Naked City, 1976
I worked every weekend I had a chance to during the summer, because work in construction always slowed down in the cold months. I took a day off figuring I’d do something fun for a change. I found myself in the Katzenjammer Kid’s bar on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago’s New Town section. The same place I went to unwind every night after work. Except for Bob, Chuck the bartender and me, it was empty on this beautiful summer day in 1976. I sat there wondering where I could find some excitement when suddenly Bob, a redneck gfrom Kentucky, blurted out, “God almighty, Joe, look at this.”
“Nakid women, by god!”
“Yeah, so what?”
“Goddamn. Take a look.”
He shoved a copy of The Reader onto the bar in front of me. I took a swig from my frosty Old Style and glanced at a full page ad for the “Miss Nude America Contest.” The small print read, “Get naked and mingle with contest participants during our celebratory dance. Clothing optional.”
“I don’t know. What kind of girls would enter a nude contest?”
“Good looking ones. Look at the paper. It’s a nudist camp.”
“Nah, I’m not going. Never wanted to go see a bunch of guys walking around with their Trouser Hawgs hanging out,” I said.
Bob looked at me with narrowed eyes. “Who the hell’s going to be looking at Pussy Plungers with naked women running around?”
He had a point there, and I didn’t have any plans for the day, so I said, “Okay Bob, where is this place?”
I didn’t know if I wanted to go to a nudist camp with a horn-dog like Bob. He would screw anything he could get his hands on. I thought of Sally. A nice girl, but a bit retarded. She stopped in the Katzenjammers for a beer now and then. Bob took advantage of her every chance he got. Heck, just last week Bob fought with my friend Jack, because he screwed Jack’s girlfriend.
But what the heck. I didn’t want to sit in a bar on a beautiful summer day, so I figured Bob could do whatever he wanted once we were there and it wouldn’t be any skin off my ass.
“Hey Chuck,” I said, “Give me four cases of cold Old Style beer on my account.”
“Account, what account?”
“Account of I don’t have any money.”
Chuck looked at me like I was an idiot. Bob threw a fifty on the bar.
“Thanks Bob,” I said.
We loaded the beer into my Buick convertible, and I went to the drugstore and grabbed five rolls of film for the camera I always kept in my car. I paid for it. I wasn’t really broke, but if I was going to do the driving, I figured Bob could pay for the beer. We put it in the back seat and dumped two buckets of ice onto it that we got from the ice maker in the Katzerjammer.
I took I-65 to Highway 10 and drove to 3449 East State Rd 10. Near a pale yellow mailbox, I found a sign saying, “Naked City Nudist Camp, next left.”
We drank most of one case of beer along the way to Indiana and had a good buzz going. I almost passed the secluded entrance to the camp set back in the woods. We were already on the alert for naked women, but all we could see was nicely kept round, one-story building with a funny sloped roof. Bob and I paid our admittance fee and carrying three bottles of Old Style each, we entered through a gate in the eight-foot high chain link fence surrounding the camp.
“Is this here fence to keep people out, or is it to keep them in?” I asked.
“Hot damn, who cares? They can keep me here for the rest of my life,” Bob said as his head twisted from side to side, still looking for unclothed females. We paid our admittance to a big bouncer looking guy who allowed us through the gate.
Happy as a clam, I couldn’t believe I was really at a nudist camp. Never even considered going to one, but here I was. Pokey, my small brain, stood up a little, equally charmed.
“Hot dog!” Bob exclaimed, “sure never thought I’d see so much gash at one time in one place.”
It surprised me too, seeing so many shapely women walking around not only topless, but bottomless. I always pictured women at nudist camps being dried out old women who looked like Sunkist prunes.. Maybe it was just because of the contest that so many attractive young women were in the place.
If it was normal for so many lovely women to be prancing around naked, hell, the nudist camps would be overflowing with guys like Bob and me.
“Hot diggity dog! Looky there, Joe.” Bob pointed to an area where four artists were painting abstract and floral designs on four nude women’s skin, and eight more naked women stood in line waiting to be painted on.
“Let’s go, I always wanted to paint,” Bob said, and headed right for the girls.
“Hey! One more step, and you’re going to be hurting.” A muscular man dressed almost identical to the guy at the entrance blocked our path. Three big guys stood behind him. They wore black T-shirts and jeans that were probably uniforms for security. I grabbed Bob by the arm and pulled him away.
We backed off and continued to walk around ogling the naked women. We came to what looked like a boxing ring. It even had ropes around it They were probably there to keep the girls from falling off, or to keep the drooling men away from them when they strutted around to be judged on this stage set up for the contest. A noisy crowd of men with cameras bags and other photographic equipment hanging from their bodies stood anxiously waiting for the contestants. Many of them paced back and forth and anyone could see how worked up they were.
