July 3, 2014 in Uncategorized
This isn't really a blog about anything other than how I'm super-psyched about going to NakedFest next month. A mere 30 days away.
First; after my experiences with the men of Naked-MN, I'm trying to imagine what it would be like to live nude for an entire week. A whole afternoon around a pool leaves me exhausted from all the excitement of chatting, meeting new men, and just being in a general state of overdrive in the Upper-Midwast sunshine (got lucky with the weather so far). I may actually faint by day three.
Second; it's one thing to be a home nudist over the weekend and never done a single stitch, but to go an entire week sleeping nude, playing nude, and socializing nude is a whole other level. I have a hard enough time making my work clothes fit right on Monday morning – what will I do when I have to get back on the plane.
Finally, number three; I've never flown before. Basically, that's because I've never gone anywhere far enough away from home to warrant faster transportation than speeds allowed on the interstates. That experience alone will warrent a blog post or two.
I plan to pack not only my smarter-than-me-phone but also my tablet so I can post my adventure as I live it… maybe even some photos should anyone promise not to drop the camera (I wouldn't be able to afford to replace any of my devices). The Tedium Treatise is the place to watch, even before August 2nd since I will most likely bore all my friends by then with babble of my vacation.
June 16, 2014 in Uncategorized
The other day I was talking to a co-worker about my trip to Pride over the previous weekend. As with almost everyone I've ever met who has spent time in the military or prison, he is a very tolerant person with no overt bias about race or sexuality. So it surprised me when his response to my friend's t-shirt was negative.
The t-shirt in question read, "Sorry girls, I like dicks." I find this very amusing and am jealous that he wouldn't let me wear it to the parade that day… a topic for another blog. My co-worker found this shirt to be tacky and referred to wearing it in public as class-less.
As to an explanation he offered a comparison to an opposite point of view: "That's like saying I wore a shirt saying 'Sorry guys, I like pussy' in your bar."
I was taken aback further by the territoriality of this statement. What he implied, realizing it or not, was that the street on which we were celebrating and protesting was "their" street and we were allowed to use it for the parade. My bar is where I may choose to be crass, but not in his areas.
One of the big questions facing nudists in the concurrent political and social movement is that of offending others by our choices. For those who find no sexuality (or little sexuality) to the act of nudity, wrapping one's brain around the concept of taking offense to such behavior is difficult.
I began to think maybe the nature of offense was tied to that of possession and territoriality. If something happens in "my" space, I pass judgement and have a vested interest in what happens there. Perhaps it's a control thing, deciding what occurs around me so I feel more comfortable because I feel in control of my environment.
This seemed to be only half the answer as I went about my occupational duties the rest of the day. Odd for a person who has spent the last twenty-five-odd years dabbling in all things psychology and sociology, I took quite a long time to finally land on an idea that seemed more accurate in describing the conversation I had those many hours earlier.
Offense is taken largely because a pattern is broken. Our minds are always trying to find patterns around us so that we may safely predict the future. Everything from our standards of beauty based on symmetry to the structure of a movie is often better to us when we can predict any outcome that may arise – as we can then prepare for it and remain safely in control of our environment. Anything that lies outside these predictable patterns causes us stress.
This jolt – such as brake-lights of a car in front of you while driving on the highway – grabs our attention. Our brain begins to suck in any and all information it can through the senses and attempts to find familiar patterns. The biology of stress is one of the most studied fields in medicine and the list of physiologic responses to stress is long. Amusement parks and horror filmmakers play to this very response to create a pleasurable sense of excitement.
So back to the idea of offense: it seems we're actually talking about a stress response to an unexpected stimulus, one which is judged unpleasant upon review in the seconds after. There are studies showing a person actually makes judgements before identifying that which is being judged, visceral reactions to images of snakes and other dangers to survival, but in the case of nudity we must assume social conditioning. A person witnesses nudity, reacts to the unexpected, then passes a sociological judgement based on core beliefs meant to ensure social survival.
As a politically active gay man, this is not a new phenomenon to me. However, as a newbie nudist I spend time pondering effective responses to these reactions. The Gay Community reacted to police brutality and oppressive hetero-centric laws by rioting at the Stonewall Inn. Pride month is June as a commemoration to these riots.
I don't see laws and treatment of nudists as being as harsh as 1960's New York was to the Gay Community so I don't recommend any riots at this year's bicycling rallies, however the Gay Community has spent the intervening decades attempting to normalize our behavior through all manner of political and social activity, the idea being that if a pattern becomes familiar less offense will be taken.
Aside from those folks in Westboro, I think society has made progress in the U.S. The Gay Community has changed its message over the years, spun the debate to such a degree that sexuality is no longer about sex but love. Abortion changed the spin to women's health vs. baby's rights. Recreational marijuana use spun out a healthy use campaign.
