- Cyclists get nude for safety’s sake
On Sunday, March 8 there was a World Naked Bike Ride in Byron Bay, Australia – just one of many in the southern hemisphere on or near that date. (More are noted below.) Byron Bay is a smallish beachside town (pop. ~9200) on the eastern coast of Australia, 772 km north of Sydney and 165 km south of Brisbane (480 and 103 miles, respectively). With several fine beaches and a very moderate climate – average summer highs about 28°C (82°F) and average winter highs about 19°C (66°F) – Byron Bay is the quintessential beach/surf town.
Not surprisingly, it’s also an ideal place for naturism – especially since part of one of the local beaches (Tyagarah Beach) is clothing-optional. There’s even a local naturist association: Byron Naturists. Because of the town’s tolerant attitude towards naturism, it’s also not surprising that the local WNBR usually gets quite a good turnout. According to the article, “Fine weather on Sunday saw 180 odd people don their Birthday Suits for a spin around Byron on Sunday.” (Was “odd” meant as a double-entendre?)
There’s something especially interesting about photos in this article. Did you notice it? Right: there’s full-frontal nudity that hasn’t been blurred or pixelated at all. A number of other similarly “explicit” pictures accompany the online article. The article is on the website of The Byron Shire Echo – the local free weekly independent tabloid newspaper. It’s exceedingly rare for print/web media aimed at the general public to exert no censorship of such nudity. Naturists can at least hope this is part of a trend to making nudity more “normal”.
New Zealand: Nudists bare all for environment and body positivity
This ride had about 80 participants in Golden Bay, New Zealand, which is near the northern tip of the South Island.
South Africa: Bottoms up — Cape Town celebrates Naked Bike Ride
There are no figures on the number of participants in the ride, which was held on Saturday, March 7.
- Staying safe… and naked
I think Marc has said it just about right:
“If by the time you read this post you are not convinced the COVID-19, a.k.a. coronavirus, is a dangerous thing, well stop reading this article and go read the papers and view the videos on the WHO site. This virus is changing the world as we know it and it may be doing so even when humanity has contained and reversed the virus threat. Like any other human beings, nudists and naturists can play a role in stopping the spread of the virus, while remaining naked and continuing promoting our lifestyle.”
Is it possible there’s anyone alive and conscious (and not still in diapers) now who isn’t quite aware of the COVID-19 pandemic? Probably very few. But this is a naturist blog, so we’ll keep discussing naturism, for the most part. You surely know much better places to keep informed about the pandemic. And if you’re confined to your home, you can’t spend all your time worrying about the bad stuff. So set aside at least a little time to enjoy being naked – and thinking about your plans for when this eventually is over. Just do all you can to be still in good health by then.
We know the possibilities for naturist activities will be limited severely during the next several months. But that doesn’t mean naturism must be forgotten about entirely. “This too shall pass.” In the meantime, you can think about spending even more time naked in your own home – especially if you’re temporarily unemployed. Sure, that really sucks. But you’ll probably find that just being naked will cheer you up – especially as warmer days are not far off (in the northern hemisphere). And if you’re still employed and working from home – you can finally work naked.
- Comedians Bare It All At ImprovBoston’s Naked Comedy Showcase
Given that The Naked Comedy Showcase “has been running for nearly 15 years”, and (at least recently) on the first Thursday of every month, it seems to have received very little media attention, and is hardly ever mentioned even in naturist publications. This is still more surprising, since the show takes place at a theater in Cambridge’s Central Square – a short walk from MIT and a slightly longer walk from Harvard.
It’s not a show put on by rank amateurs either. The venue is for comedians experienced in stand-up comedy – who also see value in the nudity. According to the article, “Naked Comedy shows regular people’s bodies, moving in nonsexual ways. That’s what Kendra Dawsey, a comic who’s done the showcase a handful of times, likes about it. “I should be allowed to have my body in its natural state in a nonsexual context,” she says. Performing in the showcase provides her with that opportunity.” Unlike the Naked Magicians, doing a striptease throughout the show, performers are naked the whole time. Certainly a very naturist attitude.
Amateurs – audience members in fact – are invited to perform too. “There’s even an opportunity for audience participation: [Andy] Ofiesh [who originated the event] invites audience members to walk up to the stage, undress behind the curtain, and tell a naked joke onstage.”
