For some naturists/nudists, it is their worst ever nightmare. For others, like myself, it is a surprise opportunity. What I call “clothes encounters” some may refer to as “close encounters.” I guess it all depends what your comfort level with social nudity actually is and on one’s perspective. What I’m talking about is the encounters with clothes-wearing people when we’re out and about clothes-free.
The photo (above) illustrates (or depicts) exactly the type of situation that I’m referring to. While strolling nude along a secluded (or so I thought) trail, one stumbles upon an unsuspecting clothed individual enjoying the scenery. This is especially frequent during the early to late Springtime when nature-lovers haven’t fully adjusted to the habits of those using the particular locale. No one is at fault, aside from the nude hiker who, more likely than not, is naked in an area not designated as such.
It’s difficult to say which person is the more embarrassed by this discovery, the nudist or the clothed man. I know that a number of bare enthusiasts become self-conscious of their nakedness when this happens and I often think to myself: why? True, we are nude in an area that isn’t exclusively clothing-optional. However, the area isn’t heavily used and most times being bare isn’t a problem. I just don’t really understand why the burden of guilt should fall solely upon us.
In all fairness, I should add here that I do know of several textile (clothed) people that this has happened to who have shared that they are uncomfortable when a nude person approaches them. This accidental meeting is through no fault of their own. They are within the legal boundaries and are actually wearing their clothing along the trail.
As is often the case when any two alien cultures (natural or nude and textile or clothed) collide or intersect, is there any way to ease the discomfort or build a bridge to link the two? From my experience when this type of predicament has happened, I want to share my interaction or reaction as a nude man when this occurred in the hopes of eliminating some of the unpleasantness and hopefully to create some “common ground” or similarity between the differing lifestyles so that an amicable understanding and harmony follow as we both share a mutual respect and enjoyment of a limited natural environment. After all, we are most effective when we all work together towards a single goal than working in opposition.
The occasions where I have inadvertently strolled upon clothed persons on a hiking/walking trail aren’t that frequent and have happened when I wasn’t paying attention to what was ahead of me. Once I have made eye contact with the other person/party, I always smile and offer a friendly wave. Being Deaf, I want to offer reassurance that I am friendly and not a threat. I don’t want anyone intimidated by my presence even though they may be surprised by the fact that I am naked. Hopefully, my friendliness will help them to relax and put them at ease with my nakedness.
If my amicable gestures are reciprocated, I’ll slow down my gait in case they want to engage in a conversation. I always carry a notepad and pens with me in the event this happens. I strongly believe that willingness to take part in a dialog is one of the best tools to removing the awkward barriers between the clothes-free and the textile worlds. By putting a human “face” on nudity, I have the opportunity to help erase the “divide” between our two cultures and to answer any questions or fears about the naturist/nudist lifestyle.
I feel that often, any invisible wall (real or imagined) that separates our two lifestyles (bare and clothed) exists primarily out of distrust, fear and ignorance. I truly believe that once we take sincere steps to eradicate the distrust, fear and ignorance, then any misunderstanding between us and any false myth is dispelled and we can all begin to relate to one another respectfully as human beings and as fellow appreciators of our natural environment.
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!