Best effort, involuntary stereotyping

Stereotyping

I keep seeing it and it keeps surprising me. Stereotyping. It is (actually it was) very visible on my Twitter feed. All those people posting images of nudists and naturists. Not themselves, of course.

They post pictures of young, fit, happy people in the nude.

Mainly young women.

Wrong

You may wonder why I think this is wrong. Let me explain.

When I go to a nude beach, a naturist resort or a clothes-free sauna, I see all kinds of people. The thing is: least of all I see the young, fit, nude women that are splattered all over the naturism promotion feeds.

Instead I see the kind of people here on the right. The older, balding, not so slim, not so fit one. The people with wrinkles, who have been nudists and/or naturists all their life without giving a damn about how they look. They have the right attitude. Don’t make everyone think that your body becomes young, fit and pretty once you pretend to be a nudist or naturist. That’s not going to happen, not now and not in thirty years when you’re even older and wrinklier (unless someone comes up with a happy pill that does it for you).

Be a real naturist. Go naked because it makes you feel good. That is the happy pill we have now, and it works on another side of you. On the inside. The mind. Having the right mindset will make your mind, your spirit young and fit. And you have the benefit of real freedom, inside and out.

Twitter feed

As I said, my twitter feed had a lot of those images.

It doesn’t anymore. I have stopped following those picture-cannons which spread false images and ideas about our life style. I don’t agree with them so I don’t need to see them.

I’m convinced they feel they’re doing naturism a favour, otherwise they wouldn’t be putting so much effort into all this. I’m also convinced they’re missing the point and attracting the wrong audience.

 

That one-finger selfie.

One-finger selfies.

You’ve probably heard about it, seen plenty of examples of it. The one-finger selfie. Apparently it started though an Anime character that demonstrated how to do it:

Original 1 finger selfie

I had an interesting little exchange about those on Twitter a while ago when someone said that these one-finger selfies might invite people over to nudism.

Nudism

P.Z. in England
Your blogger, visiting the U.K.

There is always an chance that someone is getting interested in nudism because of such selfies. I really doubt that though. This kind of selfie creates the same ‘desire to see’, the same temptation that certain kinds of (lack of) clothing invokes. I think they are more prone towards that other kind of nudity (we might call it porn) than towards nudism.

Most of the time, as far as I know, nudists don’t take off their clothes just for a nude picture. Nudism is a life style, not a picture hiding something from someone. People who live the life of nudism and/or naturism aren’t afraid to bare it all, to show it all. The difference is that being naked and showing oneself naked in nudism is normal.

People who strip especially for a one-finger selfie will probably put on their clothes immediately after taking the photo (or a few of them).

Fine line

There probably is a fine line between nudism and provocative exhibitionism in these selfies. I am not in favour of these selfies. Nudism and naturism are in heavy weather as it is, the world seems to turn to puritanism in many places. Promoting wholesome nudity should be done in a social setting, in an open and honest setting. Not through something as semi-secretive, something titillating as the one-finger selfie.

1 finger selfie

To each their own

Of course it’s up to everyone for themselves if they want to participate in these displays of their body. Some people think it’s fun. Good for them. Some people, like the person I chatted with on Twitter, thinks it might bring people into nudism. Good for them. Let’s hope these selfies open up something good, something more like body-acceptance.

Body painting

Body painting. The skin art.

body painting Body painting fascinates me. It’s incredible to see what artists can do to a canvas of skin. How they transform people into walking and talking pieces of art. I took the picture on the left (click it for a larger version) at a fantasy fair here in the Netherlands. It was the first time they had a live body painting demonstration, and the fact people were allowed to take photos was quite unique.

 

bp02The light on the image on the right is bad, sorry for that, but the sun was out in full blaze. (This image is also clickable for a larger version.)

This lady was being transformed in a universe. Very beautiful to witness.

It’s stunning to see how these artists pour themselves into their work, creating beautiful images. Another interesting thing to learn while watching them work was to see how long this actually takes! It’s not like tossing on some colours, dabbing a few more blotches with a brush and that’s it. The models have to stand there for hours. Literally. If you think about having your body painted one day, make sure you’re up to the physical challenge. You stand there, at times with your arms stretched out, for a LONG time.

bp03Another (clickable) image with even poorer light. Still I want to show it to you.

