I went to the Fremont Solstice parade June 21 for the first time in many, many years and saw the famed nekkid bike riders. But I have a few questions about the etiquette of public pagan nudity in Seattle, so weigh in if you have an opinion.
So much nudity reminded me why most people ought to wear clothes. The good and the bad about it is that it's about as sexy as a visit to a nudist colony, where nearly everyone who is naked shouldn't be.
That said, the painted "costumes" and get-ups were mostly wonderful and hilarious. It was like seeing the city's psyche empty into the streets. Though riding on a bike seat in the buff seems, well, ouch.
But here are my questions:
First, at co-ed hippie saunas and hot tubs there is definitely an unwritten rule not to stare. It's bad when a newbie thinks it's a pick-up joint. If one guys goes all Tom Jones, it ruins it for everyone. So, is it wrong to ogle at the one or two cyclists who are particularly hot? Is that bad form in Fremont? Or is it to be expected?
Second, what do people think about all the young kids along the route seeing painted, naked people with their dicks and breasts hanging out? My feeling is, most younger kids probably haven't yet been indoctrinated fully in shame, so it's probably OK, but standards change. When I was a kid, there were a few families where moms and dads ran around nude or nearly nude (I had an uncle in California who seemed to follow an underpants-only rule at home). Nowadays, someone might call Child Protective Services on a parent who did that. I'm fine with a once-a-year public nudie event, but am I wrong?
Third, some people are cheaters. There were "nude" riders in g-strings, panties, and various creative thongs and covers (a favorite: a man who had strategically placed a cone-shaped party hat to form a kind of dunce cap for his penis). Is this kosher? A "partially clad" bicycling event hardly seems like it would attract publicity.
Fourth, some people didn't bother to wear costumes at all. No body paint, no funny hats, or anything. Not only is this much more revealing, but it seemed odd. But OK, streakers allowed, I suppose. However, nearly two hours after the parade there was at least one guy still walking around Gas Works Park with nothing on. The only thing on display for picnicking families was his summer sausage. Many other nude paraders had put on shorts, etc., but this guy wasn't in any hurry. Pagan, or perv?
Fifth, I did see an awful lot of photographers, one at Gas Works who seemed to bring out his camera when nude women bent over. Does this violate the spirit of the day? Hard-working press photog, or perv?
Lastly, at the Gas Works gathering, I noticed a booth selling chocolate-covered fruit. This did not appeal to me after the parade because it reminded me of so many painted body bits I had just seen. However, I was disappointed that none of the booths were selling hot dogs. Is this a question I should take up with my shrink, or do I get a pass because it was solstice in Fremont?