CNN had a story the other day on Belgian couple Nick and Lins De Corte, “naturists” who trot the globe unclothed.
They expose their exploits on a blog (Naked Wanderings), an Instagram account and Facebook, using props and artful cropping to bypass social media standards… which is hilarious, considering Facebook banned a photo of onions last week. A Canadian seed company’s photo of unpeeled onions in a basket was taken down because—I kid you not—they were “breast-shaped.” Such saucy veggies!
Back to our wild-and-free couple: They started their blog to lay bare “some of the myths surrounding naturism,” Nick said.
Myth # 1: "[People think] that it's related to sex—[but] people can be naked together without any sexual intention,” he explained. Myth 2: Lounging around naked “is just for old people."
Full disclosure: I’ve known several people who were “naturists,” except they called themselves nudists. They ranged in age from late 40s to early 70s. They traveled to various campgrounds, beaches and resorts, mingled with other free spirits and apparently enjoyed every unclothed moment.
The pandemic has, obviously, stripped the spontaneity from many activities. But even pre-Covid nudist etiquette raises questions: How does one handle communal seating, like barstools and fence rails? Are there disposable covers everywhere, or does one discreetly carry a hand towel?
Nick and Lins have scuba-dived in Honduras, tossed back beers in Portugal and hiked in the Amazon rainforest, all without those pesky clothes. I don’t know which is more startling: That a couple can constantly agree on where to go, or that they go there nude.
Come to think of it, “nude” is a pantyhose shade. Also a lipstick color. It brings to mind tasteful images of doe-eyed women shielding their modesty with armfuls of wildflowers. Burt Reynolds famously posed nude with only his hand for cover—and, as he quipped, “I have small hands.”
“Naked” is, well, buck naked. You can’t get any nuder than being naked. Then there’s nekkid, which, as the late great Lewis Grizzard pointed out, is much spicier than being naked. If you’re nekkid, you’re up to no good.
“In the buff” is just a throwaway term people use to make nekkid sound sophisticated. It started cropping up back in the ‘70s and frankly, it can stay there. “Swimming in the buff” actually sounds boring, unlike skinny dipping, which sounds slightly wicked. Barbie would swim in the buff; Skipper would skinny dip.
Nowadays there are nudist clubs, campgrounds, beaches, activities and events. Funny story: I once accidentally hiked to a nude beach, figured out the score very quickly, and slunk off in my shameful bikini.
That was 20-some years ago. Today I don’t even wear a bikini. I mean, I could but people would go blind and Widdle might leave. In a pinch I could squeeze into a two-piece I bought 10 years ago, tie a big shirt around my waist, plop on a sun hat for diversion, and go. But walk around starkers? No way.
Our clothes-free couple says their online presence showcases their adventures and provides info on the naturist lifestyle and like-minded resorts across the world. Portugal, for example, boasts many clothing-optional beaches, and France also has a thriving “naturist” movement.
"It's a personal choice," says Nick. "But it bothers us… when people have such misconceptions about naturism, without giving it a try. And that's something we like to keep telling people: 'Just try it.'"
Fling off your clothes and inhibitions, friends!
You do you, but I’ll pass.
Julie R, Smith, who didn’t know she was a prude, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.