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Excuses to be Nude

November 4 2012 at 12:08 PM
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Noel1835  (no login)

 
In the thread Who Inspired You to Sleep Naked, David44271 writes:

"Guys were expected to be OK with nudity in communal showers, and in what I'd call "utilitarian" situations -- if you were changing clothes and only other males were around, guys wouldn't be shy about others seeing them. But being naked without an "excuse" (sleeping naked being a borderline acceptable excuse) wasn't done."

Even back in the days when nudity was more acceptable, even expected or required, you still needed an "excuse" to be nude. (You didn't just strip down for band practice or piano lessons.) Swimsuits clog the filtration system. They have germs that contaminate the water. In the case of lake swimming, the mere act of swimming was a sufficient "excuse", and to many people, wearing shorts during swimming made no more sense than wearing them in a bath or shower. I suppose the excuse for staying nude during a day of recreation swimming was a part of, was the "impracticality", the "nuisance" of putting shorts on and off between swims. (Pretty much the same situation/rational with us who wore suits. When we got out of the water we didn't immediately pull on a shirt and pants, but just ate, rested, played, socialized or whatever in our suit.)

I read recently on-line about what's allowed or required these days at the YMCA. Suits are *required*, but a swimshirt is allowed http://youry.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Pool-Frequently-Asked-Questions.pdf.) Just as at some point suits became required, (as filtration systems and hygiene concerns no longer were considered "an excuse" to be naked at the YMCA pool), will swimshirts, at some point, not just be allowed, but required? That is, at some point will there no longer be an "excuse" to be shirtless in the pool? Hey, why should there be? Since swimshirts are perfectly designed for swimming, there's no need to parade around all naked-torsoed? You have a problem with that? Are you some kind of exhibitionist or something?

With all due respect to naturism and nudism, the philosophy that nudism is "natural" (and so forth) also represent "excuses" for going naked. (Exhibitionism, voyeurism, etc. are all frowned upon, even on a "motivational" level.) I've long been skeptical of arguments from "nature". I think clothes are natural to homo sapiens, indeed, even to earlier humans. Everything man as a species has created, from skyscrapers to nuclear bomb, are in the final analysis, "natural". Culturally, so might "modesty".

Don't get me wrong. I'm nude-inclined. But actually I just wish it were like the old days that I never got to experience. Where the "excuses" were simple, straightforward and unquestioned, no esoteric philosophizing, you just did it, because you had to, or you were expected to.

Sadly, it looks like more and more, "we're running out of excuses".

 
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Nat
(Login Nafana)

Excuse for clothes?

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November 4 2012, 2:50 PM 

Regarding the old YMCAs needing an excuse for requiring you to swim nude- I see this another way- what is the excuse for current day YMCAs requiring suits? It's not that they help you swim better, on the contrary- they hinder you. Furthermore, suits harbor bacteria, cause rashes and are prone to mildew if not dried carefully.

We are born nude- nude is the natural state- so there should be a reason to require clothes. And in reading the website you cite I didn't see any reason or excuse given for requiring suits- they just said they were required- end of discussion.

Unsaid is the reason- that nearly all YMCAs have become mixed-gender. I don't know why they even call them YMCAs now- they should be called YPCAs with P for People replacing Men.

And ofcourse we couldn't have males and females swimming nude together- that could never be..... except at hundreds of nudist venues where males and females swim nude together every day and the sky doesn't fall down.

. . . . .

 
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David
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Re: Excuses to be Nude

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November 5 2012, 11:53 AM 

Interesting reaction, Noel.

I suppose that, for me personally, I have come to be a nudist in the sense that I tend to think of nudity as the default position, so that wearing clothes, not being naked, is the condition that needs a "reason." I have no problem with wearing clothes when there is a reason to do so, which is in fact quite a lot of the time, but I don't need a reason to be nude. Likewise, I'm sure there are many non-nudists who have no problem being naked when there is a reason to be, but would instinctively wear clothes

I'm sure you're correct that even in the days when nudity was much more accepted than it is today, most people were not nudists and so needed a reason to be nude -- even if the number of such reasons was larger then than it is today. There have always been rules about when nudity is and is not acceptable, and the share of the population that thinks in terms of reasons to wear clothes rather than reasons to be nude has probably always been a minority. And I'm sure you're right that rules about what's acceptable are shaped by a lot of factors - technology (swimsuits and filters), concerns about sexuality, and who knows what else.

