“No.” I said without any hesitation.
Emily had asked me the question several times before and always received the same answer. She began asking me a few months after our friend John had modeled in the nude for her art class. He had been tricked into it but it had done nothing to damage his reputation at the art college, in fact he had gained a sort of respect for having the guts to go through with it. Read about it.
She first asked me when we had gone to the local swimming pool at lunch one day. Emily told me the only nude models they got were overweight, middle aged, females and she thought the whole class would appreciate it if I would model for one of her classes.
Emily's paintings were very photographic which was the way I myself liked to paint but she was far better than me so I could expect a very lifelike painting from her.
I actually considered it but only for a moment. I knew I could never bring myself to do anything like that.
It was at this time that I realised that there was a large conflict in my own thinking on the subject.
On the one hand I had a very logical opinion that clothing had been invented when man first left the jungles of Africa. It would obviously have been necessary for warmth but once the weather warmed up the necessity would disappear. Why society had decided that nudity was to be shunned I had no idea and, having studied art, it was obvious that the rules had been much more relaxed in earlier days.
On the other hand my mother taught me that showing one's complete body to another human being, especially of the opposite sex, was completely forbidden. I had not always followed the advice of my mother so why was I so definite on this subject? I was even very careful when I changed in the boys changing room which, although not unusual, definitely went against my logical view of the subject.
I decided that it was simply that I had a fear of being the centre of attention in a group and nothing to do with nudity at all until Emily asked if I would pose for her in private. My immediate negative response made me realise that there was obviously something deeper to the problem.

On further thought I found that the once I remembered being exposed the results had made a very negative impression on me.
One day when I was very very young my three teenage cousins were visiting and the adults told them to take me to the beach. I remember very little about that day except that I put myself completely in the hands of the three girls since my mother had suggested the trip. When we arrived at the beach the girls took off my clothes and put on my bathing suit which was exactly what my mother would have done. The difference was the giggling that went on. If I was in any doubt what they were giggling at it was confirmed when they changed me back into my clothes.
It seemed that something about my naked body was extremely funny so I guess I subconciously remembered that.

Emily didn't give up and I always found an excuse to put her off but the next year as I was leaving the pool with my friend Brian on a Saturday morning we bumped into Emily and Shirley on the street. They were both good looking girls and I could see Brian was quite impressed. When they asked what we were doing that afternoon Brian quickly told them we were completely free, obviously hoping we might spend the time with these newfound beauties. I would have been a little more evasive knowing that Emily was 'taken' and Shirley could not be trusted. Shirley had been the one to trick John last year.
"I have a great idea." said Emily, "Why don't we go to my place and you can model for me in your bathing suit since I know you have it with you?"
Well this time I had no excuse but she hadn't asked me to model in the nude so I was put in the position of coming up with a lame excuse or going along with it this time.
Brian thought it would be a great idea and even offered himself as a model too.
Emily's place was a short bus ride away so we were soon sitting around her kitchen table discussing this painting.
"I would like to make it sports related." stated Emily, "Are you really good at anything as well as swimming?"
"Not really," I answered, "and before you ask I am not the most graceful diver."
"He's really good at darts." quipped Brian, obviously getting right into this.
Emily thought for a minute but then asked, "Anything else? I really want to paint you without clothes and I can't think of any way I could combine that with darts."
"I used to throw the discus at school" I offered.
Emily thought for a while and then said "No that's been done too many times. Show me what you look like throwing a dart."
I complied and she said "I think I have an idea. Change into your bathing suit and pose for me throwing a dart. I am going to try to make darts into an ancient Olympic event. I'll have to put in a suitable background, change the dart and a couple of other things but it might be fun.
I changed and stood there pretending to throw a dart for a while( It seemed like a lifetime)
Emily asked Brian to take a photo of me with her new camera so that she could finish the painting off if there wasn't enough time.
Emily wouldn't let me see her painting which she was doing in pastelles. She said to wait a little longer.
The others were able to see it and I noticed a smile on Brian's face the odd time so I wasn't sure what to expect.
Finally Brian and Shirley got bored and went outside to play badminton on the lawn and Emily said I could look now.
I was shocked. The painting was coming along well enough and she had made the darts more like arrows with feathers but she had just painted past most of my bathing suit except at the front where she had sketched in a couple of feathers from arrows I was holding in my other hand. I looked completley naked.
"You know I didn't want a nude painting, Emily," I sputtered.
"No you said you didn't want to pose in the nude and you haven't." she countered.
She had me there.
"You'll have to add at least one more feather below those," I said.
"Why? They cover up your Speedo perfectly."
So I put my mouth in motion before my mind was in gear and blurted out, "Well there is no way those feathers would cover me if I was actually naked."
I didn't know if that was actually true but my ego wanted to believe it.
"Show me then," she countered. "I like to get things right and the others are outside so we have a little time."
"Not a chance," I said, but then she made me an offer I couldn't refuse.
For the next fifteen minutes I stood there in my birthday suit discussing what pose Emily might use when I came back next week and painted her in the nude.
When I asked if John, her boyfriend, wouldn't be upset she said "What he doesn't know won't hurt him."
When she finished I saw that she had, in fact, made the feathers larger, and included a sketch of the Parthenon in the background.
Perfectionest me - I figured it would be in Olympia and not in Athens where the Parthenon stands.
I congratulated myself on not blurting that out.
As we were leaving John arrived and I realised that I would not be taking Emily up on her offer. He was a good friend so I just couldn't do it.

