Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Baring their souls

Readers happy to expose their naked truths

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The last thing I wanted to do was write another column about naked people.

But I didn't count on the flood of emails (OK, I got two) from sensitive readers who felt compelled to share their close encounters with persons of the naked kind.

These emails were in response to Wednesday's column, wherein I shared the story of a naked thief who was arrested for robbing a lingerie boutique after security video revealed he had his name tattooed on his back, and the tale of a man whose desperate walk to a hotel's front desk was captured on surveillance video after he accidentally locked himself out of his room with no clothes on.

These are clearly the sort of stories that touch the hearts of thoughtful readers, including a lovely woman named Jean, who wrote to say the column had reminded her of some excellent advice she received while living in an apartment building in downtown Montreal.

In her email, Jean explained that most of the residents of her block were single people and many of these were young, unattached women.

"We had an elderly, very paternal type of doorman for the building," Jean recalled. "He took our security seriously. One afternoon, after a burglary at a nearby building, he told me the secret to getting the Montreal police to attend quickly in the event of a suspected break-in.

"His advice? Tell the police dispatcher there is a NAKED LADY running up and down the street in front of our building. His experience taught him that was the very fastest way to get a police car to arrive."

We will definitely keep that tip in mind, Jean, but first we would like to share the shocking real-life story sent in by a regular reader whom we are going to identify here as Murray, largely because that is his name.

In his email, Murray, who we assume was fully clothed at the time, said he experienced a cold chill when he read about the hotel guest whose naked stroll went viral after security footage uploaded to YouTube showed him getting locked out of his room when he stepped into the hallway to leave dirty dishes for hotel staff to pick up.

Murray confessed the story brought back embarrassing memories of a vacation he took in New Orleans years ago, a trip that involved him checking into an upscale motel in the downtown area of The Big Easy.

As Murray tells it, his room was located on the second floor and the door opened directly onto an open-air corridor overlooking a courtyard and a swimming pool.

The weather in Louisiana at the time was balmy and our hero spent his first night on the town -- prepare for a shocking twist -- imbibing more than his share of refreshing alcoholic beverages. "Some time during the wee small hours of the morning, I made it back to the motel and promptly crashed on my bed in my room," Murray recalls in his email.

A few hours later, Murray woke up and, in his own words, "For some inexplicable reason, being totally nude, I decided to go outside in my sodden state to have a breath of fresh air."

To recap: Our hero, in a confused state, in a strange country, has, for no logical reason, wandered out of his room, in the all together, to fill his lungs with bayou air. Now comes the dramatic part.

"I was out there for a minute or two and, when I turned around, I saw or thought I saw that my motel door had closed behind me," Murray confided.

Naturally, our plucky hero did what any right-minded naked traveller would do in this situation -- he panicked. "And then I began slamming my shoulder into the door directly behind me, attempting to break it open. Of course, this did not work."

Fortunately, what happened next was a motel employee carrying a huge ring of keys came strolling down the corridor.

"Whatcha'll doin?" the employee asked Murray, who replied he had been accidentally locked out of his room.

Wrote Murray: "He motioned to me and a couple of rooms down was MY room with the door wide open and the lights ablaze. I mumbled some kind of thank you and scurried back inside."

In the end, Murray says he was very thankful. Thankful no one opened the door he'd been pounding on, and thankful there were no surveillance cameras to record his unclad adventure for posterity.

If you think about it, there is an important moral to Murray's story. I just don't have a clue what it is. But that doesn't matter right now. What matters is I can hear someone pounding on my front door.

It's probably just the postman, but to be safe, I'm considering alerting the police. I have a pretty good idea how to speed up their response time.


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 8, 2013 A2

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