I won my first wet t shirt contest on sunday 

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A drag queen would run a wet jockey shorts contest every week when I worked as a bartender at The Copa. The contestants would stand in a round plastic pool on stage, and the “hostess” would use a watering can to wet them down. When the white briefs got wet, the young winner always had a big cock or a beautiful ass that really popped. The drunk crowd would yell for their favorite, and the winner would be the person who got the biggest applause.

I’ve been going to Palm Springs Leather Pride with my husband every year for the past four years. When my husband won the title of International Mr. Leather in 2017, I met a lot of the men and women who go and became friends with them. The party was bigger and more fun than ever this year. The Mr. Palm Springs leather contest, naked pool parties, different club dances, and other fun things to do make it a great weekend.

I’ve always liked being naked. The first time I went to Cape Canaveral beach, I was in my mid-20s and lived in Orlando. It would be worth the forty-minute drive to the coast and the nasty horse flies for me to be naked on the beach on my day off. I liked being able to swim without having to worry about my diving suit getting in the way. In the distance, I could see the Space Shuttle launch pad. I found another beach where I could be naked next to Camp Pendleton after I moved to Los Angeles. After an hour and a half drive, I had to hike down a steep trail and slog through the sand, past all the dressed beachgoers and the naked straight ones (they loved volleyball!) until I found my gay friends. After such a long walk, I’d stay all day to make it worth it. I showed it to my husband, who used to be shy around being naked, and he loved it too. We stopped going when the county started to crack down on being naked and giving out tickets that could lead to big fines and even being labeled a sex offender.

One thing you should know about me is that I have Charcot Marie Tooth disease, a genetic nerve disorder named after the three French doctors who first found it. It gets worse over time for me and affects the nerves in my lower limbs. This makes the muscles in my legs, ankles, feet, and, more lately, my hands weaken. I always felt bad about my misshapen lower legs when I went to the beach and had to walk a long way across the sand to get where I wanted to go, but I wanted to be naked and enjoy the surf more than anything else.

As my disease got worse, it got harder and harder to do things like go to the pool and walk barefoot. The drop-foot that affected both of my feet got better with soft braces I bought online. When I took off my pants to show off my unusually skinny legs and crooked feet at the leather pride pool party for the first time, I remember feeling very uncomfortable because the patio was so crowded. I tried to get in the water as quickly as possible so no one would see me, but an older man did ask me about my teeth. I quickly told her that I had a genetic disorder and swam away.

I broke my left leg twenty years ago and had many surgeries, bone diseases, more fractures, and a failed attempt to rebuild the ankle. In February 2018, I finally chose to have it cut off below the knee. After that, I got an artificial limb, and all of a sudden, my life, view, and mood changed for the better. No longer do I feel bad about the leg, and many of my pants have been changed to show off my hybrid running blade replacement.

All of this brings me to this weekend. Because we booked too late, we missed our favorite place where you didn’t have to wear clothes. Instead, we stayed at a “straight” hotel that had a lot of wedding parties, straight couples, and families. It worked out fine because we went to the Canyon Club’s naked pool parties on Friday and Saturday. As always, they were a lot of fun. On Sunday morning, we were not sure if we should go to the last pool party on our way out of town or leave early to beat the traffic and get back to L.A. We went to the Canyon Club because we didn’t want to leave without spending a few more hours naked and saying goodbye to people we might not see again for a year.

It’s hard to get into the pool because I have to take off the hard brace on my right leg (it looks like a soccer shin guard) and the prosthetic left leg, along with the thick silicone tube that holds my stump in place. To put it another way, I can’t just take off my flip-flops and jump in the water. Still, I don’t mind as much if people look at me or if I have to sort of crab crawl from the couch chair to the edge of the pool after taking off my leg. People who don’t know my story often ask me if I used to be in the service, and that happened more often this year than last. It could also be the tattoos on my chest. One of them is a helmet from the Middle Ages with two crossed swords and a dragon on it.

Brent, my friend and the party host, said they were looking for people to enter the wet T-shirt event. I believed sounds like a lot of joy. I also believed, “I had strong chest/pec the muscles,” but that was an inefficient use of work. I don’t think this has much to do with anything if you’re not a woman and aren’t wearing high heels when the water hits your round breasts and makes them look like pencil erasers. I quickly forgot about it until I saw the guys getting ready to fight and decided on the spot to add my name to the list. The shirt getting wet wasn’t something I thought about until after the fact. When the first of the ten contestants jumped into the pool, I realized I hadn’t thought it through. I had imagined being hit with a bucket of water or being doused with a watering can. They should all jump in and out, which makes sense, but I can’t do that. If my pin system in my leg gets wet, it will rust. I also have a brace on my right leg and wear shoes.

I looked for two Solo cups and filled them with pool water as an option. So when my name was called, I asked Ralph to throw them at me. But as I watched man after man dive or dance suggestively into the water (one young man did a very sexy “pole” dance on the handrail before throwing himself into the pool upside down), I knew I needed a better plan. Ralph, I asked you to hold my legs while I knelt on the concrete edge of the pool. My name was called eighth. I put my head and body into the water with the plan of just popping back up and out, but that’s easier said than done for a man in his late fifties. I tried to reach back with my hands to grab the edge of the pool and turn it around, but I couldn’t. As the seconds went by, I could feel my anxiety rising. From the water, I could see that one of the guys in the pool would see that I’m dying and help me get out, but no one was coming toward me. Or Ralph would see how long I had been underwater and pull me up while I was gasping for air, right? After that, I realized that I must look like a thrashing fish to all the people watching. This made me very determined to get out of there as quickly and gracefully as I could. It took a Herculean effort (that’s what I meant) but I got out of the water using my abs. I jumped to my feet quickly and threw my hands in the air as if everything had gone perfectly. After seeing a guy with only one leg almost drown while his husband held his feet, I thought everyone would be shocked. On the other hand, it turns out I hadn’t been unconscious for as long as I thought because no one ran over to check on me, and I got applause like everyone else.

Two hot guys jumped effortlessly into the water and then jumped out like they had springs in their feet. As I stood there and cheered for them, I felt good about having the nerve to at least take part. When the host called out the name of a contestant, the big crowd cheered and clapped for their favorite. I could hear a lot of people shouting something that sounded like “Joe” as my turn got closer, but I thought I was being crazy to think that. But when Brent called my name, I heard a lot of cheers and thought I might have a chance to win. Fred, the hot guy next to me, told me, “Dude, you got this.” He was right, because my name was called out as the winner.

I was pretty proud of myself for something so stupid. When I got to the pool deck, I used to be embarrassed to be seen walking around in shorts during the summer, but now I’m standing there mostly naked in a wet t shirt contest in front of a bunch of other guys. Throughout the rest of the day, I felt great. Not because I had won VIP tickets to next year’s event, though that was nice, but because I had become more accepting of myself. A lot of the things I hate or fear in my life, like losing my leg and having to walk with a cane, lead to courage, strength, and freedom.

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