Naked Ramblers finally arrive

The news stories give the essential details, so I won’t add much.

Get ’em on. We’ve made it [Link still valid!]

If the certainty of having your collar felt, metaphorically of course, by the local police every few days is not enough to put you off walking the length of Britain naked, then the February wind blowing off the Pentland Firth should at least be a deterrent. So, as the Naked Rambler and his girlfriend finally arrived at the northernmost tip of Scotland yesterday, their first thoughts turned to clothes.

‘Naked Rambler’ gets dressed

A man trying to walk the length of Britain wearing nothing but a hat, boots and a rucksack completed his marathon trek on Monday and celebrated by putting his clothes back.

“It’s nice to get warmed up again,” self-styled “Naked Rambler” Stephen Gough (46) told the domestic Scottish Press Association news agency from a café in John O’Groats, on the tip of the north-east Scottish mainland.

Gough and his partner, 34-year-old hairdresser Melanie Roberts, completed the last 32km of their 1 363km walk from Land’s End, south-west England in temperatures of about five degrees Celsius.

“It has been pretty cold and the locals have been coming up to us offering us whisky and all sorts,” said Gough. “They’ve been very, very friendly. We passed a school and there were even parents coming out with video cameras.”

Naked rambler completes his trek [Link still valid!]

Mr Gough and his partner Melanie Roberts, 34, from Bournemouth, reached the north coast of Caithness on Monday.

The ex-marine, who began his 874-mile trek in June, has been arrested and jailed on several occasions.

Mr Gough, from Eastleigh in Hampshire, said he wanted to challenge public attitudes to nudity. He celebrated his success by putting his clothes on.

It was a nice touch that the Guardian ran, in addition to the story, a brief — but quite favorable — opinion piece:

In praise of… the naked rambler
[Link still valid!]

However often the police may have arrested the incorrigible nudist, including twice in his final week on the road, the general public always seemed hearteningly unfazed by his presence. The nearer he got to John O’Groats, a tired but happy Mr Gough reflected yesterday, the more that local people offered greetings and whisky to him and his partner Melanie Roberts.

Oh, and just in case you’ve been living most of the last year (or more) in the Amazonian rainforest (hopefully naked) and find this story interesting but lacking in background, just go to the Naked Rambler’s web site for more information and pictures…

Originally published February 27, 2006

Strip poker… at a nudist resort?

Sure, why not?

Paradise Lakes Resort
in Land O’Lakes, Florida has tried it out (Friday, January 27) as part of a promotional event to entice students to visit and learn about the pleasures of clothesfree socializing. They’re especially interested in attracting the attention of some of the 43,000 students scattered around several campuses of the nearby University of South Florida. (Which, being in the Tampa area, isn’t exactly south Florida. But nevermind.)

Resort Nakedly Using Poker To Get Students

A strip poker tournament geared toward students at the University of South Florida will highlight an all-day “Bulls in the Buff” event at the clothing-optional resort just west of Dale Mabry Highway.

Resort owner Joe Lettelleir said Kristy Lucas, an unpaid USF intern, came up with the strip poker idea. Lettelleir has been trying to find ways to introduce younger people to the nudist lifestyle.

“She came up with this idea,” Lettelleir said. “She jumped in the boat, and she has an idea a minute. We’re anxious to hear more of them.

A subsequent op-ed article, while finding the idea amusing, wished the organizers success:

Naked Truth: USF Outreach Makes Sense

Here’s hoping all went well, if not simply for Lucas’ future in the hospitality business, then for the boost to central Pasco’s economy a surge of free-spending college students could bring.

It will be interesting, to say the least, to find out just how successful the event was.

Also, it must be said that, in fact, not all naturists and nudists are happy about the idea. They think it “sexualizes” naturism and does not really represent naturist ideals.

The response might be this: Wouldn’t one have to say the same thing, honestly, regarding (say) almost any form of dancing? Especially dancing than involves lingerie (which is popular at some nudist clubs), exaggerated body movements, etc…. In fact, scientists have recently documented that dancing does play a role in courtship and mate selection for humans: Rutgers Researchers Scientifically Link Dancing Ability To Mate Quality.

