Mishka Henner

Letter of Recommendation: Naturism

In the Canadian city where I used to live, there was a nude beach where I spent a lot of time. It was no rare occurrence to find, near the beach’s northern boundary, a small but fervent cohort of nude baby boomers distributing Naturism 101 pamphlets. In an outsize font on an ancient webpage they’d set up, the beach naturists dared visitors to “!!BE NATURAL AND FEEL THE FREEDOM!!” They outlined etiquette (no come-ons, no sex) and suggested recreational pursuits (flag football, a potluck). The naturists could be a little doctrinaire — once, someone wearing nothing but a Tilley hat chided me for my bikini bottom, bellowing, “Way to be clothed!” — but they would usually feign tolerance at the beachgoing public’s ignorance of their framing principles.

Mishka Henner

“Naturism” and “nudism” are used interchangeably to describe a doctrine of communally convening outdoors in the buff. But “naturism,” with its Thoreauvian connotations of fresh air and vigor, seems preferred among the true believers. On my beach, I suspect it was also a gentle protest against the prim, Anglo-Saxon mores of a metropolis where cops were known to set up speed traps for cyclists. The precept naturists hold the most sacred is body acceptance — to “not judge anyone by their body shape or other war wounds” and to ignore the nakedness of others. This attitude made their corner of the beach a respite from the outside world and its duller standards of decency. For years, I’d go weekly. Continued…Read full original article…

Source: The New York Times Magazine

Original publication Jan. 29, 2019

Posted on NatCorn 3 weeks ago

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