Good Nudists, Bad Nudists
On Celebrating Nudism
FACE THE SEA, NOT THE SHORE, AND OTHER FINE POINTS ON NUDISM
One of the things I like most about nudism is, if you're
participate correctly, meaning nude, you're not carrying around much
of a resume. It's just you, naked, in a "this is me" way. There are
no clothes to reveal your apparent status or shopping habits, you
don't drive up onto a nude beach in a car, so no one knows what you
drive. Where you live isn't stamped on your back. If you're male and
American, you're not even revealing your religion (three quarters of
American males are circumcised). But if you show up with a gold
chain around your neck, people will know you're from New Jersey.
So there you are, naked, standing on the beach, and no one has a clue about you aside from knowing whether you've chosen to take care of yourself. You can't lie about it. A paunch is a paunch no matter how hard you attempt to suck it in. Sorry about that. So what you give away instantly is the status of your visible health, but not your pocketbook.
It works the same for women or men. You can't hide the facts of your physical self. Spanx are out of the question of course. Make up won't do anything and, unfortunately in this case, gravity is everywhere.
You would think a "truism" regarding nudism is that those who aren't at least reasonably fit would hit the gym before hitting the beach but, sadly, that is not the case. It's not very "nudist" of me to suggest that some people should really avoid nude beaches at all costs, as it opposes the "aren't we all beautiful" hype used by media to attract readers. "Look honey, the Huffington Post says I'm beautiful as I am." No you're not, at least not without some work. I mean, most everyone has the potential, but few exercise it.
And I'm not a fitness buff by a long stretch, but do stick within the general guidelines. It's not easy, but the rewards make it worthwhile. The reward is not being embarrassed by myself. However, some don't seem to mind embarrassing themselves at all.
The worst thing about nudism and nudist beaches in particular are the men who arrive alone and stand along the shoreline. What's wrong with that? Well, they're not looking out to sea lost in metaphysical reveries on the goodness of the planet. They're facing inland, usually with a trucker hat atop their bald heads with a camera balanced on their pot bellies. They're there to ogle. They have no real interest in "nudism" or participating in the spirit. They're there to consume, and female nudists hate them. I'm not making this up.
But, isn't a nudist magazine that leans heavily on appreciating young women and teens enjoying nudism also not just ogling? Well, that depends. Does it take a holistic approach to nudism? Is there commentary? Are people sharing their experiences along with their pictures? Does it look at both sides of the equation? Is it tasteful? Are nudists happy to willingly appear it the galleries, or write honestly about their experiences?
There's a big difference between "celebrating" and "exploiting." We celebrate nudism, particularly the beauty of many of its advocates and participants. That, and the fact that participating doesn't depend on your resume or pocketbook. It's very democratic in that way. Your enjoyment only depends on how comfortable you are with yourself and being around other people who share your values. It doesn't depend on how much money you make. AMobley
PHOTO: FROM NUDIST BEACH LIFE: ARRIVALS, DEPARTURES TEXT: EDITOR'S DIARY/AEMOBLY