Adventures in Imperfection

Accidentally Naked and Other Wardrobe Malfunctions: A Remix

If you think this looks familiar, you’re right! I posted an iteration of this story with the same title last year. What follows is a reprint of my story published in  the Schuylkill Valley Journal by editor-in-chief, Peter Krok. There’s a reason why I’m re-posting today – if you’re curious, I’ll explain at the end.

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Accidentally Naked and Other Wardrobe Malfunctions

Most days, my life is held together by the bare teeth of broken zippers and the bent metal of safety pins. I’m only one wardrobe malfunction away from being fired, disowned by my family, or completely naked in public.

In the quest to write a book, I grilled friends about their happiest times as well as their most embarrassing moments. Listening to countless stories that ended with “And then I was naked” prompted me to dedicate an entire chapter to clothing mishaps and accidental nudity. If I can save one person from baring their assets at the worst time, then this piece served its purpose.

Unfortunately, I’m a qualified expert on inadvertent nakedness and clothing conundrums. I’m the genius who walked into a customer appointment with my male coworker trying delicately to remove the “I Voted” sticker smashed to the bottom-hugging part of my skirt. I’ve worn two different shoes to work and have duct-taped my skirt hems in a pinch. I never have enough buttons on my shirt, and I spill food and drink onto noticeable spots. Early years as a breastfeeding mom still keep me fidgety during extra long meetings—especially if I’m wearing a sheer shirt.

So many times in my life, I’ve wondered if it’s me or a tiny set of hidden gremlins who pack for business trips. Black patent shoes paired with yoga pants are not professional attire, and don’t get me started on the trip that sent me on a midnight Target run to buy underwear.

Growing up, I was a modest and private person and spent years hiding all that Adam and Eve barely graced with fig leaves. Despite our best intentions to cover it all up, there are places we end up naked when it’s clearly not appropriate or intentional. It’s the random kind that makes a fantastic story—and an excellent blackmail opportunity.

Listening to tales of my friends also confirmed a widely known scientific fact: little folks have internal love radars that can sense when anything remotely romantic is about to happen between mama and daddy. “So tired. I love my blankey. Snooooooze. Hey, wait! Was that the sound of Daddy’s zipper?”

One moment, you’re putting the kids down for naps and tiptoeing off to the bedroom. A nanosecond and a broken lock later, a cutie with toddler curls shows up at the bedside asking why mommy is playing cowboy and pony with daddy.

Flip that scene. What happens if your parents catch you naked? It doesn’t matter if you are thirteen or thirty—time doesn’t heal the embarrassment of being naked in front of the folks.

My best friend lost her dignity and bikini bottoms in the Gulf of Mexico. The undertow snatched her itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny polka dots and deposited her bare butt on the beach. Her hubby wasn’t there to rescue her, so her dad had to run her a towel while she fished her bottoms away from the sand crabs that had gathered to claim their booty.

Then there’s the worst kind of naked. That which happens in front of a complete stranger.

Like the time I skirted past the 6′ x 4′ picture window with the FedEx man staring inside. In my defense, I was getting dressed and needed something from my desk. Retrieval of lotion from the drawer was a trigger to send an e-mail, water the plant, and pay an electricity bill. All of this activity made me hungry, and before I knew it, I was prancing around like a topless Vegas showgirl backstage at the Mirage. When the doorbell rang, I stood frozen, in my birthday suit, at the corner of my desk—holding a PopTart. I thought the delivery dude would just ring and go, so imagine the look on each of our faces when we locked eyes through the window.

I dropped like a commando to my knees and crawled across the floor to safety. The incident served as an excellent reminder to avoid naked multitasking and that having dirty windows is a strategy more than it is an oversight.

Thanks to multiple mishaps, I’ve gained years of priceless knowledge and collated a list of rules so you don’t navigate the accidentally naked seas. For your benefit, I’ve included a few corollaries that will help you avoid being next month’s centerfold feature.

  • The moment you decide to skinny dip in the lake or the hot tub is the same moment your “friends” will steal your clothes and leave you to fend for yourself.
  • Pay very close attention to instructions the nurse gives you about the exam room gown. There’s a reason it ties in the back.
  • You should never believe that there is an “us” in “Let’s all go streaking!”
  • A single towel is never going to get you up or down the stairs or across the house before a doorbell rings. Teenagers compound the problem when they invite friends over.
  • Bo Derek moments always look better in the movies—nothing sexy about losing your britches midstride.
  • And finally, no matter how deserted the running path, Murphy’s Law dictates that someone will show up the moment you drop your drawers to take care of Mother Nature’s business. Not that I would know.