But it seems to me that the evolution of attitudes towards casual same-sex nudity (at least in the US) has not just been about a reduction in the scope of acceptable excuses for being naked. For example, it's still OK to be naked while changing clothes in a gym locker room. But social pressures to keep any nudity in that situation to a minimum -- wearing a towel to and from the shower, or taking off one's underwear only upon arrival at the (now private) shower stall, or maybe not at all -- have also increased. When I was growing up -- I'm 50 now -- many of the "acceptable" excuses for nudity that had been prevalent even 10 years earlier had started to disappear, but there were still strong social pressures for boys and men, at least, not to show any reluctance about being naked when in those situations (e.g., a gang shower room). That's changed now.

And, even in the days when there were more opportunities for nudity, it definitely sounds like some people were more assertive in taking advantage of the opportunity to be naked than others. I'm sure there were some summer camp lifeguards who were naked on the job and put clothes on as soon as they finished working, just as there were some who used the job as an "excuse" not to wear clothes for days at a time. The latter group probably would have been "nudists" in any time, and those are the folks who today read and post in message boards like this, so maybe they weren't any more typical then than they are today. Still, it does seem that there was a fair amount of social tolerance and even encouragement for those who took advantage of any "excuse" to be naked, even outside the immediate requirements of swimming or showering, and that also seems like something that was starting to disappear even when I was a kid.

 
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Bob (in USA)
(Login TubaDawg)

Re: Excuses to be Nude

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November 24 2012, 11:50 AM 

Thanks for the post Noel. I am a bit like David in my thinking. Also, I took note that you are nude-inclined. My default switch at home is nude. Getting dressed requires a reason. Sadly, the American thought process has been turned on its side. Therefore, I will continue to do as I have and remain a home naturist. I don't have the luxury of acreage or a privacy fence in my living area. Perhaps one day that will change. Until then, I will enjoy my "castle" and remain a nudist within the parameters I can control.

What are some other's thoughts?

 
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Noel1835
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Re: Excuses to be Nude

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November 25 2012, 11:56 AM 

Not to dismiss your counter-perspectives, but what I was doing was just zeroing-in on what seems to be the thinking/feeling toward nudity by "society" going back not just decades, but centuries, to even the Greeks. It's always been compartmentalized/contextualized. I read recently that the idea that Greeks just walked around nude in public any old time they felt like is a myth, that there were limited situations where it was with either required, expected or acceptable. Same as it was in past but recent times here. I suspect nudism and naturism are recent phenomena in human society. That doesn't mean they're wrong, just that I think they need to be distinquished from past public/group/required nudity.

Nat, if suits at the Y were optional, I suspect in today's climate, few if anybody'd take advantage of it. If that's true, any hygiene benefits would be pretty compromised, because most people would be contaminating the pool with their suits anyway.

I don't really identify as nudist or naturist, and I really don't know how much I'd go nude if I could---if family, friends, and public were tolerant, better yet indifferent towards it, the weather were always warm, etc. I get up and turn on the coffee nude, but it's way too damn cold now to stay that way for more than 5 minutes. I've read the Wikipedia articles on nudism/naturism and a lot of comments, and I really don't like to pretend I'd go nude for all the "right" reasons, though that doesn't mean I do it to "strut around with an erection" (never did that, in the locker, Kaniksu, anywhere...) I reserve the right to do it for my own private reasons and experience it however I please. (I think this was the beauty of the old Y/HS days. How you felt/thought about/experienced it was your own private business, and society pretty much agreed.)

I just think it'd be nice to have more easier/cheaper situations/places/activities where there were "excuses" or "good/acceptable reasons" to go nude for "non-nudists". I think a lot of boys/men enjoyed it, even though they didn't say they did, or have to.

 
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Anonymous
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Re: Excuses to be Nude

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November 25 2012, 12:11 PM 

These photos are really interesting, because they go beyond even the RNS public meets with mixed-gender audiences.

http://vintagemalenudity.tumblr.com/post/19371752281

A few of them look almost like they take place in a public park, as part of a totally respectable familiy outing. In an earlier post trying to get to the bottom of all this, I half-joked about Ward & June watching a naked Wally and the Beav (and their coach?) at classes or meets, but maybe it wasn't so far-fetched as I thought it might be.

Note the well-dressed lady with the young boy just slipping on a shirt, and apparently the same lady posing with a naked teenager. A mother and son? Aunt & nephew? All this would've been unthinkable in my culture. (Not judging, just observing.)

I guess they had just enough of an excuse/good/acceptable reason in their minds for going naked in the situation they were, that we did for "free balling" in "tight, skimpy swim trunks" when we did.

