The Naked Truth

Nudity would be easy if I looked like this! (courtesy of NSFW)

Some people have no problem being naked. To them, it’s as natural as the day they were born and obviously, they’re right. We all started the same way—with tiny penises and vaginas swinging in the wind, not to mention asses being slapped by total strangers.

Actually, there are adults who still enjoy that last part, but that’s a story for another time.

I have always been fascinated by the naked-and-I-could-care-less crowd, especially since I belong to a different group: the dim-the-lights-and-keep-moving people who may not consider themselves ugly, per se, but who know they aren’t what most would call sexy.

Multiply this effect by ten for men, though. We have too much hair and outdoor plumbing to qualify as beautiful, at least many of us do. Pretty boys, male models, metrosexuals and other “attractive” guys obviously don’t count, but it isn’t their fault. We can’t all be beautiful, right? Imagine the inferiority complexes and depression that would result from the world’s population collectively realizing they were no better looking than anyone else.

Personally, I could never live in that kind of world. Variety is, after all, the spice of life, and we need average and ugly folks as much as we need the beautiful ones.

And please note that I use the word ugly with some apprehension since there is something beautiful about all of us. The wrapping paper may not be pretty, but the gift inside could be, wouldn’t you agree?

Anyway, I started thinking about nudity the other day and eventually found myself looking at websites for very specific businesses: nudist resorts. I know it may be hard to believe, but it wasn’t the actual nudity that piqued my curiosity; it was the fact that some people like being naked so much that they choose to live this way all the time.

I can relate to this poor bastard more (courtesy of visualphotos.com)

I can relate to this poor bastard more (courtesy of visualphotos.com)

I’m sorry, but one bad experience with splattering bacon grease and my days as a nudist would end rather abruptly. I promise you that. Of course, nudists must have found a solution to this problem—maybe something as simple as a clear apron (so the nudity still comes through)—but there’s something else that prevents me from experimenting with nudism (i.e. actually visiting one of these resorts and letting it all hang out)… something my shame, flabbiness, “dangling modifiers” and fear of penile grease burns can’t touch. Anytime I think about nudism or actually putting myself out there, a tiny voice in my head asks the same basic question: What if you get aroused and embarrass yourself?

I actually cleaned the question up a bit because in reality, it’s more like What if you pop a boner and someone sees you? Since the word boner may be unfamiliar to younger readers—and I have no idea what the acceptable alternative is these days—some gentle rephrasing seemed necessary.

I know what you’re thinking. Go to any of these sites, look at some pictures and you’ll notice one common theme: most of the people who frequent these places are not—and will never be—supermodels. They’re older, flabbier, hairier, scarier and, frankly, could give a shit less. And you know why?

Because it makes them happy. And I, for one, say, “Go for it!” Nudism may not be my bag, baby, but if it works for you, why not? I still find it fascinating.

With curiosity still nagging at me, I continued my online exploration and looked for evidence of nudity in the news—actually, that’s not a bad title for an ongoing post, so stay tuned, dear readers!

As you might expect, there was plenty of naked news to be had online. Only instead of peaceful nudists playing volleyball and singing around a campfire, the unclothed people making headlines were—for the most part—also making poor, maybe even fatal decisions. Sure, there were some bright spots here and there—and I pride myself on finding a balance between the depressing and the uplifting when I can—but sometimes darkness cannot be avoided. Of course, I leave the final judgment to you and instead offer my take on clothing-less current events and nudity in the news.

Welcome, my friends, to THE NAKED TRUTH.

Someone had to notice a pretty girl like Maureen Kelly walking naked through the woods (courtesy of Q13-FOX)

The skin begins in Washington State, more specifically at the Canyon Creek Campground in Skamania County’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest, northeast of Portland. It was there that 19-year-old Maureen Kelly of Vancouver chose to visit this past weekend. And it was from there that she vanished late Sunday afternoon.

When Kelly left the campsite, she was wearing nothing more than a fanny pack, the contents of which may have included a small knife and compass. In other words, she was nude-with-tools and little else. And according to someone who saw her before she disappeared into the woods, Kelly was embarking on some kind of “spiritual quest.”

It must be a doozy because as of yesterday afternoon—when the search for the missing “nudist” was suspended—authorities had nothing.

“Twelve teams searched the area again today and were unable to locate Ms. Kelly,” Sheriff Dave Brown said on Tuesday. “They found nothing that is related to this search and rescue mission.”

The good news is that Kelly’s brother described her as being “comfortable and capable” in the outdoors. Sure, some clothes would help protect her from the elements, but at least she has some skills that could help keep her alive, right?

Of course, a lot of people (myself included) hope this story will come with a happy ending rather than a tragic one. And despite having little to go on, Sheriff Brown remains optimistic, albeit ready to take the next step if it becomes necessary later.

