by Harry Pope

Nudists in the trees

Nudists in the trees

I am reflecting after reading a newspaper article. It is all about nudists who call people who wear clothes ‘textiles’. Apparently, nudists are concerned that they are the subject of hate crimes from people who do not respect their wish to be in public without any clothing.

In the UK various groups are protected under hate crime laws, researching Wikipedia these include sex, ethnicity, disability, language, physical appearance, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation. I am struggling to see what category nudists fall into. Mind you, sex and physical appearance could work, but sexual identity is a problem because if they are naked, then there is no doubt as to which way they swing.

British Naturism represents 9,000 UK members, and wants respect for their desire to walk in public without the restriction of clothing. Their stance to combat ridicule is the argument that if anyone wore a shirt in public that was offensive, no-one shouts abuse or is confrontational. They wish to parade in public sans clothes, so the same should apply to them, loud shirt equals no abuse, no clothing should equate to the same reaction. A spurious argument at best, but all debate has a starting point.

Nudists in the tall grass

Nudists in the tall grass

No mention is made by British Naturism about the time of year that they to be seen in public. Warm weather is all well and good during the Summer, but would they really want to show off their dangly bits during the worst of the Winter weather. Cold and snow are not the best soulmates of those accustomed to snuggling up in scarves, gloves and woolly hats, you have to be a dedicated naturist in, say, Glasgow in January.

And where do they keep their personal items? The mobile phone, credit cards, small change, make-up, would all pack away neatly in a man bag as well as a handbag, but try naked walking into a pub for a quiet gin and tonic (lemon, no ice, it’s far too frosty outside, too cold even for brass monkeys), or ordering a vegan cake with a bergamot tea (Earl Grey) from your favourite corner café. You would soon suffer abuse from other patrons, wishing you were still wearing your loud shirt that used to attract so many detrimental remarks.

Public nudism is of course a personal choice, but the older you get, the more potential offence you will create. This is because the human body has zero ability to continue being attractive as it develops into fuller maturity. This is a sad fact of life, we might think that we are good for our age, but the reality is that we only see what we want to see in the mirror. My point is made more valid if you do something for me. Go on, on your own, in the lounge, or the bedroom, wherever you have a full-length mirror, take off all your clothes and stand in front of it. You will be appalled.

Isle du Levant without nudists

Isle du Levant without nudists

This is purely because you will now be appreciating that you look better covered up. Sorry to be so blunt, but would you really want to go out in public, walk past your neighbours on a Saturday morning as they are doing the weeding, digging the garden, or washing the car, and parade yourself completely as you were on the day that you were born. Do you think that they will think all the more of you because you have decided to be uninhibited, join the free spirit movement, show the world that you no longer care. The downside is your family will become aware of your eccentric behaviour, with a likely outcome a Protection Order issued for your safety and relatives having complete control over all aspects of your life.

No, if you really want to divest yourself of all textiles, then do it in the company of like-minded people who share your revulsion of clothing constraint. There are 9,000 of you, so others won’t be too hard to find, as long as it’s the right time of year.

Earl Grey tea

Earl Grey tea

I remember when I was 14, during the summer holidays my mum and dad along with three years older sister drove to the south of France. I had read an article in the News of the World (I was an inquisitive child) about a nudist island called the Isle du Levant, and by coincidence we were staying not that far away. I suggested a boat trip, which said sister accepted with great enthusiasm much to my surprise, and we took the half hour trip on the Mediterranean. As we disembarked mum and dad were amazed to see so many people strolling in the nude, prudish sibling was aghast, my eyes were out of my head trying to see everything at the same time. We spent three hours strolling around, sitting watching the world go by, lunch, and during that time we were the only fully clothed island residents. My sister quizzed me at length about any foreknowledge, which of course was strongly denied by my fertile tongue, I was never completely believed, but had spread sufficient doubt to have a wonderful day amongst the beautiful people.

But the older ones were pretty ugly.

A loud shirt

A loud shirt