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The Naked Truth Why I won't apologise for my kids' penchant to go the full
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Posted: Oct 28, 2009

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Maybe it was my experience on a clothes-free Italian beach, where a mahogany-tanned man shook his chamois leather at me ? but I?ve never been a fan of public nudism. Until now.

I?ve not recently uncovered the secret exhibitionist in me (a night at the student union did that long ago). But were I to pay and display at Le Camping au Naturel, I imagine I?d be reading a broad-sheet in all the right places and sidling awkwardly throughout the day from one waist-high surface to another, with the help of some strategically positioned foodstuffs for the top-shelf. Now, who?s for a slice of this watermelon?

But to be around people who are at ease with themselves ? and all of us ? in the buff would be a breath of fresh air, wouldn?t it? (If standards of personal hygiene are maintained, obviously). Right now, a naturist camp would be right up my, er, alley.

So why am I letting this all hang out? Well, visitors to our house don?t seem to be able to cope with the levels of nudity. They make lighthearted heavily-weighted remarks like ?oh, you don?t seem to have any clothes on!? and ? you?ll catch your death?, and kind of cough, nervously. Oh, before you bolt for another blog, it?s not my husband and I that are meeting and greeting in the buff ? it?s the kids.

Indeed, Matilda and Ben get their kit off at any opportunity; and being delightfully unaware of the connotations and stigmatisms of having such social bottoms, they do assume playful positions that could be cute, were they wearing pants. Even I have to admit without undies it?s an eyeful. I let it slide, laugh it off, until they start climbing the guests like red-bummed baboons and then I hastily dress them. But the damage is done. We?re the weird family with feral offspring.

Yesterday Matilda had a playdate ? a very sweet girl with blonde ringlets and wide blue eyes, which I thought couldn?t possibly get any wider without flipping her face inside out. But then I saw they could. Walking over to the kitchen table to coax more dinner into her, I noticed that her eyes were practically popping, her jaw slack, and so followed her gaze. It travelled across the table and rested on Ben?s willy. Unaware my just-four boy had removed his lower items of clothing, I now saw him, albeit unwittingly, stirring his pasta. He likes to stand on his chair.

I popped him back in pants and turned to the pretty Pollyanna.

?Haven?t you seen a nude boy before??

She shook her head ? it was now transfixed on a totally naked Matilda.

?But you have a brother and sister, don?t you??

She nodded.

?Do you always wear clothes in your house??

She nodded. Then to my relief, she giggled. I wonder if she?ll be allowed back to play.

I have no idea if this is a suburban thing, a Christian thing or if my two brats are just really revolting sans culottes. But coming from Europe ? permissive from its Scandinvian titty top to its Mediterranean bare bottom ? I?ve been taken aback by the vehemently pro-vest attitude we?ve come across. Kids at the beach are never nude ? eeee, I can kind of understand that with the cancer scare; but in a year of playdates and mingling with families, I don?t think I?ve seen one cheeky bottom joining the downright rude ones of my children.

I do not make you take your clothes off, you should not make me put them on.

That?s the equal rights spiel of The Australian Naturist Federation, which I found after a quick ogle ? er, I mean, Google. I?m inclined to agree, although I?d make post-script amendments like ?unless I?m playing ten-pin bowls? or ?unless I?m cleaning your windows?.

I wasn?t seriously considering a holiday in the nude just so my kids can flash without causing offence, but I wanted to see whether or not Europe was the only State of Undress; I wanted to find out if Aussies were equally eager to get back to nature. There weren?t so many outlets for those who expose, but to my relief I did find some details of nationwide nudist events, music festivals and get-togethers ? and pictures of men, fishing in the all-togethers on South Australia?s Maslins Beach. Now that?s what I call getting your tackle out!

But are Southern Hem nudists a frowned-upon minority group? Or is it just that so far I?ve met mums who prefer to keep their families? privates under wraps?

I don?t know. I do know that I don?t want anyone to bare a grudge against me for rubbing my laissez-fair parenting in their face. So I?ll have words with the kids, persuade them to hold back from stripteasing on playdates away. But desperate as I am to fit in here, I?m not going to insist on a fully-dressed appearance when people come to us. I see tearing around with bare bottoms and gay abandon a right of childhood; and until they start sprouting or displaying an interest in shape-sorting I?m not going to dress nudity up as anything to be ashamed of.

If a mother complains, then I guess I?ll have to apologise for my English upbringing. Being English accounts for so much, like gratuitous apologising, scatological humour and Carry On films. But I?m willing to wear it.

So carry on, kids?
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