18 January 2003
Carry on, my wayward sunworshippers

Jeff Jarvis, in the wake of 9/11:

So you can sneak a bomb in your shoe. The only solution is to fly naked. You can't bring anything on board; it all has to be shipped separately on cargo jet.

They weren't thinking about security, I suppose, but take a look at this:

Passengers aboard a May 3 chartered flight from Miami to Cancun, Mexico, dubbed "Naked-Air,'' will be free to drop their pants, shed their bras and underwear and move about the cabin au naturel.

Castaways Travel, a Houston-area travel agency that specializes in "clothing-optional trips,'' is offering what it bills as the world's first all-nude flight for $499, round-trip.

Advantage: Jarvis.

Would I fly this thing? I don't know. Certainly if She Who Is Not To Be Named could be lured into the deal; but I am reasonably certain that whatever her wildest dreams, this isn't among them.

Posted at 6:23 PM
25 April 2003
Not Bobby Bare, though

My list of People I Would Like To See, Just Once, In Their Birthday Suits is reasonably extensive, I think, but there are quite a few names — quite a few names associated with country music, in fact — higher on the list than those of the Dixie Chicks.

And there's always the question of whether Jeff Jarvis, who invented Entertainment Weekly way back when, would ever have imagined such a thing. (Jarvis did, briefly, put up a satire of the EW cover, but the less said about that, the better, especially since he's pulled it off his site already.)

Still, times are changing. The Dixie Chicks get naked on a magazine cover; Playboy's Playmate of the Year doesn't even rate a cover this year. Anne Garrels of National Public Radio contemplated doing nude broadcasts from Baghdad as a safety precaution. Various bloggers have put up pictures of themselves or others in varying degrees of undress. (No, I won't; I cannot afford to assume the responsibility for monitor damage.) I suppose this is a great time to be a voyeur, but frankly, I don't have the time.

Posted at 7:19 AM
16 August 2003
Received wisdom (one in a series)

Touchingly lyrical, yet totally vulgar, this High Truth straight from Donnaville:

I have never understood the reason for strip clubs for women. If a woman wants to see a naked man, all she has to do is ask.

(If I had the slightest bit of sense, I'd kill comments on this item. Fat chance.)

Posted at 10:15 PM
6 September 2003
Breezing through work

I have lived nearly thirty years in central Oklahoma. During that time, I have delivered newspapers, and I have driven a car while unclothed.

It never occurred to me, however, to do both at once.

Posted at 5:55 PM
9 September 2003
A clarification of sorts

In today's Letter of the Day, Venomous Kate implies that I "got naked" for her, a phrase which presumes that I removed all my clothing at her request.

I did, I must point out, retain my Nike sport sandals.

Posted at 2:52 PM
3 November 2003
And no cover charge, either

It's called Naked Lunch, it's apparently the first clothing-optional restaurant not connected to an existing naturist resort, and it's not surprising that it's in Key West instead of, say, Duluth.

While it's not true that I'll doff my duds at the drop of someone else's hat, I do spend rather a lot of time unclad; still, I can't see myself joining in the frivolities. For one thing, there's no way to drive to Key West on the way to somewhere else, because Key West simply isn't on the way to anywhere else, with the possible exception of Uranus, and I don't really envision it as a final destination, especially since I'd have to go through Miami twice in the process, which is twice more than I'd like.

More to the point, Naked Lunch doesn't strike me as a really great place to take a date, and, well, I hate dining alone in public, no matter what I'm wearing.

(Via Fark)

Posted at 6:27 PM
25 May 2004
The secret of NIMBY

One of the things on my never-published (and with good reason) Things To Do Before I Croak list is "Dance naked in a thunderstorm."

I'm starting to believe that the possibility that I might actually do this, now that I have a semi-suitable venue for same, is warding off rain; precipitation is running about two-thirds below normal this month, and this is normally the dampest time of the year.

(No, I'm not getting out of bed at two in the morning to do this, unless I can't sleep to save my life.)

Posted at 9:44 PM
27 May 2004
Drippity drop

Okay, it wasn't much of a thunderstorm.

But I gotta tell you, it was one hell of a dance.

Posted at 6:29 AM
1 June 2004
For your eyes only

Somehow this just struck me as hilarious. The Bare Buns Family Nudist Club in northern Virginia has a collection of Frequently Asked Questions, and most of them are pretty much like the questions asked of other clothing-optional operations.

Except for this one:

Question: I have a government security clearance. Will I risk losing it by attending your parties?

Our membership includes people who work for the FBI, the CIA, Secret Service, and the Pentagon. Although some generally poorly informed people consider our activites controversial, the things we do are legal and wholesome, and the government's security people know that. The only way you could become a security risk through your participation in nudist activities is if you are so overly secretive that you think that you must at all costs prevent your parents, your employer, or someone else from finding out, which might make you subject to blackmail.

This doesn't mean that you must tell your family, friends, co-workers or your pastor that you've visited a nudist club, but that it would be OK if they were to somehow learn about your new interest.

