Nudey Rudists

Nudey Rudists. So christened by the small person, nudists will now always be known thus, and will continue to hold a special place in my heart. Mainly because they are so charmingly, harmlessly bonkers. Who can really be offended by people who play lawn bowls entirely nude? Who can fail to be amused by a group of knitting nannies completely starkers? I know that this is deeply immature but surely we have more compelling things to get upset about than a couple of nuts – making their own re-run of a free willy home video?

I wish I could feel the anguish of ‘outraged of Kensington’ or whoever has been writing all those letters to the ed about ‘prancing exhibitionists’ but I can’t quite muster the energy. Girls in Israel are getting thrown off school buses for wearing immodest head gear and hundreds of girls around the world are routinely disfigured by acid attacks for not knowing their correct place in the world. A place that does not include being anywhere near a school or often anywhere public. There does not seem to be much international outrage being vented on these girls’ behalf but one tanning extremist in our own backyard is enough to make the papers go into fainting fits and have the matrons of St Helliers and Maunu reaching for the smelling salts before whipping up some fetching tulle covers for the piano limbs.

I should declare in the interests of transparency that I would rather join the army or go to a Kiri te Kanawa concert than get my kit off at any beach. Unlike many high maintenance models from Latin America I am well aware that I am the wrong side of 40 and everything is following a migratory path south which at this stage is looking like it may be a one way voyage.

My personal disinterest in nudey rudism is therefore a community service but I really don’t give a fig leaf if anyone else wants to indulge – I doubt I would even notice. I have twice now been in the company of completely nude men in public and have failed to notice. Once I was deep in conversation with an old friend while walking late at night when we were accosted by a flasher. Not wanting to lose the thread of the discussion we went on arguing amicably on our walk until she burst out laughing and asked if we should perhaps go back and ‘scream or something’ seeing as we had obviously failed to react appropriately and the flasher was now standing dejectedly in the middle of the road behind us. The other time was out at Uretiti Beach. I had bundled kids dog and friends into the back of the truck because the waves and weather told me I had a good chance of getting a free feed of scallops from a big Easterly swell. Ecstatic that this had in fact proved to be the case I failed to notice the nude bloke wandering aimlessly at the high tide mark. The small person kept pestering me while I was getting more than my limit of snapping scallops to give this individual some money. In frustration I shouted at her that just because we couldn’t see his home or his lunch box didn’t mean that he didn’t have both. “But Mum!” she said speaking slowly so that I would get it “How can he have a home if he hasn’t even got enough money for some togs?” Good point. In my enthusiasm over the scallops I had missed that we were with three very small people at the local nudist colony. The other kids didn’t notice. They dress like that all the time. For a nano-second I thought about my responsibilities as a parent and whether this really was appropriate. There were still at least 3 sacks worth of scallops floating in the tide. Irresponsible to leave them all to the nudey rudists. Even if they couldn’t afford to buy themselves a decent pair of budgie smugglers.

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