In the wee hours of a recent Sunday morning, a young, spry woman bearing no small resemblance to Angelina Jolie shamelessly ran naked down Belle Meade Boulevard.
Actually, we don’t know what she looked like or if she even exists, but the rumor of an unclad woman streaking down one of the city’s most patrician streets has become something of a legend. She has become, in fact, the city’s own Headless Horseman, only with obvious sex appeal and, we assume, a healthy aversion to decapitating fellow human beings.
The rumor emanated a month ago from the typically reserved pages of the Belle Meade News, Green Hills News, and a few other of publisher Gary Cunningham’s community newspapers. In the papers’ “Ticked Off!” sectionan entertaining read featuring anonymous rants that are phoned in to the paper, then transcribeda woman described in great detail how she realized her fantasy of running nude.
“I have been raised a very prim and proper young lady,” she began, tantalizingly enough. “I have always wanted to do something that was on the wild side, and I finally did. I decided to jog down Belle Meade Boulevard nude.”
The woman then revealed how she prudently consulted with her attorney about what would happen if the city’s finest nabbed her in the buff. He told her that she would merely get slapped with a fine. Undeterred, she hatched a scheme with her boyfriend. As she explained to the paper, the pair planned to drive down Belle Meade Boulevard, and when the local police presence waned, she would hop out like a liberated call girl and streak joyously through the night summer air. Her boyfriend, no doubt realizing a few fantasies of his own, would drive a few blocks down the street and wait to pick her up.
According to the young woman’s printed account, at 10:30 p.m. one Saturday, the pair arrived at the Boulevard and noticed two police cars parked opposite the road from Belle Meade Country Club, waiting to catch unsuspecting speeders. Traffic was heavy. The couple decided to leave until things calmed down. They returned at 3 a.m. At last, the time was right.
“I had a pullover dress and nothing on underneath it,” the woman recounted to “Ticked Off!” “There was no traffic and no sign of the Belle Meade police. My boyfriend took the light out of his car so it wouldn’t come on when he let me out.”
Like a rookie ball player finally earning his first major league at bat, the young woman’s heart pounded as her lifelong dream came to fruition. “I started running down the Boulevard naked,” she recalled. “My adrenaline was building. I couldn’t believe how fantastic this was. I turned on to Gerald Place and jogged to Jackson Boulevard, where my boyfriend was waiting for me. It was a beautiful jog down Gerald Place. The weather was great, and there was not a stitch of clothing on.”
Let’s repeat for emphasis“there was not a stitch of clothing on.”
In a cruel twist, Belle Meade city officials doubt the veracity of the woman’s story. “At this point we don’t know if it happened or not,” says city manager Beth Reardon. “We don’t have any hard-core proof. No one called in here and said they witnessed anything.”
City Police Chief Jimmy Binkley says that his men in blue couldn’t verify the woman’s “Dear Penthouse” confession. “If we caught her, we would have arrested her for indecent exposure,” he says. “We can’t allow stuff like that.”
But they’re reacting nonetheless. The satellite city’s rather irritable police force, whose members have been known to pull over joggers for running a few too many inches outside the Boulevard’s grassy median, are now on the hunt for future streakers. “We figured there could be some copycats, so we have been a little more alert at 3 in the morning,” Binkley says. “There might be some people who read that and want to get their name in the paper.” (Editor’s note: Please call the Scene first so we can send a photographer.)
After the woman’s tale appeared in the paper, a slew of prickly readers anonymously phoned in their complaints to the “Ticked Off!” column. “OK, young lady. We use the word loosely on you,” one prude called in. “Why don’t you sell tickets the next time you run down the most elegant street in Nashville. Do you honestly think that’s impressive? Get a life!”
“Deja Vu is hiring,” another reader said. “Call them. They’ll take anybody.”
Of course, not everyone is ready to burn the allegedly nude runner at the stake. “We certainly would like to ask her to join our group,” says Frank Schmidt, the president of the Nashville Striders, a local running club. “She certainly would motivate us when we’re tired. Our wives would probably mind, however.”
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