If you’ve been hanging around the paleo blogosphere for as long as I have, you’ve probably become aware of the fact that there are a few camps out there regarding the best way to optimize our well-being. On one side, many paleos prioritize diet and eschew any other evolutionarily-derived principles. That’s cool, and I understand that we live in a totally modern world where ancestral behaviors don’t really fit in. Loads of others, however, try to imagine what life was like for primeval man, and to emulate the aspects that seem beneficial as much as possible. The idea is that not just the human diet, but everyday habits, are in fact optimized when aligned with genetic programming and an evolutionary perspective. For some brilliant and fun examples, check out John Durant’s barefoot running manifesto at Hunter-Gatherer.com, Mark Sisson’s defense of dance, or the aptly named Paleo Playbook.
There are two other relevant facts I need to point out before proceeding.
The first is: everyone who’s anyone in the paleo world knows that vitamin D and sun exposure are crucial for optimizing health.
The second is this: Paleo dieters are sexy. Way sexy. Way, way, way sexy. I’ve never seen such glowing skin, bright eyes, tight abs and fresh-out-of-the-oven-mmmm-mmmm glutes. People’s testimonials all over the paleosphere blow me away, and if I wanted to link you to all the hot shots I’ve seen, I’d be stuck in the post for days. Plus, we are aware this fact. Paleo is hot. Mirrors are our friends. Jump on the train or don’t. Just know that I invited you along.
All of these points considered, I ask you this:
Where are all the paleo nudists?
If primal ladies and gentlemen truly enjoy experimenting with the natural state of humanity, if we really love soaking up vitamin D, and if we have bodies to rival Matthew McConaugheeeey, why are we still so heavily clothed? Why have I never read about a nudist paleo family? Or maybe just people who enjoy being naked more often than is typical? People who wish they could move more freely out in the woods? Perhaps move to Vermont and spend their days bathing in shaded glens?
I know that nudists are a bit of a fringe group, and also that there are a million good reasons to wear clothing. I also know that ancestral man used tools and clothing to protect himself from the elements. But I’m willing to bet that he was way less nervous about freckles and nipples and shrinkage. Plus he didn’t have to worry about Prada’s new line, or suffer through a Joan Rivers diabtribe, or even concern himself with Patagonia’s four hundred dollar, must-have, lightweight, moisture-wicking high-performance fleece that “travels incognito as a dignified, richly textured, cross-dyed, heathered sweater.”*
I am not advocating a nudist lifestyle, and I am in fact currently clothed in long johns and a heavy old robe. But I do think it odd that I don’t hear nudism bandied around more often. Paleos are a funny, safe-effacing bunch, and I can see us mocked on nude beaches as easily as I can see us mocked wearing loin cloths and wielding clubs.
Yet most importantly, I advocate taking a page out of the nudist book from time to time. Embrace your body, and embrace the bodies of others, and let shame roll off of your shoulders! It might feel really amazing to spend more time naked, especially if it’s just you and your significant other lounging around the house. You are beautiful, and I want you to feel it! And I want you to share it with others! And maybe you should put on some pants when you leave the house because I don’t necessarily want to see your public hair, but, regardless, my challenge stands: think about your clothes, and love what’s in them!
*They actually advertise this.Tweet