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Berger’s Burg: July a time for nudists to unabashedly shine

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Nudity is a way to air our differences. There may not be anything new under the sun, but in July, at Jones Beach, you will see a lot more of it showing. I was at a place where I walked for miles without seeing a human face. I was in a nudist colony. I once was invited to go to a nude beach, but I turned it down. I like to wear a hat to keep the sun out of my eyes. They have a big problem at nudist weddings – where does the groom keep the ring?

Hey, what’s with the nudist jokes? Well, if you coyly sneak a peek at the calendar, you will notice that the barren, naked and barefaced month of July has unashamedly and unabashedly unveiled itself to the world.

I was going to discuss the “Independence Day” celebrations in July, such as Canada’s national holiday on July 1; America’s on July 4; and “Tax Freedom Day” on May 7 (the day when the average American will earn enough money to finally pay his or her aggregate tax bill for 2004). But I won’t.

Let us rejoice anyway as we gain independence from the overall tabs imposed on us by our federal, state and local governments. Oh, yes, lest I forget, I was also going to mention Medicare celebrating its 39th birthday on July 30, but I won’t. A question on Medicare: When it reaches 65, will it be eligible for Medicare?

Don’t fret, however, readers, there is one July event celebrating “independence” that I will discuss and that is Nude Recreation Week from July 4 to July 11, the week during which nudists become independent of their clothing and let it all hang out.

Its prelude, Nude Hiking Day, observed June 21, was only a practice period to show the flag. On that day the undraped friskily marched to and fro, in the raw, in the buff and nekkid as a jaybird, if you get my drift — stark naked. And they wait impatiently for Nude Recreation Week. Ooh-la-la!

The nudist-set are also eagerly waiting to see how many of us would be willing to join them and sit around a campfire in our birthday suits, roasting marshmallows (and nothing else, I hope) during this unclothed period.

Sparing no expense, I visited one of their meeting places at (censored), a few years back, with a clean pair of eyeglasses, to explore the world of the nudist.

“We are not weird,” said one, who shall remain nameless. “We are just common, ordinary folks.”

Another undraped, 6-foot bundle of skin (he resembled a boiled frankfurter) said, “ I just feel more free and open. Is it wrong to spend a little of our leisure time without the burden of clothes? I think everybody would share our view if they only gave it a try.”

From them, I learned that the Nudist Association has more than 50,000 members with several hundred clubs around the country. In addition, there are many other places where a shedder of clothing may go for nude recreation or just plain nude sunbathing.

“Just imagine luxuriating clothes-free in the warm sun and enjoying the caresses of a gentle breeze on your bare body,” Mr. Frankfurter mentioned. “Then, surmise floating through the cool, silky waters of a lake where you would feel completely casual in the company of others who, incidentally, would also be nude.”

“This is the reward of nude recreation,” added Mrs. Frankfurter. “However, anyone looking for erotica will be very disappointed and that is the naked truth.”

Personally, despite the enticement of instant gratification, I simply am not ready to tear off my clothes at this point. I can just see myself, as I am luxuriating by the lake naked as a frankfurter without sauerkraut, being asked to remove my wrinkled jumpsuit — which I will not be wearing at the time. Horrors!

If I were interested, the association suggested a clothing list, which seems a little odd since they are trying to get us to take them off. They distribute two lists of “things to do nude,” such as playing basketball, biking (ouch, my seat hurts already), bowling (but be careful not to drop the ball), acting, camping (no fly-fishing), canoeing, jogging (and jingling) and windsurfing.

Then there is the “things not to do nude” list, which includes barbecuing, beekeeping, chain-sawing, firefighting, picking blackberries, sitting on hot vinyl car seats, tip-toeing through a patch of poison ivy and weed whacking (whatever that is). Ohhhhkay!

To all interested readers, there are many places in the United States where you can gambol in your bare essentials. But as a suggestion, to eliminate the risk of being recognized (your profile will expose you), you should leave Queens and explore far-away locations such as Timbuktu and the Fiji Islands.

Me, I have very strong doubts about parading around au natural. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not a prude, but I get a sinking feeling whenever I pass my full-length mirror after showering and see what terrible things happened to my body, which no health food, exercise program or skilled surgery can ever correct.

Moreover, I don’t have a compelling urge to sit around a campfire in the buff with others in similar undress who are sporting worse anatomies than mine. That is more than I can stomach. I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and my beholders would definitely not like what they will behold. So, do I want to parade around in the company of other nudies in my altogether? No way, Jose.

I know Mr. Frankfurter said, “Nudism is an ideal environment to get in touch with yourself physically,” and Michelangelo said, “What spirit is so empty and blind that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and the skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed.” But I’d consider jumping in only if Nicole Kidman and Catherine Zeta-Jones were there at poolside to welcome me wearing only No. 30 sunscreen and bright smiles.

Reach columnist Alex Berger at timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 140.

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