Garth George: All this flesh is too much to bare

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Why is it, I wonder, that those who choose to indulge in social intercourse while stark bollock naked seem to be seeking to extend their domain?

At one time they were happy to confine themselves to their own bailiwicks, some of which were quite extensive. And those folk would no more have considered displaying themselves in public than they would have worn swimsuits in their swimming pool.

I have no objection to certain secluded beaches being designated for nude bathing, albeit that they invariably attract voyeurs, and a certain type of male exhibitionist who will seek sexual gratification wherever he may.

But nowadays, it seems, those of the nudist persuasion are spreading their bodies all over the place. This year, the Western Bay of Plenty appears to be the main target.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="normal" enforce-sites="no" />

It started at the end of last month when 60-odd nudists, ignoring residents' protests, invaded the beach at the end of Papamoa's Sunbrae Grove for the Bay of Plenty Naturists annual event.

That event came off without incident, but now some bloke is organising what he calls the Tauranga New Zealand World Naked Bike Ride, to be held a couple of Saturdays from now all along the beaches from near the Omanu Surf Club to Papamoa Domain.

Now I have no objection to nudity, provided it is indulged in in private and only among folk of like mind. I understand fully that there is a great freedom in nakedness, and in the summer I happily wander wound the house nude.

But if I were to ride a bike naked down Devonport Rd or the Strand I'd be run in quick as you like and probably charged with indecency. Why, then, is it deemed okay for naked men and women to pedal along kilometres of public beaches on a summer Saturday?

That raises another question: What male in his right mind would choose to ride a bicycle naked? The very thought of the damage that could be done to one's privates in going over bumps or taking a tumble horrifies me - and no doubt many women too.

(And, incidentally, our reproductive and waste disposal organs are called private parts because they are meant to be private.)

It amuses me, too, when I consider that one set of citizens protest loudly at public nudity, while another set of citizens protest volubly about those of our female Middle-Eastern imports who choose to wear the full burka.

The nudity question goes back a long way - right back, in fact, to the Garden of Eden where, after he created them, God gave Adam and Eve free rein of all the luscious fruit and nut trees he'd provided for their food - except one.

But Eve, tempted by the satanic serpent, decided the forbidden fruit was too good to leave, took a bite, and talked Adam into eating it too.

"Then," the Bible tells us in the book of Genesis, "the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings."

When God discovered they knew they were naked, he knew they had eaten the forbidden fruit, and that made him rather angry.

So he condemned the serpent forever to crawl on its belly; Eve to suffer, among other things, pain in childbirth; and to Adam he said: "Cursed is the ground for your sake. In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread ..."

Which is why we all still have to work to eat, weed our gardens - and wear clothes.

garth.george@hotmail.com

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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