If you’re one of the two percent that this hasn’t happened to, just know that your time is coming. There might be an unsuspecting FedEx man waiting in your driveway right now.

****

Full disclosure: There’s something crazy happening today and the reckless side of me has decided to jump in with both feet, clothes on.  I am participating in a Twitter event called #PitMad where writers can pitch their book to agents and publishers–in 140 characters or less. Easy peasy, right? Yeah. It took my three hours to write two pitches.

Accidentally Naked is the first chapter of my book Lipstick and Laundry. Just in case an agent peeks his or her head into the chaos (*waves), I didn’t want them to review my posts and leave them thinking I was a pyromaniac with melancholy tendencies.

Note: IF you pop over to Twitter, please don’t “like” my pitch tweets–those are reserved for agents. RULES!

Thank you for giving me this self-indulgent moment. *Scurries off and hides. xo

67 thoughts on “Accidentally Naked and Other Wardrobe Malfunctions: A Remix

  1. Ha! Yes,I’ve had a few of those occurrences or variations thereof. I was in an underground storage facility in Kansas when a visit to the bathroom apparently triggered miners to set off explosives. Not realizing the storage was still an active mine, I shot out of the bathroom still disrobed when the solid rock walls, floor and ceiling began to shake violently. Or there was the loss of swimming trunks when diving into a pool. I could go on, suffice it to say that I can certainly understand your embarrassment Mama. Fun post.

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    1. Oh my goodness, Paul! Where were you in KS? And will you be visiting that same bathroom when you come back this May? Talking about embarrassing moments makes us feel connected and gives us the ability to laugh at ourselves. And, that’s not all bad 🙂
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I’ll e-mail you today or tomorrow!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha! You’re frisky today Mama! The underground storage was on Inland Dr. just south-west of KC and north of Shawnee. That was many years ago Mama. The employees got quite a giggle out of me prancing around with my pants down. If I’d known you, I would have sent you an invitation -Ha!

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  2. Good morning my dear! I’m at the beach with my mom and sisters and this post has plastered a huge smile on my face! Who cannot relate to nakedness and all of its glories? Who has not run past a window in the buff? 🙂 You remind us that we are all “Adam and Eve” at times. LOL. I have answered the Fed Ex guy in my pajamas. I am lucky I live in an area where the nearest neighbors are not really near at all. (thank God)
    Many many best wishes on the pitch! (I have a book surprise coming up soon too).
    xoxo Joanne

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    1. Hi Joanne,
      I hope you ladies are having an awesome time on the beach (sans lost swimsuits!). As I read your comment, I giggled at the stories the FedEx guys could tell. I’m sure they have seen it all? And yes to your notes on the neighbors. Ours are separated by trees and such…which is probably why I tend to get a little too comfortable 😉
      Have a great time with your mom and sisters!! Talk to you soon:)
      Michelle

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is hysterical and I love you for sharing it. I need a good hearty laugh this morning! Good luck and fingers crossed that your pitches are discovered and thought awesome!

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    1. Hey T!
      I’m glad this brought you some laughs. Why is nudity so funny, right? It just is and I’m glad I have friends who share my warped sense of humor.
      Have you had a good week? I get your posts via e-mail, so I’m sure I have some wonderful written gifts from you just waiting to be opened.
      I’ll be over to see you soon 🙂
      Michelle

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Any agent would be lucky to have you Michelle.

    In fact any agent who reads this? Get off your ass and rep this woman! Because someone else will, and then you’ll be kicking yourself for missing out on such a talented, funny, loved, genuine, badass lady. Plus she has a chainsaw. And she knows how to use it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. You’re welcome.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. OMG…Your comment made me laugh out loud! I didn’t get the chance to answer yesterday, but I had to read yours when it came across my phone. PitMad was fun, but as of 6:00 this morning, nobody bit. Which is totally cool with me. The piece still needs editing and it’s not ‘perfect’ yet – I’m still killing adverbs and passive voice sentences…poor lil’ guys 🙂
      Thank you for always being my cheerleader (nice legs, babe!) and constant supporter–even on the days when you have lots of your own stuff happening.
      Happy Friday–looks like we finally made it! xo

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    1. Bathing suits need to come with duct tape and/or super glue.
      As for Target, I just made another trip the other day because of things I’d forgotten on a work trip. I went in for a curling iron and came out with infant spring dresses. Ahem. My baby is 21-years-old. They were so cute, and I’m SURE I can find a baby girl somewhere, right?

