The first time I did the “Bare to Breakers” (NSFW) au naturel, decades ago, that’s what went thru my mind. (Substitute clothing for hands!) Imagine, running naked across San Francisco in a crowd of 80K runners and a 100K spectators as an act of self-affirmation – with a bit of protest thrown in. (Not that my departed parents could have tolerated even the thought of such a thing. Sodom and Gomorrah and bares, oh my!)
I did feel like I was demonstrating something really neat and daring and unique. It was wild and crazy and pushed my limits. I was a member of a tiny group of nonconformists and rebels, straight out of Kill la Kill or Shimoneta. At the time, probably only one in a million people in the US both would and could do such a thing.
These days my wife holds my clothes while I do it. It makes logistics easier. And I walk instead of run.
I just enjoy being nude. Period. Don’t need an excuse for it. Have no interest in rationalizing it.
I enjoy it alone. I enjoy it socially. I enjoy it if I’m the only one nude and I enjoy it just as much if everyone is nude. I enjoy it up on a stage doing improv in front of a hundred complete strangers or in a living room with a couple of friends or alone on the trail miles from anywhere. I enjoy it doing the Bare to Breakers solo or riding with a group of several hundred in the World Naked Bike Ride (NSFW). Acceptance without any negative emotional feedback is my measure of success.
It is something that appears in my first reliable memories as a child. Kindergarten perhaps. I also know I had to hide it from everyone, parents and sister included, or there would be hell to pay. Was it my own unique expression of being high on the spectrum? One of those weird obsessions us Aspies are known for? Perhaps a mixture of rebellion and forbidden fruit? Probably all the above.
I’m hoping other people who are in the closet about being a nudie read this and crack the door open just a bit. The world doesn’t have to be as terrifying for you as it was to me many decades ago.
When everyone else is clothed and I am not, I think of it as being a kind of
cosplay. (No offense meant to those of you who really are cosplayers.) Being different may draw attention but is certainly not a hostile act. It is just a different style. I expect it will be a long time before I can mow my lawn or go shopping nude, probably well beyond my life expectancy. But I do what I can to expand the envelope without risking arrest or pissing off anyone too badly.
Nude public events have become much more common. Many major cities have a Naked Bike Ride every summer now. A recent one in Portland had close to ten thousand participants. Frisco has nude-friendly events regularly. Spencer Tunik has regular photo-shoots with hundreds or even thousands of nude people in a public location. Nudity is more common in political protests and is slowly becoming an allowed form of political speech. These are all very positive signs.
Spencer Tunick photo-shoot, Mexico City. It was an incredible event for body acceptance but I could not have dealt with the dense crowd.
A bike ride isn’t the same as a cross-city walk with mostly clothed participants. Bike ride nudies don’t mix in with the clothed nearly as much as in a walk but the idea is the same. Nude is just another costume option.
I have a special love for the Bay to Breakers because after a mile or two the textile impaired folks stop focusing on your lack of clothes. When that happens you can forget about it yourself. Now you are where you want to be – just another participant having fun. (Sometimes very chilly fun.)
To forget you are nude is one of the most liberating experiences one can have. The acceptance of oneself without any need to conceal. A kind of visceral freedom to be
unashamed; dangly bits, extra curves, stretch marks and all.
It also proves that the psychological reaction to nudity is learned and can be unlearned very quickly. The “shock value” disappears with continued exposure. A half-hour down the road it no longer means anything special. (Except maybe to tourists!) Nobody cares – you might as well be wearing a sweatsuit. All it takes is an open mind and the right environment.
OTOH clothing-optional beaches, the places where you’d think nudity would be more acceptable, have been regulated away in SoCal by various state, city, and county parks and recreation commissions. Go figure.
Every now and then the Two Roads Theater does another Nude Comedy LA. I usually do a standup routine. I’ve been known to sing a show tune. I love to push my vocal range to its natural limit and I don’t need a mic to reach the back seats.