This model was transformed into a dragon-like creature. Not only paint but also foam stubs, painted in the right colours.

Spencer Tunick

As I walked around there and watched these people at work, I wondered how much effort had to go into the works of Spencer Tunick, the man who created the Sea of Hull and the amazing rush of red people in Munich, Germany a while ago.

Sea of Hull, Spencer Tunick. Image courtesy of The Guardian.
Sea of Hull, Spencer Tunick. Image courtesy of The Guardian.

World Bodypainting Festival

Here is a video from World Bodypainting Day 2016. An opportunity for you to see how much work this really is.

It is an amazing way to decorate a person. More versatile and more personal than any kind of clothing can be. If ever I have the chance to be painted in such a way I’ll certainly grab it. I already wonder what I would like to have on me.

What would your favourite colours, scenes and/or patterns be?

Nude or naked?

Some of you may know that I write books. Writing books and stories means you have to consider the meaning of words carefully.

Considering the words ‘nude’ and ‘naked’.

They both refer to the state of being undressed, uncovered, clothes-free, yes. Still, to me they have a different charge as it were. Wikipedia’s take on these point to the same thing. Nudity. To me there is however an underlying difference.

What nude is to me.

ZMDSC01418

To me this is nude. You may argue that I’m naked in this picture so let me explain. When I am nude, I’m undressed, I appreciate it to the max and I am ‘in my power’. I am undressed by my own choice and proud of my state of being. When I took this picture it wasn’t warm. There was fog all around. Still I felt wonderful there, in nature, one with the elements of the moment. That is when you are in your centre of power.

What is naked to me.

caught_naked

Here is an example of someone I think is naked. It’s the ‘oops’ moment, the shyness, the not wanting to be seen like this.

It is when someone feels exposed and vulnerable.

Look at it this way: when you are nude and you walk around in the rain when it’s not cold, that’s all fine. You’ll get wet but you won’t shiver, you don’t feel bad.

When that same rain comes over you and it starts getting cold, you’ll feel naked. Exposed and vulnerable because this is not pleasant at all.

Note that this is just one example.

Naked does not always mean you’re weak.

Absolutely not, unless you make yourself weak. Having the courage to make yourself vulnerable is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of a different kind of strength. The world live in is a hard place where being weak is frowned upon. You have to be strong, in armour, fast and in control. Daring to be naked means you dare to be yourself, to be a real person who doesn’t want to be strong all the time. Trying to be strong all the time will wear you out on an emotional level or even detach you from your emotions. You become a machine, a robot.

Naturists and nudists, as far as I have met and talked with them, have the deliberate ability to go beyond that trap. They bare themselves. They make themselves naked as well as nude. They want to be vulnerable. Go into the mountains where you encounter nothing but sharp rocks and take off your clothes there.

ZMRocks
Me on the rocks in Wales

See? You are vulnerable. This doesn’t mean you’re weak. This just means you acknowledge you’re not made of iron and you understand how thin your skin is, especially when you scrape against that rock.

The vulnerability is where you put it.

As you see, there are more ways to feel vulnerable. Good ways and bad ways. Getting caught in something you shouldn’t do makes you vulnerable, even when you’re completely dressed. The power of allowing yourself to be vulnerable, naked, is something different. You bring that upon yourself. You say to the world, “Yes, this is me as I am. Naked, unprotected.” That kind of vulnerability should gather respect. It does from me.

naked-and-afraid-cambodia-2

It’s entirely different from the popular TV series ‘Naked and Afraid’ where people put themselves in danger willingly.

I certainly respect the courage of the people who do this, but I don’t respect their nakedness as the kind I described earlier.

Be nude, dear friend. And dare to be naked. It makes you more complete as a human.

Paul.

(This post appeared originally on ClothesLifeFree. I thought it important enough to share it here.)

Lanzarote. My second visit. Part 3.