When securing or renewing their security clearances, some people list the officials of our club as character references; the people who are investigating them seldom bat an eye when we confirm their participation in wholesome, family clothes-free activities.

I can't wait for this to come up in a Congressional hearing. "Yes, Senator, I did remove all my clothing, at an undisclosed location."

Posted at 7:36 PM
3 June 2004
Listening to everything

"Partly cloudy," said the Weather Guys, and so it was, but I figured enough stray rays were filtering into my back yard to justify grabbing a few, and so I did.

Away from the street, it's fairly quiet; the first noise I heard was the sound of a dozen birds taking off once they heard the back door opening. Well, fine, be that way, I thought; normally they tend to sit there and stare, or if they sense that yard work is about to be performed, they wait for some fresh surfaces to explore, but generally they don't split all at once.

In the absence of flapping wings — their chirping session usually ends around sunrise — I tuned into some of the other noises around: the high-pitched buzz of the resident insects, the wind (down around 8 mph, which is way low for here) rustling the leaves above me, air conditioners cycling on and off, and the occasional passing vehicle with the stereo turned up to a Spinal Tap-like eleven.

Then there was that loud crashing noise from a house on the next block, which definitely broke the mood of the moment and left me wondering if maybe I'd stayed out just a few seconds too long. Nothing — at least, nothing on this side of the fence — lasts forever.

Posted at 6:27 PM
14 June 2004
The longest days

Sunrise this morning came at 6:14, which is about as early as it can get around here. Sunset will be at 8:47; over the next week or so, it will slide toward 8:50 before retreating again after the summer solstice.

One of my goals this summer is to banish, at least temporarily, my normal sickly whiter-shade-of-pale coloring. This could be rather easily done by lying in the sun for extended intervals, but there are good and sensible reasons not to do this: apart from the increased threat of melanoma, the medication I take to regulate my blood pressure bears a warning about excessive sun. (I have read the prescribing information on the drug, and the real danger seems to lie in fluid depletion.) With short but concentrated exposures — twenty to thirty-five minutes per day — I seem to be suffering no side effects, and areas that don't get any sun during the work day have gradually darkened from "born gosling" to "underdone pork," which I reckon to be an improvement.

Of course, the single darkest body part will be the left arm, for obvious automotive reasons.

Posted at 7:31 AM
15 June 2004
Strapped for time

Lynn doesn't see anything wrong with guys wearing sandals, at least in a casual context. Fair enough, I suppose, since there are substantial periods of time when that's all I'm wearing, and you can't get much more casual than that.

Well, yeah, okay, there's the wristwatch. Big deal. It's a Casio and it's twenty-five years old. I've now spent more on batteries than I did buying the darn thing in the first place. And it keeps fairly lousy time, though I figure that most of mine is borrowed anyway.

What? No. No pictures. Go away.

Posted at 9:39 AM
31 July 2004
Humble folk without temptation

While I found this piece reasonably interesting, one sentence did jump out at me:

One minor surprise was discovering that nudists can also be conservative Republicans.

Well, yes, there are some grim, puritanical, sexless drones on the right side of the spectrum, but that hardly describes everyone over there; it doesn't even describe a majority of conservative Christians, a decidedly smaller subset, the stereotype of whom is presumably being extended here to the entire GOP, even though it's palpably false. [Link NSFW]

Admittedly, your serious nudists don't even mention sex if they can help it; however, I suspect their official disinterest is intended specifically to keep pervs at bay.

Posted at 5:25 PM
6 August 2004
The limits of bareability

Evolving Beauty [title page possibly not safe for work, subsequent pages almost certainly NSFW] is a collection of photographs by Eric Boutilier-Brown.

Susanna Cornett is impressed by some of the photos, not impressed by others, and by her own admission somewhat conflicted:

I find myself torn on the issue of these nude photographs. Obviously these are real people, without clothes, and a real person photographed them. Issues of modesty (or the lack thereof) are rampant, and not, in my judgment, unimportant. However, the photos that I like the best are not overtly sexual, but rather positioning the human body as an element of nature, the juxtaposition a celebration of the beauty of the human form and its connection to other parts of nature. The images where the model is the central point, not the blending of the model and nature, I find much less compelling and nothing out of the usual. I find myself philosophically opposed to nude photography, yet aesthetically drawn to the photos of the type I point out above. I don't think nudity in and of itself is wrong, and I think we should all be comfortable with our bodies. However, I agree both theologically and practically with the Biblical strictures of modesty, for exactly the reasons the Bible states that it's important. Our society is too cavalier about both sex and nudity already.

It's a dilemma. And I'm not quite sure how to resolve it.

I think part of the problem is the coupling of "sex and nudity" as a single concept, as many people (though not Susanna, I suspect) do; while nudity certainly facilitates sex, it doesn't imply it, unless you've somehow acquired the notion that apart from bathroom functions, the only reason to take off your clothes is to have sex. Any semi-serious skinnydipper knows better than that.

