Posts Tagged ‘dance’

Barefoot everything

First: a disclaimer.  I have no foot fetish.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)  My interest in feet is 100 percent platonic.  I need to get that out there before I proceed.  Because what I’m about to expound on is this: if there’s one body part I love above all others (you’re right: I went there), it’s feet.

Feet are what take us places.  They carry us across the Earth, and they root us in the very physicality of our existence.  This is very important, perhaps even more so than we ever acknowledge.  What’s more, a foot will never let you down.  Walking is slow, is easy, is reliable, is natural, and is universal.   I have walked to countless places on a variety of journeys, and I have loved absorbing every place my feet have taken me.   Walking past a field of tulips in Holland, for example, or down a winding Chinese terrace with an old rice farmer, offer virtually unparalleled organic and sensory experiences.   I can walk anytime and anywhere, and there is great, great freedom in that fact.

Freedom

Feet are for walking and for journeys, but they’re also for other movements.  They’re for dance!  And for leaping!   They are the points us contact between us and the world.   The world’s best dancers never wear shoes, and they never have.  They know that in order to have the best control and performance, it needs to be just them and the floor.

Dance is where, in fact, my love affair with feet got off of the ground.  I was enamored by their ability to make me awesome, and I took great pride in how they were proof of my lifestyle.  A lot like hands, feet can reveal someone’s character.  A woman can very easily demonstrate her demographics by having the distorted arches of monstrously high heels, or an organic farmer can show his love of soil with his grubby toenails.  Feet (and all other body markers) are unquestionably badass in this power.

That said, I’ve scorned shoes since I was a young girl.  I just never got it.  Why tf bother?  It was easier to move, it cost less money, it felt better than being confined to unnatural shapes.  In college, I was forced to fetch my shoes every time I wanted to eat in the dining halls.  Otherwise I’d spend my lunch hour waiting for friends to bring me their scraps.  It was against health codes.  Why?  Was I going to sue the school for stepping on some misplaced spaghetti?  No.  Even if I did end up stepping on a knife or some ridiculous shit, that was clearly a risk I was willing to take.  I even offered to sign a waiver.  Liability shmiability.  I was not a happy camper.

Of course these feet norms arbitrarily exist in the rest of the world, too.  It’s a very clear issue: if you do not wear shoes, you are not safe, and you are not clean.  Both concepts are wrong.  My safety is my own concern, and I promise I never unduly endanger myself.  I wear shoes when it’s cold, I wear shoes when it’s gravelly, and I wear shoes if there’s danger of dropping pointy objects on my feet.  It is not a question of health, nor, in fact, of health codes!  One organization, barefooters.org, has written letters to each state government inquiring about the status of their health codes, and the answers are nearly unanimous: the illegality of shopping, eating, and driving barefoot is greatly exaggerated. And in terms of cleanliness, how my feet touching the floor is worse than my hand touching a doorknob is beyond me.  Let’s be real.  Even if I pick up some viruses on the bottom of my feet, how are they possibly going to get into someone’s orifice to infect them?  Yikes.

I told you I’m not interested that way.

Being barefoot is important for practical reasons.  It alleviates my knee problems, it conserves energy while running, and it gives people a more natural stride.  These are all totally awesome things.  I am thrilled to Alpha Centauri and back that barefoot exercising is becoming more popular.  I would like to advance this crusade, however.  Barefoot running is GREAT.  Holistic barefootedness is even greater.

Vive la revolution!

04

02 2011

Where are all the Paleo Nudists?

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.

02

02 2011