Liberté Égalité Nudité

From the description, this seems like a very interesting production. The premise – that in 2026 wearing any clothes has been made illegal in France, so everyone’s required to be naked in public – seems a bit far-fetched. The reason, ostensibly, is to discourage terrorism and street violence. Well, OK, but it’s not more improbable than the premises of many or most science fiction stories. I can imagine that some people who aren’t even naturists might actually go along with the idea. And most naturists would celebrate. Perhaps this might be considered to be “social science fiction”.
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Naked on a rollercoaster

There are two ways to think of this. The first is that the sillier the story is, the more likely it is that it will be reported (at least in the British press). The second, more optimistic, take is that nudity is fun (even if it isn’t sexual).

(Since female nipples are censored in all photos, the idea that nudity is actually respectable probably isn’t the message.)

  1. Naturists plan world record attempt with nude rollercoaster ride in Blackpool (2/21/19)
  2. Nudists plan roller-coaster world record attempt (2/22/19)
  3. Nudists to break world record in Blackpool for most naked people on a roller coaster ride (2/22/19)
  4. British naturists set world record for naked rollercoaster riding as nearly 200 bare all (and brave the 50F chill) at Blackpool Pleasure Beach (3/3/19)
  5. Brave Brits strip NAKED for Blackpool rollercoaster ride (3/3/19)
  6. Blackpool thrill-seekers set the new world record for the most naked people on a rollercoaster (3/4/19)
  7. Group of naturalists break world record for most naked people on a roller coaster (3/4/19)
  8. Nearly 200 British Thrill-Seekers Set New World Record By Riding Blackpool Rollercoaster Naked (3/4/19)
  9. Naturists attempt world naked rollercoaster record (3/5/19)
  10. Swindon men set world record with naked rollercoaster ride (3/6/19)

Naked yoga

Naked yoga has been a “thing” for some time at this point. (Here’s a piece on it from 2005.) Nevertheless, it seems to remain a newsworthy topic, so maybe it’s actually gaining in popularity. (When is the last time you saw much in a newspaper or magazine about non-nude yoga?)

Why does it still make news? It’s possible that’s simply because yoga itself is becoming more popular among people of all ages. I don’t really know whether that’s the case.
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The ups and downs of nude restaurants

Chances are, if you follow news about naturism at all, you’ve seen stories about the closing of the O’Naturel naturist restaurant in Paris. The reports aren’t greatly exaggerated, unfortunately.

Reports of restaurant failures in year one are apparently exaggerated, however – most likely not close to 90%, as sometimes claimed. But there’s more agreement that over half fail within the first five years. Perhaps the longevity of a new restaurant depends a lot on the size of initial losses a restaurateur is willing to accept. But its pretty clear that starting a new restaurant in a very risky venture.

Studies show that the largest reason for failure is lack of capital (hence inability to sustain initial losses). And the second largest reason is poor choice of location.

The competition among restaurants in Paris is probably fierce. That’s where almost every restauranteur in France must dream of locating. I’ve never been to Paris, so I have no idea whether O’Naturel was poorly situated in the city. On top of that, the French are notorious for being perfectionists about food. An inability to employ (or afford) the best chefs must entail a poor prognosis.

Anyone who wants to open a clothing optional restaurant (anywhere, not just in France) would be well advised to locate it somewhere that has a lower than average abundance of eating places. And, additionally, somewhere close to where naturists are likely to gravitate – not far from the fabled naturist-friendly beaches on the Atlantic coast, for example. But not so close that the market is already saturated.

Most of the news reports shed crocodile tears for the O’Naturel, and they don’t look deeply into the various possible reasons for the restaurant’s failure – aside from the idea the there’s simply no market for a naturist restaurant. Nevertheless, it’s interesting that the situation received so much press coverage if it’s truly only a matter of marginal concern for most people.

Sadly, about the only “cause” that’s considered to be responsible for the restaurant’s demise is the lack of patronage. The analysis above shows there could be a variety of additional contributing factors.

A factor that seems important to me is that the two owners (who are twin brothers) are not naturists (according to this). That doesn’t mean they didn’t really intend to treat naturists respectfully. But one wonders whether they missed some details. Was the restaurant warm enough? Were the owners and staff sufficiently sensitive to naturist values? Was enough effort made to discourage voyeurs or other customers who weren’t sensitive to naturist values?

O’Naturel: The First Naked Restaurant in Paris (10/15/18)

The Naked Wanderers, Nick and Lins, paid a visit to the restaurant last October. Their report is very positive, and concludes:

O’Naturel provided us with an experience of high class dining in a naturist atmosphere and a very interesting thing to see was that just like in many other naturist settings people who had never met before just started talking to each other. This is something you’re very unlikely to encounter in any textile restaurant. The professionalism of the hosts in combination with the friendliness of the other guests created a genuine naturist atmosphere which was only slightly disturbed when one of the kitchen staff peaked one time too much into the dining room.

