Straight Talk Advice

Jun 29, 2011

Strip poker sheds clothes, shreds friends

DEAR STRAIGHT TALK: Last weekend at a birthday slumber party, one of the pushier girls suggested we turn our regular poker game into strip poker. Well, I was the only one who chose not to participate. Everybody laughed at me and said that I was a prude. I don’t think I’m a prude. I’m not shy about undressing in front of my sisters and friends and had no problem undressing in front of everybody at the party when there was a reason for it. Do you think there’s something wrong with me because I’m not comfortable with this? Everybody thought it was great fun and were talking about doing it at future slumber parties. I know I could just not attend, but this my group and I don’t like missing out. I could force myself to participate, but don’t know if I should. — M. S. in Sacramento

Sarah 19, Redding, Calif. Ask me a question

It’s tough being odd one out. I am very impressed though, that you withstood peer pressure and refused to participate in an activity you were uncomfortable with. The experience of defending your principles was infinitely more valuable than a game of strip poker would have been. People mature as they age and show more respect for an individual’s decisions. A few years ago, I would have been teased for refusing to drink at a party. Now, my friends appreciate a sober head. There is nothing wrong with someone who doesn’t follow the crowd; in fact, the most innovative and successful among us have been rebels!

Elise 19, Orlando, Florida Ask me a question

Your friends are being stupid and inconsiderate of your feelings. Do not do things that make you uncomfortable. I was lucky to (mostly) have friends who respected my boundaries, so I wasn’t put into many pressurized situations. However, at parties where I was offered alcohol and declined, some people made fun of me (and still do). But it doesn’t bother me because what they think doesn’t change me.

Gregg 20, Los Angeles, Calif. Ask me a question

When my friends go smoke pot, I just say no. It’s good to begin getting comfortable saying no to your friends.

Katelyn 16, Huntington Beach, Calif. Ask me a question

You did yourself a favor by not giving in to peer pressure. Strip poker is a way of seeing how “sexy” you’re willing to be. What if your future boyfriend tried to make you do something similar? You are not a prude; you simply have boundaries.

Mark 24, Laguna Niguel, Calif. Ask me a question

My favorite definition of friendship/respect is “the tendency to desire what is best for the other.” Another wonderful phrase: “Good mental health is to tell the person that hurt you that they hurt you at the time that they hurt you.” In summary, your friends didn’t treat you with respect, and it would be healthy to tell them.

I have given in to peer pressure too many times. My peers were definitely not seeking my best interest — rather their own humor. Regarding trying something once to truly know whether you like it or not, beware! You likely will react just as you assume you will: negatively and embarrassed.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. The esteem you walk with everyday is a powerful influence on those around you. Recognize that your strengths help improve the weaknesses of others. This is accomplished by being truly yourself.

DEAR M. S.: Are you feeling better? I agree completely, not only is there is nothing wrong with you, you’re impressive! I’ll add to the excellent advice above by saying that the trick to saying ‘no’ while retaining your friends is to not judge them, even as they are judging you. “Just say no” — but do it warmly and with a smile.

Editor’s Note: If the “just say no” campaign had added “warmly and with a smile” to the phrase, there might be less peer pressure today. Young people want to “belong” more than any other thing. They need to learn how to say no AND keep their friends. Obviously there are exceptions, where you don’t need a smile and you don’t need the unsavory company of someone who is treating you or others cruelly. But, many young people do stupid things before they grow up and they’re not bad people, in fact, they’re your friends, right?! The benefit of saying no warmly while not removing oneself is that it has a huge positive influence on others, giving them the same courage to say no. Love really is the answer. Saying no with love includes, not excludes. Saying no with love diffuses the almost mystical power of peer pressure and brings choice to the individuals within the group. — Lauren