To me it seems clear that most forms of dancing either promote physical contact or draw attention to bodies as visual objects. Or both. There are lots of “eroticized” messages in many forms of dancing, IMHO. So, is most dancing — allowed and even encouraged at most naturist places — any less eroticized than strip poker?

Some people say that naturist places should totally avoid eroticized signaling. Even of the sort (like dancing) that’s quite prevalent in the textile world. That just doesn’t make sense to me. And to be honest, such avoidance is not practiced in most nudist/naturist venues.

But if such avoidance were the norm, one shouldn’t be surprised at all if young people avoid naturism.

A more detailed criticism is the claim that most people, especially young people, associate nudity with sex. And so, if invited to a strip poker event at a nudist club, would they be expecting a very sexualized atmosphere and be tempted to act accordingly? Or, on the other hand, on discovering that open sexuality is discouraged, would they be confused and disappointed?

I think that different young people will have different reactions. The desired outcome would be for the young folks to just stay naked after they’ve stripped the first time. As naturists often say, after the first 5 or 10 minutes, it’s easy to forget you’re naked, and it’s no big deal. Seems to me it would feel kind of silly to put on clothes again just so one could play another round of strip poker. Either people would stay naked to keep playing poker (if they like the game), or they’d wander off to try something else — dancing, a dip in the pool, or munching on pizza.

So the whole point is to get them into the resort and have them get comfortable there ASAP.

Of course, you’d want to have some responsible adults (sober grandmotherly types) watching quietly to intervene discreetly in case of any inappropriate behavior. Also, be sure that there’s a majority of experienced naturists around so first-timers can see what’s proper naturist behavior and do like the Romans do.

Hmmm. Speaking of Romans, maybe a toga party might be another good hook to attract college students. One where the togas aren’t really expected to stay on for long, and this is understood beforehand. (The challenge is to dare your date to be first in your group to drop the toga.) Toga parties are a hoary college tradition… (Or maybe they’re passé now… but I doubt it.)

One can object that this hook is sexual too. But maybe the psychology is just the reverse. Maybe young people are less reluctant to try nudity if there’s an excuse for being naked (losing at poker, having a costume malfunction with the toga) that is not overtly about sex. (“Oh crap. This thing just won’t stay on. Mind if I lose it?”)

Originally posted January 29, 2006


Urbanudismo, or Urban Nudism, is the name given by some — associated with the Urbanudismo website — to a new type of naturism. It appears to be associated mostly with Spain and Argentina. The following article discusses, briefly, its appearance in Buenos Aires.

Urbanudismo, el boom llegó a la ciudad de Buenos Aires

The article’s in Spanish. My understanding of the language is limited, but I’ll offer a rough translation anyhow.

Urban nudism, the boom reaches the city of Buenos Aires

Although some define it as an artistic phenomenon, people from Buenos Aires don’t stop being surprised by nudists who take off their clothes in public places

Urban nudists are a phenomenon that is growing in the city of Buenos Aires. It is a matter of people who decide to take off their clothes in public places.

Some prefer to consider it an artistic phenomenon.

Luizo Vega is one of the figures that most stands out for his capacity to generate live works, according to Diario Popular.

Buenos Aires also was the setting chosen by the photographer Spencer Tunick, who in 2002 brought together more than 500 nude people in the Obelisco.

The daring is also expressed by women. Inés Gilemmon decided to move nudist celebrations from closed locations to plazas and streets, with the sole objective to “provoke and generate strong reactions.”

For her part, Abril X (pictured) practices a political type of urban nudism, following the European example.

Originally posted January 8, 2006

A dose of reality for politicians

One of the frustrations of living in a democracy is watching candidates get elected to public office then promptly forgetting how real people live. But at least in Canada, the process of door-to-door campaigning ought to teach some that real people don’t always wear clothes, or feel the need to.

Door-to-door campaigning full of nude surprises

In at least one riding, voter nudity overshadows ferocious dogs, slippery walks or long-winded residents as the greatest test of their composure.

“We are talking the full range of various states of undress, and the more startling thing is we get people right down to starkers,” says Richard Mahoney, a Liberal candidate making his second bid for the riding of Ottawa Centre, won by the NDP last time around.

But the sad thing is, the politicos just don’t seem to get the message. Instead of enjoying the opportunity to meet real people “in the flesh”, they seem to be uncomfortable with the experience.

