God really does love diversity. And when you attend an event during which hordes of people take all their clothes off and do something odd (bike ride, art installation, running screaming into the North Sea at dawn etc), you may quickly realise that all those inhibitions concerning your wobbly bits, the rolls of fat – or the skinny ribs, perhaps, and the marks and scars and faults and shapes and all that - and all that – are for nothing because all these things are shared by pretty much everybody. Its the differences that make us all the same.
A few lucky people are often temporarily blessed with very beautiful bodies, it has to be said, but most people don’t neatly fit into the shape of a standard “beautiful” body, whatever that is. We are what we are and we all have a right to dash screaming and very naked into the chilly waves and by doing so have any worries about being different in some way washed away by the salty briny, along with a couple of hundred others.
If all goes to plan, this will be my third North-East Skinny Dip, so it could be argued that I'm getting a bit blasé about stripping off in public. This is almost true – there are still butterflies, but, generally, I just get on with it. If it was so routine, I probably wouldn't do it.
But for many taking part in this beautiful event, there will be doubts and fears. There will be more than butterflies, in fact, I suspect that the odd sleepless night will have been had. But afterwards, I expect that almost all will be on some kind of personal high. They may be shivering with cold and, maybe a bit embarrassed but there will be euphoria. Its a daft thing to do. Its a naughty thing to do. It's a brave thing to do.
Then again, there's always the question of what others will think about you taking part in such a jape. Your Mum might not approve. Your brothers and sisters might not approve. Your boss might not approve (worry about your Mum, not your boss!). And what if you’re recognised on the telly or in the paper; bearing (baring ..arf) in mind that the press will be there – fully dressed journalists too?
But it's just bodies and skin and scars and blemishes and tattoos and willies and breasts and bums and goosepimples. And they're all different. And they're all the same.
My friend Dawn is taking part in the North-East Skinny Dip to be held at Druridge Bay in Northumberland at dawn on 27 September. She has the same worries as everybody else, apparently. Its a brave and rather daft thing to do. She's raising money for Mind, the same charity that I support. And she's supporting me and my charity money raising cos she’s a friend. basically.
You may not have time or inclination, or, even the daftness to take part in a skinny-dip, but you might well be on a similar wavelength and if you'd like to show support , you can, by bunging a small lump of spondooly into Dawn's Virgin Money-Giving account. A quid would do. A fiver would do, a tenner would do too.
The web address is found by clicking on the naked man above, whoever he is….. or here
Gwan, do it. Do it now and get a bit of good karma.