Dancing Bare

by Rigby Taylor

Chapter 26

The Grand Tour

Three months sharing food, tent and transport with five others was going to make concealment of my penchant for attractive young men somewhat difficult, so after much agonising I'd decided to come clean. If they reacted badly I'd ask for my money back.

As I climbed into the van, Anthony peered across at Alwyn's front door and sneered, "Who's that poofter?"

Edgar was waiting to wave goodbye. In the harsh light of morning he looked his age; face lined and pale, accentuating his obviously dyed and thinning hair. The fluffy sky-blue woollen cardigan and bottle green tights he always wore around the house suddenly seemed queer, not endearing, and his stance was definitely not butch.

Instead of bravely snapping, "Up yours, wanker, shove your fucking tour!" courage deserted me and, following Falstaff's notion that the better part of valour is discretion, I answered vaguely, "He lives upstairs… I think," mightily relieved that Anthony's grunt of contempt wasn't directed at me.

It was even more disquieting to discover that the four other travelling companions were young women from 'good' homes and the sort of schools where they wouldn't have been allowed out the gates without panama hats at the correct angle, gloves, ties, blazers, neatly aligned stockings, and polished shoes. They were also healthy, level-headed, well mannered, confident, self-controlled, and sensibly dressed in skirts and blouses, low-heeled shoes, no makeup, and hair styled so it would need only a quick brush in the mornings.

Unlike me, they'd done the prudent thing; met each other first, decided they were compatible, and then agreed to the trip. I was clearly an unwelcome wild card in tight jeans, black shirt and desert boots; an unpredictable 'bohemian' – probably untrustworthy.

Marion, a blonde South African, introduced me to a red-headed Australian and two robust New Zealanders whose names escape me, then stated bluntly, "We're travelling with you and Anthony because we don't feel up to driving on the right in foreign countries, and women travelling alone can be taken advantage of. We will do our fair share, expect to be treated as equals, and do not want sex!"

"Neither do I!" I responded with such exaggerated relief that it should have raised an eyebrow, if not a laugh. Instead they frowned, unable to decide whether it was a joke or an insult. Anthony gave me an odd look. Fuck! Was I already acting a bit over the top? It was going to be a very long three months!

The ferry was half way to Ostend before I realised I had no idea where Ostend was. In Belgium, Anthony had said… but where was Belgium in relation to the rest of Europe? Fortunately, before my ignorance was exposed the girls produced a briefcase containing Michelin road maps with our route marked in green; tour guides; city maps: brochures, addresses of camping grounds, opening times and closing days of museums, ferry schedules and a hardback note book in which was listed every sight we had to see in the next twelve weeks – hundreds of them!

We'd be travelling through Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Austria, West Germany, East Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway - then back through Denmark and Holland to Ostend. There wouldn't be time for sex!

Fewer than three thousand million people lived on Earth in the Sixties. Ninety percent of them were too poor to travel, and even fewer owned cars; hence, driving and travelling was a stress-free activity. Virtually the only tourists in Europe were North Americans, Australasians, and northern Europeans. Passport control, if you held a British passport, was negligible – unless you were me. Border guards always seemed to take exception to my face and checked their files to see if they could match my name to a criminal. There were no queues at frontiers; no long crocodiles of tourists waiting to see famous art works, buildings, museums, or natural wonders. Sterling was one of the strongest currencies so everywhere else was cheap, and young travellers were still enough of a novelty to be treated politely.

Today, with a human population of 7.6 billion, and tourism now de rigueur for everyone on the planet able to afford a cheap packaged tour, travelling has become a high-stress activity with horrendous queues, rigid passport and 'terrorist' control, and expensive visas. Roads, planes, and trains are jammed with vast numbers of tourists who are whisked through all the must-see monuments and other scenic spots at high speed by exhausted guides as busload after busload arrive and disgorge their hordes to wait in endless lines and queues.

Sadly, even the four-week restful sea voyage from Australia or New Zealand to the U.K. has also gone – replaced by tin boxes shuttling everyone at ridiculous speeds through the stratosphere; adding to the permanent cloud layer and dumping tonnes of spent fuel particles over the planet.

We stayed in camping grounds. Anthony made up a bed for himself in the van each night and the rest of us slept in a tent partitioned into three spaces – cooking, girls' bedroom, and my tiny cell. On our first night together, with a maximum of fuss four of us erected the tent for the first time – a complex structure of interlocking, spring-loaded tubes, while two girls prepared a tasty meal.