“We will have deputies continue to check the area for the next couple days,” the determined lawman explained. “And at that time we will reevaluate our options… if Ms. Kelly does not return from her spiritual quest.”

Here’s hoping she returns with a renewed spirit instead of becoming one!

And now for something completely different.

They say everything is big in Texas. What they don’t tell you is that this also applies to crimes committed by people “in the buff”… people like 56-year-old Robert Fife of Pasadena, Texas.

For some as-yet-undetermined reason, Fife was arrested at his home on Johnson Street not for being naked—which he totally was—but for being naked and shooting arrows at neighbors from his window. Police were called, found Fife locked in his home and eventually coaxed him out, but no one knows for sure what prompted this unflattering attack. All they do know is that Fife is safely behind bars and now faces charges of deadly conduct.

Robert Fife of Pasadena, Texas: The Nude Robin Hood (courtesy of News 92 FM Houston)

And at long last, he has some pants on. It may not be much, but at least it’s a start, right?

Fife is what you might call “bad naked”—especially since he mixed nudity with violence, which is only a good idea if two women and a mud or Jell-O pit are involved—but there is plenty of “good naked” out there. And from time to time, this goodness involves social change and activism, as it does in these next two examples. The first comes from London and American Jesse Schust, who organizes an annual bicycle ride there… a nude bicycle ride.

The World Naked Bike Ride began in Barcelona in 2004 and has since spawned rides in over 50 cities and across several continents. Although it began innocently enough—basically as an excuse for people to disrobe in public and cruise around together (if everyone’s doing it then it won’t be as embarrassing, I guess)—the 41-year-old organizer of the London event sees it as something more: an opportunity to express himself as he exposes himself, only with a cause.

Schust strips in protest of “car culture, climate change and our dependency on oil.” And he finds nudity to be a very effective delivery mechanism for his message, too—especially a nude bike ride.

“People look on with a sense of joy and amazement,” the never-shy Schust said. “Using humor and celebration as an approach in protest was a whole new thing for me.”

Riding nude in London (courtesy of Wikipedia Commons)

Of course, Schust does have advice for anyone who participates in a bike ride with no clothing: “Cover the seat or at the end of the ride use a hand wipe to clean it—just as a courtesy.”

Words to live by, I think.

A second example of good nudity with a focus on activism comes from Tunisia, where three women from the group Femen—basically a movement that started in the Ukraine in 2008 to protest sexism in the region—appeared in court after being arrested for public nudity. Actually, they weren’t completely nude, only topless.

The boob flashing was part of a protest over Amina Sboui Tyler, a 19-year-old member of Femen who was detained in March for posting topless photos of herself online. The official charge, however, was carrying an incendiary device. And on Tuesday, Tyler was convicted and fined $182. Unfortunately, more charges are pending and for the time being, Tyler will remain in custody. But there is a small “silver lining.”

Topless Tunisian protesters are the best (courtesy of AFP)

The topless friends who protested have also been detained. They are set to appear in court Friday and may be charged at that time, but for now at least Tyler has some company. And if you ask me, topless company is some of the best company you can have!

Our final stories shift the “nude focus” away from activism and into the realms of stupidity, criminality and perversion. Since these are areas that have been associated with nudity in the past, though, they should certainly come as no surprise.

The first story comes from Casselberry, Florida and involves 22-year-old Thomas Edwards, a young man determined to propose to his girlfriend. Before doing so, he told his lover about his plan and she indicated where the proposal should occur: at her home, for which she provided an address.

Edwards arrived at the home on Friday, went inside and started to disrobe on the patio “because that is something that people do.” He’s right, you know. People propose naked all the time. Not!

Edwards’ nude proposal failed (courtesy of the Casselberry PD)

At any rate, the homeowners arrived a short time later—none of whom were Edwards’ girlfriend—and found a naked black man waiting for them. Needless to say, they immediately phoned the police, who came shortly thereafter to collect the intruder in the buff. Instead of going quietly, though, Edwards took a different approach: he started to spit at the officers. And what did he get in return, you ask? Exactly what you might expect: a jolt of electricity from one of the officer’s stun guns and a trip to jail.

Of course, I still haven’t heard what his girlfriend had to say about all this. Since she apparently gave him a fake address, though, I can’t imagine her response to Edwards “popping the question” would have been a favorable one. Is it possible that nude proposing is not something that people do?

Speaking of things that people do—and definitely shouldn’t—consider the story of George Boak, a 70-year-old spiritual healer from Halifax in West Yorkshire, England.

On Tuesday, Boak was charged with sexually abusing two women—and may eventually be charged for assaulting a third—and appeared in court, where he obviously denied the charges. Unfortunately, the evidence continues to mount against him and though his trial continues, the outcome will undoubtedly be bad, at least from his perspective.

