Posted by: jt | January 31, 2009

take off your cool

The Headline of the Week has long been neglected but, by request, we’re back! I’m not entirely sure what it means when people read things like this and think of me, but I’m glad they do! (Via Hayley.)

bbcNaked ramblers face Swiss fines “A naked hiker was detained last autumn, but could not be fined as naked rambling was not outlawed, he said – hence the need for a new law.”

My immediate reaction to this was my usual 12-year-old boy snicker. Naked hiker. Heh.

Then the non-reptilian part of my brain kicked in and…wait a minute here…

What I infer from this is, while in the U.S. you have to be clothed everywhere you’re not allowed to be naked, in Switzerland, you’re allowed to be naked everywhere you don’t have to be clothed. To state that more plainly – while we have a presumption of clothing, they, apparently, do not.

We are presumed clothed until allowed naked.

And the Swiss are not?

I meet a lot of people from a lot of different places. I am rarely shocked by cultural differences. The fact that Switzerland must pass a special law to ban naked hiking?

This amazes me.

With that in mind I can’t help but wonder, is it perfectly legal to wander around Geneva, Basel and Zürich nu/nackt/nudo/the Romansch word for nekkid? Do other European countries not have a presumption of clothing? Do Parisians wear clothes purely out of choice? Could I wander the streets of Berlin sans pants? (Ohne pants.)


I do have quite the aversion to pants.

I know that most European countries are far more progressive in their views on nudity than we are, at least with nude or semi-nude beaches being relatively common, but…I just assumed that the nudity was restricted to the beaches (or designated areas).

Now I need to know…is naked hiking allowed in Germany or are they just trying to export it to Switzerland? Is it commonplace? What is the presumption of clothing?

Inquiring minds…

bbcIn other Hot-W news, I think How companies tackle the interweb thingy is an even funnier headline, but it’s not nearly as thought-provoking. At least not for me.

Naked Germans invading Switzerland, FTW.



  1. What I love about the naked hiking story (well, one of many things about it I love) is that they call hiking “rambling.” To me, “naked rambler” evokes a mental picture of someone pontificating about some meaningless subject, while naked.

    As for the presumption of nudity vs. presumption of clothing – yes, damn good question! I too was astounded that they had to have a specific law against naked hiking. If Switzerland were a tropical country I might be able to understand it more, but most of Europe gets pretty frigid in the winter!

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