Skinny-dippers Plunge Right In

Nudists, Naturists Go For Guinness Record In Dozens Of Sites Across The Country

July 12, 2009|By Liz Bowie | Liz Bowie,liz.bowie@baltsun.com

For some, it was a chance to fullfill a dream of being part of the Guinness Book of World Records. For others, it was a chance to try something new and a little ... different. But for many people, it seemed like just another good reason to disrobe.

The Maryland Area Naturist Society sponsored a skinny-dip Saturday in Baltimore, one of dozens of locations across North America where nudists and naturists were trying to set the first record for the Guinness Book of World Records in skinny-dipping.

About 95 people, mostly middle-age men, came to an outdoor pool at the Gerstung gym facility near Mount Washington. At 3 p.m., everyone jumped in the water to swim - or rather, wade up to their waists, because there wasn't much room.

A tally of all the participants across the nation wasn't immediately available. Most events were held in California and Florida, although more than two dozen states were represented, according to the American Association for Nude Recreation Web site.

"I know this is going to bring a lot of joy to my life," said Amy Shockley, who drove from Washington to take part. Shockley said she has set as one of her life goals being part of the Guinness record, and she enjoys being naked in water.

If she happens to find herself near a body of water after midnight, she said, "I am in it - mostly [in] the ocean, but [also] an occasional fountain. ... I have been asked to put my clothes on by a police officer."

Shockley, who had a broken arm and came with a friend, acknowledged being a little shy about the adventure.

Emily Iannantuono of Baltimore County and her cousin, Chrissy Dobash of New Jersey, said it was the first time they had gone to a naturist event. "I have always wanted to do this," Iannantuono said. "The only hard part was that I have had a C-section, and I have thighs I am not proud of."

Dobash said it was "really hard" because she doesn't feel comfortable showing off her body - but the longer that she and Iannantuono stayed in the water, the more comfortable they got. "Women judge themselves more," Dobash said.

But other women said they were very comfortable. "I like being nudist. I don't like clothes. It is all about the freedom," said Doo Allen who had come with her husband to celebrate their third anniversary.

Not all of the participants were willing to be identified publicly, for fear that conservative employers might not appreciate their hobby, but said the event allows people to feel welcome no matter what the shape of their bodies.

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