Your Mother's Living Room Is Not The Place To Be Naked
My adult son moved home with me last year after he lost his job. I do not mind that he is still here because I understand the difficult economy we are experiencing, but I do have a problem with some of his living habits.
“Cameron” does not like to wear clothes. He claims clothing makes him feel restricted and agitates his anxiety which, in order to alleviate, he likes to indulge in what he calls his “naked time”. I am not a prude, but I believe that the place to be unclothed is in the privacy of your bedroom; or the bathroom as you are preparing to shower. I have asked Cameron to wear a bathrobe or at the very least boxer shorts, but it turns out he owns neither – he feels underpants are restrictive and, because he prefers to be nude, sees no need to own a bathrobe. After my life partner caught an eyeful of Cameron one afternoon (he had returned home from work a little early) I put my foot down: absolutely, positively no “naked time” outside of the prescribed areas of bedroom or bathroom – especially since Cameron was not shielding the furniture with a towel.
Cameron’s desire to be naked has lost out to his desire to have a place to live free of charge (I informed him I would kick him out if he was caught naked in the living room again). Now, Cameron is moody and sullen all of the time, insisting that he “needs” his “naked time” to relax and let go of his anxiety and that I am not being fair to him. He has offered to place a towel between his bare backside and my couch and to only indulge himself after 10:00 PM, but my partner and I often like to watch TV in the evening, and do not care to have him sitting stark naked next to us! Cameron has suggested that we watch TV in our bedroom, I have suggested he go be naked in his; but he claims that it “doesn’t count as naked time if it is in the bedroom right before bed”.
Tazi, I am completely disgusted with my son’s need to be bare! I am at my wits end with him over this issue and need some sound advice on how to handle his poor attitude. The man is almost 40 years old – isn’t it time he grew out of this childish obsession with being naked?
Dear Seeking Solace:
My question for you is: why is your grown son sitting at home naked during the middle of the day? Shouldn’t he be out looking for a job; considering he has been unemployed, by my count, for at least six months? His bare butt on your couch reminds me of an old commercial for a local furniture store, which also reminds me: you might want to buy new furniture or at least get your current upholstery steam-cleaned!
As for Cameron’s aversion to clothing, it is possible that he suffers from a form of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), a nervous system disorder that is on the Autism spectrum. People who suffer from SPD have overactive sensory nerves and can be, in many cases, extremely sensitive to touch. Many people who suffer from SPD are what is referred to as “texture eaters” – they will eat (or not eat) particular foods based upon the texture, not the taste. As children, they tend to be clumsy, a trait that can follow them into adulthood. SPD sufferers may also hate the feeling of constricting clothing, preferring to wear cotton/Spandex® stretch type clothing; un-tucked shirts; short, loose-fitting sleeves; and other types of clothes that do not put pressure against the skin. Does this describe your son at all? If so, a consultation with his physician could lead to a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. If this does not describe Cameron – meaning if when he is clothed the items he wears are fitted and his tastes in food are based on flavor not texture – he probably does not suffer from SPD, at least not to the extent that it affects his clothing preferences.
If your son has been diagnosed with anxiety (and by this I mean by a medical professional and not WebMD) there are many ways to control it through both prescription and non-prescription methods. Cameron’s comment that it “doesn’t count as naked time if it is in the bedroom right before bed” leads me to believe that he is using his anxiety as an excuse to steamroll over your house rules. You are right in refusing to bow to his pressure, or his moods.
You should inform Cameron that you would like to see some results from his job search – this means, copies of the help wanted ads to which he has replied; a copy of his most recent resume and cover letter; and weekly appointments at the local state-run job search center. The economy has been bad, but it is picking up in many areas of the country. Any job is better than no job, so if Cameron has to spend a few months flipping burgers so be it. You should also present Cameron with some boxer shorts and a bathrobe, along with the message that if he wants to be naked he can do it in the privacy of his own home, not yours. Even my hero, Puss in Boots, has the decency to wear boots!
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