According to several women who went to Boak for “treatment”—I use quotation marks since I equate spiritual healing with scamming (no offense, of course)—he asked them to disrobe since his practice involves hovering his hands over parts of their bodies and touching them from time to time, but never in an inappropriate way. Being naked simply allowed all his “positive vibes” to pass through unhindered, or so the women were told.

'Sorry, I got carried away' spiritual healer allegedly told naked patient. george boak

Boak claims he “got carried away” (courtesy of Rossparry/ Chris Fairweather)

What they experienced, however, was much, much different.

In the first case, Boak seemed to be helping his patient’s aching back, but would constantly refer to her as “beautiful” or “stunning,” which obviously made her very uncomfortable. She stopped seeing Boak for a time but returned later when her pain worsened. During this visit, however, the spiritual healer went even further, kissing her, touching her and even putting his hands inside her clothing. She reported the incident to police and Boak was arrested, but he denied the allegations and likely would have gotten away if the investigation didn’t uncover a damning piece of evidence: his diary.

Using the information within the diary, officers contacted several of Boak’s former clients and a second complaint soon emerged. It came from a woman who initially visited the spiritual healer with her husband. When Boak asked her to disrobe for her treatment, she thought nothing of it since her husband was present and, based on this one visit, found Boak to be very professional and never inappropriate. In fact, this is what convinced her to return to him again, only this time on her own. And that, of course, is when things took a turn for the worst.

During this particular visit, Boak started touching her inappropriately and even apologized when she asked what he was doing: “Sorry, I got carried away.” For whatever reason, the woman left Boak’s office, told her husband about the incident and then never reported it to police. In her view, this whole thing resulted from her being too “gullible,” even though it’s hard for me to understand why she felt this way. If you ask me, being gullible is what led her to believe that spiritual healing would work at all, but that’s not important. What is important is that when confronted with these allegations, Boak claimed the woman wanted it and said something like “give it to me, George.” As if.

A third complaint was filed recently when a woman read Boak’s story in her local paper. According to her account, Boak treated her as he said he would, but also slipped his hands down the front of her pants to grope her.

Now that I think about it, there is a chance Boak could be cleared of these charges. After all, he could have been spiritually healing these women’s private parts. And since healing hands were being placed on their bodies anyway—with their consent, mind you—Boak may have found the loophole he needs to escape prosecution… as opposed to the holes he fondled that got him into this mess in the first place!

Crude, I know, but that doesn’t make it any less valid.

What's wrong with this picture? (courtesy of Pretty 4 Ever)

What’s wrong with this picture? (courtesy of Pretty 4 Ever)

Our final glimpse at the naked truth brings us full circle and back to the place where Maureen Kelly could still be wandering through the woods with only a fanny pack on: Washington State. Only this time we visit Tacoma Community College (TCC) and Kevin Gausepohl, a vocal instructor accused of taking advantage of a 17-year-old student.

According to the young woman—who was a high school student trying to earn college credit at the time—Gausepohl claimed to be studying the effects of sexual arousal on vocal range and asked her to play the piano naked while touching herself. For some reason, she agreed and this occurred at numerous sessions they had together. In fact, Gausepohl “kicked it up a notch” during one particular session and joined in on the festivities: he started masturbating in front of her.

Gausepohl’s sexual misconduct came to light after several students expressed concern over the young woman’s treatment, which they felt exploited her sexually. The college investigated and concluded that at the very least, the vocal instructor violated the school’s sexual harassment policy. They immediately terminated his employment and since he stayed clean for a year—in line with a deal from criminal prosecutors—charges against him were not pursued. And to this day, Gausepohl maintains his innocence, even though I suspect otherwise.

Did I mention that Gausepohl is also a religious leader at Blaine Memorial United Methodist Church? Perhaps he and George Boak—the “spiritual advisor” from England with a penchant for fondling clients—should start a business together. Spiritual healing, vocal coaching, nudity and sexual mischief all under one roof? Sounds like the Wal-Mart of perversion to me.

At long last we come to the end of THE NAKED TRUTH, proof that nudity is alive and well in this world and even finds its way into the headlines from time to time. Of course, my advice to all of you is this: if you choose to be nude, please do so in the appropriate places and under the right circumstances. Bathing, getting freaky with your lover, skinny dipping in your neighbor’s pool, dropping your drawers at one of the nudist resorts I mentioned earlier… all of these are fine as long as you don’t harm anyone—aside from revealing your naked body to them, I mean (which I know would hurt people in my case)—or abuse anyone. When in doubt, though, consider following the same advice that I follow when the need to disrobe strikes me at the wrong time.

Keep your pants on… at least until it’s really time to take them off.

Posted on June 12, 2013, in Perspectives, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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