The case of Parham vs. Jerkins had not gone in favor of the Parham family. Sentenced to one hundred eighty days of enforced nudity and one hundred hours of public service for discriminatory acts against Absolutes, they were ordered to strip naked in the open courtroom. Gloria Parham had never been nude in front of anyone since she was out of diapers. As her parents stripped, reluctantly, she tried to bargain with the judge, telling him she had only been an obedient daughter to her father's wishes. His reply was if she were that submissive, she should have no difficulty complying with the jury's verdict and his ruling.
Again shifting to her parents, Gloria stated she was dependent upon them and had to comply with their wishes. The judge rebuffed that with the statement that Gloria, having passed her eighteenth birthday, was legally an adult and emancipated; therefore she and she alone was responsible for the signature she had added to the complaint signed against Jerkins Realty and Harlequin Gymnastics and Cheerleading.
Gloria Parham stood before the judge's bench. As she had peeled off the jacket, blouse and skirt, stockings and garters, and was now in bra and panties, her humiliation escalated exponentially with the removal of each article of clothing. Shivering with embarrassment, Gloria spoke for the first time. "Your honor, I'm a college student at Saint Martin in the Fields College for women. I cannot go back to school unclothed and if I don't return I will lose my academic credit for the year."
All the judge did was motion for her to continue to disrobe. She removed the bra while waiting for the judge's reply and was sliding herself out of her panties when he spoke, "A court order demanding your reinstatement as a student while serving your probationary sentence has been issued. The Dean of Students, Dora Marvis, has all the court documents on file in her office and has made the Dean of the Religious Community, Sister Matthias, The Mother Superior, aware of your unique situation. You shall be required to do your community service on campus under the supervision of the Mother superior of the order of nuns assigned there, or at a suitable place within the St. Martin's community." This stern reply, issued by the judge from the bench, echoed through the room.
Looking at her parents, trying to be brave but absolutely humiliated at being seen naked by anyone and every one, Gloria shook with nervous reaction as she contemplated her future.
Gloria waited while the bailiff attached the neck chain and medallion and, to the flashes of photographers for newspapers, magazines and other media, accompanied her parents out of the courthouse and into the glaring daylight, starting her existence as an enforced nudist. While as emotional as her mother on the inside, she refused to let her fear and shame show through and tried to put on the same impassive façade as her father.
Gloria Parham, a second semester sophomore at the Saint Martin of the Lake College for Women, was returning to campus for the first time following her very irregular conviction in state superior court for defamation of character because of a suit she and her parents had brought against several Absolutist businesses in her home town of West Hamlin.
As part of her sentence, Gloria was stripped of all clothing, given a neck chain with a pendant bearing a red enameled "P" and sentenced to one hundred eighty days of enforced nudity in public along with one hundred hours of community service.
Humiliated and embarrassed by her condition, and knowing she would be the only female on campus without clothing at a school run by conservative nuns, she feared crossing the inner wall of the school from the outside community. Once inside she would not have even the occasional Absolute to look at for as a companion nudity. She would be at the mercy of the Sisters of Mercy, who set standards for the women on campus so high that no girl ever saw another girl nude in the dorms, gym, showers or locker rooms. Her only comfort was that the few males on campus were tenured professors and not frat boys or jocks her own age.
Modesty was a virtue and virtue was an even higher value than education at St. Martin's. That the judge had ordered her to return to school was punishment, emotionally and psychologically, of the most severe kind, as Gloria did not know what would be done to her once she was on the school grounds.
Bare foot and carrying the lap top bag containing her Nook reader and note book computer, she entered the east gate of St. Martin's and immediately knelt before Sister Matthias, the Mother Superior of the religious order that ran the college. Gloria had her long red hair loose and flowing about her, offering a bit of concealment to her otherwise nude body.
Sister Matthias had been alerted by phone that Gloria was on her way back to school and had waited for this moment with a bit of vindictive malice in her heart. The Mother Superior intended to make an example of this student who by her presence added to Sister Matthias' first tenet of clothing "skin equals sin". This sinner wearing a "P" around her neck would find that "P" stood for penance, piety and purgatory before the end of her days of punishment and hours of community service. "Well," Mother Superior intoned, in a tone that suggested rage seething beneath a controlled surface, "I see it is true, though I had hoped it was a cruel joke or prank being perpetrated by your class mates."
