Earlier this month, along with Nude Recreation Week and International Nude Day, there were another two naked-designated days that, in my view, could be combined: Read Naked Day and International Skinny-Dipping Day. For me, those two days–or, more than the calendar dates, the ideas they celebrate–could be the same, because I see a lot of similarities between reading naked and swimming naked. Something I’ve always appreciated about reading is how much like a dive it is, a deep dive into the world of the book. Your destination might be Hiaasen’s Florida or Poniatowska’s Mexico City, or maybe an entire invented world like Tolkien’s Middle Earth, Rowling’s Hogwarts, or the Macondo of García Márquez.
In fact, reading is so much like diving that you literally descend the page as you read, immersing yourself deeper into the story. With an open mind, you can more successfully absorb the details of what you are reading. And an unclothed body goes a long way toward the cultivation of an open mind. There’s a lot to be said for the continuity of surface between fingers and pages, whether you read naked or not, whether you read on paper or on a screen. It’s that interface between hands and eyes and words that has become so hardwired for us humans in plumbing the depths of new information. When reading naked, you may experience not just fingers and palms but other surfaces of your body in contact with the book or reading device, which makes for a greater continuity of interface and immersion. This continuity between body and environment happens, of course, not only with nude reading or swimming, but with nude anything, a fact with which naturists are intimately and proudly familiar.
For my review of Janet Lembke’s beautifully written book Skinny-Dipping, and a less wonderful but still interestingly immersive book called Playa Nudista by Homero Aridjis, see here. It may not be possible to read naked and swim naked at the same time (!!), but both of them are all about immersion. The immersion of oneself naked in air, in water, in words, and among other nude bodies lets flourish an essential feeling of oneness with our environment as well as with our humanity.