Thoughts About Them
Updated: Jan 16
They are ubiquitous.
They are almost always present when people are present.
They identify activities in which we participate.
We rarely share them with others.
We own more of them than anything else we buy.
Women have many more of them than men have.
They are our facade.
They define who we are.
We build closets for them. We toss them in hampers. We fold them neatly in suitcases.
When it is time for a moving van to pull up to our door, we pack them in wardrobes.
We use only about 20% of them 80% of the time. And every day, we make decisions about which ones will be on display for the day. That is a lot of decisions in a lifetime.
Yes, I, like you, am wearing clothes. We do so almost all the time. A story I read caused me think about nudity. For some seemingly logical reason, my brain flipped the topic of my journal entry to clothing.
What are clothes? The things we put on to cover our bodies. A way to protect our bodies from harsh weather. A form of decoration. Distraction from areas we don’t like. Enhancement for the areas we do like. A way to feel happier. A way to send a message.
Clothes can be beautiful, comfy, revealing, colorful, stylish, ruffled, loose, flashy, tight, flowing, fashionable, restrictive, gathered, frilly, plain, textured, padded, stretchy, soft.
Have you ever noticed that little kids have no problem running around in their birthday suits? Beautiful young women frolic in thong bottom and tiny top bikinis at the beach or pool. And it is nice to get out of the shower, dry off, and then meander to the closet to make the decision about what clothes to wear.
There are plenty of clothing rules we need to follow in order to fit in with polite and civilized society.
A sign at a bank will ban hats and sunglasses.
A sign at a convenience store will mandate shoes and shirts. Of course, men can still enter with a muscle shirt designed to show off the physique.
The invitation to a wedding might request formal attire. An invitation to a gathering might say casual. Or you might get a come-as-you-are phone call. How about a pajama party?
Graduates wear robes and mortarboards. Military members, firemen and policemen wear uniforms. Waiters and waitresses usually wear clothing that makes them easily identifiable. Athletes wear team uniforms that showcase their individual numbers. Nuns wear habits.
You can watch lots of videos about clothing. How to choose clothing that makes you look younger. How to dress for your body type. How to identify the colors that you should wear. How to dress for success. How to dress to look like a lady. How to dress to attract a man. How to dress to impress a woman. How to buy vintage clothing. How to keep clothes look fresh. How to recycle pieces of clothing.
While auditioning for a movie role, an actor/actress might hear “Take off your clothes.” I recall an interview with an actress who emphatically declared that she would never do a nude scene. Years later, she did a nude screen. “It was a growth opportunity for me,” she explained. She added that she worked out every day for months before the scene was shot.
If you are told by a stranger, “Take off your clothes,” you might take a karate stance or immediately run away. If a nurse tells you the same thing, you will follow instructions and put on the provided gown. If stated by a spouse or partner, “take off your clothes” might be music to your ears.
I recall a health book in which the author suggests sleeping nude. “It is healthier for you to sleep with nothing on,” the author wrote. Doing so keeps the body temperature lower and that promotes more restful sleep. The author also felt sleeping with nothing on may improve body image and self esteem. May be worth a try.
Nude seems very unforgiving. At least that is the obvious conclusion that the constant wearing of clothes conveys. Within a few minutes of birth, we are covered by some sort of clothing. Yes, clothing is ubiquitous.
And unless you can manage admission to a nudist colony, you can be arrested for nudity.
When I was much younger, I participated in a weekend massage therapy workshop. It was at a large home with a pool. We took turns being the person getting the massage and being the person giving the massage. Some of the people there were quite comfortable with nudity. They enjoyed skinny dipping after the evening session concluded. All the lights were turned off first. No need to disturb the neighbors.
One of those comfortably nude people was a woman who was as old as I am now. I recall how beautiful she was. She radiated happiness and was the first to volunteer to receive a massage. Decades later, I cannot recall a visual of her or remember her name. Still, she is my understanding of comfort within one’s own skin, complete with all its human variations. She owned her skin