Archive for Birthday Suitable

Cul de sack

Florida Man has nothing to wear, and he likes it like that [warning: autostart video]:

People who live in a Stuart neighborhood say their neighbor does yard work and walks around his property naked. They say they’ve called the sheriff’s office, but deputies say, there is nothing they can do.

“I came out Sunday night to put the trash out, and I look over and he is bent over, winding up his hose, and I’m like that is my view of the neighborhood,” says Melissa Ny, a neighbor.

Concerned neighbors want to crack down on this naked truth, the man who lives at the end of their street is a nudist.

“He works on his car, and he does it naked and everyone has called the police, he is just out there doing his yard work, whatever he needs to do outside, naked,” says Ny.

What does the law say?

Several people in the neighborhood have called the Martin County Sheriff’s office, but say deputies tell them as long as he isn’t touching himself inappropriately, there is nothing they can do since he is on his own property.

I thought she said he was winding up his … um, never mind.

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Young and stitchless

I admit, I wasn’t expecting this:

Two-thirds of Millennials report sleeping in the nude, the poll by the mattress review site MattressAdvisor.com found.

Joe Mercurio, a project manager with Mattress Advisor, said he stumbled across several articles suggesting that people sleep better without clothes — and he decided to find out more.

He surveyed over 1,000 people across the country, 58 percent of whom said they sleep in the nude. Nude sleepers also report better sleep quality than pajama-wearers.

Not surprisingly, men are more likely to sleep naked than women — though more than half of women still report sleeping without any clothes. Only 39 percent of Boomers sleep in the buff, compared with nearly 65 percent of Millennials, the survey found.

Admission: When I first saw this overwhelming preference for sleeping nude by Millennials, I assumed it was due to the high cost of pajamas. (Not that I’d know, not having bought any since the 1960s.)

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Sounds like a plan

Though one should perhaps never say “never”:

I’ve left off the accompanying photo, though clicking in the right place will yield it up. If you’d rather not, I’ll tell you that there are five people in the photo, three women and two men, presumably near or at retirement age. One of the women is wearing shoes.

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Coming out in the wash

Or, um, something to that effect:

A University of Central Oklahoma professor has been accused of exposing himself at a laundromat.

William Franklin Stockwell, 67, was charged Monday in Oklahoma County District Court with a felony count of indecent exposure and a misdemeanor count of acts resulting in gross injury. If convicted, Stockwell could spend years in prison.

Stockwell was arrested Aug. 7 after Edmond police received a report that he had dropped his pants in front of a woman and her child, revealing his buttocks, according to a court affidavit. The incident occurred at the Edmond Laundromat at 317 E 2nd St.

Most exciting thing that’s happened in Edmond in weeks.

I shudder to think what might have prompted this, um, revelation.

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Feel the shrink

Some people just aren’t paying attention to the details:

Obvious newbie. Anyone routinely naked who is seated for any length of time will be seen to have brought a towel, which would have prevented the family jewels from dropping through the chair slats. I keep a stack of towels in the living room, not that I get a lot of visitors or anything.

(Via Lynn.)

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The untimely wearing of leather

Parts of Europe are overly warm these days, forcing governments to Take Action:

The government in southern Sweden have granted permission for cows to visit nudist beaches during the prolonged summer heatwave, despite complaints from locals, it’s reported.

According to The Local news website, nudists have been complaining to officials in provincial Smaland about livestock visiting their beaches, saying that their presence is “unhygienic and could pose a health risk”.

It says the roasting summer heat affecting much of continental Europe has led to drought throughout the country, and has meant that farmers have been struggling to feed their animals.

This has meant that some farmers have decided to slaughter their cattle earlier than usual; but others have instead decided to bring their livestock to nearby nudist beaches, in order to cool them down, public broadcaster SVT reports.

“When it’s this dry, you don’t want cows to be brought to slaughter out of necessity. They need to be able to bathe, eat and drink,” municipal official Peter Bengtsson says.