 
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Noel1835
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Re: Excuses to be Nude

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November 25 2012, 9:02 PM 

BTW, the above is by me. I forgot to enter my name.

 
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OldMarty
(Login OldMarty)

Re: Excuses to be Nude

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November 27 2013, 2:18 PM 

Sorry to have to rain on your parade. The interesting photos at

http://vintagemalenudity.tumblr.com/post/19371752281

are fakes. Put the image URLs into Google image search and you get versions with swim suits on, sometimes in color.

They're fun, but they're fantasy.


 
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Noel1835
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Re: Excuses to be Nude

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November 30 2013, 8:40 PM 

Thanks Oldmarty. You're not raining on my parade. They did seem kind of unlikely. But I don't know enough about faking digital photos to really have an opinion one way or the other. I'll link this to Nude Sleepers Forum and see what Nat or Joseph Centauri has to say about it. They're more tech savvy than I am.

 
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BlueTrain
(Login BlueTrain)

Re: Excuses to be Nude

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December 4 2013, 6:41 AM 

I suspect that some of the photos were faked but nearly all of them are out of context, sort of. If a bunch of young soldiers were skinny-dipping somewhere out in the middle of somewhere, nothing much could be implied by that beyond the suggestion that a bunch of young soldiers out in the middle of nowhere might be able to go naked without worrying about it. There are numerous photos and even films of naked American soldiers in WWII. Does that mean it's okay to be naked in the city park?

And speaking of naked American soldiers, I have a book that is the history of a certain New York national guard cavalry unit published around 1940, I think. They served on the Mexican border in 1916. There was a photo of their camp after a rainstorm. A few soldiers were digging ditches and one soldier was totally naked, standing with his shovel (but not full frontal). It was interesting that it was published in the book. Another photo of a naked man, again from the back, bathing in a pond somewhere out west, possibly in one of the parks, either Yosimite or Yellowstone most likely. He was naked and was the only one naked, but there were other men in the photo just standing around. I think it dated from around 1900, but maybe later. Well, the photo was published in a recent Park Service brochure. That was interesting, too.

Also, regarding the photos on the other web site, many were clearly from pornographic publications, which sort of sours the whole thing. Those kinds of images have been around for a long time, you understand, and many, if not most, images like them, either photos or artwork, were created for the homosexual market. For a few years in the 1970s almost anything could be found for sale, even including photos of nude children.

 
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Nat
(Login Nafana)

Response to Marty

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December 6 2013, 10:37 AM 

There is no doubt that some photo doctoring has been going on but I think Marty has it backwards- it's the photos which show swimsuits that are the doctored ones.

I explain this at http://w11.zetaboards.com/Nude_Sleepers_Forum/topic/9717841/1/ and http://w11.zetaboards.com/Nude_Sleepers_Forum/topic/9717841/2/.

And as a old dude with vivid memories of swimming nude at the YMCA and summer camp in the 1950s-60s I will assure you it not a "fantasy" although I can understand why today's bashful guys would think so.

. . . . .

 
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Anonymous
(Login OldMarty)

Re: Excuses to be Nude

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December 6 2013, 3:38 PM 

Nat, I disagree. I posted a rebuttal on the Nude Sleepers Forum showing that of the example photos you showed, the color photo of the man in the swimsuit is the original and the black and white photo of the nude man is doctored. The detail in the woman's swimsuit shows that the color photo is the original, and the incomplete shadows on the man's thighs show the black and white photo to be faked.

 
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Nat
(Login Nafana)

Photo fun

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December 6 2013, 6:41 PM 

Marty, I answered your points at http://w11.zetaboards.com/Nude_Sleepers_Forum/topic/9717841/2/ so I won't repeat them here. We agree that the color photo is the original source of both the photos at the vintage male and the vintage female site. The question then is which is more probable- that the swimsuit was added for the women's site- or that it was removed for the male site?

Having some experience with Photoshop® I know that it's much easier to ADD clothes than it is to REMOVE clothes and replace them with human anatomy which makes it more likely the original photo did not have a suit and it was added for posting at the women's site. Since neither of us can prove our assertion I think we will have to agree to disagree about this.

. . . . .

 
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Marty
(Login OldMarty)

Re: Photo Fun

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December 9 2013, 6:09 AM 

Nat, you're right. At least, you're probably right. I have to agree that the swimsuit appears to have been added to some original color image that we haven't found. More detail on the Nude Sleepers Forum.

 
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