Friday, March 23, 2012

FKK

DID THE Bare Platypus team mistakenly hit some keys in the title box of this post?  Were we trying to type an obscenity but missed some letters because we're so angry?

Nope.

This post is marked FKK because those are the letters that usually represent nude beaches and organizations in Germany, as well as other parts of Europe.

Throughout the animal kingdom Platypusses are notoriously bad at spelling and foreign languages aren't a specialty either.  But roughly "FKK" stands for "Frei Korper Kulture." Loosely translated it means "Free Body Culture."  Very clever of the Germans to include that word "culture" to describe the atmosphere of tradition, folkways, and etiquette of going naked.  Because FKK is more than just disrobing, and usually involves philosophy too.

In Germany nude culture is different.  For one thing many, many beaches and public areas have both a clothed side and a nude side.  The line between them can change as more naked, or suited, bathers show up on a given summer day to enjoy the shore. 

Another difference from what you may have experienced is that even bathers who opt for swimwear often change right there on the beach.  It's as if being seen nude by others is neither embarassing nor the issue. Instead, for them they view putting on the speedo like putting on a piece of equipment in preparation of the sport---like donning skis to go skiing.

Regardless of which side of the beach on which they build sandcastles, little tykes through the age of six or more routinely go sans clothes and no one thinks much about it unless they're getting too much sun. Topless bathing for women, like in so many parts of Europe, is common too, including among those who would not consider themselves part of FK culture.

Indoor swimming facilities often have an FKK day / evening each week that's reserved for people who skinny dip.  It appears on many schedules as routine as "with bacon" could appear listed next to a breakfast entree on menus in our country. 

If you travel abroad, consult tourist guides and directories.  Check the index for FKK or naturism and you'll likely find supplemental information on the subject.  Many Platypus readers started out by visiting another country and learning the joys of wearing their own skin.