Still: who has priority?

Complaints from bathers have led to municipal Vaxjo’s Culture and Leisure Department taking a vote on whether the cattle were ok to visit, and have ruled they “have just as much right to be there as the human visitors.”

Said humans should of course watch where they step, as they should in the presence of cattle anywhere else.

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Textile analysis

Anything that begins “What is it with society?” automatically earns the side-eye:

What is it with society? I have a form of vestiphobia according to my psychologist and so many people are not compassionate at all!?

I hate wearing clothing due to my body thermostat being out of wack and I’m allergic to certain kinds of fabric, but people are so uncomfortable being around someone that prefers not to wear anything and this greatly reduces my social life! Obviously in public there are laws that force me to be dressed, but why are people so uncomfortable with letting me be undressed in social situations where the public can’t see? It’s just crazy and not fair.

“Oh, you poor thing. Go ahead and take your clothes off.” — nobody ever.

Those of us who do without clothing when we can learned a long time ago that this was going to reduce our social lives; it’s unreasonable for us to expect that our naked bodies will always be welcomed with open arms. Yes, it would be nice if there was more social acceptance to be had; but it’s an issue we can’t force, and even if we could, we shouldn’t. I’m interpreting “social situations where the public can’t see” as “I answered the door nude, and they threatened to call the police.” And what he might read as “compassion,” I’m thinking might be closer to “Humor him, honey. He might do something drastic.”

There are friends I’ve had for two decades and more who, if they’re coming over, will call first so I have time to throw on something more than a robe. The deal is: they’re still friends. Our alleged vestiphobe would never comprehend such a thing.

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Advance notice

Should you warn your neighbors about your tendency to go about without any clothes on? British Naturism took on this question:

Despite the news we announced a few weeks ago confirming that Naturism is perfectly lawful, a number of high-profile publications have come out during the heatwave with nonsense about nude sunbathing. It’s misleading, irresponsible and — worst of all — based on a social media post from a year ago. Obviously a slow news week.

BN have since been courted by other media outlets (a nice one for example in The Guardian) and have taken the opportunity on behalf of all Naturists and wannabe Naturists (of whom there are many more in this hot weather seeing the complete sense of taking it all off so as to cool down) to put the record straight.

Being naked in a public place can only be a crime if the naked person undressed with the intention of causing alarm and distress.

This is the law in the United Kingdom. In the US, not so much.

Are we clear on that? There is no need to “warn” your neighbours that you are sunbathing naked (or even topless, as one article had it — we’re in the 21st Century, did you know that?) in the same way that you wouldn’t consider warning them about the wafting smells from your soon-to-be-lit BBQ, embarking on playing noisily with your kids or anticipating cheering loudly for all the street to hear when Harry Kane scores his seventh in Russia.

Should you care, Mr Kane is a striker for Tottenham Hotspur and the captain of the English national team.

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Unsuited him

He was a quiet — and sometimes not so quiet — advocate for those who’d prefer to leave their clothing behind:

The conversion of Turner V. Stokes began with teenage skinny-dipping and concluded, some 30 years later, at a nudist retreat in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains. He had gone mainly out of curiosity, taking his wife after their two children had grown up and left home. What he found, he later said, was “a feeling of freedom”” and a growing sense that the nudist movement could “benefit humankind.”

Mr. Stokes, an engineer who usually wore a suit in the office but nothing at the beach, went on to become one of the most prominent advocates of nudist spaces, calling for protections for those who wished to bare all in the face of hostility from government officials, religious leaders and other critics who linked nudity to moral perversity.

As president of the country’s largest nudist organization and then as chief of its government affairs committee and political fundraising branch — Nudepac — he became “an omnipresent figure in Washington,” said Bev Price, current president of the American Association for Nude Recreation.

I’m guessing his wife went along with this, though perhaps the most common complaint of men in nudism is the Reluctant Spouse.