In the middle of the week I got a phone call from Emily at work asking me what medium I wanted to use for the painting on Saturday as she would supply everything.
I explained that I wouldn't feel right doing it because of John and she said she understood but then she asked if instead I would mind helping with a large painting she was excited about creating.
I asked what it entailed and she said she needed a model for a figure in the painting. "You can just wear your sweats and no need for a bathing suit this time," she laughed.
"Will Shirley be there" I asked.
"Why, are you sweet on her?" she enquired.
"Shirley, I'm scared to death of her," I laughed.
"No I won't invite Shirley," she said.
"Sure, no problem then," I answered. "When should I come?"
"Come around eleven and I'll make lunch. I have the house to myself all day."
On Saturday Emily made a lovely lunch of ham sandwiches and over a couple of cups of tea she explained the painting. She had some photos of our rocky shore just as the tide was going out and she liked the seclusion of the scene as well as the clear reflections in the tidal pools and the obvious movement of the sea where the reflection of the lighthouse in the background was so much less defined. She wanted to portray the solitude as well as the wide open view of the sea.
I got the idea but asked where I came in. She took me in to see what she had already started on a large canvas. It was an oil painting and only just started but the pencil sketch of her idea was clear. She had a large rock with a tidal pool in front of it and she explained she needed a figure lounging on the rock feeling the seclusion of the scene. The figure would be reflected in the pool.
"Do you think you can do an 'I'm completely alone and content,' face," she asked.
I tried and she laughingly said we could work on it.
Next we had to find a way to make it look like I was sitting on a rock and we finally dragged a large chest from in front of the window and jammed a drawing board against it on a slope as a place to put my feet. I had taken my shoes off as I came in so my feet wouldn't hold on the drawing board but Emily pulled my socks off saying they were coming off anyway.
After getting me in position she asked if I could hold the pose comfortably and remember where I was exactly.
I checked and thought I could but then said I should go to the bathroom before we started. I was thinking of the two cups of tea.
"Yes, go in there now, just put your clothes on the counter and you can use my dressing gown on the back of the door." she said as she sat down at her easil. "Oh and would you mind wetting your hair and just towel it dry. I want it to look natural."
"Wait a minute," I spluttered, "You said I wasn't going to need a bathing suit this time and just to wear sweats."
"That's right. Your sweats are easy to get on and off and you already proved that a bathing suit isn't realistic. What did you think I meant? You even made sure Shirley wouldn't be here."
"Obviously we got our wires crossed," I said as I tried to figure out how to save face. "How about if I wash my hair and strip to the waist?"
Emily was obviously disappointed but agreed to see if it would work.
I went into the little bathroom. The tiny sink was far too small to even try to wet my hair but there was a very compact shower in the corner.
I turned on the water but found there was no way to get my hair wet around the shower curtain without flooding the bathroom so I stripped and got in.
After banging my elbows on all three walls I realised there must be a method to this but I had accomplished my goal and got back out. While I dried off I looked at myself in the full length mirror, made a snap decision, and then before I could change my mind grabbed the pink dressing gown and walked into the living room.
"This is against everything my mother taught me." I said sitting in position.
"What would she not like?" she asked.
"Oh, let's see. Maybe that I am alone in a house with a beautiful girl. That for starters. That would be enough but if she knew I was NAKED she might never recover. "
We both broke out laughing then and I even managed to relax and portray the correct feeling that I was completely secure and alone but open to the world.
Half an hour later Emily asked if she could make a suggestion.
"Next time you are out in the sun could you please not wear the bathing suit because I am having to change your skin colour around there."
"Do you want me to get arrested?" I laughed and then added "I have a different suggestion."
"You want me to come over and rub some burnt sienna into your skin." she guessed.
"Yeah, right. Don't you dare come near me" I laughed. "No I was thinking that if you leave me as I am it would show that this is a special and unusual occasion for the subject to feel so secure and safe."
And that was how she decided to leave it.

Unfortunately I don't have a photo of this painting but I believe Emily did show it in a collection at least once.

 


NOTE
Emily was kind enough to give me the negatives of these photos and I have treasured ( hidden ) them ever since.