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Nude Year's Resolution.
December 31, 2003 8:45 AM   Subscribe

Nude Year's Resolution. SFW. Nude travel makes the pages of USA Weekend (a USA Today magazine). Will it become mainstream? And will the message of "body acceptance" ever have a noticeable impact on industries which prey on our fears of inadequacy?
posted by ZenMasterThis (22 comments total)

 
Try these steps to see if you're ready to go naked:
1. Get naked.

If you are comfortable with those activities, then ...
1. Get naked with other people.
posted by ook at 8:58 AM on December 31, 2003


Fear of inadequacy is probably only partially due to marketing which exacerbates the problem. There are just some people who are good looking, whose physical form approaches some ideal -- some of which are probably hard wired and a number of which probably aren't. Once you see something better, it's likely that in some way you'll want to reach for it.

To use an analogue, I'm trying to be a good songwriter. Sometimes I do good work. Sometimes I do work that I could just "accept," but when I hear new stuff that blows me away or revisit things that I admire, I'm reminded (if a somewhat inspired and tortured way) that's not the point for me.

But maybe realizing what the actual point may be is a good exercise for body acceptance. Because despite what I've said above, I'm definitely not model material. While I am sometimes inspired (and depressed) by the appearances of the fit, mostly my goals are to be healthy and non-repulsive, because I've found that most of the other goals that people associate with appearance/fitness (social and in some cases professional success) are available to me, and those are, in this case, the point.
posted by weston at 9:15 AM on December 31, 2003


"You do not need to spend lots of money on dressy outfits," Hawkins says. "Women find they don't need makeup. No pantyhose, no jewelry."

When I lived in Florida, I used to go to the nude beach at Haulover all the time, and oddly (or maybe not this was south Florida) all the women had on makeup, jewelry, and nailpolish, including some jewelry we wouldn't ordinarily see. So there goes that theory. Not that I'm complaining or anything...
posted by jonmc at 9:20 AM on December 31, 2003


There's nothing like going to a nude beach to make you appreciate the beauty of your own body. I wish more people would try it.

My worst experience at a nude beach was when a man (with a bathingsuit on) lay his towel down about 10 feet away from me (on an otherwise practically deserted beach) - with his head angled to look straight into my crotch. What an ass. If he'd been a little more subtle about it, he could have had a very nice view - instead he got an eye- and mouthful of sand when I strolled by and had to cut his beach trip short. Such a shame.

Moral of the story: don't be an ass. Looking is fine, ogling is not.
posted by widdershins at 9:41 AM on December 31, 2003


I've always loved being naked outdoors. Even as a kid I used to strip down when alone in the woods. Then, I especially loved this in winter. One of the most beautiful sights I've seen has been entire families playing nude on the beach.

Skin is good and healthy, worthy of being seen and seeing. Hiding it only makes people nutty (obsessed).
posted by Goofyy at 9:51 AM on December 31, 2003


Ah. Naked backpacking: wonderful.

Until one meets a non-naked backpacker by accident. That can be a little awkward.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:02 AM on December 31, 2003


David Sedaris's essay "Naked" (in his collection of the same name) captures the experience of being in a nudist colony brilliantly.

My own experience in nudist settings has been that the "feelings of inadequacy" don't come into play at all. Most people's bodies are just bodies. There are very few strippers or lingerie models at nudist colonies.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:32 AM on December 31, 2003


Ah. Naked backpacking: wonderful. Until one meets a non-naked backpacker by accident. That can be a little awkward.

Just look them straight in the eye, smile, say 'hi,' and keep trekking.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 10:37 AM on December 31, 2003


Just look them straight in the eye, smile, say 'hi,' and keep trekking.

Usually that'll work. But one guy a friend of mine knew was hiking in the buff and happened upon a Girl Scout troop. No real graceful exit available there...