Mr. Stokes, who viewed nudism as a civil rights issue and spearheaded political and legal campaigns on behalf of the unclothed, died June 23 at his son’s home in Nanjemoy, Md. He was 90.

Hmmm. Maybe there’s something healthful about this after all. (Then again, Mr. Stokes was felled by prostate cancer, which almost certainly ignores the covering, or uncovering, of one’s junk.)

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Whatever the traffic will bare

A couple of years ago, I anted up £10 to help support the planners of that year’s World Naked Bike Ride, at least partially motivated by curiosity as to how London police dealt with dozens of unclothed cyclists. The controlling legal authority, apparently, is the 2003 Sexual Offences Act, and recently Her Majesty’s Government decided to provide some guidance [pdf] in such matters. An excerpt:

At the time that the Sexual Offences Act was debated in Parliament, care was taken to word the legislation in a way specifically intended to avoid it impinging on the rights and activities of naturists. Consequently, the Act requires that a sexual offence dimension would need to be involved for public nudity to constitute the offence of exposure under section 66 of the Act. This would involve deliberately exposing genitalia towards another person with the intention ofthem seeing and being caused alarm or distress (“flashing” or sometimes referred to as “indecent” exposure).

The common law offence of outraging public decency applies when a person’s behaviour is so lewd, obscene or disgusting as to shock a reasonable person. This has a high threshold in law that simple public nudity would not reach.

Conclusion: Get on your bikes and ride!

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You still need sunscreen

I have a stack of about ten years’ worth of The Bulletin, the monthly magazine of the American Association for Nude Recreation, and if I pop open any issue at any point, there’s a good chance I’ll see a picture of someone, and that someone will be naked, fortyish — God forbid anyone should see a twelve-year-old — and white. People of color, one might reasonably assume, have no particular need to get a tan.

That said, there exists something called the Black Naturists Association, and, as always with proper nudists, they have their own towels.

Woman wearing the signature towel of the Black Naturists Association

From their Facebook page:

Eight friends formed BNA (Black Naturists Association). Who are we?!?! We are an association that advocates nudity through naturist environments and activities to help promote healthy body images and self-esteem for those in the black community.

And they travel: a November expedition to Labadie, on the northern coast of Haiti, is already sold out.

BNA functions as a non-landed club under AANR rules; the annual dues ($90) include AANR membership. I can’t help but think this is a swell idea; there’s no reason The Lifestyle (so to speak) should be restricted to us pastier folk.

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At least wear gloves

It’s the 13th annual World Naked Gardening Day, and it helps if you’re not freezing. The predicted high temperature in Calgary is 65°F, which is slightly above normal and plenty warm enough for some brave souls:

“I love it. I think it’s a fun idea, especially after a long winter, to get out there and get some vitamin D,” Jenny Hayles, who will be gardening in the buff with her husband Colin, told the Calgary Eyeopener.

“It’s body positive, too. You’re not looking in the mirror, you have a task at hand, it makes it fun.”

And one need not be a purist about wardrobe requirements:

“I don’t think anybody is going to hold it against you if you have to put on a hat or some gloves,” said Colin.

“You’re allowed some protective gear. On a more serious note, the most important thing is the sunscreen.”

I must point out that I’ve been warning you about potential problems ever since Year One.

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Single exposure

Sunday had been a long day, what with chores to finish and yet another team of techs in to work on the water heater. They checked out about 4:15; I decided maybe I might be able to squeeze in one more load of wash. At 4:23, I dialed up Dining Express and requested a No-Name from Irma’s Burger Shack. Normal delivery, I expected, would be in 55 minutes or so, and sure enough, the email confirmation came back with “Delivery: 05:18 pm.” Given my long-standing rule to WASH ALL THE THINGS, I peeled down to, well, nothing, and loaded up the washer.

The call came at 4:30. “We’re running about 15 minutes behind,” explained the Dining Express person. Well, yeah, what with the Marathon going on, traffic was bound to be flaky.

