I really was never much of a clothes person. Growing up on a farm did not lend itself to high fashion and certainly not in rural Indiana in the 1950’s. My family could certainly be considered lower middle class even in the heady economic postwar years and clothing budgets were always tight. Also attending Catholic grade school and continuing on with the Holy Cross nuns through high school dress codes if not uniforms were required. I wonder in hindsight if perhaps my parent’s real motive for insisting on Catholic education wasn’t that the dress codes really cut down on clothing expenses?
I often did farm chores in the morning before catching the school bus and the most important thing on my mind was not my regimented clothes for the day but making sure I did not smell like pig shit going out the door. As soon as I got to college my hippie days started in earnest and we know what fashion mavens’ hippies can be.
Thanks to some rather ironic and unfortunate body changes due to HIV medicines where one wastes extremity fat but seems to pile it on in one’s mid section viscerally I have become a total fan of scrub pants, which often come with an elastic waste band. The elastic waistband is one of the great inventions of modern civilization. And nurses bless their hearts have made this the primary mode of work dress. That has meant for years now that I can live almost 24/7 in relative comfort. I have in fact incorporated wearing black scrub or chef’s pants to nearly any social outing I participate in. I do own a few sport jackets but these most often get paired with a tasteful t-shirt and the subtlest black scrub pants I can find. T-shirts are of course another modern clothing invention worthy of praise.
As far as shopping for clothes go I would really rather watch paint dry. They just need to be baggy and loose fitting and of course comfort rules always over fashion. This is a fashion statement that also endeared me to the Radical Fairies. Especially when Harry Hay put out with the first call for a large national gathering and in that call said something to the effect that if clothing was to be worn at all it needed to be and I quote “flowing non-hetero garb”. Since this first Radical Fairie gathering was in southern Arizona in late summer the nudity won out over even the flowing non-hetero garb.
The opposite option to clothes I suppose is no clothes or that wonderful word ‘nudity’. This option was truly reinforced for me in my bathhouse days primarily in the 1970’s. The bathes were such a great gay male creation. I mean lets all get together in place where clothing is truly frowned on and actually considered rude. Nudity even if a bit of towel is involved really does throw all pretexts for why we are here out the window. The lack of clothes in the bathes really was a great facilitator for the main course if you will, a great time saver.
The bathes though took a real hit in the mid-1980’s with the AIDS epidemic beginning to really pick up steam and for me personally they were no longer a legitimate avenue of play. I did miss the communal nudity with many other gay men and perhaps that is why I was briefly attracted to a group called the DAN-D’s, an acronym for “Denver Area Nude Dudes” that described itself as a “nonsexual, social naturist club” in the early 1990’s. I did though only attend a couple of their events the most memorable being a nude bowling outing somewhere up in Northwest metro Denver. Trust me even the most buff individual can look a bit strange pitching a bowling ball down the alley and jumping for joy at a strike.
I was though delighted to find the DAN-D’s current web site and that they seem to be thriving almost 25 years after being founded in 1990. They actually have an event this evening if anyone might be interested. It is a nude shopping spree at a local men’s underwear store on Broadway. Clothing apparently not optional but a purchase does not seem to be required. It is between 5 and 8 PM and I assume the store will be closed for this “private event”. There is a modest membership fee to join the DAN-D’s but if you hang out in front of the store you might be able to tag along in as someone’s guest for the evening.