Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Naked As We Came
Vermont is a naked state. And UVM is a naked school. When I went on tours the guides told me not to be surprised if I saw people walking around naked, or if I experienced naked protests on campus. To further UVM's nakedness, each year UVM puts out a naked calendar. UVM loves to be naked.
There is a wonderful naked tradition at the University of Vermont.
Each semester on the last day of class we have a naked bike ride. Students all across campus come out on their bikes, their long boards, their scooters, their crutches and their running shoes to blow off a bit of steam before finals and relish in the fact that it is absolutely legal to be naked in Vermont.
Some students plan hours in advance and have body painting parties before the race. Often students have colorful hand prints across their body; last night there were two people covered head to toe in zebra print. Other students decide in the heat of the moment that they just need to be naked so they drop their clothes, hop the fence and join the fun.
Last night I fell in the second category. I really hadn't planned on running, and I definitely didn't plan on getting naked when the night started but somehow it happened. The decision to bare myself to the world was entirely spontaneous. A group of friends decided that it was absolutely necessary for me to participate in my last naked bike ride and who am I to say no? So we ran to the bushes, dropped trou (although it is absolutely legal to be naked in Vermont it is illegal to strip in public) found an entrance point and went for it. Like I said I hadn't planned this so I ran bare foot, a couple of my friends fell and got scraped up or twisted an ankle but the general consensus was then it was absolutely worth the pain and initial humiliation.
I don't think that I will ever experience something quite as liberating as I did last night. I have always had some issues with my body and I'm not one to show a lot of skin but as soon as I entered the race and heard everyone on the sidelines cheering me on, all of those issues went away and the only thing I was worried about was dodging bikes and getting as many high fives from the spectators as I could.
I enjoyed it so much that I think next year, I might take a visit to Vermont right around finals time and do it again.