The day passed by in a delirium of sultry stillness, giving me hours with which I could find time for detachment from the necessity to be with people. The afternoon was self-affirming. I made myself worthy to be worshipped and worshipped myself. Surely there is something admirable in the nature that, at times, desires remoteness from everything that does not matter. Which is just about everything.
It occurred to me today, that Aesop was entirely astute in his observation of the sun as a gentle persuader. She made everything beautiful today, and warmed me gradually but surely, slowly coaxing me out of the worn necessities of capitalism, convention, fangled conservatism.
Someone had filled the pool (or perhaps it had filled itself up) with a very good Bombay Sapphired gin and tonic. Under the gaze of the late-afternoon sun and the restless sighs of the wind, it’s surface sparkled, sprinkled with a certain enchantment. Almost as if a school of Nereids were teasing and pulling me to take a plunge. I dived in, rid of the discomforts of the bikini, one of those pointless garments that serve no purpose aside from the fact that some people, oddly, are adverse to seeing the nipples of a complete stranger.
The cocktail was refreshingly chilled, and sweet to my skin. Splashing about in it intoxicated, not exhausted. I tore through the length of the pool, surfacing after each lap gasping, partly because I had to, but more so because the day was simply Eden. And for an hour, I was in it. Sitting by the side of the pool, Ludivine Sagnier aspirant, watching the droplets slide down legs that were slowly toasting in the sun.
I felt so completely… free.
With the knowledge that I would be defying the modesty of everyone that walked by, I felt liberated. Why should I care what you think, why should I be embarrassed about the way I look, how my body was shaped. I had, after all, the sun gazing with such approval upon me. What did their discomfort matter, how should it insult me beside the benign caresses of the biggest star of this earth.
The man with the huge mustache walks by and looks at me disapprovingly, he threatens to tell my mother. He says there may be people who will be insulted by my conduct; I look around and tell him that there is no one. And to my mother, I shall tell her why should she say that I embarrass her. Did she not like what she has created. Why should the opinions of those shallow, sanctimonious neighbours matter more then the fact that I have just had one of the loveliest afternoons of my life.
They are jealous, jealous because I should be so happy with myself. Because at that point I have not a care, while they care too much over my behaviour. Perhaps they feel a need to express their opinion, and find that everything they say is ignored, and that upsets them. They are uncomfortable with themselves, and so proceed to make everyone feel likewise. Perchance… there is nothing in their life, or nothing they would like to face up to, so they mind everyone else’s business.
(Her clothes suck, she gives me an eyesore. Her complexion is terrible, her face disgusts me. Her nakedness… Her nakedness is just insulting. It insults me. Ah, such sense and sensibility people in this world have today.)
The children play nude quite happily, penis hanging about and all. Occasionally touching themselves. No one minds, after all children should be allowed to be children. Carefree and untroubled by the requirement’s of society’s ideals on decency. Where does this need for suppression come from? Maybe a peace of mind is the quality in our lives that we are required to relinquish in return for the ability to be completely responsible for ourselves. Adults, after all, should know better then to feel comfortable with their bodies. Do they not know that it impinges upon the profit margins of a very lucrative sector, that feeds off our insecurities.
Sitting by the side of the pool, slowly feeling my skin brown as I have my lunch (green apples, camembert cheese and dried apricot), I wonder why should the children be allowed such wonderful liberties, should have their nakedness delighted at, while nudity as we approach adulthood, or when we are within it, should be frowned upon. My mind screams; Do our bodies grow uglier as we grow older? Besides, does not the bible often encourage us all to be as children. To learn from their innocence, their completely lack of, (for lack of a more apt terminology,) posteriority.
Society wishes to maintain an elitists class, a class of the beautiful, of the rich, of the super-smart. Our gauge for our own self-esteem has been groomed through competition. Until someone is beneath us, then somehow, we cannot feel proud of ourselves. Of course elitism of the body and mind is a necessary mechanism, it keeps us buying slimming packages, it keeps the breasts advertisements running on every other page in the Straits Times, it keeps us going to school to learn, to be taught, but never to think.
Nudity is sacred, but I cannot see the link between it being sacred and it being something I should shun and be ashamed of. All the holy books of the world are deemed sacred by their respective faiths, I suppose we should hide them from the world and read them only in the privacy of our bathrooms. (Shame on you for raping their sanctified revelations to the masses!)
I do think there is an eroticism of the mind that has been lost to our society and to religion. People are so insecure these days in their ability to posses another individual’s mind; and naturally so, because they are so insecure they can’t even possess their own minds, much less someone else’s. So they find ways and means of making sure someone else is entirely theirs. Special privileges are demanded. You strip for no one but me, you sleep with no one, aside from me. They cannot posses minds anymore, cannot touch the soul of another individual completely any longer , so they seek to possess bodies.
I write all this with a very Singaporean perspective of course. Nudity in many other places of the world isn’t a problem, particularly with respect with the west. Are their men more secure in their ability to possess a woman completely, to touch her deeply such that she chooses to be possessed (and vice-versa, women to men), and are their women more comfortable with themselves? Have their cultures evolve such that nakedness and sex is no longer a tool to control another individual? Instead, in it’s place, the consciousness of that culture has managed to tear itself apart from orthodox religion, back full circle, to the time when relationships are based on the possession and willing subjugation of the mind, (soul, perhaps) on the part of both lovers. When both individuals had to be strong in their own way, in order to survive. Before societies developed and women were no longer required to ensure the survival of their families.
But do note before you send any emails, I DO know insecurity is not geographically exclusive. I will read and appreciate all non-abusive, objective arguments, but will probably not answer them, because there can never be a definitive perspective on an issue like this.
I patiently wait for my nudist colony off Pulau Ubin.