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Years ago someone told me there was such a thing as good nude and bad nude. Actually ‘told’ is not quite accurate. “Bad nude!” was yelled at me by my not-yet-husband from the veranda of our house.

Apparently building my first ever organic vegetable garden in the beautiful spring sunshine wearing nothing but my gum boots (and a massively happy heart) was considered ‘bad nude’. (The whole idea itself was supposed to be a comical reference to a TV episode of Seinfeld.)

I remember raising my pitchfork in the air and giving the insulting individual a gardening inspired middle finger salute.


But I also remember being a bit puzzled. Sun. Skin. Earth A heavenly mixture. What could possibly be bad about that?

I did reconsider this point a while later when I realised that from the window of my study I had a daily birds eye view of the man next door, Nearly Nude Neville, foraging in his garden, trying to keep the bugs off his new lemon bushes. His tiny beige shorts were as loose as his paunch and about the same colour. Though it was the green plastic gardening slippers that really added to the ensemble. He would disappear behind the trees and then smoke would start rising from his pile of burning leaves. I thought, “Oh my god, he’s sending signals to the other middle-aged nude gardeners around town!” and then of course realised that probably meant me.

Nude gardening is not always practical, I know. So much bare skin can just end up being a canvas for scratches, bites and, in my neck of the Australian bush , ticks. It’s important to be covered and shod appropriately if the tasks demand it. Nudity and chainsaws , or nudity and lantana removal are unlikely to end well.

But what about other activities? Nudity and trampolines perhaps? Would that be bad nude, or just hilarious , eye ball stretching nude? Bare bummed , bare back horse riding? That just sounds painful. Or the stereotypical nudist camp sport of volleyball?  Now, as a volleyball lover from way back, I have no issue with this one.

And perhaps that’s the point. If you are doing something you love, and being clothes-free allows you to love it just that bit more then all is well with the world. Or in reverse, if you enjoy appreciating your own glorious body then does it matter what you are doing? Or what anyone else has to say about it. (Consensual appropriate space is presumed.)

Personally I adore the outdoors. So if I can feel more of the breath of the breeze or the touch of the sun or the oceans’ energy rushing over my skin then the bigger my smile. But inside, outside or upside downside – if you want to embrace the beauty of your own body then feel free.

I have done a lot of gardening since that yelled from the veranda comment, and for the first time in a few years I am living in a location where daily garment-free outdoor time is possible. Bring it on! Or get it off. The choice is mine.