- More “best” nude beaches
It seems as though every country that has a nude beach ranked among the top 45 in the world wants to brag about it. That’s fine with me.
Portugal: Algarve home to two of world’s best “holiday destination for nudists”
Portugal is well-located on the coast just west of Spain, so it has almost as much coast on the Atlantic as Spain, despite having only about 18% of the land area. So historically Portugal has been intimately connected with the sea. During the 15th and 16th centuries it actually had the first global empire. Today tourism is one of the largest segments of its economy, with about 20 million foreign tourists per year. Two of its clothing-optional beaches (Ilha Deserta and Praia das Adegas) were ranked in the top 10, being 3rd and 6th, respectively. Check here for information about those two beaches – and many others where nudity is possible.
Croatia: Croatia has some of the best nudist beaches in the world – find out where
Croatia actually outshines Portugal in terms of exceptional nude beaches, having two in the top five: Punta Križ beach (#2) and Sovinje beach (#4). The first is near the northern end of the country, while the second is in the center. Both are considerably north of Dubrovnik, in the southern end of the country. Of course, Croatia has a long history with naturism – although that’s little known outside of Europe. In addition to the beaches, Croatia has some large naturist campgrounds. You can check here for much more about Croatian naturism.
- You can now eat Sunday roast in the nude
Naked dining events may no longer be possible as long as COVID-19 is a huge problem. But this one was scheduled for March 1, so (as far as I know) it actually occurred. British Naturism once again puts U. S. naturist organizations to shame by arranging events like this. Some local or regional naturists organizations in the U. S. may occasionally arrange naked dining events, but I haven’t seen any publicity for such things arranged by either of the national organizations (except, perhaps, in connection with larger gatherings they have).
The event in question here was held at a pub in the Bloomsbury district of London. According to the article, the meal featured “all the usual delights, including meat, vegetables and gravy.” So the food was evidently the standard British stuff – and only the nudity made it special. Attendees, however, were “also invited to join in on a naked swim before dinner.” Apparently, staff personnel working at such events have no problems doing so, since according to the event organizer, “the staff at places where we hold our events are happy to have us back.”
- I signed up for nude modelling to challenge myself
Modeling naked for an art drawing or painting class is scary – even if you’re used to going naked at home sometimes or even visiting a nude beach occasionally. It’s even scarier if you have no significant experience being naked in front of strangers who will be staring intently at your naked body for an hour or two. Why did Sonya do it? A friend who had done nude modeling for years had “always spoken about how much fun she had found it.” Sonya writes that she had “spent so long working to the point of getting to be ok with my body, instead of being at war with it” – and she now needed to challenge herself on her progress.
She writes about her very first experience modeling naked, her anxiety about it initially, and her feelings in the first few minutes. “Disrobing was difficult. All those eyes, staring at me.” But it turned out very well. “Seeing myself through other people’s eyes, laid bare on the paper was amazing for my body confidence…. The next time I am asked to life model, I’ll respond with an enthusiastic “Yes!”.” In light of the next article to be discussed, what this shows is that the discomfort from people staring at one’s naked body is a challenge – but it can be conquered by developing sufficient self-confidence. Most naturists aren’t exhibitionists or ecdysiasts, and they don’t expect to get sexual gratification from being seen naked by others. But neither do they need to be scared or concerned about being seen naked. The pleasure of nudity is just a result of accepting one’s body and not being encumbered by clothing.
- “Staring is a big no-no”: All the questions you have about nudism, answered
This article from an Australian source relays advice from the founder of Get Naked Australia. Most of it is aimed at people who know little about naturism or nudism, but are curious about it (in a positive or negative way). The article’s title singles out one specific issue – the concerns people have about being stared at while partially or fully naked.
This is a more complicated issue than is generally acknowledged. On one hand, people having little or no experience with social nudity believe that most of its devotees have great self-confidence and no embarrassment about being naked. That’s not true, although it should be. On the other hand, people who do have some experience with social nudity often think that others who stare at their bodies are simply being gauche and uncouth. That fails to understand the previous point.
It’s usually very good advice not to stare – whether intentionally or not – at the bodies of anyone who’s fully or partly naked. While the naked person might be fairly comfortable with nudity, if they’re relatively new to social nudity they may feel mildly to severely uncomfortable about being stared at. Of course, the same is true of anyone who’s stared at because of almost anything “unusual” in their physical appearance, manner of dress, awkward behavior due to disabilities, etc.