Still, discerning intention occasionally requires some work. Flashing a barista is very likely an act of exhibitionism, something not to be encouraged officially. (My apologies in advance to baristas.) Camping nude in a national park (which is not generally illegal under Federal law) probably isn't, but it could be. Dressing up with the hope that one's garb will lead to what Helen Gurley Brown once called "getting Dial spelled backwards" likely is.

I'm not going to suggest that everyone shuck his duds for the sheer delight of it. (Of course, if you do, I'm not going to complain, unless you do it in my driveway.) But it might not be a bad idea to create a little Garden of Eden of your own, outdoors if you dare, indoors if you don't — provided, of course, you keep in mind what happened in the first one.

(Disclosure: Written while dressed.)

Posted at 6:12 PM
28 August 2004
See how serious we are?

About ten weeks ago, Susanna Cornett cast aspersions on the whole idea of nude protest:

I've never quite gotten why stripping down to bare skin must be seen as some type of political statement. The stated reason is that it's showing your vulnerability, it's showing how much you're willing to risk to make a point, etc.

Except, of course, that it doesn't actually do that:

[T]he mental imagery of a bunch of old flabby men whipping past in the all-together aside, protesting nude is less about protesting and more about exhibitionism. I'm also not moved by those "empowered women" who formed the word "Peace" with their naked bodies. None of them made true sacrifices, at least not the kind that actually move forward a cause. It is, ultimately, all about self and self-actualization.

Despite my status as an old flabby man in his birthday suit, I had to agree with her assessment. At best, a nude protest tends to trivialize the cause supposedly being advanced. And yes, I'm aware of the presumed body hangups of our ostensibly Puritan society and all that, and they don't make the slightest bit of difference; unless nudity is actually germane to the issue — say, trying to get a section of public beach set aside for clothing-optional use — it reduces the credibility of the protest.

Older than I, but not flabby, Acidman says basically the same thing, but more directly:

Literally showing your ass DOES NOT reinforce whatever argument you have. Pulling a stunt such as that one makes you appear to be a crazed, leftist flake — a typical, left-dingbat, screeching, feces-flinging monkey. By the time you are arrested for lewd conduct, nobody remembers what you were protesting.

What were those people in New York screaming about, anyway?

Posted at 10:12 AM
12 September 2004
PJ and the bare

In regard to that Jonathan Klein crack about the typical blogger being "a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas," I wish to state for the record that I haven't owned any pajamas for approximately thirty-five years.

And that's nothing, compared to this: Beth Donovan isn't even a guy, let alone a pajama owner.

(And apparently she doesn't always sit in her living room, either.)

Posted at 9:44 AM
18 November 2004
Perfunctory coverage

So I'm reading up (that's my story, and I'm sticking to it) on anchor Sharon Reed of WOIO-TV in Cleveland, who doffed her duds for one of Spencer Tunick's, um, live exhibits, and what occurs to me first isn't "Wow, a babe" or "Surely this isn't La Shawn's kid sister" or anything like that.

Instead, I thought back to the first of the year, when the Catherine Bosley story broke, remembered that she had been an anchor in Youngstown, and wondered: Just what is it in northeast Ohio that seems to make women want to take their clothes off? And is the Repository hiring?

Posted at 8:36 PM
6 January 2005
Vintage cheesecake

Like many organizations, the Green-Walled Garden Club (one of the Whittier names I've heard lately) of Frederick, Maryland has issued a cookbook as a fundraising tool.

Unlike many organizations, the Club has chosen to, um, spice up its cookbook: in addition to the recipes, there are a dozen photos of club members, aged 55 to 70, in varying degrees of undress. "Everyone does a cookbook," says member Marianne Coss. "We needed a gimmick."

It will be a while before I've sampled more than a handful of the 800-odd recipes in the book — this Pork with Red Plum Sauce (page 177) looks interesting — but I doubt I'll be able to convince anyone I bought this purely for prandial purposes.

Posted at 9:18 PM
25 January 2005
Out of the blue

The operator of a Deborah Gibson fan page is heartbroken at the news that the Debster will be appearing in a Playboy pictorial.

Says the fan, the news is "still not being officially released (except to paying fanclub members of the official Deborah website)."

Liz Smith has the story now, and her reaction is pretty much the same as mine:

I never know what to think of the taking-it-off-for-Playboy route. Sometimes it works, but just as often it doesn't. (Yes, everyone oohs and aahs and speculates if Playboy has furnished said naked lady with new breasts, a trimmer bottom, a perkier nose, whatever. But careers are not always enhanced.)

Personally, I can't think of anything of Deb's that needed improvement, but then I'm not the guy paying $5 for the issue. (The price by subscription is more like $2.91.)

And how surprised should I be, anyway? She did Broadway Bares way back in '98. Besides, she's in her middle thirties by now, and frankly, I grow weary of the endless procession of 19-year-olds chez Hef.

Posted at 1:06 PM
The Finch Formerly Known As Gold