“Hey, let’s take our clothes off”, he said.
“What for?” I asked.
“’Cause it’s more fun” he replied.
At six years old there was no thought of ulterior motives; it was just two close friends in the playroom, while their mothers held a tea party in the garden. We still carried on with whatever games we were playing, only now we were naked. Jeff was right, it was more fun. And a lot more comfortable.
I have always had very sensitive skin, as well as an allergy to anything wool. Getting dressed in the morning was a bit traumatic for me, because most clothing in the day was made of natural materials. Synthetics came out a few years later, but at the time wool seemed to be the fabric of choice. All my socks were woolen, the school had a dress code that included grey flannels (I still itch just thinking about them) and a starched white shirt (ouch!). And they all wondered why I had concentration issues. Of course at “sleepy” time, I got to slip into my flannel pajamas…what a treat! My mother never knew that once tucked in and “nighty-nights” were exchanged, I would slip out of those PJs and hide them under the bed.
Blue jeans had to be washed three or four times before they started to become bearable. New, they were like slipping into plywood. So Jeff had shown me another way to live; comfortably. I became the one to suggest to friends that we take our clothes off “because it was more fun”, and most were willing to try.
Once puberty arrived the whole dynamic changed, of course, but I still had a group of friends who made the distinction between innocent nudity and “show and tell”. We would all go on camping trips where naked activity was integral, and skinny dipping was anticipated and frequent. (As were the requisite farting contests, but that’s for another blog ) 😉
Eventually we all separated and went our own ways as adulthood and responsibility arrived, and by then synthetics were very popular and a lot more comfortable. (I still have shivers thinking of the eczema on the soles of my feet). But I have very fond memories of the freedom I was able to experience, thanks to Jeff’s suggestion that it was more fun.
I suppose the purpose of this missive is to try to clarify the “ist” and “ism” attached to my being. I don’t really qualify as “naturist”; I happily eat meat and tofu makes me barf. I don’t know if “nudist” really fits either, as I don’t see my nakedness as a lifestyle choice so much as a simple comfort issue. I suppose I would call myself a “gymnophile”; someone who likes to be naked. And, of course, in the company of others it’s always “more fun”.