Portage la Prairie, MB –
Allan Tilford remembers the day his life changed as if it was yesterday.
“It was grade twelve English, I had to do a class presentation and my teacher Mr. Perkins gave me some advice to try to help me through it,” Tilford recalls.
English teacher Jimmy Perkins told Tilford the same thing he had shared with hundreds of other nervous students in the past.
“He told me when I got up there to just picture everybody naked,” Tilford said. “I believed that it would help so I practised picturing people nude for a week before my presentation.”
Back in 1988, Tilford had no idea what he started was going to turn into a life-long habit that has permanently disabled him psychologically and limited his social involvement. The fifty-year-old Portager confesses to being somewhat of an expert.
“I can pretty much look at anyone and visualize them naked. It’s sort of a gift,” Tilford explained. “When I look at someone and find they are not that attractive naked I will glance at the next person. I’ll undress them with my eyes and put their clothes on the unattractive person.”
Tilford admits the need to mentally strip people is constant and persistent and is negatively affecting his life.
“I’ve been getting some help lately,” Tilford said. “My wife says I leer at people too much when I undress them with my eyes and it makes them uncomfortable. We don’t go out much and I can’t seem to keep a job for very long.”
Through counselling, Tilford discovered the root of his problem is in his 1988 English class.
“The day of my presentation to the class Lisa Butterfield was sitting in the front row,” Tilford shared. “She was a very cute blonde girl but kind of religious. She was a Gospel Hall kid but I had a crush.”
Tilford recollects staring a Ms. Butterfield and practising what his teacher instructed him to do but it made his presentation more difficult. He ended up with a D on his assignment but it set him on a path he would never turn back from.
“I bombed my assignment but ended up asking her out,” Tilford offered. “It turns out my imagination was almost 100% accurate. I knew then I had a gift.”
Tilford claims his gift allows him to visualize anyone naked.
“Sure, I’ve even pictured guys on my hockey team naked and then been able to confirm the accuracy in the shower after.”
“I don’t think people understand my gifting. Most people get weirded out when I use it,” Tilford confessed. “I think if people were just a little more tolerant and accepting my life would be easier.”
Tilford points to loss of income, friends, spousal criticism and lack of social interaction as some of the hardships that come with his practise of “picturing everybody naked”.
“Some days I curse Mr. Perkins for teaching me that but most of the time I’m thankful I discovered my special gift.”
We had several more questions for Tilford but our interview ended when he made the following comment.
“I see you have a mole on your left shoulder and a delightful amount of freckles on your torso.”
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