The nudist community must also find a spin that serves them; removes the eccentric aging hippy stereotype from the public image. These partnerships with the green movement to promote environmentally sustainable bicycling as alternatives to cars only goes short step away from granola munching tree huggers of old. There must be some other link to the broader public for the nudist community to really begin to attract attention and achieve normalization… but I'm at a loss so far as to what that link is.
May 20, 2014 in Uncategorized
Richard previously posted a blog entitled "Naked Unless Someone is Offended." This post I presume to claim be an extension of his thinking.
Ideally, in the US, no law can be enacted unless the public can prove a behavior can, has, or will harm another. The abortion debate is all about whether the fetus can be harmed or if the mother can be harmed – from both sides of the issue. Gay marriage, gerrymandering, minimum wage, voter-ID laws, deficit spending, foreign relations, income tax reforms, immigration reforms… its all about who is potentially harmed by the legislation produced by the majority. Gay marriage is a prime example of a majority harming the minority with bans and the courts ruling to restrict the power of the majority.
The majority of the public are not nudists – or at least not social nudists. Yet we have laws banning nudity as obscene. Obscene (as I noticed my spell check corrected to include the root "scene") has a history thus: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=obscene
I also had to have Google define "prurient" for me: https://www.google.com/search?q=prurient&oq=prurient&aqs=chrome..69i57&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8#q=define+prurient
So I summarize that obscene is linked to "sexual" and if a "work" has no literary, artistic, political, or scientific value it can be deemed obscene. Being nude in public – or within view of the public, such as through the window of my home – has no literary value I can argue, nor artistic unless I stretch MY definition of art for those who have tattoos, piercings, or other modifications, nor scientific as my body is too normal to be medically relevant.
However, it is the political value that I zeroed in on. Denying my ability to dress as I please potentially harms me as it denies my Right to Free Speech and places restrictions on my activities or expression. Should my expression be intentionally sexual, then I could see the trier ruling against me – though that could be another conversation. However, almost every nudist I've met in person or on-line contends a non-sexual motivation for their clothes-free choices. So, as long as I claim non-prurient intentions and make no display "obviously" sexual then I have political value to my nudity. Any restriction goes against precedent mentioned on etymonline.com and I can claim harm.
The religious and parents also claim harm by viewing my nudity. They would have equal justification in the political realm. Sexualizing (as may happen without proper contextual explanation by the parents) children is illegal for obvious reasons – if not so obvious, I would be happy to provide instruction at another time. However, if simple nudity were akin to sexualizing children then a child witnessing their parent's nudity within the home would be equivalent to abuse and no nudist resort would be allowed to admit children.
Religious observance within an impartial state is enshrined in our very founding (ideally). To not provide some measure of shared observance the state loses it impartiality. However, many aspects of dogma are ignored by the state. Some people work the Sabbath as we are allowed to eat beef on Fridays and pork at any time we choose.
So again we are faced with quantifying harm. Is the majority viewing nudity harmed more than the minority banned from expressing nudity in the public sphere or vice versa? Simple offense examined by Richard in his blog seems to be no more complex than the political value I examine here. There seems to be no ideal nor legal precedent for modern nudity laws other than social inertia. Simply because current social standards applied by the average person include covered genitals at all times within the public spaces, and have been for generations, no judge would side with my argument. I would have to prove I am more grievously harmed than a simple loss of expression – as I am not allowed to burn the flag either.
Just because something is common doesn't make it right nor is an unexamined life worth living.
May 8, 2014 in Uncategorized
A post on a nudist site today got me to thinking, a rare event.
I'm a nudist, meaning I prefer to lounge without clothing. Clothing at work is essential since the temperature is not optimal. Clothing while shopping is essential since social norms suggest I don gay apparel. Clothing while in public view is essential due to current laws.
I'm a social nudist, meaning I enjoy my time with other naked men… sexually or otherwise. I prefer sexual nudity, but I'm happy just hanging out with other nude men. Haven't puzzled out why I'm attracted to the activity just yet… working on it. I could associate nudity with sex and feel a sense of arousal and am denying it. I could just enjoy the rebellion of the situation and haven't yet made the link in my brain. Whatever the reason for my enjoyment, I intend to pursue it.
The interesting post mentioned a person's sense of privacy. That's psychologically a control thing; I want to control knowledge of others about what I consider "private" information. I tell people my secrets, or choose not to.
I am a nudist who feels no need to announce it. I consider my nudism a hobby and considering it's eccentric nature consider the activity a private one. Yet I'm a social nudist. I intend to get nude this summer in various locals where I can be viewed by others. Granted, due to the laws, these will be others who have agreed to witness my nudity rather than the general public who have not given such permission.