After planning the next day's itinerary, we retired to sleeping bags. Suddenly a muffled noise from the girls. I leaped out of my enclosure and by the light of a torch discovered half the tent had collapsed, almost asphyxiating them. They pushed from the inside while I went out and reinserted the pegs that had come adrift. Back in the tent they were sitting up in sensible nightdresses like a quartet of maiden aunts.

"You're naked!" the red-head stated somewhat obviously.

"I sleep naked but thought it more important to rescue you than look for trousers."

"Aren't you embarrassed?"

"Why?" I asked, anxiously inspecting myself. "What's wrong with me?"

"Nothing… nothing," she stammered. "It's just that…."

"What? What's wrong with me?" I demanded in a voice edging towards panic.

"Nothing, nothing," she responded placatingly, vainly turning to her wide-eyed sisters for support.

"That's a relief!" I heaved a dramatic sigh. "For a moment there I thought I'd grown a tail."

They didn't laugh.

A sudden loud farting made everyone jump, and then laugh, and then commiserate. The airbed of one of the mousey girls had split open – probably because they'd all been standing on it while pushing the tent up. It was beyond repair, so I took mine, which I'd been using as a groundsheet, blew it up and presented it to her with a flourish. They were so absurdly grateful I didn't tell them I didn't like airbeds, being more comfortable sleeping on the ground. I would use the damaged airbed as a groundsheet.

Anthony arrived in striped pyjamas to see what the fuss was about.

"You're naked!" he blurted – clearly shocked. "That's disgusting!"

"No, it isn't! Rigby doesn't wear pyjamas," Marion snapped as if it was Anthony who was abnormal. "And he's a perfect gentleman, like my father who also likes to wander around the house nude." The silence after that tit-bit of family gossip was absolute, reinforcing the young lady's venomous tone.

The following day one of the girls explained that Anthony had propositioned Marion on the boat, and it was retaliation for that, rather than concern for my feelings that had prompted my rise from mistrusted bodgie to perfect gentleman.

Anthony and I were the only ones insured to drive; the girls' responsibilities were shopping at markets and cooking excellent meals on our gas cooker. They were exemplary specimens of womanhood – never complained, never nagged, always well tempered; a pragmatic and sensible bunch. When we bogged down they were out there heaving and pushing as hard as me. When Anthony overturned the van just before Lausanne, leaving us teetering over a fifty-metre drop to Lake Geneva below, no one screamed. We calmly clambered out a window, one of the girls rescued the eggs, and it wasn't till after we'd been righted and towed to a garage that the redhead said quietly, "I think I've broken my collarbone." She had, and after an hour at the hospital wore straps and sling for the rest of the trip; not once complaining.

Superficially, we shared similar outlooks on life. None of us smoked, drank, or were interested in nightclubs. All took our responsibilities seriously and did our fair share of work, and we all wanted a spouse someday to share our lives. However, their husbands would be chosen for reliability, financial prospects, and respectability. My criteria were compatibility and mutual love; two qualities they had not deemed worth mentioning. They would marry as virgins, whereas I thought it more sensible to sample the goods first. Anthony usually remained aloof, which suited everyone. He was a good organiser and we were all happy to let him be 'captain'.

I never discovered what their interests were – or even if they had any. Certainly, they were uninterested in the 'Arts'. I spent hours wandering the Louvre again. They marched up the stairs to the Winged Victory, crossed it off their list, trudged along to Venus de Milo, crossed her off, then without gazing to right or left, hurried along to Mona Lisa – at that time without its bullet proof glass and alarm systems. Twenty minutes after paying the exorbitant entrance fee they were window-shopping on Rue de Rivoli.

They 'did' Rome's Borgheze Gallery in ten minutes, then went shopping while I sat until closing time, fighting back tears and sobs; unable to tear myself away from Caravaggio's Young Bacchus who epitomised all my aching sadness, loneliness and longing for perfect love.

In Vienna, I stood for hours in the 'gods' at the Opera to hear Fritz Wunderlich in Der Rosenkavalier, and The Flying Dutchman, while they rode on the giant ferris wheel in the amusement park. Our well-planned grand European tour was for them a duty; a 'rite of passage' which they would execute diligently before returning to bore the pants off friends and family with slide shows, and then begin the serious business of snaring a husband.

My heterosexual façade, sustained by unrelenting monitoring of every utterance, gesture, reaction and unconscious mannerism, was almost undone in Nazaré, at that time an almost untouched fishing village on the Portuguese Atlantic coast. We'd been travelling for two weeks, so two days were set aside to wash our clothes properly and relax in the first really warm weather we'd had.

