Being Seen

FOR DOWNLOAD MORE GALLERY Back in the 70s, I would go out to clubs with a friend. He and I would joke that we were going out "to be seen". We used the same line when we went to the mall. "Let's go to White Flint to be seen". In t-shirts and jeans, nobody ever noticed us.

Toby Hatchett has a column today that explores our penchant for seeing, and being seen. Her fascination with a smelly and ragged bicycle man, as well as with a 60-ish woman wearing a white and gold bikini and high-heeled sandals, makes for interesting reading.
I found myself wondering why I looked so keenly at her mostly naked body. Why did I look so hard at biker man in his mostly naked body?

Some years ago, at a family nude beach on the northern coast of Germany, everyone was naked, old and young and in-between. After a few initial moments of puritanical American panic, I shed my clothes and fit right in. What would have been odd there was if someone walked by in a suit and tie and hat! No one paid any attention whatsoever. It was just what it was.
To a certain extent, everyone is an exhibitionist, and a voyeur. Hatchett admits that she loves to look at interesting people who "go wild and shock" her, and she herself has pink hair, for no other reason perhaps than to simply be seen.

So it's significant when the only time she is "invisible" is on a nude beach in Germany. It's precisely the lack of clothing which makes everyone blend together. As the tag line of this blog states: nude, we resemble one another.

When Hatchett encounters her bicycle man and bikini lady, she spends a lot of time looking at them. Perhaps she didn't stare, but her eyes were drawn to these people. In a nude social situation, everyone looks, but nobody stares. In fact, people make a conscious effort to look each other in the eye. Everyone seems to have a cloak of invisibility.

If Toby Hatchett walked into a nudist resort, I guarantee you that the only significant physical attribute that would be remembered by people who saw her would be her pink hair. Being seen requires drawing attention to yourself. Being nude draws attention to who you really are.

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