She really did think I'd feel sorry for her, driving topless. After all, it's her first reaction to any woman who is caught in a revealing situation. She's trying to understand the fun side of exhibitionism.
Yesterday, in line at Baskin Robbins, Amy made a nod to me and looked at the woman in line ahead of us.
"Exhibitionist?" she asked.
I looked. California blond, lovely body decorated with a tan and a couple of pretty tattoos, covered only by a miniskirt and a bikini top.
"I wondered," said Amy. "Because I was feeling sorry for her."
"What?" I looked again. The woman didn't seem to be outrageously bare, to me. She knocked over the tip basket, and bent down to pick up the scattered coins.
"No one wears that here," said Amy. "At the beach, sure. But not here. You don't go to the store in just a bikini top. So I was thinking that maybe she rushed out of the house from the pool without thinking, and here she is now in line, and she must be starting to feel embarrassed as she starts to realize what she has on. I figured she's going to be uncomfortable just wearing the bikini top."
I gave it some thought. "I don't think so. I think she's pretty happy with what she has on."
"I'm starting to figure that out," answered Amy.
Amy in a bikini top, just about to head to the pool herself
Not being an exhibitionist, Amy has had trouble understanding the concept. As she puts it, "I see a woman in a short skirt, and I think, 'OMG, does she know how short that skirt is? Poor thing...'"
Um. Not so much. Yes Amy, she knows how short her skirt is. And what's really shocking, the woman likes it that short. She likes being looked at.
And that's the key right there. Amy herself has pointed out that she spent her teenage years practically nude, in the tiniest of bikinis, because she lived on a beach. Day in, day out, she wore as little as possible. But it wasn't to attract attention, she wore that because everyone else did, her clothing fit her surroundings.
Likewise, Amy is entirely comfortable on a topless or nude beach, and prefers to go nude at home. She just can't imagine wanting to be more exposed than anyone else around her. Being looked at doesn't give her any particular thrill.
She figures any woman revealing more of her body than is typical must be doing so inadvertently, and is likely to be embarrassed when she discovers the the error, as Amy herself was when she was once talking on the beach to someone for a period of time, and discovered to her horror that her bikini had slipped, and her nipple had been exposed the whole time.
I think back, trying to remember if I've ever seen a woman exposed in any way, and felt sorry for her.
I'm drawing a blank.
I think back, trying to remember if a woman has ever been exposed, and was embarrassed about it.
I'm doing better there. I can remember a few times when a woman was inadvertently exposed, and may have felt embarrassed.
I try very hard to remember feeling sorry for her.
Hmm. Blank again. It's just not in me. That whole feeling sorry for an exposed woman - not a concept I can wrap my head around.
I remember when I was thirteen riding home from my grandparents in the car, looking out the window on a gusty day. Our car slowed as we approached a bridge over the train tracks in town, a pretty woman in a short floaty skirt pushing a baby carriage just ahead in the sunshine.
I made a wish.
Incredibly, no more than a second later, the wish was granted.
She might have been embarrassed, certainly surprised, but to this day I can't feel sorry for her. She's probably almost 60 now, and maybe done with short skirts, but on a summer day long ago she gave a young boy a memory he has treasured all his life.
I've never been to Vegas.
I want to take Amy there; she knows the place. Catch a show, maybe Celine Dion, or Penn and Teller. Maybe see something with those glorious showgirls, all legs and feathers, with bare breasts firm and high under the hot focused beam of the super troupers.
And Amy, sweet thing, will sit beside me, starting to feel sorry for them. "Those poor girls - do they know we can see their nipples?"