I still remember that: the way he looked at me. “Just go barefooted…”
But, I have to wear shoes for other people — these other people are more comfortable if I wear shoes. I can’t just go barefooted everywhere, but I made a small harness that fits around my ankle and has a ring to slip over my second toe to hold it in place. When I slip this bridle thing onto my foot it looks like I’m wearing a shoe, and no one else feels like I’m being indecent.
With this, my feet can operate the way they were designed to. I get around much better than I did before my surgery. Part of that, of course, was the surgery, but part of it is the barefooting! And because it appears that I have something on my feet, no one is offended.
This game that Society plays with group behavior involves rules that a person has to follow just to play along. Nudity, such an offense to the uninitiated, needs to be introduced in an inoffensive way. You can’t just let your butt show, and all too often, you can’t even discuss the subject. You don’t want to be continually defensive, so, in this social game, you need a good offensive move.
Breastfeeding in public? Justify it. Sleeping nude? Explain it. Sun tanning nude? Appreciate it. Stepping out onto the patio to water your plants? Have them understand that even if a friend is there to help you admire your patio garden, it’s okay — it’s private. You are not trying to hurt anybody else, but that it’s just easier to work out there that way.
Even if your listener cannot fathom living nude, show that the possibility does exist: that nudity isn’t always automatically dangerous and can be okay; in some places, at some times, for some people.
Inevitably, those people who wear clothing will encounter the subject and, if they know you well enough, they might want to hear your view. Without getting defensive about it, show them your point of view. If you handle this well, you will make a point with them. Perhaps you’ll even be allowed to show off a scar, or talk about the time you went free-hiking, or that you really do prefer to step out of your robe when you make coffee. Then take them out to your patio.
That will be your best defense.
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