Off The Press
July 14, 2009
By Kathleen R. Merrill
Question: What do you wear when you go to officially count naked people who are trying to set a world record?
Answer: It really doesn’t matter what you wear when everyone else is naked.
That’s one thing I discovered last weekend when organizer Dawnzella Gearhart invited me to Fraternity Snoqualmie to be an official witness to the group trying to set a Guinness Book of Records record for the number of people skinny-dipping. (There were 186 there and many of them were thrilled to bare all for the certificate they got at the end of the dip.)Among the other things I learned were:
-It might be embarrassing for you to encounter someone you already know from a professional setting in the buff on the weekend. (I worried about this before going there.)
-It is far more embarrassing for the other person than it is for you, as I learned while he looked at me with huge, astonished eyes and I did my best to look away while saying hello.
-People get really comfortable in this environment quickly. So much so that they will scratch and do all manner of things (that you wouldn’t do while clothed) while looking you in the eye and talking to you.
-You can’t tell who drives a new Mercedes or a rusted out Ford.
-You can’t tell the doctors from the homeless.
-People at Fraternity Snoqualmie are really friendly.
-Entire families were there, with every member in the buff.
-You’d make a lot of money if you could set up a sunscreen booth out there.
Seriously, everyone seemed to be happy and having fun. There was music and dancing, swimming and hot tubbing, cooking out, and reading and lounging in the sun.
For many people there, being naked is a way of life that makes them feel better about themselves and other human beings. I was the one being shy and awkward. And as anyone who knows me can tell you, I am never either of those things.
Other interesting anecdotes that I’m allowed to put in a family newspaper:
-“I’d be more likely to get bad looks on a regular beach than a nudist beach,” a full-figured Karen Lahey told me. “It’s so comfortable, being nude. People are so open. It’s an equalizer. You’re just a person.” She also mentioned that being a nudist made packing for a vacation really easy. I bet you don’t get charged for an extra carry on.
-A photographer from another newspaper was approached by a tall man wearing only a bandanna on his head and a pair of mirrored sunglasses.
“You ever photograph a naked man on a Harley before?” he asked.
The photographer replied that if the man ever “laid his bike down,” he’d have a heck of a road rash.
The man replied, “I don’t plan to lay my bike down. You want the photo or not?” Off they went. I did not get to see the results.
If you’re just dying to try this way of life, Nudestock is coming up at Fraternity Snoqualmie on Saturday, Aug. 29. Live music is the order of the day. Massage and craft vendors will be available, too.
First-time visitors always receive a complimentary one-day membership.
I kind of doubt that Fraternity Snoqualmie folks set the Guinness record that day, since clubs across the country were vying for it. But they get an A+ in my book for bravery.
And no, Dawnzella, I am still not ready to join.
Learn more about the camp at www.fraternitysnoqualmie.com or call 392-NUDE.
Reach Editor Kathleen R. Merrill at 392-6434, ext. 227, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.