Lettin’ it all hang out

So, first someone’s Facebook status said they saw a buck-naked man crossing the street in Vanier; then someone else’s Facebook status said they were having a pants-free Sunday; then The Globe did a feature on nudism. I reckon these could only be omens. The universe was compelling me to do a nudie post.

Have you ever been naked in public? I don’t mean in locker rooms. And not including when you were a kid, because most little kids will happily run around naked all the time if you let them.

Have you ever been to a “naturist” club or beach? According to the Federation of Canadian Naturists,  there are some 19 naturists clubs in Ontario (with cute names like Bare Oaks, Roaming Bares and Jewel Lake). Three of them are in Ottawa. Hmmmm.

There are also nine clothing-optional beaches in Ontario plus SIX clothing-optional beaches in the Ottawa area.

Is it just me or does Ottawa seem to have a disproportionately avid interest in nudism?

I’ve been to the clothing-optional beach at Hanlan’s Point  on the Toronto Islands and I’ve been to a couple of Caribbean resorts that featured topless beaches, but I’ve never spent an entire vacation in a naturist club or eaten a meal in a clothing-free restaurant.  

Most of my relatives in Germany belong to naturist clubs. I guess it’s a more popular thing in Europe. They spend many of their weekends and pretty much all of their vacations naked – swimming, sunning, picnicking, gardening, roaming the forests, and just generally hanging out.

Instead of bringing the boyfriend or girlfriend home for Sunday dinners, my cousins would bring the boyfriend or girlfriend to the family’s camp at the naturist club so that everyone could get to know each other better.

I’m not sure if, as a teenager, I would have wanted to do this sort of thing with my parents, but then again my parents were never ever naked in their entire lives as far as I can tell.

There’s something really pleasant about being naked outdoors… or even indoors — as long as you don’t have to sit on anything gritty or sticky. From my limited experiences, being naked in public with a lot of other naked people is only weird for about the first few minutes. Then you just lounge on the beach checking out your fellow beach-loungers in the same way you would if they were all wearing swim suits.

It’s incredibly liberating being without all the restrictiveness of clothing. I wear as little as possible at home. And when I’m out I like to wear clothes and shoes that don’t feel like they’re strangling me or like I’m somehow at their mercy.

I’ve even discovered the new and improved joys of running barefoot – or as close to barefoot as you can get without having to worry about stepping on sharp stuff.

What a difference! It’s like a whole new sport. I’ve even seen women running without any sort of breast support. I think that would be kind of ouchy, though.

So, are you a naturist?  Have you ever participated in any naturist activities? Would you like to? (That’s not an invitation, just a general question).

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PS: In the interests of verisimilitude, the writing of this post, the reading of this post and the commenting on this post were/are all clothing-optional.

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35 responses to “Lettin’ it all hang out

  1. In the early 1970’s we had a vacation home on Lake Michigan. Often times during the summer we’d see nudists frolicking about in the buff. It was all very bewildering to my young Roman Catholic mind. However as I get older I see the point and am hip with nudism. But I highly doubt I could do it in front of others, I’m too shy and self conscious about my body.

  2. I sometimes like to be outdoors naked, but only alone. It’s just not something I want to share with anyone, nor them with me.

  3. Nope, no naturist here. I’m a naturalist, i.e. I like to see animals naked. Okay, perhaps I shouldn’t have said that as it will lead to all sorts of misinterpretations! Seriously though, I am with Geewits on this (sigh, again that could be misconstrued). I mean, I would probably enjoy being naked and enjoying nature but I am not an exhibitionist and wouldn’t want to be in the buff in a crowd.

  4. In an effort to reduce my carbon footprint……
    No – I just like being naked. I will go out naked around my house every now and again too. At least when I lived in the country. Now – not so much. I went to a nude beach in France and it was no big deal really. The hot young chicks went to the regular beach, the adventurous ones went to the topless one.
    It was funny that I went with 3 american girls and they refused to drop top because “They knew me.”
    I guess showing off your boobs and maybe even your butt crack to strangers is OK but not to someone you know.
    I found North Americans particularly infantile about nudity with an American football player yelling out that he loved seeing all the boobs on the beach. I chastised him for blocking my sun and pointed out that there were lots of guys on the beach too – so I showed him my junk.
    He didn’t know whether to piss or wind his watch.

  5. I think the human body is fascinating and am not offended by nudity, but personally I am not comfortable being naked in public, even if it is at a nudist colony or beach.

    If other people want to do it, I don’t care, but it’s not for me.

    And similar to my previous comment-It’s one thing to get partially or fully naked at the beach or other relaxed atmosphere, but when people are in the city, they should be fully dressed. Shirt, pants and shoes. (Unless their breastfeeding, which is fine in public since it’s more about taking care of your child, then showing off your bits)

  6. My husband grew up as a nudist. His parents were German and when his sister (older by 20 years) married a German here in Canada, they got a place up at the camp north of Toronto – I never went so I can’t remember the name. Then, his parents farmed him out to his sister every summer and he spent the summer naked until he went away to university.