Observations from a naturist lady.

naturist lady

On one of the days in Charco del Palo I talked to a German lady who was in apartment close to mine.She said she and her husband were there for the second time. Like me. They had been to Tenerife (another Canary Island) before finding Charco. Her biggest gripe against the clothed community on Tenerife was the snooping of people regarding clothes. She said, “What hindered me at some point was that people were staring at me to see if I was wearing something I might have worn before during that vacation.” She really looked disgusted as she told me this. Being in a naturist village was so much easier. “You’re always dressed well here,” she said and smiled big.

She and her husband had tried naturism before and one day had decided to come to Charco del Palo and find out what true nude life would be. She told me that they had decided to come back to Charco del Palo every year. That realisation took them about two minutes. They, like so many others there, love the freedom and the absence of clothes. She really looked relieved when she told me she was glad to be rid of all that “putting on clothes”, as she called it (‘Angekleide‘ was the German word she used.)

what-will-i-wear

We talked about our experiences and feelings towards going back to the overdressed world, and how great it was to be able to go out walking along the beach or in the Cocoteros hills close to the village.

It was very nice to talk with her. A conversation between two like-minded people, sitting in the sun, dressed in SPF30. (Her husband was helping someone rebuild part of their house. She told me that he didn’t know how to relax.)

As we sat there talking, several dressed ones passed us. None of them dared to look over, the way proper prudes are. The German lady remarked at some point that she’d seen weird things at the beach, like dressed people getting themselves into trouble, unable to climb out of a cave, because of their restricting clothing. Makes you wonder why they didn’t simply take the stuff off and get themselves into safety instead of having to rely on other people.

Stupid is as stupid does, I guess.

Lanzarote. My second visit. Part 2.

A nude dinner.

Yup. It happened. I didn’t know it happened every Thursday evening. A restaurant here, the Jardin Tropical, hosts a naturist dinner every week on Thursday. You have to book it in advance so they can set the right amount of tables, the price is nothing but reasonable (I paid €16,90 plus drinks) and the food is very good.

jardintropical_charco

If you’re a vegetarian you can say so when you book your seat and all will be taken care of.

Nude group.

It was an amazing experience to join 19 others for dinner in the nude. That evening there were 20 people which, according to the waitress, was a new record. There was a nice mix of people there. Some from Sweden, some from Germany (there are many Germans in Charco del Palo), British and French, and a few Dutch people like me. Save 1 Swedish man everyone knew English so that made talking with everyone quite easy. Note that some people had ‘interesting’ accents, but that was fine and fun.

nude in the streetIt’s really a fabulous feeling to shower and after drying off you’re ready to go out to dinner. The whole experience of walking around nude here, all through the small town, is one I can’t get enough of, and meeting other nude people out there, in the streets, is a kick. As was this nude dinner I was part of.

Something really funny happened while we were eating: two people came in. Dressed. They had more than a bit of surprise seeing the restaurant loaded with naked folks having a good time! They took it well though. They had something to drink at the bar and then left quickly. I still grin when I think of it.

Lanzarote. My second visit. Part 1.

Charco del Palo again.

Yes. This year I visited Lanzarote again. Charco del Palo has a strange attraction, being a naturist village. In a way it was like coming home. I got to the apartment,took off my clothes and that was it. Charco del Palo is a unique place for me. There could be other villages out in the world that offer a similar experience but I haven’t found those yet.

lanza2016hike

It didn’t take me long to get the first nude hikes behind me. In total I walked over 32 km (that is about 20 miles I think) during my stay, and all of them unhindered by looks of people who don’t understand what is is to be free. The clothed local population is used to it since long. They don’t blink at a naked body.

Clothed population?

Yes. Not everyone there walks around in the nude. The village is technically clothing optional, which works for everyone involved. A sad development is that many of the older residents who used to be naked all the time lately are wearing more clothes. We have to ‘thank’ modern advertising for that. That crap spoiled their minds by telling the world we all have to look fit and pretty and trim and 22 years old. I can only call massive and loud bullshit on that, but the damage is already done. Let’s hope we can still turn the tide.