The only quibble they have is hardly likely to have been responsible for the restaurant’s demise.

The O’Naturel isn’t scheduled to close until February 15, so it will still be in operation on Valentines’s day. In case you are able to check it out before the end, their website is here.

Their Facebook page is here. (The picture there shows the very classy interior quite well.)

Some other links:

The large amount of news coverage on both the opening and closing of the restaurant is surprising. It suggests that this is a concept many people are interested in – seriously or just for laughs. In case you’re annoyed by Schadenfreude or grade-school-quality puns, however, you might not care for many of the reports.

Why are calendars featuring naked people such a fad in Britain?

It’s been a new year for a few weeks now, so of course people have needed new calendars for their walls. Most opt for calendars with mountains or other natural scenery, or cute cats and dogs. But in merrie olde England there appears to be a not insignificant market for calendars featuring naked – usually young – people of both sexes.

These are not, mind you, the salacious pin-up or Pirelli sort of calendars of yore. Even Pirelli has gone in the direction of high “art”, so far from the style that featured look-alikes of Marilyn Monroe or Brigitte Bardot (who was born in 1934 and is still alive, by the way).

And don’t get the wrong idea. The new crop of “nude calendars” is so, so positively non-sexual. Every single (carefully gender-balanced) person in these calendars somehow contrives to prevent so much as a single penis or female nipple from being visible, in spite of almost everyone being stark naked (except, perhaps, for shoes or fancy boots of some sort or other). In compensation, bare butts abound. To use the curiously self-contradictory phrase that often crops up in stories about the phenomenon, everyone tries carefully “cover” or “preserve” their “modesty”. (The British have such a way with words.)

According to the stories, nearly everyone who modeled for the calendar pictures greatly enjoyed the experience. However, many are said to have been “extremely nervous” with the idea initially. Sadly, purchasers of these calendars aren’t permitted to see quite as much as the models and photographers themselves saw.

All this is quite in keeping with the overall purpose that buyers of these calendars are encouraged to assume – namely, to benefit some worthy charity or other. The beneficiary may be some genuinely deserving social cause – or, frequently, the alma mater or sports team of the calendar models.

This sort of thing isn’t new and original at all, of course. There’s even a Wikipedia article on the nude calendar topic. The article notes that

The first nude charity calendar was made by a group of middle aged Englishwomen, members of a local branch of the Women’s Institute, who were posing nude to raise funds for Leukaemia Research. The calendar was released in 1999, and became an international sensation, and also inspired the movie Calendar Girls.

The article also provides a useful list of some of the more noteworthy examples of the genre.

So 2019 is the 20th anniversary of this phenomenon. Fittingly, there has been a bumper crop of offerings to commemorate the original event. You’ll note that all of them are from England or Australia – remnants of Britain’s tattered Empire. Curiously, although in the past there have been a few examples from Canada and the U. S., I haven’t seen a single one this time. One hesitates to speculate on what might be the reason for this.

Here are stories I’ve come across on the 2019 calendars. No doubt some have been missed. I’ve tried to provide suitable links, in case you’re interested in purchasing any of these.

University of Bristol

The nude calendar story that seems to have managed to garner the most, um, coverage is from the University of Bristol.

To order the calendar, check here

Saucy students strip off for Bristol University naked Christmas calendar

THESE cheeky students have ditched their studying to strip off for their 2019 charity calendar.

Incredible pictures show students from 12 societies at the University of Bristol snapped in the nude. …

The calendar was organised by the University of Bristol’s Raising and Giving (RAG) society with proceeds going to three local charities.

“Incredible”? Only, I suppose, to Brits who’ve been asleep for the past 20 years. Use of such language, along with capitalization and words like “saucy”, “cheeky”, “risqué”, “raunchy”, “naughty”, “racy” is a good clue that the story is from one of Britain’s tabloids popular with the lower classes, The Sun in this case. Another phrase these tabloid articles use a lot is “bare all”. In fact, that’s rather inaccurate. The folks who pose for these things go to fairly absurd lengths not to show all that they’ve got.

Many photos are included in the story. They’re somewhat imaginative, perhaps a little cheesy – but hardly “raunchy”, “risqué”, or even “saucy”.

Bristol bares all! Brave university students from 12 different societies strip naked for a VERY risque charity calendar

This story’s from the Daily Mail, a more conventional newspaper, albeit one still tabloidish. More capitalization, plus the titillating “risqué” and “bares all”. (Not literally “all”, unfortunately.)

University students strip naked for raunchy charity calendar

This is from the Mirror, another UK tabloid. Readers are informed that “the students have covered their modesty with relevant society objects, such as frisbees and books” – to caution that the pictures might be considered NSFW. After all, they’re “raunchy” (hardly).

