Column: Clothing shouldn't be optional, even in summer
Where were you at noon last Saturday? Just wondering, since it was the 40th annual Nude Recreation Week, and people were celebrating by skinny dipping in designated pools, rivers, lakes and hot tubs throughout the state. You see, they were trying to break the organization's 2009 record of 13,648 skinny dippers. That's right, Dear Readers, (children stop reading immediately because what I am about to say will shock you) - some adults like to parade around without any clothes!
This is what I love about this country! We enjoy the freedom to "be ourselves," and even if that means being as naked as a jaybird. Personally, I like clothes. They cover up all sorts of imperfections and can make a statement. Yikes, I suppose walking around naked can also make a statement. For me, it simply would not be possible to imagine jumping into a lake with a bunch of nude people, much less enjoying a volleyball game or a drink around the campfire. Hold onto your hat (or breeches) because it even gets weirder.
A man from Phoenix emailed me to say that he is a car collector and there was a car show a few years ago at a nudist resort in North Phoenix. The guy's 21-year-old son, Josh, begged his father to let him go along. Imagining that it would be something like a Playboy Mansion Party with all the hot "babes" totally naked, poor Josh was in for a big surprise. After he and his father unloaded the cars and the event began, Josh was approached by three (naked) women in their 70s to ask about the vehicle. Next, a group of men in their 60s stopped by, then a "very large" woman who wanted a "test drive."
Josh evidently let out a guttural scream and locked himself in the vehicle with his hands covering his eyes. He said he is "ruined" now that he has seen so many "old folks" naked and has nightmares at night. He says he cannot even look at his grandparents the same way - and they are always fully clothed.
Come on Josh, get a grip on yourself! Seeing a bunch of people in their birthday suits cannot possibly be the cause of post-traumatic stress disorder! Hmmm ... or can it? Read on.
Did you know that you can become a card carrying member of the AANR (American Association for Nude Recreation)? You can belong to a non-landed nudist club, meaning you would meet in private homes. Or perhaps you might consider joining a landed nudist club, like Shangri La Ranch in New River. They invite people to check out their facility and join in on the fun. On Friday nights there is karaoke and on Saturday nights there is a dancing with a DJ. Okay, so maybe some people sing and dance better in the buff?
A lady in Prescott emailed me to say that she and her husband love the "freedom and acceptance" of being a "naturist" and every year they vacation at "clothing optional" resorts. She says being nude allows for the ultimate understanding that we all come in many different shapes and sizes and it simply does not matter. Of course people come in different shapes and sizes! But I doubt that seeing a bunch of people naked would further my "understanding." It would only freak me out!
A man in Prescott Valley emailed me to say that the best part of his day is when he gets to watch his neighbor walk outside to get the paper in her skimpy pajamas. And a UPS driver emailed me to say that more than a few times he has had people answer the door completely naked.
And a woman in Chino Valley says she has called the police because her neighbor built an outdoor shower (which he loves to use every day) in full view of her back patio! Ha, this woman claims she is "forced" to look at her neighbor's naked body each day. And a distraught lady in Prescott said she has "had enough" of her female neighbor going out to feed her horses in her underwear and nothing else! People - cover up!
A whopping 25 percent of adults in America have gone skinny dipping in a "not so private place," at least once. Usually those carefree times of skinny dipping pass when we realize we are not so skinny any more. Well, enjoy the summer in any manner that makes you happy, Dear Readers. And feel free to go swimming in any of our beautiful pools, lakes or rivers. Clothing required!
Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at email@example.com.