“So, a quarter to six, then? That’s fine.”

I had just loaded my tray with newly-dry towels when the doorbell rang. It was, um, 5:18. This would normally be a bathrobe moment, but the robe in question was not to be had just then, because Wash All The Things. I shouted a warning through the front door, and popped it open.

A fortyish chap with an insulated bag stood there. “You know, the first time I go to an address, I never know just what to expect.” I came back with an idiot grin; he added, “Just last week I got caught that way.”

About a quarter to six, halfway through a basket of hand-cut fries, it occurred to me. On the checkout page there is always a section for “Special instructions for driver.” I wondered for a moment: what would happen if I filled in that box with, say, “Customer wears no clothes, but you won’t see anything”? Because they really won’t see anything; the walker blocks the view. Would they stop delivering here? I’m not sure I want to take that chance.

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Subject to burnout

While sorting through the archives, I found this item from 2006:

Well, they tried it last year, anyway, and nobody seemed particularly embarrassed, so let it be known that this is the 2nd International Co-Ed Nekkid Blogging Day, and while there are some things I have to do today with actual clothes on (shudder), today’s posts will not be among them.

To my knowledge, there wasn’t a third, and of the eleven blogs I cited as participating, only three are still up and running. Two of the three are run by women.

Be grateful I don’t have a webcam.

I have one now, but I think it’s gotten about four minutes of use in the last four years.

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Unwrapped packages

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds, so long as they don’t have to look at someone’s naughty bits:

Nudists who live at Eden RV Resort and City Retreat in Hudson [Florida] say they are being discriminated against by the U.S. Postal Service.

One postal carrier refuses to deliver mail inside the gates of the resort for fear of seeing naked people, residents say. When they complained to the post office, a manager told them carriers are not required to enter the resort if it offends them.

“It offends me that she does not do her job because if she can’t do her job, then she shouldn’t be having this job,” said Eileen Hudak, who has lived at the resort for 10 years and calls it a “family resort.”

While I tend to side with other folks at Wardrobe Zero, the Postal Service seems to have the better argument here:

“The mission of the Postal Service is to provide trusted, affordable, universal service to our customers. One of the ways we do this is through centralized delivery, which is the method of delivery for this community. In accordance with postal regulations, all mail is left in the appropriate boxes. Packages are left in the large parcel lockers, which, like the mailboxes, are located just outside the entrance to the community. Notices are left for mail requiring signature and items that do not fit in the lockers. Carriers are not required to deliver beyond the centralized delivery units. We can assure all customers that mail and packages are being delivered according to national centralized delivery requirements. The Postal Service appreciates its customers and strives to provide the best possible service at all times.”

If only the one carrier is adhering strictly to the rules, you have to assume that our skyclad friends are routinely getting more service than they’re supposed to.

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Just letting it all hang out

A chap identifying himself as “Sky Clad Therapist,” a description which in this age of intentional vagueness is refreshingly direct, tells the tale of a couple of times when the neighbors happened to be looking in:

If the past four years of my life are any indication, casual nudity is likely to be more tolerated by others than one would believe. I was first seen nude by a neighbour woman who had come to our house through our back yard. Seeing me sitting nude in the kitchen, she stopped and continued looking until I realised that she was there. I was in a panic as I was sure that she would report me, tell everyone in the community about the pervert two doors down, and worse still, tell my wife. None of that happened. I reached for a towel to cover up and then opened the glass patio door which had been locked for her. Since that time, she has frequently seen me nude, almost always arriving without notice when I am likely to be nude.

A similar situation occurred with my next-door neighbour three years ago. I was sitting on my back deck, tucked into a corner by the patio doors when she came into our back yard in search of some garden produce. When she finally realised that I was there, sitting without any clothing on as I wrote using my laptop, she hesitated, then approached to ask about getting something from our garden. Like the first neighbour, she has seen me nude on numerous occasions with one major difference. She only gets to see me nude outdoors, and never with the intention of doing so on purpose.