Shopping.

Nude shoppingLast year Charco didn’t have a supermarket. That was a pity. This year however, since January to be precise, a couple opened up the local ‘supermercado‘. It’s good because they have lots of things and it’s also surprisingly cheap. Best of all: clothing optional. I never went shopping in the nude before. This trip I did it and let me tell you: it’s exactly like shopping. Just without coverings.

Skyclad

What is ‘skyclad’?

According to Wikipedia:

In Wicca and Paganism/Neo-paganism, the term skyclad is used to refer to ritual nudity. Some Wiccan groups, or Traditions, perform some or all of their rituals skyclad.

Right, you probably wonder why I made you read that.

Pagans

I’m a Pagan. Pagans are folks who don’t follow any of the large religions with just one god. Enough of that, though, this post is about being skyclad. Being nude, obviously, clothed in sky.

skyclad-womenAnd this is a way how pagans can perform their rituals. Skyclad.

Not all of them do. It’s a matter of choice.

Why do I bring this up? Well, on the friend of all naturists and nudists, Facebook (I’ll wait for all the laughter and boo-calls to end now…) I had an interesting discussion with a Wiccan friend of mine concerning burkinis.

You know, those unfriendly slabs of cloth that Islamic women can wear to beaches. She said that she was in favour of them because that way those women could go to the beach if they wanted. “Because everyone has the right to go to the beach the way they want.

I asked her how she felt about nude beaches. Her response was that such a thing wasn’t right, because “at some point there is enough naked flesh“.

People at nude beachThis of course made me ask her how that mixed with her previous statement about having the right to go to the beach the way you want. This, she said, was a matter of common decency. Because being naked wasn’t decent. (Note that I know she has done plenty of skyclad rituals.)

The minds of people and their attitude towards our lifestyle keep surprising me. Even someone who isn’t against nudity in one form can pull back from nudity in another form.

Safety

I think it has to do with safety. Someone who engages in a nude ritual does so with people (s)he knows, feels safe with. People like us, who engage in nude life do so with people we know and feel safe with. We have the advantage here because we don’t have such a tiny group of people we dare to trust.

safety

Naturists and nudists are nude for (mostly) a common goal: not wearing clothes. For feeling free. For experiencing nature in the most optimal way. The way I like to do that is having nude walks. As many as I can. Along beaches, in forests, in the mountains. As long as I can feel the air on me, move without being hindered by cloth and such.

Selection_007.jpg
Skyclad on a beach on Fuerteventura

I wonder if you, the reader of this piece, have experiences with people who condone nudity in one way but are very opposed to it the other way. I’d like to hear about them.

And in the mean time: stay happy, be nude as much as you can.

 

Book review. Aglow, by Will Forest.

This is an amazing book. It took me long to read it. No, I don’t usually read slowly but there is so much in this book to think about that I took time for that. Why would I run through an amazing story, past great reflections and texts when I can stroll through all that, sit down and look at it all, and think about it? That’s what I did with this book.

The story plays in Mexico and Latin America. Key components in this story are a written codex with a secret, a strange necklace with figurines, and the main actors Zé and Marisol. ‘Aglow’ is a great addition to the Naturist Library because it brings forward the reason and benefit of social nudity very well.

I don’t know how to say more about this book without going in at the deep end to spoil it all for you. I can just say: get it and read it. And enjoy.

 

How naturism changed my life. (repost)

(This piece was written by my Dutch buddy Harmen. I’m proud to know him and to repost this, his first blog post, with permission.)

After being bullied for a small 14 years during my youth and a slow process of finding and accepting myself, plus a wide interest in a lot of things, I came across naturism 10 years ago. A lot of things naturism is about, like respect people, animals & nature were one of the main reasons. I knew it was practiced mostly in the nude, but since I already accepted myself for who I was at that time, the being nude wasn’t really a problem for me.

image

So I jumped right in and joined a very good friend, which is also naturist and a second mom to me, to naturist resort Flevonatuur in the Netherlands. From the first second I arrived there it felt like home coming and my missing puzzle piece was found.

