Okay, so today’s topic takes me back to a conversation I once had with a writer friend who has written more than 50 books, many of them being naturist fiction. While my wife and I sat with him somewhere in the Netherlands, we talked about the world accepting people being nude in general public settings. There was one conclusion that we all agreed upon – it wasn’t going to happen. He is a naturist, as are many, many other people I know who are pragmatic people. We can look at the world without tinted glasses and have little problem decoding the near global worldview that nudity is tolerated, if even that, in very limited places.

Now, people who embrace nudity aren’t exactly a homogenous group. Every political, economic, social, or religious group will find members who self-identify as nudists or naturists. And then there are others who make no such distinction and simply take moments in their lives to enjoy being clothing free. Yet somehow, there is an unreasoned expectation that the group should abide by some sort of belief and behaviour code. Zealots are loud in their attempt to herd the larger group into some sort of homogenous group where the enemy are people who embrace clothing and being clothed. The above image is quite clear that it is an “us versus them” dynamic. Well, that is an approach that will ensure that the freedom to be nude in the general public will never happen. Besides, in my opinion, it is more harmful than helpful.

My wife is one of those people who prefers to keep her clothing on. She actually likes her clothes and enjoys exploring new fashions, colours, and textures. I love my wife and don’t see what I would have to gain by “joining the fight against textilism.” She is comfortable with me slipping out of my clothing when time, place, and conditions allow [which is the majority of the time]. At times, she slips out of her clothing to join me in social situations where it is safe for her to do so. She is comfortable with her body. I have no desire to “control” her or abandon her for not mirroring the way I want to live.

As someone with a long history of providing mental health services, I have learned that those who try to control others, do so out of their own issues of self-identity. Anyone who is different is viewed with a lens coated with fear which morphs into anger. Those kind of people need people to provide affirmation. Those who disagree become enemies.

Most people don’t care one way or the other. They want to live their own lives, people such as my neighbours. They have seen me without clothing, usually when I am in my yard. They don’t make a big deal of it, nor do I go out of my way to have them notice me. When they come over for a meal or we go to their place, I wear clothing. For me, it is about respect. They are good people who don’t need or want to be nude or be overwhelmed with always seeing me nude. When we are together and I am wearing clothing, it is easier for them in terms of being comfortable to talk, to laugh, to share a meal, or an evening for wine and hors d’oeuvres. Both of us come out of this as winners. They know who I am and accept me for who I am and continue to be good neighbours and friends.

This might be the best scenario in a world that only sees things in black and white, as dualities. Nude or clothed with no in between. The only solution to this polarisation would be for a near-extinction event which wiped out most of humanity thus allowing for a reset. But even then, human nature will reassert itself and we will find ourselves as polarised as ever. My advice, try just being you. Forget about being a clone of someone else.

à la prochaine – until the next time