by guest contributor, Jane Pellicciotto*
You wouldn’t think you could be nostalgic for something you’ve never experienced. But oh, to have been an early human, unshackled from having to cover yourself up, free to prance around the savannah in your birthday suit without so much as a titter from your fellow homo erectus. Speaking of birthday suits, the nakedness of babyhood is about as close to early human freedom from the confines of clothing as we get. Then, just as we get used to this sensory pleasure, someone introduces us to shame and, well, the fun is over.
I recall the first time I stripped down in public, well, nearly public, on my first visit to a clothing-optional hot springs retreat place that’s like a grown-up camp for hippies. A big carved wood sign spelled out the rules. Among forbidding alcohol or firearms was an appeal that there should be no sexual activity in the hot pools. Does a bathing suit really make a person less prone to fondle their mate while other people soak idly by, I wondered? I hoped not. There was also a “no nakedness” rule anywhere other than soaking areas. Phew. Otherwise I’d never be able to eat quinoa and kale salad again without the image of a naked man in Birkenstocks.
I return again and again to this magical place. With each visit, my inhibitions fall away faster and faster, along with my clothes, allowing me to enjoy the unfamiliar pleasure of back-to-nature nakedness longer than on my previous visit.
The first abashed shedding of clothes is quickly followed by a baptism reversal of sorts to an earlier time and place. I’d pick my way like a prowler on the rocky paths from pool to pool, envious of early man’s tougher feet, not to mention way better tan. I’d leave my towel behind, fully aware of and not caring about the large bruise on my left buttock. For a few fleeting moments, I’d have this bodily knowing that one day, a long time ago, some fragment of my DNA never had to fret about the clothing styles of the day or suffer the humiliation of finding a bathing suit that actually fit.
*Jane helps good businesses unearth what makes them remarkable, discovers unforeseen opportunities and crafts messaging and visual frameworks that help companies reach who they want to serve. With a new story, clear vision and the right tools in place, her clients have the confidence and credibility to make a positive impact. Jane’s work can be found at Allegro Design and her words at EnoughGood. She’s also founder of Team Pasta and serves on the board of Slow Food Portland.
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