However, people who know little or nothing about social nudity probably assume that anyone who’s fully or partly naked has overcome any sense of shame associated with nudity and therefore must be insensitive to and unperturbed by the stares of others. That’s not a good assumption.
There are now a variety of “public” places where nudity is accepted and perhaps even common – such as clothing-optional beaches and resorts, fairly isolated places outdoors, or legally approved public demonstrations such as World Naked Bike Rides. Anyone who chooses full or partial nudity in such places – either for a particular occasion or as part of a consistent lifestyle – has probably decided that nudity is at least harmless or actually quite a good thing. Such people have to some degree or other overcome unhealthy body shame and society’s irrational aversion to nudity.
There’s a mismatch of assumptions on both sides of this issue. People who don’t know much about social nudity may assume, incorrectly, that most who participate in it are quite self-confident about their nudity and have no feelings about shame or embarrassment related to it, and no concerns about how others will react to it. However, someone who’s nude in “public” may be just experimenting with it. They may have gathered the courage to try it, but are still quite sensitive to negative reactions from others.
On the other side, people who stare at others who’re partially or fully naked may be doubtful about the legality of the nudity and probably still think that open nudity is improper and even “immoral”. So if they stare at others who’re not “properly” clothed it’s not necessarily right to assume that the staring is consciously disrespectful or simply uncouth. It’s more charitable to assume starers still suffer from irrational body shame and are simply behaving in accord with their social conditioning.
Just as with people who become comfortable as nude models, most people who have enough time and experience with social nudity are able to overcome uneasiness when less enlightened others stare at them. Once one becomes convinced there’s nothing “wrong” about choosing not to cover certain parts of their body it’s easy to enjoy nudity and feel no shame about it. By realizing that staring results from the typical unfamiliarity or disapproval regarding nudity present in most cultures, it’s easier to understand and ignore impolite staring. Unfortunately, it takes a little time for people who are relatively new to being naked in a clothing-optional situation to become self-confident about their nudity. Since it’s usually difficult to know whether staring will cause discomfort to someone, the best general policy is not to stare.
- Third Time’s the Charm?
If you think it’s scary to be stared at naked in a life drawing class of maybe 10 or 20 people, what would you think about being naked in New York’s Times Square in broad daylight – open to the stares of many hundreds of complete strangers? It’s actually possible to do that legally, with the proper permits. And it can be done without embarrassment, even if you’re not an exhibitionist (which, hopefully, you aren’t). The naturist activist who goes by the name Ton Dou has been organizing that very thing, in the name of “Bare Body Freedom”. Last year he performed (naked) an “Ultimate Freedom Concert” in the Square, accompanied by two dozen naked men, one naked woman. (Some others were partially naked.) This year he repeated the performance, but this time – as the blog of The Outdoor Co-ed Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society notes – with about one dozen naked men and four or five women. So the better gender balance is, at least, a “step in the right direction”. Naturists can hope that the third time, next year, could be better still.
It’s worth noting that in 2016 the OCTPFAS put on performances of Shakespeare’s The Tempest in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park with the all-female cast mostly naked. There have, of course, been a number of amateur and professional theatrical productions in recent decades with significant amounts of full nudity – but hardly ever so openly in a public park. Just imagine how comfortable the casts of such productions needed to become with stares from the audience. And incidentally, the women of the OCTPFAS regularly sunbathe topfree during the summer – completely legally – in New York City parks. Stares? Who cares?
- Care home welcomes naked male model after residents request a nude drawing class
While on the subject of nude life modeling, it’s worth mentioning that people who take art classes offering this aren’t in it for sexual thrills either. Most people will never be acclaimed artists, but artistic skill in depicting the naked human body is something that most people can develop with sufficient effort and practice. Accomplishments in such endeavors are as satisfying as achievement in any other type of artistic pursuit – from making music to making furniture. This type of satisfaction is available to people of almost any age. And the nude models who enable learning how to reproduce the human form on canvas or in clay need not be embarrassed by their role, regardless of who the students are.