A couple times a year the topic will be Ghost Stories. Maybe I’ll read something by Edgar Allen Poe? Or maybe a skit from Twilight Zone?
This summer I’m doing a one-man show for the Hollywood Fringe about growing old, being an Aspie and challenging one’s limits. That has me a little nervous. How do I keep a crowd of average theatergoers interested for an hour? Jokes? Props? Stage crew? Lighting and sound? Some kind of multimedia? That’s frightening! It is pushing my limits. The naked part is easy.
I’ve collected yet another scar, this time from my hernia surgery and I’m showing some age. But why should I care? Aging is as much a part of life as anything else. So is surgery. Good people and thoughtful people don’t care about such things – at least the ones I associate with don’t. Nudies are the most body accepting people I know.
Posing for art classes has always been enjoyable for me. OTOH, so was doing strip-o-grams back when I was single. Different contexts mean different definitions of appropriate behavior.
I am not specifically a nudie blogger. My blog is a random blog of whatever I am interested in at the moment. When I do a nudie blog, it often is about the activity and the fact I was nude is a small part of the background. Or it may be front and center as the focus. I resist formally labeling myself a naturist or a nudist because there are people who try to put tight definitions on those words. It is difficult NOT to use those terms though.
I don’t deny at all that clothing has a lot of practical value and (shocking!) I spend most of my time clothed.
Nudity – in and of itself – isn’t sexually arousing or embarrassing to me. It is liberating. I won’t claim that nudists aren’t interested in sex. That would be as wrong as claiming that nudity is specifically sexual. I assert that being naked and being clothed are equally sexual.
Sexuality is hard-wired into us. The truth is that once people are used to a particular level of clothing, the actual amount worn has no effect on the level of lust in the air. The people of the Yanomami in the Amazon rain forest are not driven by lust more than were the people of Victorian England.
I love to hike nude! I am somewhat limited in this practice. I have to head out to the national forest to be legal. Late summer is a slow time for hiking. It is often too damn hot and it is a long damn drive to anywhere cool enough to hike. Wintertime is an even slower time for hiking. Cold and wet weather makes my joints ache even more and short days cut into the time available. It is winter as I write this.
I’d like to stay in shape for serious hiking but every year it gets a little tougher. Used to be just my knees failing but other joints are getting into the act.
There are fun nudist events at clubs – like the Olive Dell Naked Mile Beer Run. Sometimes I will meet an amazing person but usually, I’ll be alone the whole time. That’s the Asperger’s kicking in, yet again.
The resorts are all a long way for me to travel and then they need to charge money to continue to exist. I get that but I’m also limited in the money I can spend. If I am going to travel I must multi-purpose a trip and try to minimize costs.
And as far as nudie activities go, I prefer to get off the reservation. Resorts can easily turn into expanded closets. They can become well-appointed ghettoes if you let them. Trips to hot springs, hiking in the wild, camping in remote places, parties, public events, that’s where I’ll find my space. I am not a big fan of highly regulated environments.
I feel a need to assert this periodically. New people follow. Even some older followers might not be aware. They don’t look at older posts. And it is an important part of who I am. Some people may think of it as TMI but I don’t think it any more TMI than talking about gender preference or self-care or autism or any other deeply personal issue.
I think of nakedness as being upbeat and cheerful. Positive and life-affirming. Rebellious, yet harmless. A bright spot in an often dreary past. If I can’t even blog about it, I might as well put a deadbolt on my closet door. I extol its virtues because I think it is neat.
OTOH, I’m not here to tell other people to lose their clothes. If it sounds so fun you want to try it, that’s all good. If it doesn’t, that’s all good too. “Freedom to be me!” does not mean I want to pressure you to be like me. If everyone were like me we wouldn’t be diverse anymore. What a boring world!
Some people may be disturbed by the occasional penis showing up. Photos are an important part of my blogging style. Take heed of the NSFW label. It is there for a reason. Lots of hikes and events are coming up this spring and they may be labeled as such.