Mahoney estimates he has seen at least 50 voters so far this campaign bare more than just their thoughts about his party and his political rivals.

He admits it’s sometimes a struggle to remain unflustered.

No wonder they do so many stupid things once they’re elected.

Originally posted December 26, 2005

Germans go naked into freezing lake for good health

Brrrrrr. I think I’ll pass on this. Do these folks have antifreeze in their veins?

Germans go naked into freezing lake for good health

BERLIN (Reuters) – Saying ice cold water is good for their health, a group of about 30 naked Germans jumped together into a Berlin lake for their annual Christmas swim on Sunday.

Wearing nothing but red Santa Claus caps, the naked men and women aged between 25 and 73 went cheerfully en masse into the Oranke Lake in northern Berlin, which had temperatures of 2 degrees Celsius (36 degrees Fahrenheit).

“It feels great even if it’s not quite as cold this year as in the past,” said Kathrin Hornack after her five-minute swim. Last year the lake was colder and in previous years it was sometimes filled with chunks of ice.

“What more could we ask for?” she said. “The sun is shining and it’s a lovely day in the lake.”

Originally posted December 26, 2005

Just trim a little around the ears, Delilah

Hey, just what we want, a naturist barber, right?

Um, maybe not…

German calendar depicts erotic moments from Bible

BERLIN (Reuters) – A German Protestant youth group has put together a 2006 calendar with 12 staged photos depicting erotic scenes from the Bible, including a bare-breasted Delilah cutting Samson’s hair and a nude Eve offering an apple.

You know, after all this time, maybe these folks are headed in the right direction:

Anne Rohmer, 21, poses on a doorstep in garters and stockings as the prostitute Rahab, who is mentioned in both New and Old Testaments. “We wanted to represent the Bible in a different way and to interest young people,” she told Reuters.

“Anyway, it doesn’t say anywhere in the Bible that you are forbidden to show yourself nude.”

You can read more about the calendar here… and how to purchase a copy… if you read German.

BBC version [Link still valid!]

Other copies of this story: here, here, here

Originally published December 2, 2005

Dancing for votes

Apparently Norwegian teenagers are a lot like teenagers everywhere, only more so. Around the time of their graduation from high school they have a tradition of rowdiness. They even have a special term in their native language, “russ”.

It seems that this is such a tradition that the “russ” in each school elect their own president. Back in May one school had an election that was interesting enough that it made the news. Evidently it even got some notice on the Internet, but I didn’t see it. Guess I don’t visit the right places. Anyway, according to this story:

Antics by Norway’s ‘russ’, reveling high-school students who celebrate impending final exams with often unbridled debauchery, have caused a new controversy after a stripping stunt was filmed and publicized via the Internet.

A 19-year-old girl promoted her campaign to be the local russ president by stripping naked at a student assembly at Atlanten High School in Kristiansund two weeks ago

The young woman’s name wasn’t reported, or even whether she won the election — but she’d certainly have my vote if I were there.

Sounds like this caused a minor scandal, even in Norway. Imagine the repercussions had this occurred in the U. S. (However, back in 1998 a graduating senior at a private school in Vermont was naked under her graduation gown, which she removed after addressing the audience at the graduation ceremony, as reported here. That did cause quite a stir.)

Anyhow, there will by some excessively prim naturists who will complain that “this isn’t naturism”. Maybe not, but it’s something we could stand to have a whole lot more of.

Oh, yes, there’s even a video, here.

Thanks to Say Anything for the story.

Originally posted November 29, 2005

Denmark is for naturists

Membership boom for nudist groups

More and more people are joining nudists clubs in Denmark. Over the past three years, the number of members in the national nudist club, Danish Naturalists, has risen by 30 percent.

What we really want to point out here is that this item is found on Denmark’s official web site!

Can anyone imagine such an article being featured on the official website of any U. S. state? Even without the tasteful nude photo?

But then, Denmark is a country of intelligent, civilized people, and so it appreciates, rather than persecutes, naturism.

More info on Danish naturism at the Scandinavian Naturist Portal.

Originally posted September 7, 2005

If only all religion were like this…

Woman, 5 Children Found Walking Nude (August 31, 2005)

ST. PETERSBURG – A naked woman and her five children – all naked and carrying Bibles – were stopped by police about 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The group was stopped near the intersection of 29th Avenue North and 15th Street North. Several people called police to report the group.

