Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Perhaps two years ago, there was a popular term used: BFFs. Best friends forever. A label of endearment proclaiming eternal friendship between two or more individuals. Now, with the passage of time, the longevity of eternity remains a question. As people mature, they naturally change. Interests come and go as leaves in the wind and what may have seemed eternal and everlasting two years ago sometimes may appear unimportant and even juvenile today. That's just a fact of life.
A current word used to describe this process is evolution. Everyone seems to prefer to let that one roll out of their mouths. President Obama, to his credit, evolved on the issue of marriage equality. Mittens Romney evolved in the opposite direction on numerous issues during the last presidential election. And so on. Evolving, the rite of changing, is now the new buzz-word; just as political correctness, cultural diversity and BFFs were in the past. Yes, even our language is evolving as I type on this keyboard.
Friendships change. Language changes. Political issues and social concerns change. Evolution happens. And, like it or not, change is good. Evolving enables us to grow and improve as both a culture, as a society and as the human race.
There does seem to exist, at least in my personal experience, an exception to this social phenomenon. That difference seems to be with my friends, close friends, my proverbial "bosom buddies" who share one aspect between us: our Deaf, queer nudity. That common bond apparently can and does withstand the test of time and the challenge of evolution. Gay guys who I hung out with naked as a teenager are still within my intimate circle, almost thirty years later. We still get together, although not as often as in the past, and hang out together, almost as if time stood still and almost three decades of years simply didn't happen. Yes, individually we've all evolved into adulthood, professions, relationships and whatever. But, all the while, we've maintained and retained our Deafness, our queerness, our nakedness and our friendship. It's as though we collectively hung out the invisible cautionary sign: Evolution Stops Here. And, what's more, it seems as though both time and the rest of the world read that sign and heeded the warning. I often wonder what is the cause of this seeming immunity from the evolving process and progress.
It's true that this casual group has grown somewhat over the years. What began as a circle of four the summer immediately after our high school graduation grew to seven by the time we'd all matriculated university. Within a couple of years following our baccalaureate degrees we swelled to a gang of nine and we've remained at that number ever since. The "core" caucus of an informal network of friends and biological family (Twin, Cuz and myself) that currently numbers twenty-some same gender loving naked adults who live in five different states yet somehow manage to remain close.
It was while we were all congregated under one roof and nude this past winter holiday season that one of us, none of us remembers exactly who, coined the abbreviation for the phrase: Naked Friends Forever or NFFs. Our self-identification for precisely who and what we are as a group. Our own private and collective identity. Us as us.
Naked Friends Forever. Why is it that other friendships evolve themselves out of existence whereas NFFs seem to possess a longevity and permanence? In my experience, at least, those relationships where nudity is shared tend to have a better chance of withstanding the tests and rigors of time and distance, not to mention the individual evolutions and those of maturity.
In my own humble life, the endurance of my NFFs is on the account of our shared nakedness. I have Deaf friendships that have both come and gone. The same for queer friendships. Therefore, I eliminate these two shared aspects as the reason, which leaves only our common bond of nudity. I believe the intimacy of all of us being clothes-free and bare with each other has provided us with a link not possible to those who hide behind the barrier of clothes. Clothing creates the illusion and the reality of concealing or withholding. The idea of secrets.
Being nude socially automatically fosters a feeling, a sense of freedom, of honesty and of openness. What is clearly visible to all NFFs is precisely what's there physically. No attribute or imperfection is being covered up or otherwise misrepresented. This frees us from the notion of deception or secrecy and enables us to both enjoy and experience the freedom of honesty in areas of our lives and thoughts that just doesn't usually occur among textile (clothes wearing) friends. A unique bond that isn't easily replicated outside of the culture of nudism.
To all my current and future NFFs reading this post, as I click the "publish" button, I'm sending to each of you a wireless hug!
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!