    For all that these people are relaxed with body image and being naked, it didn’t prevent them from having some other serious personality problems. Maybe they’d have been even worse if they hadn’t been nudists but I don’t know.

  7. Dr. Monkey – That self-consciousness would disappear pdq once you see what else is out there.

    Geewits – Where do you do this outdoor nakedness alone?

    LGS – Ah, the master of the double entendre… being a nudist doesn’t necessarily mean you’re an exhibitionist. Maybe you just enjoy not wearing clothes all the time?

    Lebowski – Oddly, I think it is different getting naked with people you don’t know than with people you do.

    Pauline – Well, that’s a different thing, too, I think. Being inappropriately dressed as opposed to being nude in a naturalist resort.

    Julia – Hmmm. Germans sure do like to be naked. And, I don’t think there’s any reason why nudists should be any more sane than anyone else, right?

  8. while in berlin i saw three different nudist parks. all along the side of major roads. germans are definitely good with the whole nakedness this. i bet a whack of my inlaws are naturalists, but it didn’t come up in conversation while the hubby and i were there.

    me, i don’t have any issue with it but don’t think i would part take in any naturalist activities. probably a self conscious thing.

    where are the 6 naturalist beaches in ottawa?!? i didn’t even know we had that many beaches period! sad how much i know about the city i’ve decided to live in. i need to get out more.

  9. I’ve been naked a few times with other people, but it’s not something I go out of my way to do.

    I heard there are nude flights here and there, but the very thought of being nude on an airplane… ewwww.

    And somehow the idea of a nude restaurant just creeps me right the hell out.

  10. I’ve never been to a colony per se. But nudist beaches seem like a good idea to me … so wonderful to swim without a suit on! Going topless is common on Australian beaches, and I’ve visited nudist beaches in Vancouver and in Hawaii but I had no idea there were nudist beaches in Ottawa!

    But beyond the beach? No thanks. I don’t want to see skin in any professional environment especially! I don’t even like sandals and sleeveless tops in the office. And if I don’t like it when I’m working, I definitely wouldn’t like it when I’m trying to eat my dinner or something!

  11. I love being without clothes or at least topless whenever possible… much to the dismay of my neighbors. I think I’m the reason they installed shutters.

  12. I’ll own up to the pant-free thing (although I did put on bottoms to go to the market. Stupid rules.)

    All for nudity. Yes, even that guy. The problem is that we’ve sexualized our bodies to such an extent that it seems weird when people are without clothing. Time and place I reckon.

    As for running, the only way I’d go braless when running is to go topless as well. It would result in lots and lots of chafing. All for nudity so long as my bits don’t rub together. I’m fat the bits rub.

  13. No no no no not for me. But I have no objection to it, I just don’t think it would be for me. At all.
    Though I did work with someone once who used to ask all the young women if they wanted to come visit him at his trailer at a nudist camp. He never asked me and I was both relieved, and slightly insulted too.
    Yup, I can’t win.

  14. Smothermother – The clothing optional beaches are actually all technically in Quebec, but within easy driving distance. You can check out the FCN link for exact locations. I’m really surprised at how many people are reluctant to go bare.

    Jazz – Ya, eating naked with a bunch of other people is a little strange. But naked flights would be cool. I can never get comfortable on an airplane. I’m thinking they provide towels or something to sit on…I hope. I get grossed out enough just resting my head on the same headrest thousands of other people have rested their oily heads.

    Julie – I don’t know of any nudist workplaces. That would be interesting though…I think the resorts are just for fun, not work. And as for the naked meals, I think most naturalist resorts encourage some sort of clothing during meals, if for no other reason than you don’t want to dribble hot soup on your unclothed bits.

    Susan – Interestingly enough, I was thinking of you when I wrote this and figured if anybody was going to be on board with the whole naturalist thing, it would be you. Yay for me calling it and yay for you for freaking out the neighbours!!

    Nat – Yes, it was you with the pants-free Sunday. I’m never sure how much to connect FB with the blogs. If you’re going to run topless, you might as well shed all the clothes and shoes and just run naked on the beach or something. Now THAT would be a marathon.

    Finola – Was he being just friendly or creepy? Nudists aren’t supposed to be pervs. Do you not even go naked in locker rooms? At the gym? Anything like that?

  15. The Japanese say that nudity is often seen but rarely noticed.
    Were we only to develop such a civilized attitude.

  16. I like wearing clothes. It’s like getting a cotton hug. Also, they have pockets, for the scads of things I carry around.

