Erik Petersen: The naked truth
I'M up in our loft computer room looking for my old driving licence when I find some pictures of naked women.
They're in a pile with other photos my wife has taken – actual, physical, non-Facebook photos, so I know they must be a few years old.
Several are little more than blurry outlines of what looks like people sitting in a sauna.
Another series of photos shows a full-figured nude woman in her 50s standing over a younger woman who appears to be sitting in a barrel.
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Generally speaking, in my house there is a dearth of photos of matronly nude women standing over younger women in barrels, so this one catches me off guard.
Their faces are visible and I am relieved to find that I recognise neither of them.
But in one photo there's a third person. She's in a top corner – the picture cuts off her body from mid-torso.
However there's an unobstructed view of mid-torso down, and that's when I start to panic.
Before I sound like a complete sniggering Victorian, let me say that I am not squeamish about the nude form.
My problem is that these are my wife's pictures, so some people in them could be people I know.
I have lived in two countries, America and Britain, and neither of these is really the sort of place that prepares you for seeing your opposite-gender friends in the altogether.
If I were a Scandinavian, perhaps I would suggest we frame the picture and give it to the mystery friend as a Christmas present. "To Ingrid: Lookin' good! Love, the Petersens."
But I'm an acclimatised resident of Britain. I make a note to Google "polite ways to commit hara kiri".
First, however, I walk downstairs to query my wife.
"Honey," I say. "Why do you have photos of naked women in the loft?"
Her eyes narrow. "I don't."
She says this in a tone of voice indicating she believes I have a mucky pictures stash in the loft and rather than hiding it somewhere, I'm attempting the unique gambit of trying to convince her this is something she has done.
But as I describe them, suspicion turns to curiosity.
"Are you sure they're naked?" she asks me.
It is an odd moment in a man's life when his wife casts aspersions on his ability to recognise an image of a naked woman.
"They're naked," I say.
"They are definitely naked."
We proceed to the loft. I produce the photos.
"Oh, these!" my wife says. "I thought I lost these 10 years ago in a Wetherspoon's!"
That is a concern, but I've got more pressing issues. What is going on in these photos?
Turns out: wedding party. A Scandinavian (I knew it!) wedding party.
In true Columbo fashion, I've got just one more question. I proffer the photo in question. There in the corner.
Do I know her?
My wife glances at the naked lower half.
"Nah," she says. "You don't know her."
For my own sake, I am choosing to believe.