I posted my first experience of this sort, fourteen years ago:

In the back yard, I’m not generally visible, and there’s a fence surrounding the area that’s as tall as I am, further shrouding the premises, so no one acknowledges my presence out back, and given my particular predilections, this is probably a Good Thing.

Then today: “Hello!”

I figured it probably wasn’t for me anyway, and ignored it.

On the third “Hello!” I dragged myself over to the fence, and there was your basic Sweet Little Old Lady, apparently a dweller in the apartments on the adjacent block. Given the topography of the area, which slopes down from the west side of my house, she was basically staring me in the navel, or could have been had it not been for the fence and the trees on its far side.

And it was a tree she wanted to talk about. “This apricot tree hangs over on your side,” she said.

I pointed out that I kept the more blatant intrusions trimmed back, and had in fact pruned a few branches this morning. “It’s not time yet, but when they’re ripe, would you mind terribly if I gathered them from your yard?”

“It didn’t produce much of anything last year,” I noted.

She apparently remembered the previous owners, didn’t recognize me, and figured that she’d renew an existing arrangement. Which was fine with me. “Just come around to the gate.” No harm done; I wasn’t planning to pick them, and I was happy not to have provoked a discussion of my attire.

And then: “You’re working on getting a tan?”

Um, yes, I was. “It’s good for me.”

Apparently it was good enough for her, too. “Thank you.” And she disappeared into the mysterious wilderness next door.

We didn’t exactly become close friends, but there’s a great deal of comfort in knowing someone is not going to go berserk over some exposed flesh, and there were a few giggles the one and only time she saw me dressed.

Both of the good doctor’s incidents took place in the presence of women, and I’m thinking his experience parallels mine: women, if they spot an unclothed man who’s not making a nuisance of himself, are not at all alarmed and might possibly be amused. (What’s a nuisance? A friend of mine made her first trip to a nude beach, and some rude fellow set up a camera or two in her vicinity, which is considered Bad Form at best. She raised holy hell, as she should have.) Men, however, are not so sanguine, and at least one I encountered objected as loudly as he could.

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Everything up front and open

The makers of Absolut vodka would like you to know that they have nothing to hide:

What, did you think it was cold in Sweden?

I admit, I was hoping for a brief glimpse of Absolut’s CEO, Anna Malmhake, but alas, it was not to be.

Anna Malmhake, CEO of Absolut Vodka

(Via digg.)

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Assumed expertise

I was coming up on my 900th answer on Quora, and I got to wondering just which of them had drawn the most readers. I’m not entirely sure about how this happened, but for this I got 23 upvotes and over 1700 views. The question: “Is nudism okay for people in their early teens?”

Most of the time, it seems to me, people who wound up as full-time nudists started thinking about it around ages 11–14. It’s easier for them if the entire family shares that interest, but most of them aren’t that lucky. Still, if you have time to yourself, you’ll have at least a few moments when you can cast your clothes aside, and if you ever have an opportunity for organized social nudity — for instance, at one of the resorts — you’ll have that much less of a learning curve.

When I was 13, I hung around with this one guy in the neighborhood, a year older, who was way beyond me in terms of adolescent development. One day I dropped by his house, and was told he was in the shower: “Just go to his room and wait.” I did so, and when he emerged from the bathroom, untoweled or anything, I spun away. “I won’t look,” I said.

“Don’t be silly,” he answered. So I looked, and the world didn’t come to an end. Lesson learned.

I might add that I went into “Let us never speak of this again” mode thereafter, and we didn’t; but obviously the memory of this incident, from fifty-odd years ago, has stuck with me.

