A heatwave is the perfect moment to rediscover the joys of being naked
We needn’t be ashamed of our bodies, we’re all the same under our clothes
Until very recently, I would have gnawed off my own arm more readily than take off my clothes in public. Partly because I am pale, I’ve had two children and my tummy does not resemble a washboard, but primarily because I am British. Public nudity comes about as naturally to me as allowing somebody to skip a queue.
But, at a festival a few months ago, I found myself in a crowded sauna, naked as the day I was born. The space was small – about the size of a garden shed – and there were at least 20 other men and women in it, all just as bare as I was. When I got too hot, I ran outside and jumped into a stream, where more naked people were doing the same. And it was glorious. After a lifetime of brainwashing by sanitised, airbrushed images of “perfection”, it is such a tonic to find yourself surrounded by other people with lumps, bumps and scars, hairy bits and dangly bits. I just had to try not to stare.
Being naked with other people instantly gets rid of several levels of nonsense. It’s a great leveller, as clothes are our primary markers of tribal identity. We use them to send out signals about wealth, class or professional status, and cultural taste. Without them, everyone looks more different than you thought, but also more similar; it becomes harder to write off people on first glance as “other”.
It also encourages a healthier sense of your own body. When I took off my clothes that day at the festival, I experienced about five minutes of extreme awkwardness, an intense desire to cover myself up with my hands. But because that would have looked ridiculous, I had to take a deep breath and walk tall. It’s impossible to feel the same level of shame about your wobbly bits when you are surrounded by other naked people, many of whom are just as wobbly as you. When we buy clothes, we choose designs that disguise the bits of our bodies we don’t like – and in doing so create guilty secrets that we carry with us all the time. Getting naked doesn’t get rid of the flab, of course, but it does get rid of the sense of secrecy and shame. Continued…Read full original article…
Source: The Guardian
Original publication 26 Jul 2018
Posted on NatCorn 21st August 2018