‘WHY I FEEL GOOD NAKED’

Es­ther Rantzen re­veals all.

The Mail on Sunday - You - - Editor’s Letter -

Our cli­mate has cre­ated our na­tional tem­per­a­ment. The Bri­tish weather is so un­pre­dictable that to pro­tect our­selves from a sud­den shower, even in August we are but­toned up, lit­er­ally and emo­tion­ally. But given re­cent heat­waves galore, it’s time to throw away our tra­di­tional vests and socks and revel naked in the sunshine. Once we are freed from our in­hi­bi­tions, who knows how many other bound­aries we could leap over? (Care­fully, so as not to catch any dan­gly bits on the barbed wire.) And as a prac­tised nude sun­bather, I am happy to lead the way.

I am not the only mem­ber of my gen­er­a­tion who hap­pily bares all, while younger peo­ple are far more self-con­scious and are in­clined to blush and cover up. Why? Maybe it’s be­cause when we were young, in the swing­ing 60s and 70s, lib­er­a­tion meant not only re­leas­ing our­selves from cen­sor­ship and con­ven­tion, but also from our un­der­wear. Think of the 60s hit mu­si­cal Hair, where the cast ca­vorted nude. Maybe it’s be­cause we don’t ex­pect to at­tract the op­po­site sex as once we did, so we flaunt our lumps and creases with pride. What­ever the rea­son, I am not the only lit­tle old lady who rushes naked into my gar­den when­ever the sun shines, and lets it bur­nish ev­ery inch.

I know the risks. Too much sunshine can be dan­ger­ous, so it’s im­por­tant to slap on the SPF, es­pe­cially on the parts that don’t nor­mally see the sun. Above all, don’t get too com­fort­able and fall asleep – I was ly­ing on my stom­ach naked in the grass when that hap­pened to me, and I couldn’t sit down for ages af­ter­wards. For sim­i­lar rea­sons I have learnt to avoid this­tles, sting­ing net­tles and bar­be­cues.

If you are a par­ent it’s best to choose mo­ments when your chil­dren are not around – I find that kids are eas­ily em­bar­rassed. And their part­ners are even more eas­ily out­raged. I lost one of my boyfriends in my early 20s when he called round and saw my mother, stark naked, walk­ing up­stairs with her bath towel clutched to her front and to­tally un­cov­ered at the back. At least she was wear­ing her plas­tic bath hat. Hered­ity is an odd thing – now I re­alise that naked­ness must be in my DNA. As the sign in my kitchen says, ‘Mir­ror, mir­ror on the wall, I am my mother af­ter all.’

Neigh­bours can cause prob­lems. Re­cently the po­lice were called by some­one out­raged by peo­ple next door sun­bathing nude. The CPS took the com­plaint se­ri­ously. They said that the wider pub­lic has to be pro­tected from ‘ha­rass­ment, alarm and dis­tress’. All that

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