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But don’t even think about looking

Brooke Ventura, editor of Modern Reformation, on beauty as a commodity in this secular-ish age:

Beauty has a hard time in confessional Protestant circles, and it’s easy to understand why. In our sex-saturated society, this powerful and elevating value has been exploited and degraded to the level of commercial property. Once ranked as the necessary companion to truth and goodness, it’s devolved into little more than the ultimate selling point for everything from smartphones and cars to Hollywood starlets and politicians. As heirs to a historically iconoclastic church, we’re not sure what to do with it. Scripture at once gives us Solomon and his bride’s ecstatic rejoicings at one another’s beauty, and Peter’s admonition that women ought not to let their adorning be with “the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry.” If we’re honest, the simplicity (we won’t call it ugliness) of the church buildings we worship in today has more to do with primarily pragmatic considerations than scriptural principle.

I’ve seen the first half of this paragraph pasted onto various Tumblr nudist posts. Go figure.

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Indoors, one hopes

A group called Calgary Nude Recreation, you’d think, would not require a whole lot of explanation. This is on their meetup page:

A group for like minded people who enjoy being in their birthday suit! This group is family oriented and kid friendly and open to people of all ages, body types, all genders, sexual orientations, and anyone else in between. Whether you like being naked or want to get more comfortable being naked, this group is for you! All recreational events associated with this group are strictly non sexual and are intended to create a safe space to express ourselves in our most vulnerable and natural state all the while having fun!

With that in mind, they’ve set up a recurring event called “Naked Water Slides and Wave Pool,” which also doesn’t seem to require much explanation. Several thousand Calgarians are not impressed:

An online petition created over the weekend had generated more than 2,000 4,000 signatures by Sunday afternoon, calling on Mayor Naheed Nenshi and the city to “put this event to rest” or “at least … make it age appropriate.”

“I respect the concept and believe in an 18+ setting,” wrote April Parker, who started the petition. “However, having naked children around a bunch of naked adults doesn’t seem like a good idea for any reason.”

The petition, addressed to the city-owned swimming facility, is here.

Update, 11 January: It’s off:

Acting Director of Calgary Recreation James McLaughlin said the city conducted a thorough review and decided the volatile opinions about the event created a safety concern. He said city facilities have hosted naturist swims for years without incident and the cancellation was not due to the nature of the activity, but solely because of security.

And the hecklers veto another one.

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Bank account stripped

I have no idea what, or how much, else:

A fraudster who met her victim on a dating website for naturists scammed him out of £50,000.

Moira Etchells, 45, met Ian Chatting-Tonks in 2013 and persuaded him to lend her the cash to start a business artificially inseminating cows.

Swansea Crown Court heard she spent £35,000 on a new Land Rover and banked the rest.

Etchells, of Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, admitted fraud and got an 18-month sentence, suspended for two years.

Which doesn’t sound like too much of a sentence, but she did sell the vehicle and pay back the amount she scammed.

The court was told Etchells had underlying bipolar effective disorder and her condition led to her making “fanciful” claims.

“I have found this case truly bizarre,” said Judge Geraint Walters.

One wonders if this case would have gotten coverage from the BBC had the participants been clothed. Maybe the artificial-insemination angle might have done it.

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Bring napkins

An acquaintance of mine is in Paris this week, but I can’t imagine her stopping by this place:

Paris has opened its first-ever naked restaurant where diners can dig into their food while completely naked.

The aptly named O’Naturel restaurant is located in the French capital’s 12th arrondissement, on Rue de Gravelle, and had its grand opening this past Thursday. There is space at the restaurant for up to 40 diners, with meals starting at around €30.

Upon entrance, guests are asked to remove all their clothes and leave them in the restaurant’s wardrobes.

And no, passersby won’t see them through the windows:

“We don’t see anything from the street. We know what’s happening. It’s not a massage parlour.”

I’m pretty sure I could deal with something like this, but I don’t anticipate getting the opportunity. For now, I order takeout and (un)dress accordingly.

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Never saw this when I was a kid

Whether it would have made any difference or not, I don’t know.

Parental nudity warning

Now that I think of it, I don’t remember any instance in which I caught the parental units en déshabillé. It was something they just didn’t do.

