Sean Goedecke is a freelance writer trying to visit every cafe in Australia. If you enjoy his articles, it can't hurt to click the 'like' link at the bottom or subscribe.
Published February 1st 2014
Get your hand around some bowling balls
It's tempting to think that nudism is about showing off your naked body, but that's a common misconception. For most nudists, wearing no clothes is a lifestyle thing and includes lots of boring activities like working, cooking and cleaning. There's also a surprising amount of 'normal' leisure activities that people strip down for: nude kayaking, soccer, book clubs, and even bowling. Although many enterprising nudists are attracted by the thought of doing something exciting and naughty, the majority of the nudist community just wants nakedness to be an unremarkable part of everyday life.
Is there a better way to appreciate this than to show up at a nudist society's nude bowling event? Far from the typical nude sex romp envisioned by those who write turgid letters of complaint to the Herald Sun or The Age, events like this are painfully normal. Naked people bowl, play squash and chat to each other just like clothed people do. The flyer for the 2011 nude bowling event requests that participants bring a plate of food to share for dinner, and says that BYO alcohol is allowed "in moderation". It's just your regular community bowling event – albeit a totally naked one.
'Bowling Them Over' by Edward D'Ancona
The main group that runs these kinds of event is Aussie Naturists. Don't be confused by the name: the word 'naturist' is just a synonym for 'nudist' that stresses the fact that being naked is natural. Since nude events typically require renting out the entire bowling hall (regular patrons tend to object to a bunch of naked people happily bowling down the next alley), Aussie Naturists often teams up with other nudist societies like Solar West. Large events like nude bowling happen when there's enough interest. If you'd like to try it out, put your name on the list and when it reaches about a hundred and fifty people they'll put the event on. Everything's organised through the website and by email.
Paul Brown, owner and manager of Aussie Naturists, has long been a voice in the community in favour of non-sexual nudism. In 2009 he was part of an Australian Nudist Federation push to unofficially ban "overt sex" on nude beaches. He assured people that they wouldn't run into swinging at any federation-affiliated nudist club, and his position hasn't changed since then. Paul understands people's desire for privacy. "Many nudists live in fear of being 'found out' by their employers," he wrote by email.
Of course, in a perfect world nudism would be just another uninteresting lifestyle choice – but until then, bowling events run by Aussie Naturists will be discreet and circumspect. The organisers are careful to make sure all photographs taken are of people who have signed release forms, and privacy screens are erected in front of windows where people on the street might peek in.
The cost is a very reasonable twenty to twenty-five dollars, and by all accounts it's a fun evening of bowling. If you're new to nudism, follow standard nudist etiquette: don't be a creep, ignore inconvenient erections, and make sure to respect people's desire for privacy.