The N Scale
How Nude are You? Nothing today is true black or white--there are shades of gray in nearly all of humankind's activity. So why not a Nude Scale describing a person's placement on the Prude to Nude continuum.
1. Obsessive Anti-Nude: Regards all nudity as sinful. Often bases belief on fanatical and narrow interpretation of scripture. No tolerance level for other views--actively seeks to impose beliefs on society as a whole via legislation, commercial boycott, candidate intimidation. In practice--opposed to all forms of nudity: in the home, in recreation, in art and live, or film performances. Might belong to AFA. Doesn't own a bathing suit because that gets too close to nudity.
2. Live and Let Live Anti-Nude: Against it but not obsessively so. Still can't understand anyone wishing to "parade around naked as a jay bird." Unfcomfortable around nudity in any form. Might accept some artistic nudity.
3. Not For Me But I Can Understand: Tolerant of artistic nudity. Might recall childhood skinny dipping. Can laugh at nudity of others. Non-judgmental.
4. Nude Curious: Tolerant and accepting, reluctant to practice but might wish to try in right situation. Understanding of social nudity in others. Comfortable with casual nudity in the home. Reads rec.nude but would never post.
5. When The Time Is Right Nude: Tolerant of nudity practiced by others. Casual nudity in the home is common. In proper setting, practices discrete social nudity as in a hot tub with friends. Comfort level depends on surroundings and "safety" of setting. Sunbathes nude in private backyard or pool area. Learns to enjoy the freedom and feel of sun and water on whole body. Growing curiosity about CO beaches and clubs.
6. Wholesomely Nude: Entirely comfortable with private and social nudity. Looks forward to monthly or weekly nude recreation when appropriate. May belong to a local group and support a national organization. Some non-nude friends may know of this person's nude recreation. Self confident and enjoys social contacts in nude setting. May encourage others to try a naturist experience at beach, lake or river.
7. Nude To The Core: Nudity is a central part of life. Feels best when dressed the least. Unclothed much of non-working time. Lifestyle is well known among non-nude friends and relatives. Housing, work and recreation decisions may be made around a desire to be without clothing as much as possible. Enjoys sharing and explaining the nude lifestyle to others. May be an activist or spokesman on nudity. Vacations nearly always include nude recreation. Doesn't own a bathing suit. No need to--no tan lines.
That covers the 7 steps from prude to nude.
There is also probably an 8th step where nudity becomes an obsession and dominates--where every clothed moment is a painful annoyance--where every though and action revolves around nudity. Where every beach, lake, or river is surveyed for possible nude use. But that couldn't apply to anyone here, nah. So 7 levels will be enough.
It doesn't add up, of course. It was just a joke. While naturists might enjoy the opportunity to do the weekly grocery shopping free of clothes (not a foregone conclusion in the British climate), the proposed logistics weren't ideal.
Nevertheless, it's touching that Tesco's thought of us. Perhaps the fact they thought the mere suggestion of this would be positive publicity indicates that naturism isn't considered such an awful thing in the UK. After all, can anyone imagine Safeway or Kroger's over here attempting a publicity stunt like this and expecting not to be threatened with mob violence from enraged clothes-compulsive housewives?
Here are some articles on the subject:
The competition was strictly amateur - i. e. professional strippers were not allowed. Prizes were awarded, including a resort vacation at a nudist camp. Even those who didn't win seemed to enjoy it, though. As one surfer said, "What's better than being naked and surfing? They are two of the best things in the world."
Their choice of season for going nude isn't the only problem, unfortunately. But to back up a moment, Princeton's "Nude Olympics" is a more or less annual event going back 30 years in which students stage a nude run on the night of the first major snowfall of the winter. Apparently it didn't take place last year. (See an old article for how it was thwarted by El Niño and the lack of snow.) But this year on January 8 about 350 naked students turned out to run (with about twice that number of spectators).
The unfortunate part is that this year about a dozen students present required medical attention for alcohol poisoning. In addition, it was charged that there were incidents of inappropriate sexual behavior and simply dangerous physical encounters between runners and spectators.
Interestingly, no one seemed to be much concerned about the nudity per se, but everyone from the University president on down started making all the right politically correct noises about how dreadful the whole thing was and how it needed to be stopped on account of the alcohol abuse and the potential for possibly fatal mishaps. (In a particularly histrionic flight, the University president was reported to have said, "The reports of that evening sounded, to put it mildly, supremely distressing.")
Naturally, of course, the outcome was the appointment of a committee to study the problem - i. e. to find a way to put a stop to the whole thing regardless of how the students might feel about it. (For some of this, see here and here. For one student's view of the event, see here.)
There's a lot of sensitivity on campuses these days to the problem of alchol abuse by students, as a result of several highly publicized cases of deaths from alcohol poisoning. It's just too bad that a perfectly fine nude event got caught in the crossfire between student irresponsibility and administrative paranoia.
