by NICHOLAS REDDING
The old-maid schoolteacher is a familiar sight to us all. With her high collars, brushed-back hair with the severe bun, the mannish suits and flat heels, she is prim and proper, Puritan and prude.
She and her type are just the characters we would not expect to see playing volleyball at the wooded nudist camp. Though she reads Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” and the nature poems of Longfellow to her English Literature classes and extols the virtues of good health and plenty of sunshine for their blossoming bodies, she would no more advise her classes to become nudists than she would think of slapping her principal on the behind!
But Miss Prude (as we will designate her) would be a happier person if she lived and worked in a society where she could practice the logical extensions of the naturist philosophies she preaches in the schoolroom!
Think of the vast change in the schools of America if students could attend warm, heated classes with no clothes on and sit for lectures given by a nude faculty! It would soon teach students and the teachers to cease the puerile practice of prejudging others by their clothes.
The advantages of students’ going naked in gym and physical education cannot be overstressed. Bringing back the ancient days of Greek and Spartan culture when the naked form was beautiful to behold in public is a worthy ideal and deserves the support of all enlightened educators.
Unfortunately, in the United States prudery is more respected than nakedness. The undeniable benefits teenagers would obtain from learning to relate to the opposite sex without a feeling of false pride or indignity need hardly be defended. It is true that most parents would object strenuously to allowing their children to be naturists at school or anywhere else. This would, in turn, prevent this golden era from coming to our land for many years hence, but it is not inconceivable that one day the freethinking among us in education and community affairs will see this vision and overturn the Puritan fetters that clamp onto our lives like leeches.
The schoolteacher as prude is, of course, a stereotype in our society. There are all types of teachers in our school systems. Colleges and universities are the most likely places to find unorthodox professors and instructors who are promising recruits for naturists’ theories and practice.
This writer recalls a lovely autumn afternoon at a Southern State university he attended not too long ago when his French teacher and other students sweated profusely in the hot, stuffy classroom and journeyed outside to camp on the spacious, cool lawns.
Even the tedious lessons of conjugating verbs became a refreshing experience to the college lads as they disposed of jackets and some doffed their shoes. And what a perfectly marvelous time all would have had if they could have divested themselves of all their clothes and recited French entirely nude under the cool shades of the fir and cedar trees!
Ministers are considered superprudes by many in our society. What a splendid opportunity they would have if their congregations could see them preach the word of God in their completely natural state of nudity!
One can search the New Testament scriptures and find nothing that would prohibit churches from glorifying the Creator and certifying the great wonder of the Universe by casting away the conventions of pride that have shackled societies down through the ages and teach humanity to despise the sight of their own bodies!
Adam and Eve were created without any sense of shame. Their nudity was an outward symbol of their inner purity and innocence. When Adam was tempted by Eve to rely on the promises of the serpent and not God, the fig leaf was introduced and our first couple became sinners, acquainted with grief.
Weekend retreats for young students banded together in church groups form the ideal occasion for a naked jaunt in the woods where volleyball, Ping-Pong, swimming and a multitude of other outdoor sports can be pursued in a fellowship inspired by Grecian ideals and Christian theology.
Such a dynamic combination would serve to eradicate those malicious and totally distorted dichotomies between the life of the spirit and that of the body!
Prudish minds would immediately object to this radical concept of Christian worship. It would be necessary to begin such revolutionary services and retreats with preliminary talks aimed at creating an understanding of nudist ideals and to cleanse the air of superficial and prudish conceptions of morality.
Most localities in America have no clear-cut laws that would prohibit naked worshiping and church gatherings. However, no matter how well thought out they were or how excellent or reputable the leaders and administration of such an experiment, the law would watch closely. This is the obstacle that must be overcome, not by flouting it, but by a long, slow process of educating the public and their elected leaders who send their representatives to State legislatures and the Congress to enact and change laws.
A prude is, by definition, “a person who is excessively or priggishly attentive to propriety or decorum; especially a woman who shows or affects extreme modesty.”
In conclusion, let us say that the world is already too full of affectations and pretense to afford the repressive and hypocritical ideas which bring about personality conflicts and damage to the development of wholesome citizens.
The American Sunbather №1
ISSUE: Number 1, March 1967
Publisher: American Sunbather and Nudist Review