Naked time

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April 13, 2007

5:11 PM

My roommate went home last weekend, and I couldn’t have been happier. Don’t get me wrong, I like the guy. But sometimes I need my space. His presence prevents me from doing the one thing I love most in this world: naked time.

p. When I say naked time, I do not mean anything carnal or sexual. I’m not up all night doing it. By naked time, I simply mean a portion of my day when I can be myself, and only myself.

p. There’s something incredibly freeing in shedding shirts, pants, socks and, finally, underwear. When I’m wearing clothing, I often forget that there’s anything under there. My clothing becomes my skin. The outfits I wear represent me as I want others to see me.

p. Yet no brand of clothing produced my naked body. It was just me, with a little help from my parents. When I’m naked, I feel less pretentious. And this makes everyday tasks infinitely more enjoyable.

p. Have you ever tried reading a book? I do it all the time for class and sometimes for fun. I love reading; you might even say I should marry it. But have you ever tried reading a book naked?

p. I have, in case you were wondering. The experience is exactly the same except more intimate. When I’m naked I feel less aware of myself. Therefore the act of reading engrosses me more. Forgetting my body, which is free of garments, I can focus on the misadventures of Clarissa Dalloway, Heathcliff and Dracula. When I’m naked, “I am Heathcliff.”

p. David Sedaris wrote an amusing essay on the subject of nudity in his book, “Naked.” I love his writing and his books have been a major influence on this periodically published column. Sedaris doesn’t completely relish his time in a nudist trailer park. In fact he’s uncomfortable being naked around other people.

p. Unlike Sedaris, I would love to be naked 24/7. Yet if I got naked I would make others uneasy. People don’t like the idea of nudity. To be honest, I don’t know exactly why this is. Perhaps the idea of baring all seems overly forward to some. Others might be too self-conscious of their bodies to “take it off.” Who knows?

p. Whatever the reason, your discomfort with nakedness is encroaching on my ability to be nude in public. If I were the only naked person in a room, no one would be able to converse with me. They’d be too aware of my nudity (and their lack thereof) to actually talk to me. Plus, everyday tasks are not naked-friendly.

p. Can you imagine riding a roller coaster without any pants? Or sitting on a nasty park bench without a layer of denim between your ass and the seat? The Western world is not a naked-friendly place. In order to function socially, I have to dress appropriately.

p. So, instead of running naked through fields of flowers or going to class in my birthday suit, I have to relegate my nasty self to these few precious moments when my roommate is away. But things don’t have to be this way. In fact, we, the youth of America, can change things for the better.

p. You can start by having your own naked time. Read a book without any clothing, call your ex-boyfriend bereft of undergarments or write a Flat Hat opinions column wearing nothing but your spectacles. Pretty soon you might be so comfortable with your own nudity that you’ll want to start getting naked with others.

p. When you do, give me a call to chill. I’ll bring a bag of Tostitos with a hint of lime and some copies of The Flat Hat to sit on. We’ll eat, laugh and talk. Maybe for a few moments you and I will forget that we are wearing nothing at all. It won’t be sexual or perverse in any way. Just completely and utterly peaceful. Like sleeping kitty cats and the nation of Switzerland.

p. __James Damon, a sophomore at the College, is a staff columnist. His columns normally appear on Tuesdays.__

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