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    1. Oh MY! You made me laugh right out loud, Susan!
      You have just named 2 of my favorite things–sandy beach and a handsome man.
      Hopefully, at some point, you were able to relive the scene minus the security guard 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. love this…and i will re-iterate what christy says..
    lucky, lucky agent
    (can’t wait to read your pitches!)

    i either am someone this hasn’t happened to or, more likely, the fact that i don’t give a damn about being caught in a situation like that has made it unlikely i’d be embarrassed.
    one of the blessings of living alone for me is lack of clothing…and i was often in any number of states of undress all my life until my son started protesting when he was about 9 or 10. Living alone again has been great for my nudist tendencies….i may even be nude as i type this!

    Great essay tho…love it, ad you

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    1. Tee! Hee!
      I remember you sharing that you don’t get worked up about being caught naked. I also giggled at your son – that’s always been the game changer in this house, too. Sometimes, it’s all about efficiency, right? If the washing machine is in the basement, and the clothes you’re wearing are dirty…it’s just good time management to drop the drawers downstairs and sprint back upstairs – actually, I think that counts for cardio, too 🙂
      PitMad was fun, but as expected, I didn’t get any hits. No big deal – just gives me more time to keep polishing.
      I hope you’ve had a great week, Mish!

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  6. Good luck with the Twitter pitching, Michelle.
    You’re a gifted storyteller, so you’ve got that going for you.
    Plus, women excel at blogging and slice-of-life books theses days… so the odds are definitely in your favor.

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    1. Dear Hook,
      You are the epitome of a gentelman and good friend. THANK YOU for engaging with me (and Brenda Drake!) on Twitter yesterday. That was fun!
      You mentioned rejection in one of your tweets. Who hasn’t suffered rejection, right? Especially in the writer world. We are not our rejected words, phrases, and stories. In the end, they belong to us. And even if nobody else reads them, there’s a pride and sense of accomplishment in having taken the journey.
      You are the ‘gifted storyteller’ and I thank my lucky stars that our paths have crossed. xo

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    1. Thank you, Austin! I have a feeling that you are a pitch master. I may need to pick your brain at some point.
      I hope YOU had a wonderful St. Paddy’s day (see, I spelled it correctly for Melissa!). I have so much catching up to do with my writer friends – I’ll be over to visit very soon 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I remember this piece well, and laughed even harder this time around. Maybe because I recently had my own towel incident during my daughter’s slumber party; maybe because the kids once found mom and dad having a rootin’-tootin’ time; or the most likely reason: Just damned fine writing, Michelle. I hope the pitches went well. Can’t wait for the book 😉

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    1. OMG! That visual has my rolling with laughter–and thinking that it had your daughter’s eyes rolling with embarrassment. Those stories are priceless, and it’s so much fun to have silly moments to share.
      Not to freak you out, but I’ve been thinking about you and your writing a lot lately. I’d noticed my writing had started to trend toward the melancholy and introspective–which is fine in small doses. I’d strayed away from the cornerstone of my writing, and have been trying to get my groove back. Your humor and style not only makes us laugh, but makes us think, makes us smile…and even makes a person grateful! That’s what I want.
      You inspire me, Ned–red thong aside.
      Thank you for the Twitter love – yesterday was CRAZY! I even got lost coming home from Omaha, Nebraska – I’m still trying to figure out how that happened 😉
      I’ll be over to visit your stories later–laughing with you is a great way to spend a Friday.

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  8. I’ll never forget the FedEx guy naked Pop Tart incident. Who could? You write so skillfully, seamlessly connecting what is a curiously large collection of mishaps that seem to suggest at least a subconscious clothing-optional attitude or just good natured honesty. I got worried because I didn’t think I had any naked stories, but wait there’s two right at the surface, I’d just blocked them out. Phew. Good luck with the Twitter thing, sounds exciting. So glad you posted this for us to enjoy too.

