Sunday, March 04, 2007

Nether regions in the Netherlands

Mmmmkay. Dutch naturalists got to have a clothing-free workout today at the Fitworld gym in Heteren, Netherlands. Woohoo! The gym said it went off without a hitch (and without a stitch) with about 12 middle-aged and elderly men working out au naturel. Apparently the gym rats were outnumbered by journalists, photographers and TV crews, and the event was even attended by a county councillor (in a suit).

"There are things that you like to do, and for a nudist, it just feels better to do them with your clothes off," said Ron van der Putten, who drove for more than an hour to take part in the event, dubbed 'Nudifit' or 'Naked Sunday'. "You feel more free."

Patrick de Man, owner of Fitworld, said he got the idea in part from two of his regular customers who asked why he had separate dressing rooms for men and women.

"That was the spark," he said, and he ultimately decided to open the gym on Sundays for nudists. The response was overwhelming — both positive and negative. Some clients were worried about whether it would be sanitary."

Here in North America we're clearly a lot more hung up about stuff like this than they are in Europe. Can you imagine the explosion of indignance if they did this at Gold's? The gasping, the swooning, the clutching of pearls... any presidential candidate who happened to work out at Gold's gym, clothed or not, would immediately be targeted by nitwits like Bill Donahue and the Catholic League. "For the love of god, cancel that gym membership!"

Although I think it's kind of cool that there's a gym actually doing a Naked Day, I'm not about to lobby for it at my gym, for just one reason. As Jerry Seinfeld once said, there's good naked and there's bad naked. Lying in front of a fire swilling back wine is good naked. Bench-pressing is bad naked. Taking a shower is good naked. Doing hack squats is bad, really bad naked. Maybe even horrible naked. But for people who don't have such Seinfeldian hangups, go for it. Drop and gimme 10! (I won't look... I promise.)