I didn’t always like running around naked. I do have a vague childhood memory of my brother and me tearing off our clothes, putting our underwear on our heads, and running around bare-bottomed in the backyard (this was way out in rural Montana). But when I grew up, I went through a period of hating my body (as so many girls do) and clothes seemed to be the best way to hide mine from the world.
Now I have a different relationship with my body, thank God. And I still wear clothes. But at home in New York I happily walk around, scratch myself, and fart, in the buff. For one thing, during New York’s oppressive, humid summers when trying to keep the air conditioning (and electric bill) low, nudity is a solution. I also think that people in a densely populated city, having no privacy during the day, mentally create curtains around themselves in their apartments—even if there are none (we also want all the daylight we can get). Going naked is a way we have of confirming our mental privacy.
Clothes in general are a problem for me. I’m really muscular, and everything I put on my body feels constricting and binding. Sometimes I like the feeling of my clothing being tight—when I feel like an athlete, or a superhero. But more often, clothes are uncomfortable, itchy, and sticky.
Bras are a perfect example. Sometimes they feel like protective armor. Sometimes they just keep everything in place. And sometimes they just cover up nipples. Visible nipples can attract unwanted attention. On the other hand, sometimes I just feel like making the world deal with my nipples. I’m a female mammal. I mean, come on guys, you’ve known all along that I have nipples. And when we’re at the office, we pretend that we don’t, and that we’re not animals. But why can’t we be animals AND professionals? Sometimes I care little enough about office protocol to just put on a T-shirt with no bra. And then I go to work, mind my own business, get my work done, and I’m comfortable all day.
Then there are panties. Most of the time, panties leave these red lines in the creases of my legs and on my butt. I don’t find thongs any more comfortable—I don’t like where they rub and chafe. Boy shorts bunch or roll up on the legs. But commando—what’s not to like? I first heard that word from a California dude when I asked him what to wear under the wetsuit that I was about to begin struggling into. I actually had to stare at him for a moment and then walk away and think about it. I did realize eventually that he was telling me to take off all my underwear, but that didn’t stop me from putting the wetsuit on backwards (another story).
Nothing feels better than nothing. Free, relaxed, open—yet hidden. I feel more connected to my physical, animal self, more aware of it—and the best part: no one else knows. This is key. Some days going commando is a quiet form of rebellion: in the office, I take orders and people may condescend to me or disregard me or yell at me. But I have my privates.
Other days commando is simply freedom. The freedom to be myself, to be an animal, to be naked. I conform in appearance to society’s requirements, but underneath—I’m me.