I remember my first nude beach experience. I hit the beach and stripped down. But the sand was hot, so I put my footwear back on-black Chuck Taylors. I must have been a sight, dragging my fishbelly-white Irish ass down the beach. People were literally thrusting tubes of sunscreen at me. The next day I took a 22-hour Greyhound ride. Youch. I learned my lesson and from then on, brought the SPF.
posted by jonmc at 10:48 AM on December 31, 2003


I seem to recall a comedy special one time where Ray Combs said something to the effect that once you hit a nude beach you're not looking for SPF, you're looking for mayonnaise.
posted by Cyrano at 11:04 AM on December 31, 2003


But bact to my original question: Will it become mainstream? And will the message of "body acceptance" ever have a noticeable impact on industries which prey on our fears of inadequacy?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:31 AM on December 31, 2003


Will people ever learn to ignore commercial messages? If they do, then mission accomplished!

I hear a radio commercial for some product called "Ultra Lipolean". A line in that made me cringe 'till I changed it in my mind. "Look! I'm walking down the beach without a towel around my waist!" became "Look! I'm walking down the beach without a towel over my face!".

What message needs to be given people, to break the enslavement to commercial messages? I broke it somehow, but I don't think I'm remotely typical.
posted by Goofyy at 11:41 AM on December 31, 2003


Well, all I can say is this: Tourism is the #1 industry where I live, but between the black flies in the summer and the snow in the winter, I doubt it will catch on. Too many practical issues to take into consideration....
posted by anastasiav at 11:42 AM on December 31, 2003


You can be nude and still have issues with other body things. Hair, piercings, etc.

I'd say nude beaches and some vacations are a lot different from nudist colonies, in that being nude for the purpose of being nude is a lot different from being nude as just a matter of course.

On a vaguely related tangent, has anyone noticed the number of commercials for teeth whitening products? I could swear that this market was virtually nonexistent only a few years ago but now it's everywhere.
posted by mikeh at 11:45 AM on December 31, 2003


I expect that the threat of skin cancer and the unwanted attentions of mosquitos, ticks and poison ivy will keep most people covered-up outdoors.

And anyone who says the human body is beautiful has never seen me naked.
posted by SPrintF at 12:09 PM on December 31, 2003


And anyone who says the human body is beautiful has never seen me naked.

It's our common humanity that makes each and every one of us beautiful.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:23 PM on December 31, 2003


so, ah, how are issues of arousal responded to in nudist contexts - is it viewed as a flattering thing, etc? or are matters such as this just not discussed :x
posted by quadrinary at 1:53 PM on December 31, 2003


I always thought nude tourism would prove a disincentive for terrorists and suicude bombers...

You sign up for a nudist holiday in warm foreign parts (oh! those warm foreign parts!!), strip off at the airport, carry your ticket and passport in a clear plastic bag, you fly naked (maybe with naked flight attendants...), pass through customs really quickly (unless you are a suspected drugs mule), onto you nude coach to your nude resort. You have a great time naked, you fly home the same way.

I am pretty sure this could be made practical.

A body cavity search would only be neccessary for people with lots of piecings or a detonator in their rectum...or both.

It's only a matter of time...tell the office of homeland security.
posted by terrymiles at 3:56 PM on December 31, 2003


The only time I went to a nudist beach, it was at Brighton on the south coast of England in about April. Issues of arousal were dealt with simply by walking into the cold,, cold English channel.
posted by terrymiles at 3:58 PM on December 31, 2003


I get so self-conscious, I'm having the opposite of arousal.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:12 PM on December 31, 2003


Re arousal...

From the Federation of Canadian Nudists FAQ...

"What if I get an erection?

This is the most common concern among men. However, we do not know of anyone who actually had an erection on the first visit. The combination of the non-sexual environment and the unfamiliarity of a first-time visit serves to minimize the issue.

An erection is a natural part of life. Naturists realize this and will not take offence as long as it is not being flaunted. If an erection does occur, a strategically placed towel, a dip in a cool pool, or rolling over on your stomach will take care of it."
posted by ZenMasterThis at 4:15 PM on December 31, 2003


Point of information: the phrase "nudist colony" is not only inaccurate but archaic, and is never used by nudists (except to mock those outside the life who persist in using it). It is commonly felt by many nudists to be somewhere in the middle of the "offensiveness scale," roughly as unacceptable as the terms "sodomite" and "Negro" (people still understand what you mean to say, but silently laugh about your use of it).

Just thought some of y'all could use this info.
posted by wdpeck at 2:10 AM on January 1, 2004


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