My interest in naturism grew and developed a lot these last 10 years, but not only that changed a lot. I think the biggest change in my life was my point of view at life. We are living in an era where time is money and money and status is more important then people. People that need help are left behind, people that don’t need help are overwhelmed with stuff they don’t need but also don’t decline. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a people person, I love people and I’m interested in them. The real them. It’s just the way people act these days what annoys me. The negativity and hate that’s in them lately. Open a news website and read the comments at stories that have the subject immigration for instance. So much hate to people they don’t know, they don’t know their story, their history, their motivation nothing. They just spill their guts on social media without even thinking or reading what they’re saying. I blame modern media for the most part of this by spreading fear and false information. But that’s no excuse for turning of your brain and just typ the most negative things you can think of.

In the end it’s all about giving and receiving respect. I always ask myself the question, can you look in the mirror before you go to bed and say ( and believe ) that you’re a good person? The problem with this is, that the majority of the people don’t like themselves. They don’t like their job, they don’t like their family and friends and most of all they don’t love themselves. Instead of making a change they just keep going on and on like this for years and keep building up that negative vibe they’re in.

When you look at naturists, there’s a lot of respect between them. They don’t judge people by what they represent but by who they are. And even then it’s not really judging. Live and let live. They literally know everyone is the same because there’s nothing they can hide. Not even theirselves cuz when you’re at a naturist resort or a nude beach, yourself is all you have to offer. There’s no rich or poor, no success or fails. But there is a Paul or a Jenny, a Rick or a Samantha. There are just persons. Real persons. Living persons. With a suit named skin. And that skin, no matter what color it is, is the same for everyone and everywhere. A female nipple isn’t any different then a male nipple, tho male nipples are accepted in public while female nipples aren’t. I talked with a lot of people about that, male and female, and the majority of the people that are against public female nipples give as reason that ” it’s sexual “. Well no it isn’t. They’re put there for a reason, feeding your children. And yes I know it’s an erogenous zone aswell but so are ears. You wanna cover up ears aswell? The point I’m trying to make is that the world isn’t as black and white as you might think.

I’m posting this and as you probably already noticed you can see my butt ( funny fact: did you know my butt is made out of the same cells and materials as the rest of my body? It’s really true, look it up ). Facebook is a very strange medium. ( Sidenote: When I wrote this it was a Facebook post first ) You can post violence, wars, blood, animal cruelty, filthy words, etc. but what you can’t post is skin that usually is covered up. Pictures of breastfeeding were removed and called ” sexual content “. This is the world we live in today. It’s okay to show which awful things are taking our lives, but it’s not okay what kept us alive the first most important period of our life.

I’m not asking you to agree with me, I’m only asking you to love yourself for who you are. I’m not saying I never made a mistake or that I know what’s best for you. I’m human, surely I do make mistakes and I don’t have the wisdom to say how you should live your life. What I do know, is how you could make it easier for yourself on this big planet and more enjoyable. We’re at a moment where the world needs more love and what a great way to achieve that in the first place by loving yourself. Also I’m asking you to think before you speak, especially on social media. I know the anonymity makes it easier to say things you would say offline but that doesn’t justify it.

Don’t judge people before you talked with them. Or even better, don’t judge them at all. Embrace your body, it’s the only one you got. Don’t like your job? Switch jobs. Don’t like your friends? Make new ones. I know it sounds very easy. It’s not. But when you do it, it’ll make your life so much easier. We’re born without judgement. Without hate. Without shame. These are all things that are taught to us. Only question you have to ask yourself is do I really wanna spent my time on earth trying to live other people’s lives or do I wanna live my own life before it’s over. So step outside that box and make a change. For yourself, for your surrounding and for the sake of this world. It’s the world we leave behind for our kids. Don’t let them pay for our stupid mistakes and narrow thinking. There’s more inside you then you think. Embrace it, don’t care what other people will think or say because in the end you’ll see that it doesn’t matter what others think about you. It’s about what you think about yourself.

Love yourself like I love myself. I know you can do it.

Thank you ❤️

If you want you can follow Harmen’s blog.