Perhaps Princetonians should get a little smarter and just start a new tradition of a late spring weekend (booze-free) party at New Jersey's popular Gunnison nude beach.
The director of the documentary, Don Boyd, was given much of the credit for putting together a generally favorable presentation of naturism. It helped considerably that he, along with most (but not all) of his crew, got into the nudity themselves, so that they could give their own honest reactions.
The show covered a variety of facets of naturism. There were interviews on the nude beach at Studland, coverage of a naturist wedding (the bride had had a partial mastectomy), visits to a number of naturist clubs, and a look at some of the commercial side of naturism.
It wasn't simply a whitewash job that presented only positive attitudes towards naturism. Comments from various observers holding a more skeptical view were also presented. But this contributed to the feeling of a balanced, objective documentary. Humor was present, but of a tolerant, sympathetic kind rather than smirks and put-downs.
How many more years will it be before American TV can do as honest, intelligent, and even-handed look at the subject?
In any case, the story concens an edition of the Gardeners' Question Time radio gardening program recorded at the Naturist Foundation in St Mary Cray (England). It seems in line with the apparent trend in the UK to view naturism as a way to add a little color to a story - whereas in North America the whole idea would more likely be considered merely "off color".
The resulting program was broadcast on July 12 and 15.
Joshuamaine.com is a free e-zine about all things to do with Maine. They publish mostly essays with regional color - just recently one by Ike Johnson entitled Rude? No, Just Nude. (You may be forced to "register" in order to reach this page in their archives. The consequences to you of so doing appear to be no worse than perhaps a little unwanted email.) It's about - guess what? - "a naked lady cutting her lawn on a riding mower."
It seems that Ike saw this Godiva on a John Deere (he says) while driving past with a load of kids. He admits he would like to have backed up for a better look, but he refrained on account of the kids. It wasn't that he thought this would somehow have been harmful to them, but because he "didn't want to send the wrong message. Not the message that it is wrong to cut your grass wearing only a smile." Merely that it isn't polite to stare at "eccentric behavior". Seems like progress when nudity is regarded merely as "eccentric" as opposed to "shocking" or "offensive" or "disgusting".
The author goes on to reflect on how uncomfortable Americans are about nudity. Illustrating his point with one anecdote, he mentions a friend in New York City who once "cleared out a long line at a Tribeca ATM just by removing his clothes." His next story shows progress, but asks even more of our ability to suspend disbelief:
I noticed at a neighborhood picnic this summer that one of the guests was not wearing anything that required ironing. It was an impressive spectacle how normal the conversation was as it went back and forth with this familiar face and not-so-familiar torso. No one made the slightest fuss about her nudity, which she explained away as having forgotten to get dressed after swimming.
If I were going to live in Maine, I think I'd strongly consider a home in his neighborhood. He may very well be telling the truth. But in any case, we can at least be pleased at both Johnson's forthright endorsement of nudity and his sense of humor when he says "We nudity buffs might just be reacting to life in a state where the sun is only seasonally employed."
Columnist Nancy Huseby Bloom replies:
Naked-in-public dreams are usually either embarrassing, frustrating and scary, or liberating, expansive and playful. If we feel distressed at our nakedness, it's often a sign of fear of showing people who we really are. What do we want to cover up? If, on the other hand, we feel comfortable and at ease in our nudity, we're probably feeling comfortable with ourselves and are open and honest with others.She goes on to say, "It sounds like you were brought up in an atmosphere of constriction and control." Finally she asks:
Is this old conditioning, or is it what you really want for yourself? These recurring dreams may be asking you to look at this. I hope you soon have a dream in which you revel in your nakedness, abundantly secure, joyful and free.And at that point we might add, "Live your dreams!"
Too large a dose of reality is generally not a welcome feature in the U. S. mass media, so it falls to comic strip heroes like Bart Simpson, Dennis the Menace, Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes) - and now Dilbert - to uphold the banner of body acceptance in North America.
We can't find a Web reference at the moment, but T-shirts with the battle cry "Surf Naked!" and Dilbert NIFOC at the keyboard do exist. And as for Dilbert's creator, Scott Adams, all he's saying right now is that he's a nudist under his clothes - but he has been a little more forthcoming in the past. (See Vol. 1, No. 4.)
One bill, SB 203 would criminalize not only all the usual sorts of nudity, but even male toplessness. (Read the bill itself if you find this a little hard to believe.) The other bill, HB 3134 would impose stiff penalties for sending terrible things like nude pictures through the mail if the recipient hasn't requested them. And even if they have been requested, the envelope "must be marked with a notice proclaiming that it "CONTAINS NUDITY, VIOLENCE, SEXUALLY-EXPLICIT CONDUCT OR VULGAR OR PROFANE LANGUAGE."
We can be sure that this wouldn't sit well with The National Geographic.
Kip Thorne is the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at Caltech and author of Black Holes and Time Warps.
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