New in the 1970s: plays that called for nudity on stage, even (or especially?) at colleges!

Wow, check out the calendar- -January 2023 is nearly over! It’s the time of year when many shout “Out with the old, in with the new!!” I am one of these types. The “old” that gets outed every January is alcohol- -don’t panic, wine-drinking friends and family, it’s just for one month and I do give myself two exemptions:


  1. If I’m attending an event where wine is served
  2. If I’m having dinner with a friend who also enjoys wine


So far this has netted me five “with” evenings and twenty-one “without.” I can’t deny I sleep better during this dry month, but sometimes I miss the extra sparkle a glass in the evening can bring.


But that’s “old” news! Let’s talk about the new!!


This week, I attempted three new things; due to technical difficulties, I only managed two of them.


That sounds like an excuse.


For someone, Lily, but not for me. My unsuccessful goal was to use a steam room for the first time in my life. There’s one in the women’s locker room at the YMCA that I’ve though of trying since I joined last July. In Walla Walla at that time of year extra heat is the last thing you seek. But in cold, cold winter a bit of heat and something to moisturize the skin is, to quote Goldilocks, just right.


So why didn’t you do it?


The darn thing wasn’t working that morning, 9. It was down temporarily for maintenance. I spent a few minutes in the sauna instead but was disappointed, especially after getting my nerve up to try the steam room. It’s an old story- –


Because people don’t wear anything in there?



Nope. Being naked in a locker room when you’re sixty-three is nothing like when you’re in junior high, including the part about needing magnifiers to work a combination lock. The story is from my college days at Whitman, fall 1978. One of the seniors was directing a production of Steambath (by Bruce Jay Friedman), where it is eventually revealed that (spoiler alert!) the steam bath is really the afterlife. As with many plays there are lots of male characters and one female.


At that time I was newly engaged. It was for this reason, I think, that the student director lobbied me to take the female role, because clearly I was okay with getting naked around one person. . .I turned it down for a couple of reasons. First, I knew from an offer to play a (briefly) naked hooker in Hot l Baltimore the year before that Mom and Dad would threaten to stop paying my tuition. The second reason: rehearsals conflicted with a long weekend in October that I’d already planned to spend in Seattle with my fiancé, who wasn’t happy about my theater major in the first place.


New many decades ago: Key City Players production of “Hot l Baltimore”. . .The hooker I played was fully clothed, thank you!


Oh my god why did you ever get engaged to him?


I’m not going into that in the blog, Lily. So I turned down Steambath and the student director gave me a lecture about how I didn’t belong in the theater because I wasn’t willing to make this sacrifice, blah, blah, blah. That’s the part I remember most clearly, some guy two years older than me questioning my dedication because I didn’t want to appear (temporarily) topless in his play.


But back to the YMCA. Next week when the steam room is up and running I’m going in there or know the reason why!


So what new things did you actually do this week?


Thank you for asking, 9. Since you’re a foodie, I’ll tell you about that one, first. This week, for the first time, I tried Chai tea!


Tea? That doesn’t sound like food to me.


It’s popular in South Asia, black tea combined with spices and very satisfying with a touch of frothed oat milk. The spices are extra good when it’s cold outside.


That sounds wonderful to me.


I remember you like Market Spice tea, Lily. It’s kind of like that, but without the heavy presence of orange and cinnamon oil.


The other new thing: I entered the Sunday Puzzle contest on NPR! First time ever. Why? Because after listening to this program for years I finally heard a weekly puzzle that I could solve. You send the program your solution and they enter all the correct entries into a drawing. Whoever they pick in the drawing gets to be on the radio program!

I like puzzles. What was this one?

From the show’s website:

“This week’s challenge comes from listener (and New York Times crossword contributor) Peter Collins, of Ann Arbor, Mich. Take a word that’s in the name of several tourist attractions in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. Rearrange the letters in that word to spell the names of two other nations’ capitals. What are they?”

Sounds like you have to be good in geography.

Maybe in the old days, 9, but in these new-fangled digital ones it’s pretty easy to solve with an online listing of countries and their capitals. I’ll bet they get thousands of correct entries for this puzzle. Chances of my entry being drawn are slim, but I got a kick simply out of entering and being a part of the process.


A cog in the public radio machine.


Well said, Lily.


So what are you waiting for? The first month of 2023 is nearly gone! Get out there and try something new, or, at least, try to try something new.


Speaking of which, see you in the steam room.


Pin It on Pinterest