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When I heard that Larry Flynt was scouring Yale University for a video of the First Daughter Barbara Bush at a naked party, my immediate thought was President Bush must be an absolute moron.

Mind you, it is not the first time this thought has crossed my mind. I will concede that Bush and his boys may know more about international relations and homeland security and while I have opinions on how the invasion of Iraq alienated the entire world, he's got me in some major areas. But I went to Yale University -- and so did President Bush -- and he is well aware there's a 90% chance that she'll end up at a naked party at some point.

Yale University is second only to Ancient Greece when it comes to nudity and higher education. Yes, there are other things to do there, but it's pretty damn hard to ignore the fact that people are getting naked all around you. And after being exposed to it, it's pretty damn hard to dismiss the desire to participate.

When I matriculated as a Freshman in 1996, I was hardly the type to flaunt my body. I was shy, one of those guys who showered at home after soccer practice instead of showering in the gym. I just wasn't comfortable having other people stare at my penis.

My first week at Yale, I'm invited to a naked party. What an absurd and perverted idea, I thought. Who in their right mind would go?

Quite a few, apparently. Including one of my roommates, who was hell bent on going. But I had some serious misgivings still -- like getting an erection in a room filled with dozens of naked girls and their bare breasts and vaginas. I needed convincing, but not much.

"Don't worry," said my roommate, convincingly, with the air of a man who had seen nudity once or twice. "Stand up at the first hint of tumescence and hop up and down, thereby forcing the blood from your loins to your legs. If that doesn't work hold your drink against your crotch, and the coldness of the glass will provide a natural remedy."

I was in.

But I need not worry. There wasn't anything sexy about it. It started when I had to take off my clothing in a small room before getting into the party. The buttons and zippers took some time and concentration to undo and when I forgot to remove my shoes before trying to take off my jeans, I fell on my ass. Once I fought off my clothing, I folded them into a tidy pile, set them in a corner and draped my coat over them. I was advised to keep my socks on so I could have a place to keep cigarettes. Truly naked, I entered the party.

I imagined some pagan scene of orgiastic flailing with people pouring Carlo Rossi wine over each other's breasts and buttocks while attempting to fornicate with goats. But it turned out to be nothing like that. It was just a regular party, minus clothing.

People stood in groups, sipping their drinks, smoking cigarettes and talking to people they knew. There was some music blaring from a radio, but nobody was dancing. They were just milling about. Socializing. Confused by the lack of weirdness, I sat down on the couch, then jumped up quickly when I realized that other naked people had been sitting where I was and the couch was leather. The last thing I needed was to get an STD from a couch.

It wasn't just the awkwardness of undressing and the fact that everybody was wearing socks that made the party unsexy -- it was because nobody in the room looked even remotely attractive. If there was one thing I took from my experience, it was the appreciation of clothing. Clothing is an amazing body enhancing phenomenon. Shirts hide big bellies, jeans cloak cellulite, bras hold up saggy breasts. Released from the confines of clothing, the human body is generally a mass of lumpy flesh that is remarkably susceptible to gravity. Even freshman girls, supposedly still in the flush of youth, looked like they could use a hand.

Now, maybe I am tainted by the fact that I was at Yale. Yale and the rest of the Ivy League schools are well know for having a preposterous amount of ugly women. In fact, there is something called the "Yale Scale," a system that factors in for unattractiveness of Eli girls and makes a girl that is a 3 in the normal world a 7 or 8 on the Yale campus. A blessing while in college, the Yale Scale becomes a pox, leaving Yale men wholly unprepared for the real world. After two weeks at Yale, if an Eli male goes off campus -- like New York or even Milford, Conn. -- when he sees a normal looking girl -- say, a 6 or 7 -- he's likely to become paralyzed with lust and leave himself extremely vulnerable to muggers or careless taxi cabs.

I digress.

The point I'm trying to make is that naked parties are no big deal. They are part of the Yale experience, nothing more, and since young Barbara goes to Yale, it is not surprising that she went to one. And naked parties aren't the only nude events that occur there.

Naked parties were the start of countless other acts of flagrant Johnson flaunting for me. Looking back, my first naked party was like a gateway drug, opening my mind to the possibilities of other naked adventures. For example, I joined a group called the "Finals Fairies," and every semester on the night before final exams began, we went to the library, removed our clothes, put on masks and parade around, singing and handing out candy to all the students trying to cram for tests.

That was nice. And so was the all male singing group I joined called, of all things, "The Society of Orpheus and Bacchus." It was a group notorious for rehearsing and sometimes performing naked and it became the launching pad for many future activities. One of my favorites was riding naked in a car on concert road trips. We would take off our clothes, turn the heat on high like a sauna and then wipe our ball sweat on the heating vents to try and make ourselves pass out from the stench.

Those were fun times.

Sometimes we would do the opposite and roll the windows down and turn on the air conditioners, an activity we termed "the Rocky Mountain Freeze-Out" which was not so much stinky as uncomfortable. In spring, we would get together and celebrate the turning of the season by playing naked volleyball, or as we referred to it, "Nolleyball."

(Now that would be a sexy picture for Hustler. Forget Barbara Bush in socks, standing around looking bored at a party. How about a snapshot of her jumping naked into the air preparing to smash a volleyball into her opponent's face -- the very vision of the warrior princess Athena herself! That would surely boost circulation.)

But chances are, Barbara will not be playing Nolleyball. For most students at Yale, a naked party is as crazy as they get. President Bush shouldn't be angry. He should be relieved that she didn't put herself in a worse position.

My position.

During my junior year my propensity to get naked was fairly well known and a fellow student asked me to be a model in a story about nudity on campus. They took a photo and my ass -- but no distinguishing parts, really -- ran alongside the article a few days later in the Arts section of the Yale Daily News. My name was not mentioned. The only people who knew about it were the dozens of people I had bragged to. These people did not include my mother.

What I didn't count on was that the photo of my outspread arms and white buttocks would be worthy enough to be blown up and re-printed later that year in the graduation edition of the Yale Daily News. There was my poor mother, sitting at my graduation, a special event made even more so because that year marked the 300th year anniversary of the campus.

She was sitting there in the sunny lawn of Old Campus with thousands of other proud parents, waiting for the ceremonies to commence, when several students began passing out copies of the Yale Daily News. Thumbing through the pages, only half paying attention to what she was seeing, until she hits Section D and sees me in my glory, one-page wide, buck naked with my ass glowing like the moon. Horrified, she turned the paper over before anyone else could see, but her precautions were pointless; when she looked around she saw my ass multiplied a thousand times over as people all across the lawn opened their papers.

Needless to say, my mother was not proud. The only good thing was that she was probably the only person to recognize that butt as belonging to her son. Unfortunately, Barbara Bush will not benefit from that same anonymity if Larry Flynt gets his slimy fingers on that videotape.

This is harmless fun. There's no reason to be all shocked and horrified. The First Daughter did nothing wrong. Remember that. And remember, it could always be worse.

 

 
 

 

*BT*

Trevor Thompson has a $100 bet with his mother that his butt looks better than Barbara's.