    Plus, I always want to be prepared for an unscheduled walk in the bush (whoops, no pun intended, brush maybe?) and that can be unsettling without socks, shoes, and pants.

    Thankfully, I’m not a fan of dipping, be it the skinny or other variety. I swim like a rock.

    – RG>

  17. I was nude outside once, but not in public (if you don’t count public showers, of course); it was in the forest. It was wonderful! Feeling the fresh air on your skin — it’s not the same as being in your home. I’m not keen on the idea of going nude in public. Maybe with a significant other, again, in the forest.

  18. I think his interest in nudism was natural and real, but his targeted invitations were creepy. I know that is not the norm for most though.
    I’m OK to undress at the gym, but though I don’t go to extremes, I do try to cover what I can while I’m changing. Silly I guess….

  19. Lebowski – We have Victorian hangover to deal with still.

    Glen – I wondered about that. There are some pretty sensitive areas you don’t want to get too much sun on.

    Grouchy – See, there’s another reason nudism is good for you – it frees you of your obsessive dependency on “stuff”. It’s not like you have to live your day to day life without clothes anyway. They just do this in their spare time.

    Davina – What about the beach? Naked on the beach and swimming naked are pretty cool, too. Forests have a lot of critters and bugs, don’t they?

    Finola – When everyone around you in the locker room is just shedding it all, it DOES feel silly not to do it yourself.

  20. I’m too pale and burnable to go clothes free on a beach. I’d have to spend a fortune on sunscreen. 🙂

    I noticed when we were in Germany that a lot of people take off clothing to varying degrees when in the parks. It seemed strange to me at first, but isn’t that big a deal. Not for me, but I’m not going to make a big deal about it if others want to do it. We’re all adults, we’ve seen the bits.

  21. I sometimes skinny dip in the pool after dark, when the girls are in bed. I don’t turn on the pool lights.

    When I was working on a geological field crew up in northern Ontario (many years ago), we had a base camp on an essentially deserted lake shore. On the days when it was my day to stay in camp and enter data on the computer, break up rock samples into chips for geochemical testing, and prepare dinner for the people who were out on traverse that day, I would go for a swim around lunch time with no bathing suit. There is something so nice about swimming in the nude.

  22. I’d try the beach if there weren’t too many people around. There were no bugs that day in the forest, believe me. If there were I wouldn’t have been there in the first place, lol.

  23. Kimberly – Again with the naked Germans. Everyone has a naked German story. Someone should do some research on this phenomena

    Grouchy – I do. I have lots of spare time. Ha ha. And I don’t spend it on stuff like the comic guy.

    Alison – Why you naughty, naughty girl! It’s amazing what difference a tiny bit of fabric like a bathing suit makes isn’t it?

    Davina – Okay, forests without bugs I can handle. And how many people would be too many on the beach? I would think you’d be less noticeable the more people there are, right?

  24. That’s true. You got me there. 🙂 The beach is out then because I’m just too shy. I’ll stick to the bush; no pun intended, lol.

  25. I went naked at a hot springs in Colorado. I loved it. It was fabulous, however if anyone I knew had shown up, my smile would have turned upside down.

  26. Funny that none of the comments touched on the Vibrams Five Fingers. Don’t you just love them? I wear them all the time, even did a bit of running wearing them at my last race (ok, was supposed to WALK the whole thing but had to do a bit of running) and it was fabulous. Man they’re comfy!

    Oh yes, the other part of your post. I’ve been naked on the street but it was at midnight after a party so that doesn’t count. I’ve never been to a nudist camp or beach, never really been interested in it. I very often will be naked at my place especially in the summer after coming home from work. That’s the extent of my nudism 🙂

  27. Davina – Enjoy your naked bush.

    LoLa – So you were okay naked around strangers?

    Sylvie – I think no one knew quite what to make of the Vibrams. I expected Brett to comment though since he’s the one from whom I first heard of these things. And yes, they really are like running barefoot. You feel so free. Such a simple thing. Such a difference. Also, I’d be interested to hear how you ended up naked on the street in the middle of the night after a party…

  28. I’d say naked in water with strangers seemed less intimidating than if they’d been people I knew. The springs were beautiful and clear and large as swimming pools. Something to be said for anonymous naked in numbers. That oughta be a poem or a song: Anonymous Naked in Numbers.

  29. LoLa – Why don’t you write that song? Maybe “Naked in Anonymous Numbers” flows a little better though, what do you think?

  30. *giggles* That is super funny. Congrats on the accurate call! 🙂

    I did some serious self-editing with my response because my first couple of drafts waxed long about the joys of frolicking au natural. I am one of the few people who actually take advantage of Ontario’s liberal female toplessness laws.

    I’m heading back to my Vancouver stomping grounds in Aug and the first thing on my agenda is an entire day at Wreck Beach with a dear girlfriend. It will be absolutely glorious! 🙂