Dear Mary

Dear Mary: how can I resist peer pressure to go nude swimming?

Plus: I caught an acquaintance stealing a child’s treasures

5 September 2015

9:00 AM

5 September 2015

9:00 AM

Q. I am going on a late holiday with a group of people who are keen on nude swimming, which I am not. The owner of the house has said that the pool area is secluded, so there will be no stopping them. I don’t want to strip off myself, not least because I am 53 (which is the average age of the group). What excuse can I make without appearing staid?
— Name and address withheld

A. The peer pressure will be enormous, but you can resist it by announcing on day one that you will be staying in your costume. Adopt an encouraging tone as you reassure them all: ‘I’m sure it won’t happen to any of you but the fact is it has happened to me, so I’m slightly phobic… You see, once you’ve been stung by an insect internally, you never want to go without your bikini again.’


Q. I recently had dinner at the home of a dear friend, who has an adorable young daughter who delighted us before dinner with what the Americans call a ‘show and tell’ of her prized collection of crystal jewels. The star of this treasury was a sparkling faceted egg of the type commonly found at airport gift shops. Another very stylish, if at times eccentric, friend was present at the dinner and, in what seemed at the time an uncharacteristically maternal gesture, she offered to see the little girl up to bed and read her a story. When dropping off the style diva later, I saw her to her door. Here, as she fumbled in her vintage Birkin bag for her keys, I couldn’t help but notice a glint of crystal. I feel queasy at the thought of my young friend’s treasures being snatched by this klepto. How can I get her to return the trophy?
— H.B., New York

A. Why not buy another of the widely available sparkling gewgaws and present it to the klepto? Say ‘I couldn’t help noticing how much this little trinket delighted you. I wanted to make sure you owned one yourself.’ This gesture should shame her into returning the original. She could even pretend it had fallen into her bag by accident.

Q. How can I prevent people who come and stay from committing the crime of writing ‘comments’ in my visitors’ book? They don’t seem able to resist.
— S.H., Woodborough, Wilts

A. Visitors’ book owners are divided into two camps. The purists and traditionalists who shudder at the thought of gushing comments, rhymes, innuendoes etc, and those who innocently believe they are doing the host some kind of favour by supplying the latter. If you feel so strongly, then customise some picture mounting card so that only a signature-sized slit is available to write in. Stand over your guests sliding it down line by line. Bear in mind that your strict policy may backfire if you have a leading artist to stay. A sketch left in a visitors’ book by Hugh Buchanan recently sold for thousands.

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  • Ade

    Well, you could always NOT have a visitors’ book…

    • David J Timson

      Or just not have any visitors….works for me 🙂

      • Mary Ann

        At least you don’t have to tidy up.

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  • din’t resist it’s liberating

  • Question: Why does anyone need a visitor’s book, anyway?

    • post_x_it

      Tradition for tradition’s sake.

      • Callipygian

        Oh, okay. I don’t have the time for that sort of thing, myself. Too busy posting on comments threads!

  • Liberanos

    There’s a story about an actors’ lodging where it was noticed that one entry in the visitors’ book had the name of a famous actor followed by the letters LDO. Was it a stage honour? asked someone. “Landlord’s daughter obliges,” came the response.

  • Roy

    Its always better nude than prude.

  • Katabasis

    “how can I resist peer pressure to go nude swimming?”

    Harden the f**k up.

  • uberwest

    To the friend of the klepto: would she have stolen the crystal if she’d gone their on her own? Unlikely perhaps because it would have been obvious who the culprit was. So she’s using the fact that you were also there to create confusion in the mind of your host as to who to blame. For all you know she’s already blamed you behind your back. She deserves little sympathy in my opinion.

  • Mary Ann

    If you don’t want people writing comments in your visitor’s book don’t have a visitor’s book.

  • Ambientereal

    People are so free minded as to go swimming nude, but are not free enough to say “no” to nude swimming.

    • samton909

      If your friends all go nude swimming, you have psycho friends.

      • Wessex Man

        you have obviously never felt the sun kissing your entire body or the thrill of running across a beach and into the sea in the altogether! You should get out more.

        • Not the BBC

          Dirty devil!

        • Callipygian

          I have. And I can state categorically that wearing a bikini wouldn’t have been any worse.

          Not to be crude, but nudism always comes down to bottomism, since bathing attire in our era is barely there anyway. What nudists really demand, then, is the sun kissing their ( )en is and the breeze not in their hair but in their ( )nus. I don’t think it takes much imagination to answer why, for some people, that’s so important.

  • Pufferfish

    If it is a crime to write comments in the visitors book, is it also a crime to aid and abet those criminals by having a space for comments? Perhaps you could stop trying to trap the unwary by having a bespoke hand bound visistors book with no space for comments – but then you wouldn’t have the benefit of knowing which of your visitors are so gauche that you shouldn’t invite them back.

  • Johnny Dangerous

    Simply explain that your colostomy bag is prone to leakage but “what the hell, we’re all in it together and it’s liberating right – Woooo Hooo”

  • Peter

    Tell them that according to the great sages, Chrissie Hynde and Rod Liddle, if you go skinny dipping you’ll be inviting rape and would only have yourself to blame.

    • Peter

      I hasten to add, they are of course talking offensive and wrong-headed boll*cks.

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