“What’s going on with these guys?” I asked one guy who appeared to be more calm and relaxed than the herd.
“Normal behavior for those perverts,” he said.
I looked at the camera I carried and wondered if I was perverted for wanting to take pictures. I wanted to ask him, but a roar went up from the crowd. A limo drove slowly towards where we stood.
“That’s the owner,” the relaxed guy said. “He’s a genius. He made a fortune by recruiting shut-ins with nothing to do. He figured a way to have them keep track of radio advertisements in order to assure the companies paying for advertisements received the spots they paid for.”
As we conversed, the Lincoln limousine stopped. My jaw dropped when I saw the blonde with size 38-D breast driving completely nude, and my jaw almost hit the ground when I looked and saw the girl in the passenger seat, a naked brunette who could have been a centerfold model. Pokey went into a spasm when both girls got out.
The loud chatter amongst the leering men stopped suddenly, like someone had turned a volume switch off.
A big security guy opened the rear door of the limo, revealing an interior upholstered with pink fur. A man with leg braces sat there with two additional fine-looking girls dressed in skimpy pink fur outfits matching the car’s interior. For him to have women like these attending to him, I figured his attraction had to be money. What else?
“That’s him.” The calm guy poked me and pointed to the guy as he slid out the door and into a wheel chair. “He not only came up with this idea, he opened a truck stop with nude waitresses.”
The blond and brunette pulled out a ramp, and the fur clad girls rolled the crippled genius in his chair down the ramp onto the grass. He looked like he was the happiest man alive and I couldn’t blame him. It must be heaven to have so many beautiful women toadying over him. I was almost envious, but I knew I wouldn’t trade places with him for anything, no matter how ladies he had fawning over him.
The loud chattering of men rose again as they oohed and ahhed at the combination of the luxurious limo and gorgeous girls. The genius who owned the camp sat smiling in his wheel chair.
Then I noticed some hot babes arriving and going into the circular building near the entrance.
“Come on Bob, let’s go get two cases of beer from the car.” I don’t know where I got this idea; I imagine Pokey gave it to me.
“We’re going to get inside, where all the hot babes are.”
“Just follow me,” I put a case of beer on my shoulder. Bob followed my example and we went to the door that I had seen the women go through, marked by a large sign that said Authorized Personnel Only. I knocked with my left hand as I used my right to balance the case of Old Style on my shoulder. A rough-looking man dressed in the black security “uniform” opened the door.
“Yeah?” he demanded.
“Delivery,” I said and pointed to the case of beer on my shoulder. He waved me in, and Bob followed behind with a case on his shoulder. I’d seen stupid stunts like this in the movies, but didn’t expect it to work.
Security wouldn’t let us get into touching distance while we walked around the camp, but here we were, surrounded by nude females. Pokey got excited, and I knew Bob, horndog that he was, must be going crazy too. The contestants busied themselves with make-up and fixing their hair, the only thing they were allowed to wear in the contest.
“C’mon Bob, follow me.” I found an empty room, put the beer in it, and took off my clothes. Bob started to undress too. “Go find your own room,” I said. I didn’t want to be naked that close to Bob.
Bob went down the hall. I made sure he stayed in front of me as we walked back to the large open room where the nude contestants congregated. Naked, we fit right in with the crowd. After drinking a few beers and watching the procedure for a while, I noticed when the new contestants came through the door they didn’t know where to go or what to do. Eventually someone would guide them to a dressing room, or should I say, undressing room.
Inspired by Pokey, my small brain, I greeted the next girl who walked through the door, “Hello, I’m Joe. I’m one of your contest judges today. Come with me and I’ll show you where to dress, er, I mean, undress.”
Bob listened to my line, and emulated me with the next girl as soon as she appeared at the door. I guided the stunning redhead I’d greeted to the room I stored the beer in. “This is our undressing room,” I said out loud. Under my breath I muttered, “Thank you, thank you, God.”
She let me help her undress, a miracle, to watch a woman who could be the center-fold of the year.
“If I win, I’m using the money to move to Hollywood,” she said.
“Are you an actress?”
“What woman isn’t?” she said.
“Well, you’ll get my vote. You’ll probably do well if you go to Hollywood,” I said, working hard to keep my eyes on her face.
Even though I was pushing the limits now, I was never a grab-ass type. I always felt empathy for women who I saw being poked and prodded. So I simply reveled being in a room with the best looking woman I’ve ever been naked with.
The girls got in line once they were ready, so after the redhead got in line, I went to the entrance and guided another new arrival to the room.
