Not an April's Fool's Column
Saturday, April 1, 2006
Outtake: Naked recreation? Let it all hang out!
Published: Friday, March 31, 2006
By Matt Crawford
If Mary Jane Kolassa's number pops up on my called ID, I'm answering in a hurry. Mary Jane's calling about getting naked.
M.J. is a senior vice president for Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell. Judging by the Web site, it's a large, high-powered public relations firm in Orlando, Fla. She'd like us all to "spring into outdoor recreation at a nudist resort." At least that's what she wrote in an e-mail she sent earlier this week.
M.J. Kolassa is handling the public relations for the American Association for Nude Recreation. The organization is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. I must admit the idea of nude recreation was at first intriguing, but when I did the math and came to the realization that the founders of the AANR -- if they're even still alive -- would probably be pushing 100, I felt kind of oogie. Naked old people playing shuffleboard? Pretty much ruins lunch right there, doesn't it?
But if you need them, Kolassa brings up a couple of good reasons for getting naked.
In her e-mail, M.J. said you, my winter-weary readers, have had it with being bundled up. She said you're all looking for an attitude adjustment right about now because winter has dragged on too long. She said the best way to beat those winter blues would be a visit to a nudist resort! (She added the exclamation point!)
"Nudist resorts across the country offer lots of outdoor as well as indoor activities," M.J. wrote. "In the Sunbelt, nude Frisbee golf, pentanque, tennis, cycling, 'dare to go bare' 5K runs and kayaking are just a few of the recreational amenities that can be enjoyed right now. There's nude bowling, jazzercize, swimming, table tennis and more in the clubs up north until the temperatures begin to rise."
Generally speaking, of all the recreational activities enjoyed by humankind, I'd have figured bowling at the bottom of the list of "Sports To Do To Naked." OK, maybe it ranks slightly above fencing and paintball, but every time I visit a bowling alley there are several hundred good reasons why bowlers are considerably more spiffy in a black and teal polyester shirt touting "Rick & Ray's Septic" than in the buff.
And talk about getting your mind out of the gutter! Just think of all the highly inappropriate (but uproariously funny) jokes that'll be launched when nudity and bowling are combined. ("Oooh, that's a tough split you left there, Louie!")
Come to think of it, naked tennis, cycling, running and pentanque don't seem all that appealing, either. And just the idea of a bunch of us "sweating to the oldies" during a nude jazzercise class in an stuffy old gym threatens to implode my head. I can promise you, my winter-weary readers, I'd never recommend you exercise behind me as I attempt toe-touches, sans clothing, to the beat of "Rock Around the Clock."
To be sure, there a number of recreational activities that seem well-suited (or is that un-suited?) for naked participation. Nude swimming and kayaking, for instance, seem like a couple of sports I could seriously get behind. Maybe I should rephrase that -- but I could certainly see myself (or at least some European supermodel) paddling along wearing nothing but a birthday suit.
In her e-mail, M.J. wrote that she'd help arrange and interview with an AANR spokesperson on the benefits of outdoor recreation. If I had questions about nude etiquette or wanted to receive a press kit, I should give her a call. I gave her a call, and we talked briefly about nudity, but we didn't talk about nudist etiquette. That's because I'm pretty sure writing a column mocking nude recreation breaks the code of etiquette. I didn't ask her, but I bet "ridicule" is right behind "staring," "pointing" and "comparing" on the list of prohibited activities at a nudist resort.
M.J. ended her e-mail with this: "It is widely accepted that sunlight counteracts the winter blues, in fact, studies indicate your body needs at least 20 minutes a day of sunshine over at least 75 percent of your body to help prevent a vitamin D deficiency -- of which one notable side effect is depression."
If the P.R. lady from Orlando is right, it appears, for the sake of our sanity, we all should get naked this spring. Just promise me we won't go bowling.
Matt Crawford's Outtake column appears every other Friday. Contact him at 651-4852 or email@example.com