‘WHY I FEEL GOOD NAKED’
Esther Rantzen reveals all.
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