(Via Cracked but Not Broken.)

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The grievance of airing

There are three nudist parks in the state of Georgia. Morgan Falls Overlook Park in Sandy Springs is not one of them:

[O]n Sept. 17, a woman called police saying a man was walking naked on the hiking trail. The woman says the man greeted her by saying he was just a family-friendly nudist.

“It’s scary,” says park visitor Chelsea Stoddard. “My kids are 3 and 5, and I don’t want any naked guys running around here.”

I’m guessing this particular family didn’t find the guy all that friendly.

Since he was naked, there isn’t a clothing description, but he was holding black shorts with a white stripe, also identified as having a crew cut haircut.

An officer searched the area, but didn’t find the naked man.

Now I wonder if he’d started the trek clothed, intending to remain so, and then early on decided to doff his duds to see what would happen. (Hey, it could happen.)

(Via Breaking Shame, which should be considered NSFW.)

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Actually, I was nearly broke

My ex zinged me on Facebook today with this:

Man wants to mow the lawn in his birthday suit

Okay, she wasn’t that scornful back in the day, but she certainly wasn’t keen on that sort of idea.

(From the voluminous humor files of Alan Drucker. God knows where he got it.)

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Just two days?

From the Facebook page of the American Association for Nude Recreation, located in Kissimmee, Florida:

AANR Bulletin will be delayed two days because of Hurricane Irma

Two things that come to mind:

  • In more than a decade, I have never received The Bulletin earlier than the 27th of the month;
  • That’s not how you spell “inconvenience”. It’s not how I spell it, anyway.

No, I don’t think it’s being looked at before it hits my mailbox: it’s sealed in an extremely plain envelope, identified only as “The Bulletin” from their Kissimmee address.

And the home office is closed today and Monday, so I figure those must be the two days.

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Truck and cover

For I don’t know how many years, people have been circulating the story that there are some places hither and yon where it’s illegal to drive barefoot, you doofus, at least go put on a pair of flip-flops. Actually naming these places, for some reason, never happens:

There are no federal or state laws that prohibit driving a car without shoes. But state laws may be different for other types of motor vehicles like motorcycles. And local jurisdictions may also put their foot down when it comes to driving barefoot.

While driving a car barefoot may technically be legal, law enforcement officers generally don’t recommend it because of safety concerns. For example:

  • Driving barefoot could make it more difficult to drive. “We don’t recommend it because your feet can slip off the gas pedal,” a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles told the Naples Daily News.
  • Barefoot drivers’ discarded footwear could also possibly get stuck under a car’s pedals, impairing the ability to brake or accelerate.

The issues get a little more complicated if you’re barefoot up to your chin:

We were surprised to find little consensus on whether it is actually illegal to drive naked. There don’t seem to be many laws on the books that specifically address nudity in cars vs. nudity in general. One rule of thumb: It’s probably OK to drive naked, but only if no one else sees you.

That’s because indecent exposure means “to purposefully display one’s genitals in public, causing others to be alarmed or offended,” according to FindLaw. It’s not always necessary to prove the intent to offend others, either. If you do so recklessly, that counts.

The Oklahoma law reads similarly, although an exception is carved out for the person taking a leak off the back porch.

One thing I have learned is that people don’t forget this stunt once it’s been pulled, even four decades after the fact.

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Leaving it all behind

Sometimes I shake my head, and something ridiculous comes out.

There are, I am told, four nudist clubs within 50 miles of Houston, two of which are permanently established, the others being “non-landed” clubs which meet at a member’s house. I’d like to think that visitors fled once they got wind of the arrival of Harvey. But what if they waited too long?

And why would I ask such a thing? An unbidden memory of, believe it or not, an ocean liner. The SS Andrea Doria, the pride of the Italian line, was struck by MS Stockholm of the Swedish-American line on a summer day in 1956. There were only 46 fatalities; 1660 passengers and crew were rescued.