The woman was arrested and charged with child abuse and exposure of sexual organs.

Her name was not released Tuesday because officers were investigating the case, a St. Petersburg Police Department news release stated.

The children, who range in age from 5 to 15 years old, will likely be turned over to relatives, police said in a news release.

Police said the woman told them that God told her this morning that she and her children should walk down the street naked.

Originally posted September 6, 2005

Staff writer looking for a clued mood

Yet another comment on art and art appreciation. We seem to be having quite a run of these right now.

Austin American-Statesman staff writer Chris Garcia seems to have struggled mightily to grok the scene at a fairly ordinary (for participants) viewing of photographic art at an Austin, TX gallery recently. The attempt is almost successful.

All the images on exhibit, by photographer George Krause, are of nudes, and (almost) all the spectators are nude too, members of the local Hill Country Nudists club. So what’s the big deal?

Art exhibit’s visitors in a nude mood

The naked man looked at the clothed man, and then he looked at the naked people, and then back at the clothed man, all the time wearing a scrunched look that said, “What is this weirdo doing here?”

The weirdo, fully dressed, was there to talk to naked people. He told the naked man this, and the naked man relaxed. But the clothed man did not relax, for he was one of only a few clothed people in an art gallery filled with naked men and women. Twenty-one of the naked people were there in the literal, quivering flesh, and about as many were hanging on two long walls, the subjects of life-size photographs by Austin artist George Krause.

Somehow, Garcia’s prose comes across in shades of purple:

Naked people admired the photos’ indiscriminate honesty, and the boxy, concrete gallery echoed with the slappy patter of bare feet. Sipping cheap cabernet in plastic cups, nudists mixed casually in the shocking altogether, proud in their mammalian resplendence. They embodied all sizes and shapes, from pears to bears, though the age scale tipped to ear hair and backaches.

But here’s the part that gets me going:

There was chatter about “liberation,” “society” and the nudist “agenda,” yet a curious dearth about sexuality and the whole naked thing. One wondered how these people abstain from . . . looking.

“With some practice, it’s completely possible to maintain eye contact with a topless woman,” Morgan said. “You don’t stare, but you don’t avoid looking in a particular direction either.” Gotcha.

What the writer is struggling to understand is that looking is simply not a problem. It’s not a problem, because people who really get naturism don’t mind if anyone looks, or at what parts. To be naked means that certain body parts, which the prevailing culture considers to be taboo and “private”, are uncovered. But since these parts aren’t taboo for naturists, there’s no problem with their being seen, or even something one may pay attention to.

That’s subject to reasonableness, of course. A person who stares without interruption at anyone or any part of someone certainly will be regarded as weird, uncouth, oafish, or gauche. But even then, many, if not most, naturists will not be so much “annoyed” or “offended” as simply pitying toward such behavior. Naturists are quite used to seeing nudity. They enjoy seeing it, but aren’t mesmerized by it. Anyone who is clearly hasn’t got the idea yet.

In traditional Japanese culture there are communal bathing facilities known as onsen and sento. In connection with these, the saying is that “nudity is often seen, but seldom noticed.” However, such bathing facilities usually have separate areas for men and women, so there remains a definite nudity taboo.

Naturism is different. It has a culture of its own where even noticing nudity is not a problem. That is because the nudity — one’s own as well as that of others — is something to be enjoyed. Just so long as one doesn’t take it to excess.

There’s another newspaper story on the same event, by Houston Chronicle writer Louis Parks, who doesn’t seem quite so overwhelmed by it all — and thanks to Mark for this:

A great night for art buffs [Link still valid!]

The gallery served wine, the guests stood around and chatted and discussed the photos. What could be more, well, natural?

No big deal.

To a fully dressed observer, the most striking aspect of this gathering — aside from the vastness of skin, the profusion of body hair and the usually hidden wrinkles — was how similar it seemed to a clothed gathering.

And yet not quite the same.

“It’s refreshing,” said Kathy, whose father, a photographer, taught her ‘the difference between nudity and pornography.’ “It’s nice to meet people where you feel comfortable. One thing about people who are truly nudist, you are not looking at the body image thing, it’s more who they are.”

Vive la différence.

Originally posted August 28, 2005