  1. By Megan, age , from Roseville, CA on 06/29/2011

    I was in a somewhat similar situation recently and totally agree with M.S. and the Panel and am glad to hear that many others feel the same way I do.  My sister and I went swimming at a friend’s house with some other girls.  One girl who is very pushy and always has to have her own way decided that we should “skinny dip” and took off her bathing suit.  The pool is secluded, so nobody else was going to see us.  Even so, I wasn’t comfortable with this, but everybody else went along.  Everybody made fun of me.  Even my sister, which really hurt.  She laughed at me and pointed out that we see each other naked every day since we share a room and undress in front of each other and that the other girls’ bodies were no different than hers and mine, so what was I worried about?  Well, I had just changed into my bathing suit in front of everybody, so they saw me naked and that was not problem for me.  I agree that there’s no reason for girls to be shy about undressing in front of each other since our bodies are all the same.  I just don’t believe that this means that we need to go out of our way to expose our naked bodies to each other for no reason.  It took some getting used to, but I don’t even have a problem taking communal showers after gym class, but again there is a reason for being naked in front of each other at a time like that.  They’re talking about doing this in the future when we go swimming there, so I’m not sure what to do.  I felt uncomfortable being the only one in a bathing suit when everybody else was naked, especially when they were making fun of me. However, I don’t want to give in to something I’m not comfortable with and I just don’t see the point.  You could turn it around the other way and say that since it doesn’t matter since we’re all the same, then why go out of your way to expose yourself?


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  2. By Sarah, age , on 06/29/2011

    I agree completely with what everyone here has said, but wanted to add one more thing that you might be able to try next time youre at a party and something like this comes up.  Try to make light of the situation, if they call you a prude, own it! Say god I know im such a prude maybe ill start wearing a bonnet to school! The more they see that you are comfortable enough with your decisions enough to laugh about them the less they will pick on you for it, kids tend to pick on things that they see make you uncomfortable its not fun to do if you dont feed into it by getting defensive or angry.

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  3. By S.L., age , from Santa Ana, CA on 06/29/2011

    I agree that you shouldn’t have to do anything you’re uncomfortable about and that you shouldn’t be made fun of.  However, I disagree with the implication of Lauren and some of the Panel that there’s something wrong with strip poker when it’s all girls and that you should “just say no” to it.  My sister and I have played it at girls’ slumber parties and it’s a riot!  We’ve both had to take it all off more than once and just laughed about it as do most girls when they end up having to strip all the way.  Just playing poker can get boring and this spices things up.  At the slumber parties we go to everybody’s very casual about nudity in front of each other anyway, so it’s no big deal to play strip poker and I don’t see any harm in it.


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  4. By Lauren Forcella, age , from Fair Oaks on 06/29/2011

    Dear S.L.:

    I was simply congratulating M.S. on sticking with her boundaries and giving her a way to say no with warmth toward friends worth keeping. Believe me, if I saw harm in an all-girl’s game of strip poker or skinny dipping (assuming the activities are alcohol and drug free), you would have heard me rant about it. These things have been rites of passage for teenagers since any living person can remember.

    However, I do see harm in ostracizing those friends who don’t care to participate. In an innocent situation like this, why not let everyone be comfortable and love them for who they are instead of judging them and calling them names? If M.S. and Megan hadn’t been made fun of for wearing their bathing suits, these parties would have been fun for everyone.

    Thanks for the opportunity to clarify.


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  5. By Cindy, age , from El Dorado Hills, CA on 06/30/2011

    Strip poker has also become common at the slumber parties my twin sister and I go to.  At first I was also uncomfortable with the idea, but my sister had no problem.  The first time I declined to participate, but my sister played and had to take it all off and it didn’t phase her at all.  After seeing her do it and seeing how it was not problem for her, I decided to give it a try the next time even though I was still somewhat uncomfortable.  I’m glad I did.  After one time, I got over my feelings about it and find it fun, even when I have to take it all off.  Like M.S, I wasn’t shy about undressing in front of the other girls, and I realized that this was no different.  Therefore, even though you aren’t comfortable with this, you still might want to give it a try.  I predict that you will get over it and find it fun like I did.


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