Katy's Blog


Katy B.

Katy B.
Seattle, Washington, US
June 06
I am a working jazz vocalist, a writer and the mother of three boys. Basically, I sing, I write and, for better or worse, I parent. I love making noise about the Seattle jazz scene and also writing about other vocalists. I thought I was pretty good at the parenting gig until my son became a teenager. I'm presently getting my ass-kicked. Still, my kids rock, even when they nail me to the emotional wall and remind me, again and again, the meaning of humility. Beyond all this, I’m just a basic goober trying to make her way in the world. I am learning to fly solo after a 22-year marriage. It's pretty weird, but I'll figure it out. The Buddhist philosophy seems to work for me. I’m rabidly pro-choice. I love my president. I don’t eat meat. I love running but get injured a lot. I have the best sister on the planet. Pema Chodron said it best: “One can appreciate and celebrate each moment-there’s nothing more sacred. There’s nothing more vast or absolute. In fact, there’s nothing more.” Thank you for letting me make my paw print on Open Salon with you.


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AUGUST 11, 2010 9:34AM

A Case For Skinny-Dipping

Rate: 13 Flag
small dipping
 After pantyhose, which I consider human Saran Wrap, there is probably no greater affront to the human form than the swimsuit. Let’s face it, there is realistically only about 1% of the population that can actually work a swimsuit with any authority or panache. They are the chosen ones: Men with perfectly chiseled six-pack abs. Women with rail thin bodies and round, buoyant cantaloupes for breasts. These are the people that rise up from the ocean and lustily walk back to the beach, while the hot, yellow glow of the setting sun illuminates their shimmering perfection. For most of the rest of us, the picture isn’t that pretty. In some cases, the picture isn’t pretty at all. In fact, the picture should probably be taken down and stashed in some out- of- the -way closet.
 My basic problem with swimsuits is that they manipulate the human shape in a way that just isn’t normal, and the result it unflattering, if not horrific. Depending on the design, a swimsuit can shove parts of your flesh into shapes and places they weren’t intended to be shoved into. It's an awkward manipulation of form. This can result in a very peculiar look. I am OK with my body reflecting my age, the number of kids I’ve had and the battle scars I’ve picked up along the way. However, I don’t want it reflecting how many ice cream cones or tortilla chips I’ve had in any given month. When I put on a swimsuit, it seems the latter always happens. Of course, some suits are designed to reduce this problem by covering up some of the trouble spots. Who can forget the “Grecian” look-suits with the little skirt attached-that was so popular in the seventies? Yet, that little skirt came with its own set of problems, mainly, aging the wearer by several years. In recent years, some forward-thinking companies have designed suits that supposedly have a slimming effect on the body. The problem that I’ve had with said swimsuits is that they’re always very lacy-saccharine lacy.  I don’t do that. Some might argue that the Speedo is a harmless enough option for men. How much damage can be done with such a little, tiny piece of cloth? Trust me, unless he’s Michael Phelps, less is probably way too much.

 From my observation, swimsuits, throughout the history of time, have caused much stress and anxiety for people. Think about the last time you went shopping for a swimsuit. Close your eyes and reflect back on that moment. Think of browsing through the racks, hopeful to find something in your size that didn’t have a large print of a begonia on it or something else that was equally as garish. Picture the dressing room with the in-your-face, three-way mirror and the cruel fluorescent lighting. This is a lot of stress and worry for one article of clothing, yes?
Of course, there is a simple solution: skinny-dipping.
 We came into this life barenaked and it makes all the sense in the world to me that we should swim barenaked. In their natural state, our bodies are wonderful and beautiful things. Free of the constrains of Lycra and design, our bodies can shine in their own majestic brilliance; they can hang, stand, bend, wiggle, quiver or shake however is most natural for them. Skinny- dipping is not just for the skinny and is perhaps one of the most joyful and liberating pleasures in life. Nothing beats cool, fresh water against happy skin. It is refreshing and exhilarating, almost to the point of delirium. It is the ultimate flying commando experience. It appeals to our most visceral and animal selves, something most of us aren’t in touch with very often. We can splash away on a summer evening in the neighbor’s pool or swim alongside dolphins in the ocean. We can get wet and be free. And we don’t need a stinkin’ swimsuit to do it.
 Of course, there are practical considerations. One is sunburn, and it is best that any would-be skinny-dipper slather up with sunscreen. Let’s face it; some body parts don’t see the light of day very often and would be quite vulnerable under the ugly gaze of the midday sun. Also, in many places (OK, most places) skinny-dipping is illegal, or at least public nudity is. If you’re going to swim without a suit, it is important to be selective as to where you jump in and, perhaps, what time. Failure to do so could result in a ticket from local law enforcement. On a slow night, a bored cop will think nothing of spoiling your fun and making you get out of the water and put a robe on. I imagine in some states, you could even get arrested. In those places,  a private nude beach might be the best option. Figuring out the perfect place to take that jolly plunge can be part of the fun of the whole adventure.
 Perhaps someday, we will look back on the era of the swimsuit and see it for the oppressive and spirit-killing time that it was. Our great grandchildren will look at photo albums and ask, “Why does grandpa have that weird little thing on?” and “Why is Aunt Ruthie wearing a skirt in the pool?” I predict that in a few decades, skinny-dipping will be the norm, and swimsuits will be a thing of museums and memories. We’re not there yet, but we shouldn’t let that stop us. Our country was built by rebel spirits. If our founding fathers  could flip the bird to England, certainly we can celebrate our bold, beautiful bodies and liberate ourselves from the tyranny of the swimsuit. Go forth-the lake is waiting.