“My name is Jean. Are you going to vote for me?” she asked as she unbuttoned her pink blouse.
“Yes,” I said.
“Good. I need the money to pay for my son’s operation.”
“What’s wrong with him?”
“Lots of stuff.”
I didn’t believe a word she said, not even her name. I escorted her out to the main room and escorted a girl with long black hair back to the undressing room.
“How many girls are competing against me?”
She took her jeans, panties, and underwear off in swift movements and folded them neatly before placing them on a shelf.
“Why are you entering the contest?”
“To show my husband how lucky he is to have me.”
I couldn’t figure that one out. If my wife entered a nude contest, I wouldn’t consider myself lucky.
“You’re going to vote for me, right?”
“Oh, of course,” I said.
I saw a timid looking brunette standing by the entrance and escorted her to the undressing room, and found her a spot to leave her clothes.
“Why did you enter the contest?” I asked. That became my first question because I was trying to figure out why women entered these kinds of things.
“The winner is bound to be noticed by the major men’s magazines. Heck, I may even make Playboy. Maybe even the centerfold.”
Dream on, I thought. She wasn’t nearly as attractive as many of the other girls I saw walking around.
Once they let all the spectators in and all the women lined up to stroll on the stage, I stood admiring them, pretending to jot notes on a clipboard I found. One yelled out, “Joe, don’t forget, you promised to vote for me.” Another said, “He’s voting for me,” and another said, “He told me the same thing.”
All of them gave me scathing looks. Pokey shrank from the humiliation of getting caught lying. My big brain took over at this point, and it didn’t let their comments deter me from enjoying the show.
I grabbed my camera and mixed in with the crowd of fully dressed photographers. Once the contest started and the girls pranced artfully around the stage, occasionally bending over. The crowd of photographers went wild, roaring, pushing and shoving to try to get closer to take pictures. I couldn’t believe the looks on their faces, some hungry, others leering, and every one of them obviously excited beyond belief. I turned my camera away from the women and onto the crowd of men acting as if they’d never seen a naked woman before.
Once the contest was over, Bob and I roamed the camp. I noticed a few other nude men at Naked City. When I saw the sizes of their Towers of Power, I figured they were here mainly to parade their oversized small brains around.
As a man I’ve been trained to never look at another man’s junk, but when it’s waved around in the open air, it’s pretty hard not to notice one that’s three and four times the size of mine. Pokey didn’t measure up to those small brains surrounding me.
Bob and I got to the pool, and by this time we were finishing off the last few beers and drunk as skunks. Otherwise, I never would have had the courage to stand on the diving board and bounce up and down while all the people poolside watched Pokey with derision.
I didn’t let it get to me, because I fantasized about the nude dance starting in an hour or so. Unfortunately, I never got to dance. Horndog Bob lost control and grabbed the wrong ass. Security twisted Bob’s arms behind his back, and escorted us to the gate, throwing us out and our clothes after us.
“If we see either of you in here again, you won’t be walking home!” one beefy guy shouted.
“Gawd, this means we’re going to miss the dance,” Bob said as he pulled his pants on.
For a minute I thought Bob was going to bust out in tears and start bawling. I was disappointed about missing the dance too, but exhilarated from the day’s events. We got to my car just at twilight. I put the key in and cranked it, and cranked it. It wouldn’t start. Forgot to gas her up, but we still had a case of beer. We were out in the country where everything closed when the sun went down. We carried the beer to the side of the road, and drank it while we tried to hitch a ride to Chicago.
After a long wait, a white guy, in his thirties picked us up, Bob jumped in the back seat and I took the shotgun seat. Almost as soon as the door slammed and the car accelerated Bob said, “Holy Shit, you should have seen all the Putang at the nudist camp.”
“Yeah, I never saw so many bare assed women all in one place, I said.
“Please guys, I’m a priest. I don’t want to hear about nudity.”
“Didn’t God create us all naked?” I asked.
We drove the next fifty miles in total silence, and as we were getting out I said, “I don’t want to pollute your thoughts with images of naked women, but I learned something today that you should know.”
“And what’s that?” the priest asked.
“The women entering the contest, they’re all seeking the same thing.”
“What?” Bob asked.
He obviously wanted to know so he could give it to them, but I wasn’t trying to enlighten Bob. This priest that couldn’t even talk about nude women should know.
“A woman’s sense of self-worth is directly tied to her appearance. They’ll do anything to feel better about themselves, and if getting naked does that, I don’t think it’s a sin.”
By the look on his face I could tell he didn’t appreciate that I was trying to tell him, “I thank God I wasn’t born a woman.”