"Yes, Sister Matthias, I'm sorry..." Gloria was cut off by the nun.
"Sorry, for what? For getting caught? Sorry for being naked in front of God and mankind? Sorry for returning to Saint Martin's and causing your fellow students and your instructors the discomfort of having to look at your flesh? What, precisely are you sorry for, young lady?" The older nun caught her breath, then continued, "By the time I am finished with you, I am sure you will know the reasons you are sorry. For now I am turning you over to Sister Thaddeus," she signaled and a much younger nun in her early twenties approached, "She will see to you and be responsible for you until I summon you again. Just now I need to meet with Dr. Marvis to discuss your status more fully."
The Mother Superior turned on her heel and wheeled away toward the administrative wing of the campus. Sister Thaddeus looked at the still kneeling girl, shook her head inside her heavily starched veil, and smiled, "You may rise and follow me. Mother Superior has ordered your accommodations changed. All of your possessions, except for your clothing, have been moved to your new quarters. Your clothing has been boxed and sent home for storage. A few things need to be done before you may attend class. Let's go get started."
Gloria rose and followed along behind the younger nun. She found herself being led to not the dorm buildings but to the convent across the quad from the dorms. Once inside, Sister Thaddeus led Gloria to a typical nun's cell, as the bedrooms were called, where Gloria found a single bed, a single chair tucked beneath a tiny table, a barred window that looked down on the quad, and a small square of carpet on the floor. Noticeably absent was a door to the room and any furniture in which to store clothing. A box on the floor held Gloria's textbooks, athletic equipment, and all the other personal but non-clothing items that had been in her dorm room.
"This will be your quarters for the duration of your sentence," Sister Thaddeus told Gloria. "You shall be accompanied by one of us where ever you go, on campus or off, and the order shall be making certain demands of you, in your present unclothed state, for our benefit. This is Mother's order and the condition set to allow you to return to school. Should you chose to not comply, your disciplinary expulsion will be immediate, again per Mother's orders."
"Uh, where are my sheets and blankets?" Gloria asked, looking at the bed.
"Mother interpreted the nude all the time requirement as to include your sleeping. You will be allowed to sleep on the bed, but without coverings. Be content with this, there are some in the order who lobbied for your sleeping nude on the stone floor in the kitchen.
"Taped to the floor next to the carpet square is the list of prayers you will recite, aloud, daily. You will also be required to stand, at meal times, in the convent dining hall and read scripture to the religious while they dine. These are academic punishments and not part of your mandated community service. We shall get to that service in a few moments." The nun finished speaking and motioned for Gloria to follow her.
"I must actually thank you, Gloria, for your current state," Sister Thaddeus smiled as she said the words, "You have saved me the embarrassment of playing the role of Blessed Lady Godgyfu on her holy day of observation. I instead shall be her sister, Blessed Lady Wulviva, in this year's pageant."
"I don't think I understand."
"It is our chapter house, this year, which will host the Order of Wulviva and Godgyfu annual parade and pageant on the holy day of observation. As you know ours is a Benedictine Order, which traces its roots back to the patronage of Wulviva and Godgyfu in the eleventh century. Our order traces its beginnings to Coventry, England. Our first House was chartered before the Norman invasion of England in 1066. The sisters Wulviva and Godgyfu funded that House with the sale of their jewelry after the deaths of their husbands.
"Godgyfu earned her jewelry from her husband in a rather unusual way. He had been a corrupt tax collector. She piously begged him to return the unjust monies to the poor and only give to the crown that portion that it legitimately required. She persisted with her prayer and petition, daily for nearly a year. He finally offered her an option, he would return the monies to the people if she, a lady of modesty and virtue, would strip naked, and ride through the streets of Coventry calling to the people to come to her castle for recompense by the Lord of the manor.
"Risking reputation, modesty, humiliation, and virtue, Lady Godgyfu stripped herself bare and sat astride her white horse to begin her ride through the streets. Lady Wulviva, dressed in only a chemise, the name for a nightgown or a slip in those days, held the reins of her sister's horse and led it through the streets.