So I am a hypocrite. I consider being nude in public a private activity and want to control the spread of that knowledge. Worse, I've started this public blog discussing this private activity. I don't necessarily share the address to everyone. In fact, I've only shared the address with a relative few. Yet anyone may access, read, and comment on the site. Anyone can know.
I've yet to divine this hypocrisy and resolve it. Eventually, surely I will understand my own mind on the issue and alter my behavior accordingly. Perhaps I'll join the activists in broadening the public's understanding and acceptance of nudity. Perhaps I'll stop this blog, delete as much as Google will allow, and abandon all public nudity. Perhaps I'll simply accept my hypocrisy as yet another conundrum of my personality and carry on without resolution.
As posted on http://troynbr2.blogspot.com
May 4, 2014 in Uncategorized
Many of the naturist sites I've been on recently have revealed a theme: the human body is beautiful but not inherently arousing and we should look to the personality within before judging anyone's beauty.
While this is the same advice espoused by my therapist, I find I tend to disagree.
My primitive ancestors didn't stand up on the African savanna to be better able to divine another's true nature. They stood up to see over the grasses.
While I would agree that the sense of smell is quite possibly our foremost erotic sense, sight is primarily how people gather information. I see a red light, I stop. I see a ball hurtling toward my head, I duck. I see a symmetrically built and featured man across a room, I'm attracted.
I can't possibly know anyone's personality based on sight alone. Yeah, I can tell loads by their non-verbal communication. A man dressed in office attire or youthful-urban fashions tells me immediately what kind of person they want me to think they are. Uniforms are important since they communicate massive amounts of information without having to explain oneself, this is why employers almost always have a dress-code. No CPA wants his/her receptionist wearing a hoodie.
Movement and posture are also huge. A man standing, favoring one leg, and waving his hands about without using his shoulder tells me something about the temperature of his flame. Whereas a man standing erect, his feet shoulder-width apart, with his groin thrust forward tells me something about his self-image and his psychological assertions toward manhood and a man-image.
All of these cultural mannerisms could prove false. Socializing in probably 50% acting anyway and most of us adhere to cultural norms whether we agree with them or not. The most feminist supporting man in America still has a problem with being a stay-at-home Dad and most employers (male and female) still expect every man to be at work during all scheduled hours… even if they have children.
So, while it's nice and lovely to preach a doctrine of personality-based attraction, in reality sight is the first and most powerful attractor. The young and the beautiful still have more friends – which helps them learn how to socialize more effectively, which helps them gain more friends, which is good practice for developing friendships, which gains them more friends…
I've heard this same argument from some of the more kinky elements of the Gay Community. Enjoying leather or pig play shouldn't matter to the neighbors, yet it does when one's attire advertises such bedroom activities. Weird is weird, and while it may say nothing about a person's generosity or kindness, it still carries a stigma. Sons of Anarchy isn't a show about Harley riding philanthropists. Stereotypes matter and changing them, while noble, is still an arduous endeavor and needs to take the stereotype into account whilst endeavoring.
Conclusion: Yes, once I cross the room and begin a conversation with a hottie wearing the nylon t-shirt clinging to his solid muscles I will begin to assess his personality and make cost/reward analyses concerning my time and effort. If he's a raving racist or just plain stupid then perhaps I'll privately enjoy the fantasy some other time. If he lights up and turns his attention like a laser toward me, then maybe something wonderful could develop should our interests and world-views happen to coincide or complement each other. However, it was the physical image that I first noticed.
May 2, 2014 in Uncategorized
I've noticed something in my random exploration of social nudism and all things internet: apparently one is nude if one's genitals are exposed.
I've seen pics of men (lots of those), but pics of nudist men camping, bicycling, jogging, etc. I've seen pics of men lounging about the house or doing domestic chores. I've been to exactly one event of a social nudifying nature. In all these I've noticed that clothes – or the lack of them – don't make a person nude.
I get it, sort of. Shoes and hiking go together. Socks and a cold kitchen floor go together. A backpack and camping go together. Are these not manufactured in the textile industry? Are these not clothes? Can I still be nude if I'm wearing clothes?
I'm not attempting a debate on puritan ethos, nor am I being nit-picky about the easiest solution to a cold floor. I do get it, comfort above morays. The proscriptions set down by church and state avoid many of the things that could upset the smooth order of society… and I say only could. However, I ponder the very definition of "naked" when I see these pics.
One of my summer plans is to find a secluded spot in these Great North Woods to spend a weekend naked in nature. My aversion to all things insectoid got me to wondering what people did before insecticides and repellents. I wondered if I would be remiss asking the local elders of the Oneida tribe to tell me what their grandfathers did.
This then got me to wondering if I could "rough it" in the most "primitive" fashion as the old Polish loggers of my own heritage did. Nicholet National Forest is largely unchanged since the times of my Great-great-great grandfathers and I've been told I can find areas that have never seen the footstep of man… certainly not one wearing Nikes.