What a man needs in gardening is a cast-iron back, with a hinge in it. —Charles Dudley Warner
World Naked Gardening Day has been trending on Facebook for the past three weeks. While, from what I can tell, most of the participants appear to be British, or at least European, the event seems to be a wildly popular idea. They even have their own website. With such popularity, one might get the idea that everyone around the world is shucking their bloomers and heading out to their gardens.
The movement, now in its twelveth year, is something encouraged by naturists who have a tendency to run around naked rather often anyway. The appeal is understanding. Feeling the cool, loose soil between your toes, the warm sunlight on your back, and a gentle breeze blowing on your nipples sounds almost erotic in its own way. For people who enjoy gardening and enjoy getting back to nature in the most literal way possible, the day sounds perfect.
But, as I sit here in my nice, warm house, drinking my nice, hot coffee, I’m thinking that World Naked Gardening Day probably isn’t something in which I’m likely to participate. Not today. Probably not next year, either. There are some aspects of gardening nude that just don’t appeal to me. At all. Consider these issues:
- As I’m writing, the temperature here in Indianapolis is 62 degrees. Now, if one is reasonably clothed, that’s not a bad temperature at all. In fact, for all those strange people out running the mini-marathon through town this morning, that temperature is damn-near perfect. However, if one is gardening, an activity that, generally speaking, is slightly more sedate and doesn’t quite count for getting in one’s cardio exercise, 63 degrees is a bit on the chilly side. Things are going to shrink and peak and the whole thing is going to be uncomfortable.
- Unless you have a tall, solid fence, you’ll likely get arrested. For the larger portion of the United States, being out in your yard naked, where the neighbors and all those impressionable young children can see you, is illegal. We are some of the biggest prudes in the world. Tall fences eliminate the public indecency charges, but they also cast long shadows which isn’t necessarily good for gardening. Even worse, if one is arrested for being naked, which is bad enough, one if going to be tossed in jail naked until they can find you one of those pretty orange jumpsuits. Ick.
- One word: bugs. Most people who are connected enough to the earth and really enjoy gardening are more likely to use natural methods of pest control, which means there are some species of bugs that manage to survive and are crawling around in the garden right now. If they’re crawling around in the garden, that means they’ll be crawling all over you, too. The very thought of having bugs crawling into one’s more private crevices is not the least bit enticing, and probably isn’t all the healthy, either.
- Gardening typically involves a lot of bending over. Stop and think of that visual for a moment. We’ve all seen the lawn decoration that is supposed to resemble a woman in a red and white polka dotted dress bending over her garden. Imagine that woman naked. Worse yet, imagine her husband out there with her. Got that visual in your head? Good luck getting rid of it.
- The primary reason we don’t want children seeing adults naked is because we don’t want to answer those questions. We know they’re not interested in intercourse at an early age, and we know that a healthy attitude about their own bodies is a good thing. However, when they do happen to see an adult, especially a parent, naked, their curiosity is sparked and they start answering questions; questions we’re not in any hurry to answer. Questions that start with phrases such as, “Why does mommy have …” and “What is that thing?” There is a time and place for answering those questions, but the garden is neither that time nor that place.
I love the idea of gardning naked, in theory. I encourage everyone to spend as much time naked as possible, especially in front of my camera. I rather like naked people. But naked gardening? Uhm, I think I’ll take a pass on this one, thank you.