"The town's people, seeing Godgyfu with her hair down and covering her body somewhat, and heeding Wulviva's plea to shield their eyes, turned away as the two sisters went by in respect for the act that was freeing them from fiscal tyranny.
"I, as the youngest novitiate in this House, was to play Godgyfu in this year's parade and pageant. Sister Peregrine was to play the part of Wulviva. Now that we have a young woman who must be naked anyway, you shall be the one to play Godgyfu and I will merely hold your horse's reins in a gossamer ankle length gown. Shameful enough, but at least I will not be naked on the horse. The crowds today tend to be less kind than the one of the original ride. Now, these days, staring, photography and catcalls are almost the norm every year. For three years of the last five the postulant or novice who played Godgyfu left the Order, not being able to deal with the shame of facing her sister nuns after such exposure. The other two girls requested and were granted a change of house far from the original one."
"Lady Godgyfu," Gloria was having a minor revelation in her brain, "Coventry, England, you mean that..."
"Yes, Lady Godiva and Lady Godgyfu are one and the same. Now you know the true story behind that scandalous ride almost one thousand years ago. For the last eight hundred years this order has commemorated Godgyfu's sacrifice by reenacting it. This year you shall act as she." Sister Thaddeus smiled. Gloria saw the smile was kind, yet her fear and humiliation caused her to shudder almost uncontrollably.
Sister Thaddeus left Gloria at the doorway to the cell the scandalous Parham girl had been assigned. With the door removed and the bed in plain sight of any passerby (and a nun patrolled the corridors nightly) it was obvious that privacy was no longer her right nor privilege. Gloria seldom relieved herself through masturbation, yet even that option alone in her room was denied her with the lack of a door.
Gloria had become resigned to her fate, long before her return to her college campus. The shameful humiliation of being forced to strip naked in the open courtroom where a judge and jury had found the Parham family guilty of a conspiracy to create public furor over the Absolutist laws had begun her desensitization. The medallion hanging around her neck on a locked chain emphasized her current status as a sentenced non-violent offender serving her sentence within the community. The release conditions she had signed in front of two parole and probation agents who then transported her to a public bus with a one-way ticket back to Saint Martin's College continued the numbness in her soul. Now, naked and alone in a nun's cell in a convent, Gloria finally had a moment to grieve for her lost modesty, privacy, and dignity. Her weeping ended when a bell chimed and she realized she was supposed to be praying the Rosary.
Quickly kneeling by the bedside she began to recite the prayer aloud. She continued this ritual until a second bell chimed. Rising, she noticed the indented marks the rough carpet had made upon her knees and lower legs. The old joke about nuns and whores and the calluses on their knees came to Gloria's mind and suddenly seemed far less funny.
"Ahem," Sister Matthias coughed at the doorway, "I do hope you appreciate the comfortable quarters we've allowed you, Parham. Now I would like to discuss your class schedule and your mandatory community service."
The irony of the words from the Mother Superior of the convent as to her comfort was one more nail in the desensitization process Gloria was feeling. It was as if she floated about this nude female form not really inhabiting it any longer. Her response was, "Yes, Reverend Mother, Sister Thaddeus mentioned some things, but did say you would have the rest of my schedule for me."
"You have three major and two minor courses scheduled for this semester, and I do not see how we shall be able to allow you such a full schedule with all the outside activity for which you are responsible." The older nun paused, looking for a reaction. Seeing none, she continued, "You shall be attending only your major courses, Abnormal Psychology, Anatomy and Physiology, and Sociology of Families on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You were to have taken an art elective this semester. You will receive credit for that class; however, you will be serving as the art department's life model on Tuesday and Thursday morning. Instead of doing the drawing, you shall be the drawn. From one in the afternoon until eight in the evening on Tuesday and Thursday you will perform your mandated community service at a place to be determined by the local Probation and Parole office. Saturdays are reserved for your studies and Sundays shall be spent on your knees in this room in prayer."
"Have you any questions?" Sister Matthias did not wait long enough for Gloria to open her mouth and ask a question. Clearly it was a rhetorical question as with a sweep of her many robes and skirts she exited Gloria's room with an imperious stride.
