Part of my job as a writer involves traveling to different parts of the world to cover stories or research destinations. It's sometimes exotic and sometimes an adventure, but nothing prepared me for a recent invite to go on a work trip that would be clothing optional. Although I recently appeared in a New York Times photo clad in my shower cap — I promise I'm mostly fearless — this is where I had to draw the line.
I ended up not taking the trip and — just for fun — allow me to explicitly spell out the reasons why not.
1. Clothing optional is too vague an instruction.
What does that even mean? If everyone can have optional levels of clothing, who is to say what will be the median level in our work group? Will I show up at dinner in a chemise to find everyone else au naturale? Or will they meet my chemise with a business suit? I can't even imagine which would be worse, but either would be really awkward.
2. Naked + business = nope.
It's work. We're not even supposed to date co-workers. Should we be networking naked? What if someone er, likes, someone and the evidence rises to the occasion? What if someone has really weird birth marks? What if I just don't want people I will have to interact with on a professional level know that I have recently gained some weight?
3. Zika is a thing.
Said business trip was supposed to take place in a tropical location, an area of the world known to be fighting Zika right now. Zika is no joke. Is it wise to have more exposed skin for mosquitos to bite? And even if said mosquitos do not have Zika, do I really want them to bite there? Next time I have a date that's going rather well, you know he won't think that is a mosquito bite down there, and I'll have a lot of explaining to do.
4. Then there's the practical matter of sunburns.
Speaking of exposed skin: sunburns. I'm so white people think Casper is my cousin. Would I want to expose areas that never see the sun to a sun that is tropical? Ouch.
5. Did I mention naked?
Naked meet and greets, naked cocktails, naked dinners, naked sightseeing, naked... I just can't. Sorry. Next!
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