Moral conundrum, everybody. I need some help here.
I moved to a new apartment in Bushwick a little over a month ago, and this weekend I finally got a desk put in the room that will now be my office. I was super-excited, so I set up my computer and started working on transcribing an interview for Nerve.com (more on that later) in the midafternoon, with a cup of tea and some cookies as companions. Life was really good.
Suddenly I saw a flash of brightness from across the street. I looked up to see that it was the late afternoon sun gleaming off the skin of a woman who was walking slowly by her window in the building across the street… totally naked. Full frontal. I blinked, and she had disappeared into the shadows of her apartment.
A few minutes later, it happened again. I caught a flash of light from the corner of my eye and looked up to see her passing the window and catching the light, still totally nude. I am not going to lie. I looked. Well, I gawked. I may have ogled. She was gorgeous, full-bodied, and just… there. Completely naked, in the sunlight, by the open window. She wasn’t making any effort to cover the window or herself, and surely she realized that she was in full view of anyone who looked in… Right?
She continued walking around her apartment for a good twenty minutes in various states of undress as she got ready to leave her place: first nude, then in a sweater with nothing below the waist (during which time she bent over to get something–slowly and luxuriously–by the window), and eventually full clothed, before exiting her building, lighting a cigarette, and walking off into the gathering dusk.
I was mesmerized the entire time. I let myself think that she had seen me watching her, and it’s entirely possible that she did, at some point. But I don’t know that she did.
And now I don’t know how to feel about this. On the one hand, I would very much like to have an exhibitionist neighbor who happens to be a very attractive lady, and who doesn’t mind me watching her ablutions on sunny afternoons while I’m writing. But on the other hand, since her intentions in hanging out near the window while naked have not been made expressly clear to me, I don’t know if I have her consent. Maybe she’s just absent-minded. Or maybe the idea of being glimpsed doesn’t bother her… but being watched might freak her out. I don’t know.
In my sex-positive, feminist, enthusiastic-consent-adoring way, I sort of want to go over there and ask her, point-blank, if it’s ok that I see her naked sometimes. If she says yes, I can ogle away. But I think that the unspoken rule of naked-by-the-window New York exhibitionists and their watchers is that you never say anything about it. You maintain the mystery and the anonymity. That’s where the fun comes from. Right?
Let me be clear: I am a perv. I would like to continue to get glimpses of her naked over there from time to time. But… I don’t have her explicit consent, you guys! Am I being a bad feminist? Am I an unforgivable creep if I don’t go straight to my desk and close the curtain forever so I can never sneak a peek again? Or do I wait till next time and try to signal her so I know she’s seen me, and she can decide how to proceed? Is that just weird? Am I being a bad person? Or just an inept voyeur? What do I do??
Advice from exhibitionists and/or experienced voyeurs very much appreciated.