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If I wear panyhose with my swimsuit and then bundle myself in saran wrap, I just might have the courage to head to the beach....but probably not. BTW: I love to skinny dip in my own pool - in the dark, with no one around, in the wee hours of the morning, with no one around (did I say that already?).
My wife and I spent our honeymoon on a naturist beach in Formentera, in the Balearics in Spain. Swimming naked is a wonderful sensation, and one that should be accessible to everyone, regardless of age or body-shape. Down with the fashion-police! Down with the body-image-police! Hurrah for minding your own bloody business, and letting people enjoy themselves!
I loved skinny dipping as a teenager. Why not? Everything still looked good, and I thought I was invincible back then anyway.
I have not even put a bathing suit on this summer..._r
My problem is skin the color of skim milk. I could have a smoking body (um, I don't...but it's not baaaaddd) and still look like crap in a swimsuit. I like those large, brown Greek women overflowing from their suits. If I could look like that, I wouldn't mind wearing one.
You have spoken my mind. I was just shopping for a swim suit a few weeks ago (needed it for my water aerobics class) and it took me almost 2 weeks to find one. My husband was incredulous..."what, you're still shopping for a suit? How hard can it be?"

If he only knew. It is so hard for all the reasons you describe. I didn't expect to look like Bo Derek in one, but I wanted to find one that...well, the best I could do. This is hilarious and right on point.

My mom once insisted that we go skinny dipping in Lake Tahoe (we were the only people around). She'd always wanted to try it. "It feels as wonderful as I always imagined!" she shouted when we ran in, just like the freaky artist she's always been--which of course embarrassed the hell out of my sister & me. But I do have to admit it was a lot of fun. (And, personally, I think "suits suit" less than 1% of the population at this point.) Naked IS good!
I avoid the sun like a vampire, so I guess it would be skinny-dipping at night. I am not so sure I could climb the fence to the swim club and I think they have security cameras! Nothing like seeing a naked, pale middle-aged woman's big butt! R
What's up with the harsh Fluorescent lighting in the dressing room that highlights every bump and bulge? they'd sell more suits and we'd all be happier with warm lighting and slimming mirrors. Also...when traveling 20 years ago in Greece - we found at nearly every beach that all the women, including Grandmothers, shed their tops when they got to the beach and so we did the same and it was a wonderful, natural, comfortable feeling - shame or embarrassment was not even a consideration.
What's up with the harsh Fluorescent lighting in the dressing room that highlights every bump and bulge? they'd sell more suits and we'd all be happier with warm lighting and slimming mirrors. Also...when traveling 20 years ago in Greece - we found at nearly every beach that all the women, including Grandmothers, shed their tops when they got to the beach and so we did the same and it was a wonderful, natural, comfortable feeling - shame or embarrassment was not even a consideration.
Have you ever seen a man with perfectly shaped arms, thighs, butt and stomach skinny dip? Well if you have, I can assure you, it was not me.

Thankfully I have a pool and everyone is asleep around 2:00 am, otherwise the courts would be filled with litigious blind people.