“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 finally gave up 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?"
I had always made excuses about not having time to model for her and she knew better than to ask 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 while and then said "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 the next couple of hours ( It seemed like ten )
Emily wouldn't let me see her painting which she was doing in pastelles. She said she wanted it to be a surprise.

Brian, in the mean time, was being entertained by Shirley out in the garden.
His big mouth had got me into this so I didn't bother to warn him about Shirley but I felt sure he was going to find out what she was like and I had no doubt that Shirley was enjoying having someone new to manipulate.
Each time I took a break I had a look out of the window to see what was going on but was surprised to see them just sitting at a little table talking.
I guess I was feeling a little disappointed until finally Shirley came in and announced that Brian was an expert in unarmed combat and was going to show her how it was done. I would not have used the word 'expert' because Brian had only taken a partial course when he joined the cadets a couple of years ago but I always let him use his clever moves when we were play fighting on the beach so that he looked good.
"I'll be his opponent" I said, figuring I could make him look good.
"No! I'll do it. It will be fun" replied Shirley.
"Can we lay bets on the outcome?" asked Emily and I realised there must be something I didn't know.
Brian seemed not to notice and asked what she meant.
"How about this?" Emily replied. "John will be here in a little while and we are going downtown for a meal. If you can get Shirley on her back on the lawn in ten minutes you are all invited to join us, my treat. If not then you are buying."
Brian looked at Shirley who was much shorter and lighter than he and, without thinking, said "Ok".
"What don't we know?" I asked Emily.
"Shirley has been taking Ju jitsu lessons for over three years now so I think it might be a fair match." she replied.
The two combatants began circling each other on the lawn and since Shirley never made any aggressive moves Brian had to keep trying to close in and grab her but he was having no luck. Shirley just kept dodging out of the way.
Finally Brian rushed her and grabbed one of her arms which resulted in him flying gracefully past her and landing on his back with a thud.
That was pretty much the way the whole contest went and it was a completely humiliated Brian who agreed to buy our meal in town that day.

Before John arrived Emily asked if she could take a photo of me to use to finish the painting.
She still wouldn't let me see it.

We all had a good time in town and I split the bill with Brian because I felt a little responsible for not warning him about Shirley.

It was quite a while before I saw Emily again when college re-opened after the summer.
I asked her if she ever finished the painting and she answered in the affirmative. She had a photo of it with her but before she let me see it she wanted to explain things.
"The first thing I needed was a good background so I went out to the meadow where the grass and wild flowers grow and used that as a background. That took a long time to get exactly what I wanted. Next, because it was supposed to be ancient Greece, I put the Parthenon on the hill in the distance. Then I decided to design an ancient dart. I thought it would look more like an arrow probably with a feather on the end. That was when I had a problem. I was trying to figure out what clothing to use because your modern bathing suit had to be replaced. I had thought of something like a toga but then that was Roman and in researching I found none of the other gladiator type clothes were right either in fact what I found was that all the original olympic athletes competed completely unclothed."

"You didn't!" I began.

"Before you get upset I haven't shown it to anyone and I won't if you tell me not to but I think it worked out quite well. I did it very tastefully"

"Ok. Show me what you did." I said.

She showed me and after the first shock I started to laugh.

Click here to see the Emily's painting


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