My roommate at this conference, Dancing LitWoman, has roomed with me several times before. She knows what to expect. That is, she knows I’m nuts. She even knows about the blog. That first morning in the room, while we were both getting ready for the day, I explained that she was supposed to pose naked for the blog – it’s a tradition, after all – and she laughed like crazy.
“I don’t know if this is such good timing,” she said. “I’m on the job market.”
She threw open her towel and smiled broadly. “Here I am! Hire me!”
“But my readers EXPECT a naked photo. I’d hate to let them down.”
“Couldn’t we talk someone else into posing?”
Just then a text message chimed in on my cell phone. It was Geeky Mom, a blogger I’ve been wanting to meet for years. She was attending the very same conference, and we’d already agreed to meet for lunch.
I looked up at Dancing LitWoman. “I think you’re off the hook.”
Geeky Mom was a wonderful as I thought she would be. She’s warm, friendly, smart – and loves poetry the way I do. We met in the lobby at noon, and as we left the building, we crowded into the same little portion of the revolving glass door.
“I’m okay with little personal space,” she said.
She’ll pose for me, I thought.
We’ve known each other online for five years, but this was the first time meeting face to face. We found a deli with outdoor tables and sat together in the sunshine, eating sandwiches and talking in that intimate way that women do when they are alone together. We walked to a nearby park to watch the geese swimming in a man-made lake, and then hurried back to my hotel room to take the photo before the conference started.
My roommate was at the desk, doing some last-minute editing on her conference paper.
“Don’t mind us,” I said as I dragged a chair over into a sunny spot near the window. “We’ve just got to take a quick photo.”
Geeky Mom introduced herself as she pulled off her clothes. “Nice to meet you,” said Dancing Lit Woman.
As I yanked on the chair, the back folded towards me. “Hey, it’s a lounger!”
“Mmm. This is comfortable,” said Geeky Mom, as she stretched out in the sun. “I could take a nap.”
We were tempted to just hang out all afternoon in the sun in the intimate atmosphere that somehow arises when women are undressed. So much we could have talked about: gender roles, raising children, self-esteem, body issues, feminist issues in literature. But the conference began in only fifteen minutes. I snapped a few photos, we chose the one we liked the best, and Geeky Mom put her clothes back on. The conversation would have to come later, in moments stolen between sessions and late-night meals in restaurants.
(Readers who want to know the history of the naked photo tradition can check it out here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.)