More: Old people’s home invites nude model for life drawing class
- Art Residency: International artists live in the nude for ten days
This type of Art Residency is a relatively brief organized program for people who are serious about developing their artistic skills. The immersive experience helps them focus on and improve different aspects of their craft. In this case, the artists themselves work as nude models. This helps artists in various ways. Probably the most important way is understanding the diverse meanings of full exposure of one’s naked body to the gaze of others. Nudity, of course, has a sexual meaning, but it’s only one among many. There’s the pleasure, which naturists know quite well, of directly experiencing the natural world instead of the artificial world of clothing. There’s the self-confidence manifest in lack of concern about others’ perception of one’s naked body. There’s the satisfaction of demonstrating the naked body’s aesthetic beauty. The better that artists appreciate these different meanings of nudity, the better they can express them in their art.
- Do’s and Don’ts: Making Nudist Friends
In a previous collection of recent articles we considered How to Find Other Nudists. Among the approaches mentioned was visiting nude or clothing-optional beaches. It was noted that this can be tricky, since visitors to such beaches have a wide range of experience with social nudity, and differing amounts of interest in acquiring new friends while enjoying the beach. The article here offers a number of good suggestions on how to navigate around these complicating factors. Since it was published by the official organization of Haulover Beach (Florida) users, the suggestions should be very pertinent and reliable.
- A Naturist Girl
Here’s a good statement on naturism by Aleah, who was raised in a naturist family – and has not seriously wavered from the enjoyment of nudity, in spite of the various trials and tribulations that afflict most people’s lives from time to time. It’s one of the first posts on a new blog: Our Natural Blog. The blog is actually the work of Aleah and her husband Sam. Both Aleah and Sam introduce themselves in earlier articles on their blog. There’s also a very good background article on Aleah and Sam on the Naked Wanderings blog.
One of the best comments in the article explains how the fear and shame usually associated with nudity is a noxious, harmful fact about our culture (as well as most others):
“We are taught to grow up,,, to wear shoes and stop climbing trees. We are taught the concept of modesty and shame. Taught what the “ideal perfect body” is supposed to look like.”
Naturist blogs from partnered couples are a relatively new thing. It will be great for naturism if the numbers keep growing, since such blogs should be especially encouraging for women to discover that naturism need not be primarily a male thing. Other good examples of this trend are Twonaturists Blog by Hannah and Nick, and Our Naked Story, by Blake and Elle.
- Three-course dinner where ‘clothes are optional’ is coming to Cambridgeshire this chilly winter season
The good news for people in the Cambridge area is that the event is not until January 25, so there’s still plenty of time to sign up. Naked dining events are still uncommon in the UK – but less uncommon than in most other countries where many naturists live. Events like this don’t usually just happen spontaneously. In this case, the event has been organized by the Eastern Region of British Naturism. (The folks who also organize other good things like skinny-dipping events and festivals for young naturists.) Sadly for naturists in the U. S., we do not have national (or regional) organizations that facilitate such things. One does have to wonder, though, why whoever wrote the article described the event as “risky”. Evidently a writer for the local news outlet – who isn’t a naturist.
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?
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.
- Eating Nude: Why Naked Restaurants Are Not Good Business…Yet (1/13/19)
- Paris nudist restaurant closes because not enough people want to hang out (1/10/19)
- First Nudist Restaurant to Close in Paris (1/9/19)
- Naked lunch: why diners couldn’t stomach the Paris nudist restaurant (1/9/19)
- Paris’ first naked restaurant, O’naturel, can’t get butts in seats (1/9/19)
- Shock: Naked Restaurant Closes Due to ‘Lack of Customers’ (1/8/19)
- Too few bums in seats: First nudist restaurant in Paris forced to shut down (1/8/19)
- Paris’ first all-nude restaurant closing due to lack of customers (1/8/19)
- Paris’ First Nudist Restaurant to Close Down (1/8/19)
- Food in the nude: Behind the scenes at Paris’s first naked restaurant (1/8/19)
- No Need To Dress For Dinner At This Parisian Restaurant For Nudists (12/19/17)
- Nude diners, do spare a thought for your waiters (11/11/17)
- A naked restaurant is Paris’ latest fine dining experience (11/7/17)
- Paris opens first nude restaurant for ‘au naturel’ diners (11/7/17)
- Get cheeky at Paris’ first naked restaurant, where diners eat escargot in the buff (11/6/17)
- Paris’s First Nude Restaurant Is Now Open (11/3/17)