Naked strangers

(Probably not if you fart.) While I’ve made great strides from the body-conscious teenager I used to be, I know that I’ve still got some work to do. For example, I’m not the kind of person who can stand naked in a locker room without feeling uncomfortable. Curiosity trumps nerves every time, so I show up for class at the company’s rented space in Chelsea, and am instantly surprised by how many people are there. The instructors, Willow and Adam, say it’s their highest attendance ever. Needless to say, I am a little anxious about working out naked, but I’m hopeful that the experience will help me love my body a little bit more.Once the rules are over, the absolutely gorgeous Willow smiles and says, “Let’s get naked!” Despite my internal panic, I decide to take the “Fake it ‘til you make it” mentality.Nudity is mandatory, with some exceptions for people who are menstruating, trans folks, or struggling with body dysmorphia. Don’t presume the gender or sexual identity of anyone.” Then the instructors repeat the rules out loud.I’m glad, especially for the “No jerks allowed” part.Points for me, I do stay and have some naked conversations with other people.We talk about the festivals we’re going to that summer, nudist conventions in the NYC area, and the workouts that we do with clothes on.

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So I take off my clothes and stand there, feeling that sweet AC on my naked, naked body. I notice that while everyone is in good shape, the ages range from 20s to 60s. I have a very #deep realization, looking at all of the strangers around me: Everyone is naked under their clothes. (Answer: sorta both) My Yoda moment gets interrupted by Willow, who instructs us to lie on our backs, bend our knees and start doing crunches.

Combined with the fact that I keep falling over during the balancing exercises, I am absolutely dying of laughter on the inside. Now that we’re not cat-cowing, I realize I have no idea when it’s appropriate to put my clothes back on.

No one else seems to be in a rush, which makes sense, as a lot of the attendees consider themselves nudists and are totally comfortable striking up a conversation with a complete stranger … I, on the other hand, am struggling to small-talk without pants. He asks me if this is my first nudist class, and if I’m enjoying myself.

Being a fellow northerner, I can see echoes of myself in Johnny, which no doubt adds to the film's appeal for me.

But I'd recommend it to any intelligent viewer, not least because of the contrast it throws up between nihilism and nothingarianism.