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    1. Don’t block! Don’t block! The people demand to know. Okay, that’s just me. I remember you telling me about a running trail and a possible wayward incident…???
      So, the pop tart/FedEx incident inspired the editor, Peter, to publish the story in the first place. He wouldn’t ever fully disclose, but I have a feeling he may have had some close encounters, too. It will always be a comfort to me to know that people aren’t perfect and that we make mistakes. I just get worried because I seem to be making more and more stupid mistakes these days.
      Thanks for reading this again, it felt indulgent and I’m so lucky to have friends who love me anyway. xo

      Like

      1. 3 already, 1 involving alcohol and 1 not but probably similar to a trail run surprise, only sadder. Good news is they all happened a long time ago! Bad news is I’m probably due a new “incident” 😳 As long as the mistakes are entertaining…they definitely make for great stories.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. What are you looking at sir? Uh, ma’am, those are the lovliest pop tarts ever 😉

    This was too much, great stuff. Love how easy it is to get side tracked. But my vote goes to the gal w-the Stihl saw. Yes!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I’m suddenly feeling like I’ve lived a very careful and bland life … I belong to that 2% :/
    Considering how many times I’ve had to drop my pants while hiking, I’m thinking surely it must be only a matter of time before I join the rest of the 98%

    … but you are so funny! Yes, I could totally visualize the expressions on your face and the FedEx guy. I can also imagine how many people HE’S told that story to!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL! If I remember right, you and I were just becoming friends when I first published this – you shared then that you were accidental-sans knickers – free. Oh honey…you’re time is coming. And when it does – PLEASE write about it 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. WAS I?!?!? Ohmigosh I don’t remember that AT ALL! Now I’m racking my brains trying to remember a time when I was without undies! YIKES!

        When my time comes, I’ll let you know. Last weekend had a number of undignified moments, but not really the kind that are funny to write about.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. *giggles…I’m teasing you, of course. I have a wicked side only my friends get to see — I should have warned you about that 😉
        I DID think of you and your hospital stay and yes-those moments aren’t typically funny – though, I do remember Beth and then Aussa each sharing a funny hospital gown story 💕

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I shared a story (over at Beth’s) about a time when I suddenly realised we were chatting while SHE was nekkid…that threw me a bit at first, which made her giggle, which caused the whole story…

        I like your wicked side, my dear *grinning*

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  11. So, you have a twenty four hour Target in your home town? Or were you traveling?

    And what was the FedEx man peeping in your window for? Didn’t he watch those viral YouTube videos on how FedEx employees are SUPPOSED to carry out their tasks? They just throw our stuff to the door!

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  12. This was an unexpected big smile. The thing about streaking is that it must be completely spontaneous and secret. When I told someone in confidence I was going to do it, they double crossed me and had everyone waiting with their Instamatics. (Thankfully it was decades before the cell phone camera.) Then there is the not quite accidentally naked, but unintended naked like when former paramour has delicate pictures of you in a more trusting time and holds them as ransom until you return the compact discs you borrowed…. Ah, the eighties…

    Hope you had luck with your twitter pitch – best wishes, Buddah Moskowitz

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello new friend!
      Your comment gave me an unexpected bit of joy, too. Thankfully, I’ve not been photographed accidentally naked with a cell phone or instamatic. Phew!
      And, oh my, the former paramour reference had me giggling and grinning from ear to ear. I did experience the 80s, but in a much calmer (and clothed) fashion than many of my friends.
      Thank you for taking the time to read and offer such a fun comment. Have a great rest of the week!
      Michelle

      Like

  13. Toddler with curls and cowboy and pony’s… It may be that it’s 1230 in the morning, but that just had me laughing like a loon. Not that I’ve ever been caught or that the second the door handle jiggled my wife went from with me to across the room in a nanosecond flat. The next nanosecond was filled with my head trying to figure out when I married Nightcrawler (if you don’t know, look it up, it’s funny.. or it’s 1230 in the morning… either way).

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  14. Oh no, Michelle! That’s so embarrassing! I really enjoy your blog, seen this so I’ll share, even though it’s been posted for a while. I was 22, headed out to the campground to visit my parents. My two year old, already in his bathing suit went off with my mom to the beach. I went inside the camper to change mine. When I get to the beach I asked where dad was. “Oh, he’s taking a nap,” mom says. My heart sinks! Later at the beach my dad says, “Hi Amelia, and I won’t tell a soul,” as he walks past me into the water. I just wanted to die, thinking about how much he must’ve seen. Continue the great blog Michelle!

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    1. Hi Amelia!
      Thank you for visiting and sharing your awesome story. I can SO empathize 🙂
      Your dad sounds like a cool dude and I’m sure he still chuckles.
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I hope to see you again soon!
      Michelle

      Like

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