You may have heard that Kansas congressman Kevin Yoder recently apologized for swimming naked in the Sea of Galilee while traveling last year. The apology was prompted, at least in part, by the House majority leader’s disapproval of the incident. And, perhaps, an anticipated backlash from constituents.
|Fully clothed, watching the sunset in Door County, Wisconsin with my nieces.
The water was very cold that day. Photo by Diane Raaum.
Most people I know in the Upper Midwest shy away from skinny dipping. Whether it’s our regional puritanical inclinations, embarrassment over our thickish frames or an instinctive fear that the water around here could–at any given moment–be cold enough to put a person into a hypothermic state, remains unknown.
Such social pressures make me giggle. So we’re now holding politicians to such an incredibly high standard that they are apologizing for skinny dipping? Let’s be honest here. This isn’t tax evasion or canoodling with the interns or theft or accepting bribes or underhanded dealings with PACs. It’s not even prurient.
Skinny dipping is the purest of pleasures: feeling clean, cool water on your bare skin. This is swimming. Aside from the possible shock of seeing your companion’s unedited, un-Photoshopped body, there is no harm done.
|Go ahead. Shed your inhibitions…and then some.
Photo by Charish Badzinski.
In the beginning, in our purest forms, each of us floated in the ocean within, unencumbered by spandex or lycra. We were born skinny dipping; why stop now?
On a recent trip to California, while hanging out at a new friend’s house, she casually mentioned that we were welcome to skinny dip in her pool. It was mid-afternoon on a sunny, hot day in Chico. Never in my entire life has a Midwestern friend invited me to go bare in her backyard! I was stunned and intrigued. The water called. The two other guests immediately shed their bikini tops while I, in a sensible one-piece suit, hung back. It was all-in or nothing.
My Midwestern sensibilities stopped me short.
But why? To protect my reputation? It is unlikely I will ever run for political office (I come up woefully short of the standards we hold politicians to), we were in a fenced, private environment, we were all adult women, and there was a good chance no one outside the group would ever know.
Until I blogged about it, of course.
|The private Chico pool in question. Floaties mandatory; suits, not so much.
Photo by Charish Badzinski.
We have so many hang ups in life. It seems to me it’s time to shed this one. The simple, pure pleasure of allowing the Earth to baptize you is a wholly innocent endeavor, no apologies necessary.
It’s good for the soul to smash societal morays that rein us in without reason.
I’m not saying you should strip down at every given opportunity; it’s important to be sensible and respectful of other people’s limitations and comfort zones. But I am saying that, should the opportunity to test the waters in a safe, private environment arise at home, or as you travel, you might want to take the plunge.
But perhaps not if you plan to run for office.
Do you skinny dip? Why or why not?
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