The camping ground was in beautiful park-like grounds behind a decaying white-stuccoed mansion decorated with blue tiles. The area near the office and shop was crowded with tents and caravans, so we drove further back where it was private.

The following morning, after watching fishermen in long tasselled caps drag their wooden boats, with eyes painted on the prow, up the almost deserted beach, and admiring voluminously petticoated women carrying vast loads of food, washing, and even outboard motors in baskets on their heads, we returned to the camping ground to sunbathe.

The girls were in bikinis, Anthony in boxer shorts, and I wore nothing. It was a good opportunity to regain my all-over tan and I didn't think they'd worry because they'd seen my cods on the first night and hadn't seemed shocked. Of course, Anthony said I should cover my prick, giving the girls the opportunity to offload their irritation at his recent bossy behaviour by telling him not to be such a prude.

Exotic foreign culture, the absence of familiar restraints, clean fresh air and sun on naked flesh make the perfect aphrodisiac. It had clearly aroused the latent sexuality of even these well-bred lasses. We'd all endured an English winter, the dank, cold, drabness of which is difficult to imagine, and even harder to endure. Responding to the sweet sensuality of the spot, the girls placed their towels near mine and massaged oil into pale flesh while none too covertly eyeing my groin.

"Typical Dago! He's coming to perve on us," the Australian warned primly as the manager sauntered along the track towards us. "Ignore him, girls!"

Impeccable in black trousers and white shirt, the young man looked at us for a few long seconds, nodded at Anthony and the girls, swept me with a cool gaze and in exquisitely mispronounced English, ordered me to go with him.

Fearing I was breaching Salazar's purity rules I politely asked why.

"I have problem English."

Unable to refuse such a pleasant specimen of Latin masculinity I leaped to my feet and said I'd put on shorts, but he shook his head impatiently. "Here private, you good."

He led me down a path through trees to a side entrance of the mansion and thence to a pleasantly cool, whitewashed bedroom where he stripped and fondled his arousal. A vision of living happily ever after with this young man in this exquisite old house in this delightful sunny country flashed before my eyes like a 'B' movie.

"I want put sword in bottom."

Fortunately, unlike the Spaniard, he was satisfied with something less invasive. I, however, was left unfulfilled when the sound of car tyres on gravel had him on his feet and shoving me out the window hissing that they mustn't find me there. Before I could discover if 'they' were his wife or parents or bosses, I was standing on a sandy path wondering what to do with an obstinate erection.

At that moment four middle-aged men wearing nothing but suntans and white sandshoes appeared round a bend in the track. There was no time to hide so I smiled and asked where the main drive was. With unconcealed amusement they introduced themselves, congratulated me on my prowess, and pointed the way, explaining they were Germans who belonged to a naturist group that came there every year. Why didn't I join them for coffee?

I gazed back at the now shuttered window, accepted that the house was in fact a crumbling wreck and the manager wasn't husband material, and followed my new friends to a small village of tents where a score of middle-aged men and women were drinking coffee in a circle of deck chairs and assorted sun beds under the trees. The coffee was very good, their English excellent, and their friendship easy and genuine. If all Germans were like that, my traitorous brain decided, perhaps it wouldn't have been too bad if they'd won the war.

Impatient and slightly worried, Anthony and the girls sat on the ground beside me when I flopped onto my back on the towel to catch the last bit of sun. I said the manager had just wanted to know the meaning of a couple of words in a letter he'd received, and I'd spent the rest of the time chatting to a bunch of elderly German nudists.

Nudists! The word excited the girls in a similar manner to that of the people who'd watched my performance in the conservatory for the Mays. There was a restrained but palpable sexual tension, both liberating and arousing and I decided to see how far I could go. I drizzled oil over chest, groin and thighs, and casually rubbed it in, paying equal attention to my heavy but still flaccid manhood. Then with a sigh of contentment lay back and closed my eyes so they could look without embarrassment.

Dread silence, then Anthony hissed, "You're a disgusting pervert!

I felt myself harden.

"And you're pathetic, Anthony!" snapped the usually quiet New Zealander. "Loosen your corsets!"

It was so out of character that everyone laughed too loudly, to prove they weren't uptight prudes. Someone giggled, "I think it's going to burst!" Someone else whispered that she had no idea a penis could grow so huge and wondered what it must feel like to have it inside – surely it would be painful? Even tampons hurt her.

Through half-closed eyes I saw that Anthony had moved a few yards away, so he could watch but not seem part of the action. The skinny runt was so uptight no wonder he never had any success with women. The silence grew, and I was on the point of turning over, having obviously misjudged the mood, when the redhead announced that when she was twelve she'd spied on her older brother masturbating. I opened my eyes.

