In a small piece on the BBC website this week, I discovered that a naturist walking in a “popular Yorkshire beauty spot” has been convicted of a public order offence and fined £315. He was stopped and arrested by an off-duty police officer who noticed the “disgusted look” of a woman walking her dog. Apparently the chivalrous officer in question “could tell [the woman] was upset about something.” The presiding judge commented “I note with some interest that he would not walk with his clothes off in the city centre of Leeds … on this occasion, a lady was clearly distressed by what she had seen going on.”
This is fantastically idiotic. It’s a ridiculous waste of public money for starters, but more than that, the judge’s comments are plain stupid. As far as I can tell, being in the great outdoors is part of the point of naturism. You wouldn’t wander round the Rad Cam in just your swimming trunks, but that doesn’t stop it being perfectly acceptable on the beach.What is really maddening, however, is the idea that this lady was actually disgusted. Are we seriously implying she’s never seen a naked man before, or maybe that she has some kind of aversion to willies? Either way she should be barred from any kind of museum or art gallery, lest it offend her delicate sensibilities. I heard a young boy ask “daddy, what is orgies?” at the Ashmolean last week. Clearly he’d survived the onslaught of naughty bits with his wits intact. Apparently, this disgusted lady would not be able to achieve the same feat.
If the naturist were doing something sexual, then fine. Maybe you can be disgusted when he gets out the KY Jelly and a novelty-sized cucumber. But a man wandering round with his knob out? In an age where sex is used to sell every consumer product you care to mention? Grow up. That wasn’t disgust. Shock, maybe. Surprise, perhaps. But I refuse to believe that anyone growing up in modern society can be disgusted by a penis in public. And if you are, get over it. It’s a stupid day indeed when we need the courts to protect us from seeing our own bodies.