. Maybe she was just getting her I.D. card out to get into something going on in the lounge. As for the other picture, it’s obviously at a Christmas party. What she does at private parties is her own business.”
I regretted the use of the phrase “private parties”. It made her sound like a stripper for hire. Noyes capitalized on it. “Yes, indeed, it’s obvious she does parties. I wonder what she was paid to dance at this one.”
Noyes looked at all of us in turn. Then, with a look of concurrence from Comstock, Noyes said, “In my opinion this girl is getting her jollies and making money at our expense. She should not be allowed to take advantage of this college. She should be expelled.”
The Dean gave a sideways glance to Ross and then finally said something. “Mr. Noyes, it should be emphasized that our focus is on whether or not Miss Smithers is disruptive to the mission of the college. Whether she profits from the situation is irrelevant. That is her business. It reminds me of when Karl Rankin donated to the college and had his name put on a couple of college buildings. He advertised the fact widely and it ended up being a very good deal for him, but only a somewhat good deal for the college. Still, the important factor for us was that we got the donation and it was, on the whole, a good deal for us.”
Noyes was not moved by this analogy. “She is dangerous and potentially very disruptive. She should be expelled.”
After another glance at Ross, the Dean said, “She has an absolute Constitutional right to be naked. It is her religion and we have been unable -- I mean she has declared it to be her religion and we are bound to accept her representation as to that. To expel her we have to have clear and convincing evidence that the practice of that religion is disruptive to the educational mission of the college. I don’t see any such evidence.”
The tension was thick in the air. Noyes looked at the Dean with a steady stare. “Whether you will expel her or not, it still must be done.”
The Dean exhaled. “Well, the trustees are in control, they can overrule me or even the recommendations of this committee.” There was more tense silence.
Noyes took a few breaths and seemed to calmed down, though his gaze was cold and steady. “We trustees must think of the future of this college. Some of us, our families have been involved with it almost since it was founded. I respect your viewpoint, but you must understand that we must do what we must do.”
I think we all realized at that point that this committee was to be a useless endeavor. Maybe it served as political cover for the Dean; I don’t know. I find it hard to think that the Dean, who seemed to me to be fairly sincere (for a bureaucrat), would have (or could have) engineered such a confrontation.
I said, “I would at least like to go on record as defending Miss Smithers against anything the trustees would want to do.”
Mrs. George quickly said, “That goes for me too.”
I wish the Dean had fought some more. But he seemed to capitulate, saying, “I suggest we not issue one report. I suggest we each submit our own individual observations and conclusions.” There was a nodding of heads around the table. “Is five pages maximum enough? Have them in my office in two days, April 1st.”
Comstock gathered up the pictures. We all got up and left, leaving the cups of coffee half-full. Once again, it was truly terrible coffee.
I walked out with Mrs. George. Snow had fallen earlier, though it was not that cold and the snow was beginning to melt. It was dark by now; the reflection of the snow against the full moon illuminated the campus with a ghostly glow. Mrs. George and I glanced at each other and parted wordlessly. Who knows what will happen now? I have a bad feeling about it. But maybe the individual reports by me and Mrs. George would carry the day with the rest of the trustees.
As I passed by the dorm complex I was surprised to see Miss Smithers herself in the field in front of the dorms. My last observation of her was the most intriguing. She was shuffling about in the snow which stuck to her bare feet. She was a lonely and striking figure; even after all this time, I still can’t get used to seeing her nakedness in such an inhospitable wintry setting. As I stood and watched from a distance I realized that with her feet she was making a big drawing in the virgin snow. I looked at her bare skin flushed with the cold, her nipples hard and erect as they have been for months, as she slowly completed her task. She finished and then climbed up onto a low brick wall nearby. She sat on her haunches, hugging herself, her freezing toes hanging over the side of the wall, as she looked down at what she had done. Her skin was flushed and her breath came out in clouds in the cold dampness, lit by the nearby floodlights that illuminate the field in front of the dorms after sunset. Then she hopped down and ran into the dorm.
I started the walk home, going up the rise toward the edge of campus. When I got to the top of the rise I looked back and from my prospect I could see what she had written in the snow. “53 DAYS”. What did that mean? I wished dearly that I could ask her. Alas, there are many things about this interesting and brave young woman that I will never know.