Why naked people were ‘rock climbing’ in Bristol’s Avon Gorge

This, from BristolLive, website of the Bristol Post newspaper, gives some interesting backstory related to the calendar project. The relevance, however, isn’t entirely evident.

Cambridge University

Cambridge University students strip off for a VERY daring naked charity calendar – featuring dancers doing the splits and lacrosse players baring all in the library

To order the calendar, check here

The Daily Mail, which seems especially fond of the topic, informs us that “The daring [ed: not] photographs feature students from the university’s netball, swimming and lacrosse teams using strategically placed props to preserve their modesty.” So again there’s the models’ concern to about their “modesty”, along with the usual retinue of adjectives. (Such as “racy”.)

This one appears to be the top choice among the current crop of calendars, as its photography is imaginative and of high quality. After all, Cambridge U. is a pretty classy place. For example:

But one wonders how normal it is for otherwise naked women to walk around barefoot with athletic shoes modestly covering their breasts:

I bet you never saw that very often at your college. It’s a crazy world now.

Royal Veterinary College, London

Student vets strip naked for a VERY cheeky charity calendar – and use rabbits, sheep and CHICKENS to cover their modesty

Although the Royal Veterinary College doesn’t play in the same league as Cambridge U., their calendar might deserve a credible second place in the 2019 nude calendar play-offs. To be sure, instead of running shoes they employ “rabbits, sheep, and CHICKENS to cover their modesty”. (Couldn’t they find any “RABBITS” or “SHEEP”?)

And, according to the Daily Mail (again), they also sometimes “don scarves and wellington boots”. At least they wear the boots on their feet instead of their breasts. Seems much more normal. (Or is it considered “VERY cheeky”. Leave anything “chic” to the Cantabrigians. The latter do have “dons” too, however.)

Naughty vets cover private parts with CHICKENS as they strip for photoshoot

The Daily Star is yet another British tabloid for the lower classes. The article has nothing much to add except for additional adjectives like “naughty”. But it does say that “The Vets In Action calendar is priced at £10 and is available from eBay under the title RVC 2019 Naked Calendar.”

Iwade, Kent

Entire Kent VILLAGE strips off for a saucy advent calendar to raise money for charity – and they say it’s ‘brought the community together’

According to the Daily Mail (again!), even common village folks who never matriculated at so much as a veterinary college can also do nude charity calendars.

An entire Kent village has stripped off for a racy festive calendar in a bid to raise money for charity.

Almost every business in Iwade, Sittinghbourne signed up to take part, with dozens of locals baring all, either at work or enjoying their favourite pastimes.

Doubtlessly, too, the project really did bring the community together. Nudity has a way of doing that. (And we can assume this wasn’t meant in reference to the kind of favorite pastime usually associated with nudity.)

What sort of charities will this calendar assist? Well, for one we’re told that some “money will go towards a new toilet block at the local church.” Does that get a lot of use in response to the pastor’s sermons? The article doesn’t say.

In any case, from the pictures it’s apparent that the villagers also wear boots, high heels, or running shoes (as appropriate in their various callings) whilst naked. And some use hats, sacks of manure, or chainsaws to cover their modesty.

To order the calendar, check the calendar website or its Facebook page.

Wales

Skinny Dipping Charity Calendar

Wales is favored with a considerable amount of sea coast, so the Welsh calendar has a very naturist theme: skinny dipping. (It’s not the sunny Mediterranean, but whatever.) Appropriately enough, the report here is courtesy of British Naturism.

The natatory theme is very convenient, as being in water makes it easy for the doughty models to preserve their modesty. Regrettably, on the calendar website we find this plea: “Please buy a copy or 3 otherwise we will feel ugly & undervalued – the shame will demoralise us & we will lose our sense of purpose. Roughly translating as – we will feel foolish.” Hopefully that’s a tongue-in-cheek appeal to buy lots of calendars, rather than an expression of ambivalence towards the idea of skinny dipping.

Dean Newlyn Young Farmers

Dean Newlyn Young Farmers launch nude calendar

This is our only example of a 2019 nude calendar that’s not from Shakespeare’s sceptered isle – but instead from a former British colony on the other side of the globe. Yes, Australia, the place that the throne of kings wrested from its inhabitants to develop as a penal colony. The two countries even now have more in common than a language – nude charity calendars, specifically.

The organization behind the calendar is called The Naked Farmer. Its young founder, Ben, was recently inspired to utilize nudity as a way to dramatize the mental health problems of farmers. He writes that his idea

could actually support people in the agricultural industry who suffer from mental health issues. Statistics prove that the suicide rate amongst farmers is almost double than any other industry and I’m passionate about changing these stats.

