Beyond Labels Guest Blog Chris Farmer

It must be said that I object to being called any kind of -ist or that I practice any kind of -ism. I suppose that makes me an anti-Ismist.

Your typical Ismist would, at this stage, proudly haul up the flag of Nudism or Naturism. He would declare is Nudism and tell the world he was a Nudist. If I were an Ismist, I should probably do the same, but I just cannot bring myself to do it.
As it happens, I naturally incline to being naked whenever it is feasible – at home, at the beach, at a resort, in the sauna, elsewhere where it does not lead to gawking and arrest. Does this qualify me as a Nudist? Even though I am compelled to be dressed more than 90% of my life? I neither dress nor undress to redress a societal cause.

For many years I lived in Italy and France. Both countries were good for people who liked being undressed – there were many places you could go and people did not automatically feel obliged to categorize you for it. I had a favorite beach outside of Rome (Capocotta), I went to Euronat in the south of France. When I lived in Munich I often sunbathed nude on the banks of the Isar running through the center of town.
The river, that is. Not me.

I have always looked at nudism as a kind of banner one waves. But to me it is as senseless as being part of a cultBut to me it is as senseless as being part of a cult. I know a guy who only wears t-shirts and jeans. Is he an Ts & Jeans-ist? The fact that people like me, like us I assume if you are reading, are shunned by most societies, and this leads us into the ridiculous position of having to defend our choices as part of an ideology.

I like chocolate cake. There is no rationale behind it or logical defense of it. It is just what I like.

Of course I have read a lot of the literature. There are indeed a great many people who are Nudists for the Cause. They talk a lot about the benefits to the skin and psyche. And I do not think they are wrong at all. I quite agree with them on the whole. But it is just not my motivation to be naked.

If we all have ways of expressing ourselves, being naked is not one of mine. When I wear clothes, I am not celebrating the suit and tie or the cargo pants or the polo shirt. Expressing yourself through what you wear, however, is one of the precepts of our consumer society. People choose their clothes to suit and display their personalities. By the same token, not wearing clothes should also be allowed in the same way. If I thought that it were possible, I probably would never get dressed in the warm summer months – not because I need to display my personality or character, but because I prefer being naked.
Many places do not specifically outlaw being naked in public, and in this sense it is often possible. But if I now, in the café where I am writing this, stripped off my clothes because it is too warm in here, I would be thrown out. I would be subjected to insults and ridicule. It is just not accepted by the mass of humanity. To stay naked would be to purposely provocative.

It saddens me that we cannot be naked without thinking about all these things.

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