A pair of unclad women hula-hooped at the entrance to B-Dorm to the sounds of conversations and meals overflowing the lounges as nudists across the New College community came together to strip down and break bread. Known for housing the studious and intrepid, the spirit of B-Dorm freedom lives on this year with a revival of communal nudity. The west campus dorm has a history of nudity friendliness and several residents aim to keep tradition alive by hosting naked potlucks and ad hoc hookah in the nude.
“No one really minds nudity that much around here. So if you want to be naked, you can just be naked,” second-year Thor Hlavaty said. Hlavaty mentioned how he’ll “get naked and sit with some people smoking hookah or cigarettes.”
However, there are risks to outdoor nudity. “It gets really buggy once the sun goes down, so if you do get naked you risk attracting mosquitoes,” third-year Becca Holmes explained.
A few dozen of the unadorned gathered unafraid to share a meal last Friday night at the Naked Potluck. Organizers Chloe Morin and Hannah Ackerman noted that Naked Potluck is a New College tradition. “There was a great naked potluck in Dort,” Ackerman said, reminiscing about her Orientation week. “It was the first great night of my life here at New College and it was very formative for me.
“Once everyone’s naked, it’s so easy to get naked yourself,” she continued. “It’s kind of surprising how easily the barrier comes down.”
But what is behind the excitement with being exposed?
“They keep on happening so there must be something worth seeing,” first-time attendee and fourth-year Ben Rooks said of the Naked Potlucks.
Third-year Zach Eidelman celebrated liberation from his coverings. “I like being naked because it’s infinitely cooler than wearing clothes,” Eidelman said. “You can feel the air on all your parts. I’ve been naked around all of these people a lot, so I don’t feel uncomfortable at all. I’ve been nude at New College enough that I no longer feel awkward about my body.”
Not everyone who attended the Naked Potluck came for the nudity, though. Xavier Keogh said what attracted him was “mostly the food,” but he also mentioned that he is “very supportive of nudity because there’s nothing to be ashamed of, we’re all human beings.”
“Eating is one of the more awkward things to do naked,” second-year Rosalind Kichler said of the nudity-and-food combination.
Because New College is receptive to a diversity of lifestyles, and because some Novocollegians will find they want to free themselves of the fetters of their cloth trappings, a community of the unclad will continue on campus for years to come.