When I was a kid, I remember reading about this wreck in one of the ubiquitous Reader’s Digest Condensed Books volumes around the house. And there was a throwaway line about how “Some of the passengers sprang from their beds without clothing and departed the ship that way,” followed by a detailed description of one woman who made sure she was fully dressed and her makeup correctly applied before heading for the lifeboat. At the time, I was too young to think much of this passage. Many years later, something prodded the memory, and I asked myself if I could run for my life in my birthday suit. I decided I could not, and shoved the thought back into its slot.

Now, of course, we are presented with a massive rescue operation, and I am barely able to walk, let alone run. Fortunately for me, I’m nowhere near Houston; I surely would have perished by now. Would I have bothered to get dressed? I don’t know, and I don’t think I want to find out.

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The very fabric of society

Actually, the lack of fabric may matter in the upcoming German elections:

There can’t be many countries where a major political party’s leader would campaign on a nude beach. But German politician Gregor Gysi, leader of Die Linke, the anti-capitalist party that is the third biggest in the current parliament, has done so this week to bemoan the declining popularity of naturism in his country. In doing so, he’s tapped into a lingering east-west culture divide, and maybe a few extra votes.

Gysi’s political career started in East Germany where he was something of a dissident within the ruling Socialist Unity Party (SED). In the 1980s, when Gysi was pushing for reform, the “free body culture,” or FKK as it is known in Germany, was widespread in Communist East Germany, a politically repressed people’s way of telling the world that they actually enjoyed freedom of a sort. In 1982, there were 40 official nude beaches in the Communist nation and lots of others that weren’t mentioned in the state-published guidebook.

This wasn’t, of course, due to any particular penchant for nudity among the Communists:

FKK became popular in Weimar Germany, where it was linked to both nationalism and to social-democratic pacifism. The Nazis banned naturism in 1933 but relaxed the rules soon afterwards under pressure from influential party members and SS officers who argued there was nothing wrong with the natural beauty of the German body. The Communists banned it again in the 1950s: They hated both the old social-democratic and Nazi associations, and they followed the prudish Soviet line on anything even remotely sex-related.” The ‘nudist unions’ were a by-product of the disintegration of imperialism in the area of body culture and sports,” the state sports organization declared in 1951. “As an expression of imperialist decadence, ‘nudist unions’ cannot be tolerated.” By 1954, nude bathing was largely banned from Baltic beaches even if it didn’t involve membership in any group.

The ban lasted two years before being lifted, mostly because nobody had bothered to follow it:

[I]n 1956, nude beaches were officially allowed, and though ad-hoc attempts to clear them out persisted for some years, it was clear that the naked people had won. FKK became an acceptable form of expressing individual freedom. By the time it collapsed, the East German regime had co-opted it. Official propaganda even pushed the nudist norm to the outside world as evidence of the country’s progressiveness.

Still, nudism is in decline all over the reunited Germany:

The drop in FKK’s popularity is probably due more to a growing Muslim population and the proliferation of high-resolution mobile phone cameras than to capitalist prudery and lasciviousness. In a changing world, it has been reduced to a niche that will never be as large as it was in a largely closed, homogeneous Communist country.

And probably never as small as it is in the US.

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Looking for some common ground

“I really don’t like abortion,” I told the pleasant young woman from a group called Trust Women, “but I will not support the bans, or half-bans, that the state legislature keeps coming up with.”

Biggest text on their door hanger:

The ban on using private insurance for abortion care should be repealed. And politicians should leave medical decisions to women and their doctors.

Which, technically, is two separate issues, though I wasn’t very clear in making that declaration.

Not sure how she wrote that down in her book, but she didn’t scowl even once. And I have more than usual reason to be grateful for that: when the knock came, I pushed the door open only a little and tried to shoo her off the porch, warning her that I was at Wardrobe Zero. She said she didn’t mind, and so that’s how the discussion was conducted.

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