|AlejandroLinaresGarcia, CC BY-SA 4.0|
Since writing my first post in February this year about acting more naturally, there have been a couple of interesting developments that I thought were worth sharing.
Initially I was picking times and days that there weren’t a lot of people around. What I began to realise, as I got far less self conscious and precious about being seen naked in public, is that the response from other beach goers is non-existent. To the extent that people simply don’t notice me, choose to ignore me, or a combination of these two.
Since making this discovery I’ve expanded my horizons quite considerably, and haven’t used any swimwear for the last 3 months.
Probably the most telling experience is when I swam naked down at Stanmore Bay on the Whangaparāoa peninsula late one afternoon. There were a few people walking along the section of beach where I was. It’s easy to enter the water once they pass without drawing undue attention. It’s typically the same when you want to exit. Just wait for people nearby to pass, and you can exit the water with them scarcely noticing.
In this particular instance, I couldn’t see where I’d dropped my towel on the beach from the water. Slightly complicating the issue was a couple that had decided to sit close to where I thought my stuff was.
With little other choice I exited the water a few dozen meters down the beach of where I thought my stuff was. Turns out they were sat within 3-4 meters of my gear. I walked towards my belongings like absolutely nothing was amiss. All that happened was a bemused look from the woman, while the guy seemed to pretend I wasn’t even there. I dried off, picked up my gear and headed off as I’d planned to do.
It’s probably this close encounter, more than anything else, that helped reinforce the confidence I’d been gaining, that people just don’t seem to care about nudity. It’s naturists and nudists who seem to fret about how they think others will react.
I recently had the good fortune to discover a local group who have very similar ideas. Hauraki Naturally.
I came to know about the group after one of the members commented about cycling the Karangahake gorge rail trail naked. Rok, the site facilitator is a great advocate of public nudity and not shying away from being naked in public. Especially since it’s not illegal to do so in NZ. The reactions of the public as they rode by was smiles and waves. Even people stopping to chat.
Back to my own experiences; I’ve found since swimming nude at my local beach almost everyday, I have far more friendly chats with people than ever before. Rather than appearing to others as threatening, I suspect people perceive the opposite. Someone out in the nude enjoying the sunshine and environment. Which is exactly what I’m doing!
So more than ever before, I feel that it’s not the minds of the public that naturists need to win over to make public nudity more acceptable. I don’t think people actually care. I think it’s our own minds we need to win over. We need to make the realisation that nobody really cares. That is, if they’re even looking in the first place! Under normal circumstances, how many people do you notice? Let alone pay attention to on the beach, or walking in a reserve or similar? The realistic answer is seldom if ever.
So, the opportunity to be naked is right there in front of us. I can’t begin to tell you how liberating it is to be at the beach, drop your towel and enter the water. 99% of the time you can happily sunbath. It should be obvious that you need to use a certain degree of discretion. If you look unsettled and nervous, that’s unlikely to work.
The easiest way of getting yourself comfortable is to act like you always do. Ignore everybody else there and what they’re doing. Mind your business, get naked and enjoy.
Once you figure this out, it really doesn’t matter whether the world joins in or not. You can do your thing. They can do their thing, and everybody is happy.