LeDawn Sun, age 39, holding a PhD in Education and another PhD in Psychology, walked into her classroom on the first Monday of the semester to find a crowd of young women gathered about in a circle and loudly chattering unintelligibly.
"Ladies!" the professor called over the din, "I realize this course is Abnormal Psychology, and I realize eight a.m. is an abnormal hour for a class; however, you need to be in your seats immediately and then perhaps one of you could explain to me why this disruption has started our day?"
As the women separated and sat, Jeri April, who at nineteen was the youngest in the class, except for the subject of discussion, pointed to Gloria Parham. "We were discussing Ms Parham's choice in fine fashion, Professor Sun, and asking her where ever did she get such an outfit." Her tone was just a shade under cuttingly sarcastic and most of her classmates tittered at the comment.
"Ms April" the tone of displeasure rang in Dr. Sun's voice, "What exactly do you find to be 'fine fashion', as you put it, about Ms Parham's state of dress?" The professor, who pointedly ignored Gloria's nudity, was leading to a point, and as the drapes in the room were drawn tightly against the morning sun and she could bolt the solid oak classroom door from the inside a point was going to be made. She asked Gloria to join her in front of the class, and asked Jeri April the question again.
"I'm not sure what you mean Dr. Sun."
"What part of Ms Parham's outfit would you most like to emulate in your own wardrobe, Ms April?"
Jeri April thought for a moment and responded, "If anything her legs, Dr. Sun. These below the knee skirts we have to wear are restricting and the fabric is uncomfortable, I think I would like to emulate the freedom of her legs if I could." Dr. Sun went around the class of fifteen, asking each woman what she would like to emulate having seen Gloria Parham as she was. Gloria had been invited to stand beside the professor and turn about upon command so that the class could see various views of her body. Gloria felt her nipples stiffen and an uncomfortable feeling develop in her crotch as she was displayed.
Ten of the women voiced their revulsion of having to look at a naked girl in their midst. Two others, Jamie Murray and Aileen Baxley, admitted to the professor they secretly wished they too could attend class au natural and despite the reasons Gloria had to be bare, hoped that before they graduated St. Martin's would have a policy similar to Central University and other schools participating in the NIP Program. The last girl in the class was Sister Peregrine; at twenty the young nun was finishing her degree with a goal of teaching in a parochial high school at some point in the future.
The novice responded to the professor with, "I have had the entire weekend, Friday evening through this morning's breakfast hour, to observe Ms Parham, Dr. Sun, what I would seek to emulate is the grace she exhibits even though she is embarrassed by her nudity and the attention it draws to her which adds to her shame. You can hear the emotional stress in her voice occasionally and she blushes a great deal, but she maintains good posture and does not avoid interaction with her peers nor her superiors. So I would have to say I would most wish to emulate her grace."
"Well said, Sister," the professor smiled, "I agree. Ms Parham you may be seated and thank you for opening so many avenues of discussion for this class. Ms April, Ms Baxley and Ms Murray, for next class a one-page report based upon your verbal response to Ms Parham's condition. Sister, from you I would like a report on Ms Parham's interaction with your peer group in the convent. The rest of you are to write a paper as to why you feel the dress code at St. Martin's should or should not be relaxed. Ms Parham, from you I would like a page on the emotions you feel being constantly naked in a totally clothed environment." Dr. Sun then gave her previously planned lecture. At the end she dismissed the class with, "Okay, I'll see you all Wednesday."
Each of Gloria's classes met for ninety minutes. It was now shortly after nine thirty in the morning and most of her classmates were off to the student center for coffee and a rest room break before their next class. Gloria, with Sister Peregrine as her escort, returned to the convent. She had an hour break between classes and her Anatomy and Physiology course would run from ten thirty until noon. She would return to the convent from noon until two p.m. for the lunch time meal and kitchen clean up and then attend Sociology of the Family from two thirty until four in the afternoon. Back again to the convent to help prepare, serve, and clean up after the evening meal, then homework, prayer and bed time.
The walk was almost an act of shunning. The women on the campus, student and faculty alike, did not wish to stare openly, though some did so furtively, and tended to look away as Gloria passed by. If Gloria saw a friend and tried to converse, eight of ten would ignore her and the others would dismiss her with a, "gotta go, class" or similar comment. She felt like a stranger in a strange land.