Naturally, as a member of his generation, Ben implemented his idea by starting an Instagram account – that features naked young farm folks (both male and female) engaged in many activities, including farm work. A nude charity calendar was a very natural byproduct of that initiative.

Because it’s Instagram, there’s no revealing frontal nudity, but the photos look more authentic and less contrived than what’s found in most other calendars. Operating heavy farm equipment naked, for example. They could almost make a bored young city dweller want to give up on the Ubers and lattes and look for opportunities to work naked on a farm in Australia.

This could – should – be the model for many other nude calendars of worthwhile causes.

The calendar was listed for sale here, but apparently is now sold out. However, there’s other merchandise for purchase, if you’re interested.

Hotshots of Bowls

Naked 2019 bowls calendar on sale as top players bare all for incredible charity cause

In Brit-speak, “bowls” is not like American bowling but rather, according to Wikipedia, a sport usually played outdoors on grass “bowling greens” and “in which the objective is to roll biased balls so that they stop close to a smaller ball.” Sounds like a thrilling spectator sport, no? Combining it with nudity can only help.

Seems like a good game in which women can compete on an even playing field with men. The pictures from the calendar document that supposition. Since the article is from the Mirror tabloid, it’s not surprising to encounter words like “incredible” and “bare all” (which, of course, don’t quite accurately accord with reality). Still, no small effort must have been required to produce the calendar, as it features “almost 60 players [who] have stripped off for the special calendar which is raising funds” for one young player who developed leukemia.

Bowlers Bare All For The Hot Shots Of Bowls Charity Calendar

More information, from the source.

To order the calendar, check here (UK delivery only).

The Naked Rugby Players

Here’s another sports-themed nude charity calendar. According to their website, the group supports “six inclusive teams and the balls to cancer charity”. Whatever that means, exactly. Perhaps it refers to their objective described by a spokesman (in the article cited below) this way: “I hope this calendar empowers guys to check their packages more often and to feel comfortable talking about male cancers.”

The calendar is for 2019, but it’s a repeat, having been reported in 2017 here: Plaistow gay rugby club strip naked for calendar to tackle cancer

The article relates that “Seven ‘very handsome’ members of the Kings Cross Steelers… got starkers” for the calendar. The photographer is quoted saying “he was stunned when he turned up to shoot the Newham players as every one looked like Hollywood hearthrob Tom Cruise.” The photo for September in the 2017 calendar was “a more informal shot with one player holding a hose pipe in the shower in front of his laughing team mates.” And according to the photographer, the players “were a bit stiff at first.”

To order the calendar, check here.

Naturist Cleaners

Here’s a nude calendar on a very different theme. I expect to write more about this in another post, so I’ll be a little brief here. “Naturist Cleaners” is just what it sounds like: an agency for professional house cleaners who hire out to clean homes – and who work naked. This is an actual business in England, and apparently it’s quite legitimate and on the level.

The Naturist Cleaners website states:

Who says cleaning has to be a chore? Our naked cleaning service strips everything away and gets back to nature – for a spotless home and a cleaning service with a difference.

Naturist Cleaners are London-based and cover the entirety of the UK. Ultimately our service goes beyond a sparkling countertop and faultless floor – to ensure our naturist cleaners make you feel amazing about yourself.

Details about their calendar are here

Naked surfing

In late November Australian surfer Felicity Palmateer got a lot of press coverage (cough, cough) with an announcement of a four-minute (!) film of herself surfing naked. Some details in this article:

Australian big wave surfer Felicity Palmateer to release naked surf film

Australian big wave surfer Felicity Palmateer is set to make massive waves with her next project and has released a titillating teaser to the masses.
The 15-second teaser features stylised shots of the 26-year-old and is the first stage of her latest art project called ‘Skin Deep’, with the full four-minute film set to be released next week.
It’s been a long time coming with the project taking three years to complete and explores her interpretation of being free.
“Everyone has insecurities, I’ve had my own issues of self-doubt,” she told The Sunday Telegraph about the project.
“It was kind of cathartic. I feel so much more empowered now I have done this. I felt really free and it was wonderful.”

Let’s be honest here. The temptation is to be slightly skeptical of the notion that Felicity had significant “issues of self-doubt” about being naked to demonstrate her obvious athletic talent. One has to wonder how it could have taken three years to complete a four-minute “art project”. And what’s so novel about the idea of using nudity to symbolize the idea of “being free”?

But let’s give her the benefit of the doubt. It’s entirely understandable that top athletes are proud of their talents. For athletes in major team sports like soccer or baseball, media attention is almost guaranteed. But for solo, non-competitive sports like surfing, it takes a little something extra to get attention. As naturists, we should be grateful that Felicity overcame whatever anxiety she may initially have felt about going naked to demonstrate her skill. Nobody without her skill could possibly have pulled this off on the basis of nudity alone.

More links:

Recent naturist news (12/28/18)