"He went like this," she giggled, jiggling her hand up and down wildly. The laughter was universal and almost hysterical.

"He did it every night!" More laughter.

"Was it as big as Rigby's?"

"As long, but skinnier!"

They squealed in manic exhilaration at their own daring, and I knew I'd not misjudged. As long as a bloke has a half-decent body, his success as a stripper, especially at small private functions, depends on his ability to 'read' the audience and never embarrass them. I was pretty good at guessing how far to go – whether they wanted to dance, touch, rub oil, watch me jerk off, or would prefer to see nothing more than the bulge in the last G-string. I've often been thanked as I left, for not embarrassing 'the girls'.

In that soft afternoon of Arcadian tranquillity with cicadas chirping and the sun driving out inhibitions, I felt like Hylas surrounded by water nymphs. It was a delicate situation. I had to live another ten weeks with them so if it went wrong I'd be up shit creek good and proper! But it had never felt more right, so I wrapped my hand firmly around my cock.

"Mature men like it slow.... like this." I said, grinning while demonstrating, keeping my eyes fixed on what I was doing so they wouldn't feel watched.

To me it was just a bit of fun; to them it was a revelation that such an activity, usually done secretly in the dark and in shame, could be treated as normal. Anthony had moved closer to stand frowning behind the girls as if ready to intervene if I leaped up and raped them. I caught his eye, winked, then arched my back as the fountain played. He scuttled away and disappeared.

Another key to success is to know when and how to leave the stage. It isn't sexy to watch a naked stripper gather up his own discarded clothes, or to see a proud erection shrivel, so I immediately jogged to a nearby tap and washed and massaged it back to normal under the very cold water.

When I returned the girls were whispering among themselves. Worried I'd gone too far I lay on my stomach because it's easier to weather disapproval if you're not facing it. After a respectful silence, Marion suppressed her giggling long enough to thank me for such an interesting and useful lesson – but suggested that once was enough.

I agreed it was definitely a one-off tutorial, and they skipped off to prepare the evening meal. I could barely suppress a laugh. These paragons of private school rectitude were just as fascinated as the men and women who paid to watch me. I felt relaxed and calm; better than I had for days.

Why did I jerk off in front of the girls and Anthony? Why did I do so many similar things for the first fifty years of my life? It always just seemed like harmless fun, and as far as I know there have only been positive consequences. As a youth it was also an act of mutiny against the puritanical attitudes of my peers and their parents. Then as I grew older it became an intellectual revolt against a world that judged me a criminal, while the governments that made those laws waged war, assisted multinationals to destroy the environment and rip off indigenous people, encouraged religions to brainwash kids with mind destroying crap, and put out the welcome mat to trading partners that torture their prisoners.

It's always been an act of defiance against a society I have seldom found cause to admire. Intelligence and reason are affronted by laws that declare it's OK to show in graphic detail someone being murdered, or the clear felling of forests, or killing in war; but it's a criminal offence to show a penis. Ridiculous!

My 'protests' salved my conscience without endangering either privacy or health, and confirmed my ability to manipulate people. If I could perform an act that was totally outside society's norms yet retain their respect and friendship, then I was not only pretty smart but had probably lodged a sliver of doubt in their minds about the wisdom of blindly following convention.

The sequel was just such a confirmation. Both Anthony and the girls began to treat me with respect, listening to my opinion and consulting me until I began to feel like the dominant male in a pride of lions. In the tent things also changed. The girls decided it was unhealthy for me to sleep in the airless little 'room' as summer advanced and night-time temperatures rose, trusting me to dress and sleep in the same space as them. When Anthony knocked at the tent, however, they'd shout, "You can't come in, we're naked!" He seemed to accept this philosophically.

The experience reinforced a budding conviction that humans are merely sexual animals, not exclusively hetero or homo or nympho or frigid or lezzie or starved or frustrated or anything else. To pin a label on someone was not only stupid, but cruel and restrictive. I wasn't like anyone I knew in any way; not only sexually – I was just me - not a stereotype.

Many people's attitudes have changed since then and there seems to be nothing we can't talk about, yet many laws still reflect the religious conviction that sex is a divine activity, the sole purpose of which is producing children for god, making it a sin to be naked, wank or pet or root for mere pleasure. It's not surprising there are so many frustrated and angry people, when they've been taught their genitals must be concealed because they are God's instrument for creating life, not ours to do with as we please.

Talk about this story on our forum

Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead