Call of Nature

When all that stands between you and a new experience is a thin veil of material, why hold back? Everything is different undressed. And with more Briton’s daring at last to admit they want nude sunbathing on their beaches, there is no excuse.

I first discovered the pleasure of undressing in public in the days when you could swim nude in the YMCA in London. It’s difficult to believe that removing a small area of cloth can revolutionise the thrill of water passing over your body. Perhaps the bits we keep covered most are hungering for sensory stimulus. I know mine were and still do.

Later I discovered a place in the heart of London where I could sunbathe and swim nude at Highgate Ponds. Though today it has commandeered by the gay group making it difficult to be there.

Then in the early 1960’s, back in the communal showers at the YMCA I began to uncover one of the few negatives attached to my new pleasure. Numerous men, previously unknown to me, approached and asked how and where I had managed to get sun-tanned “all over.” The answer was “By visiting Highgate Ponds,” where a small and much visited enclosure allowed London males to lavish their entirety in sunshine or/and fresh air. Having my `all over’ suntan admired was good for my self-esteem, but the following requests to wrestle, have my knee, hand or sun-bronzed wherever held, took a bit of getting used to.

Even so, the delight of slipping out of your house, wriggling free of the duties and thoughts of work, loosening and stepping out of the oughts and shoulds of social duties at street level, is ours when we meet the rest of the world unadorned. The artistes of undress do not carry with them a trailer full of technological equipment on their adventures into the nude. Nakedness is such a wonderful return to simplicity it is only those whose genes have become infected with a robot strain who insists on taking cliff-fronted shining music centres with them into the wild. (Written in the 1970’s.) I like to think most of us have something of the naked ape in us, if only we knew where to find it. After living without clothes on a beach for two or three days, cooking ones food on driftwood fires, sleeping on the soft sand and watching the stars appear as the blue sky shades into night, erases from your soul a lot of the things you previously felt were essential in the civilised world of microwave ovens and multi-channel TV.

Sometimes the two worlds meet each other incongruously though. Having pitched a tent in the midst of Saunton Sand-dunes, a favourite haunt of nature and naturists, I unwound with my wife and young son. On the second day I rose early and savoured the silent mists of morning while I looked for a spot to answer nature’s call. I squatted at peace over my hole in the sand, feeling the majesty of the lonely wild, with nothing on but the hair on my chest. Without warning a fully clothed male hiker, bristling with knapsack, billy-can and gear’ appeared around a sand dune. He stared open mouthed at me. After a moment of confusion, I bid him good morning. His astonishment vanished, he grunted a reply and lurched onward.

Personally, I don’t like organised nudity, sheltered from the rest of the world by high fences, membership fees, and club secretaries. I don’t want to dangle about playing tennis in the all-together, or wallow in the group strength of a dense population of naturists. Going it alone has more freedom and it can bring out the primitive in you. If you have ever dared to take off all on a beach which doesn’t sport dozens of other clothing escapees, you will understand what I mean. You will know that others will join you. Other naked apes who had been incognito will take off their clothes. Also, if you are a woman, there will be magical appearances of men who always have carefully averted eyes whenever you look at them. They will stand for hours apparently fascinated by the grey waves, or their little heads peering over sand dunes.

Your suntan will be enhanced by the light reflecting from their sunglasses and binoculars. If it is your girlfriend or wife who is at the centre of this silent army of averted eyes, the primitive emerges causing you to patrol your territory and glare or feel sudden passion and attention for your partner in face of so much competition. This is the aphrodisiac without peer.

Naked folk though, if you’re among them, never seem particularly erotic. Beautifully human, intimate and close, yes. So, when the wind blows warm I hope to see you – all of you.

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved