Usually when you see a naked person, you get taken aback. You think it’s funny, and you’re a little weirded out by their bare flesh. Nipples and genitals exposed for the entire world to see — it’s a vulnerable state of being.
But strangely, those funny, weird feelings subside when you’re surrounded by hundreds of naked people. And they completely diminish when you’re one of those hundreds of naked people.
This past week I attended and participated in the Naked Run at the University of Vermont. It originally began as the Naked Bike Ride, but not everybody has a bike, so most people tend to just run in it.
Other than tradition, there really is no purpose to the Naked Run. It’s not a race. It’s not a charity event. It’s just a time for students to strip down to their birthday suits and feel a liberating breeze caress their naked bodies as their friends watch and cheer.
I’m into weird stuff like this, and I have wanderlust worse than most college students, so when my friend, Brandi Walsh, asked me if I wanted to go, of course my answer was yes. I went with the plan of just sipping a few beers and watching some naked people go crazy for a bit. But as we got closer and closer to UVM, the idea of running naked flooded my mind.
“There was that one time you skinny dipped, Griffin,” I thought. “But that wasn’t too big of a deal. Let’s up the ante.”
We arrived at UVM and started drinking with a few of Walsh’s friends. It’s a naked run, but who says you can’t wear a nice beer coat? I wore Saranac that night.
As soon as we got to the run, a gorgeous and obviously drunk blonde girl ran up to me. There was no avoiding her boobs or her vagina. “I can’t find my clothes. Can I have yours?” she asked, tugging on my flannel.
“No, sorry, I need these,” I told the naked blonde. “Maybe you can find your clothes if you just remember where you put them.”
“I don’t think I brought any,” the naked blonde said. Then she nakedly sauntered away to ask somebody else for their clothes.
It was fun being there and seeing all the nude students, but Walsh and I were both thinking the same thing — “We’re not drunk enough for this.” So as quickly as we could, we downed a water bottle full of Jack Daniels and ginger ale. We were drunk enough then.
First our shoes came off. Then our pants. Then the shoes went back on because we didn’t want to run barefoot on gravel. Next our shirts. And finally it was the moment of truth — the underwear. I tightly grabbed the sides of my Hanes and thrust the boxer briefs from my waist in one swift and unashamed motion. I look over at Walsh to see that she was still wearing her underwear.
“C’mon, let’s do this. Take ‘em off,” I said.
“What? No, I’m not doing that,” Walsh said before she quickly joined the run with the rest of streakers. It was kind of funny because Walsh keeping her clothes on made her the more noticeable one.
We became surrounded by people covered in glitter and body paint. One group of women painted themselves up like the American flag. Others sported their fraternity and sorority letters. And despite everybody being naked, their privates were the last thing on my mind. It’s like I became desensitized to all the nudity as soon as I was part of it.
The run wasn’t long. It was probably shorter than a lap around Hawkins Pond, but for that brief time without briefs, I felt so in my element. Sure, I was in what most people would call a vulnerable state, but I couldn’t have been more comfortable.
People need that moment of wackiness every now and then. We sit in class and in front of our computers all day holding, back the kid inside of us. It’s times like the Naked Run when we get to escape into a blissful world of no worries for a small period of time.
I had so much fun at the Naked Run that I will definitely be back next semester, even when the weather is twice as cold.
Email Griffin Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org