Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Skinny Dipper

The key to a good landscape portrait (under which category falls "nature nudes") is to start with a good landscape. Compose your shot, and make sure it looks good on its own. Then find somewhere to add a person, and do your modeling thing. If you nail it, the image will be doubly impressive!

While I was playing around at the lake on my new hard-shell kayak (using it as a cheap stand up paddle board), a group of teenage girls passed by along the shore and I heard them tittering about "guys in speedos". Previously, they had been debating whether I was a woman swimming topless, or just a guy with really long hair. (Sound carries far - perhaps surprisingly so - across the water). I only made out bits and pieces of their conversation, but I detected a negative general consensus about the very concept of men wearing swim briefs. Which is entirely normal. But the double standard still gets to me. Apart from having to wear tops, these girls weren't wearing anything significantly different (or less revealing) than what I was wearing. But the rules are different depending on your sex. (And that's not fair). The funny thing is, if I had just worn a top (an experiment I would try the next time I would visit that lake), they probably would have just gone on assuming I was a girl (not having had that close a look at me), and wouldn't have had any issue with what I was wearing.

If you think the notion of a guy in a pair of swim briefs is ridiculous, I think that's at least partially because men don't hold themselves to the same grooming standards that women do. But I do. Ideally, we would live in a world where men were accepted in the swimsuit of their choice regardless of appearance. You know, the way women are (as it's not just slim, young women who wear body-baring bikinis). But I would settle for, at the least, a more reasonable world that judges a man based on his individual qualities - whether he's fit and attractive, and looks good in a speedo - rather than automatically relegating the entire category of "men in speedos" to the loony bin because it conjures up a silly (if not downright repulsing) mental image. This is the same way male crossplayers, and crossdressers in general, are treated - in our minds, we juxtapose the traditional image of manliness with the outward cues of femininity, and the result is often a hideous frankenstein. So we write off the very concept, without acknowledging that, with a little bit of care and intention, some men (not necessarily the ultra-masculine ones) can actually look good in these styles! But this fact is completely overlooked in favor of judgment - the ability to point and laugh at another's expense.

I'm exaggerating a little bit for effect. I'm sure these girls meant no harm; they were just reacting to an uncommon and remarkable (in the literal sense of the term) stimulus. They said nothing directly to me, and made no indication whatsoever that they resented me sharing the lake. (And, of course, there is not infrequently a disconnect between what you express in public, and the private thoughts you entertain when you're alone). Anyway, every person who sees me wearing a swim brief and recoils in horror or disbelief - regardless of the negative nature of their reaction - is one more person who's actually seen a man wearing a swim brief. Whether one likes it or not, the idea that this is an acceptable fashion choice is entirely predicated upon the condition that it is one that [some] people are actually choosing. Which I sadly don't see happening. But if I can be the vanguard of that progressive force, bearing the brunt of negative reactions so that others who may one day follow in my footsteps will have an easier time of it, then so be it. It's far better than the alternative, which is to kowtow to conformist pressures and allow myself to be forced into wearing something I don't like, while the culture remains stagnant, refusing to change. I'll gladly be the trailblazer for a freer future.

And on that note, after all the day trippers had left in the evening, and the sun was sinking toward the horizon, I was very excited to get a chance to go skinny dipping - if only briefly. I swim nude in pools at nudist resorts semi-regularly (in season), but it's a whole different atmosphere stripping off your swimsuit where it's not explicitly allowed - especially in a beautiful natural setting like this lake.

10/10. Would recommend. (Although I would advise a reasonable level of caution, for your own safety).

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