An online journal celebrating the joys of living bare with pride! This site usually publishes every Monday and Friday. I may be irreverent but I am no way irrelevant! My preferred personal pronouns are he, him, his.
My regular publishing schedule for ReNude Pride is Monday and Friday. Since my back-to-back publication here for “Bottoms-Up! End of December, 2022!” and “Nude New Year, 2023!” I decided to post entry this today, January 3, rather than yesterday.
January 3, 2009, the day that I first met Jay, who has become a fast and loyal friend of mine! Barack Obama had just been elected as “president-to-be” in November, 2008. This country was desperate for and seriously needed a change in direction, a change in leadership and the promise of hope – and a chance of a future!
On this date, Mr. Obama was just a few brief weeks away from officially assuming his presidency. Everywhere in the Washington, D.C. area, there was an atmosphere of excitement, of fulfillment and a sense of hope, joy and promise. Of kindness and respect. Of decency, honesty and renewal. Those “weapons of mass destruction” were proven false, nonexistent and evaporated into complete fabrication.
This was the tone of the atmosphere that existed the day we first met and began our friendship. At that time, there was a local bar (tavern) in downtown Washington, D.C., that on two Saturday afternoons every month (the first and the third) was rented to a local gay men’s social nudity club for “naked happy hour” from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. (also referred to as “naked cocktails”). There exists a very “seedy and sleazy” inference on the choice of “cocktail!” Great minds, descend into the gutter and get to work!
The crowd at the social nude event on that day was wall-to-wall. Before the first hour had passed the doors were locked and the only admittance was only if someone on the inside left. The District of Columbia Fire Marshall had posted an officer at the entrance to physically monitor the situation and the compliance.
Jay was already seated at a table for two, alone, when I saw him from across the lobby. There was an empty chair beside him. I headed in that direction through the mob. When we made eye-contact, I pointed to the chair with a questioning expression on my face. Jay smiled, pulled out the chair and patted the seat with his hands. I nodded, pointed to my right ear and shook my head in a negative manner, conveying to him that I am Deaf. He laughed and using his hands made the fingerspelling for “okay.” We had just given birth to a friendship!
We were both completely naked when we met. We had stripped out of our clothes in different restrooms when we arrived at the bar.
From Then Until Now:
From this date in 2009 onward, Jay and I have forged together a friendship that we both treasure and trust, even after he moved away from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region. He witnessed first-hand the beginning of my live-in relationship with my spouse, Aaron, in 2010 and our marriage, five years later. I have watched the growth of his relationship with his partner, Raheem. Last year, he and Raheem were guest authors here on ReNude Pride on a post entry entitled “BRAT!”
This past year, On September 8, 2022, I received a comment here from The Nubian-Ikigai regarding the posted announcement of Her Late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Canada, Jamaica and the Head of the Commonwealth. That comment led to email correspondence between Rohan, the Nubian-Ikigai and myself that continues today.
My friendship with Rohan resulted in an interview with him published this past November, 2022, and then with Rohan appearing as a guest author here on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2022! He is now publishing his own blog here and I invite all of you to join me in following his site:
On the behalf of ReNude Pride, it is a distinct honour that I introduce to all of you, Rohan, the Nubian-Ikigai! He informs me that the Nubian-Ikigai is colourful nickname of sorts that references his spirit. Any more detailed explanation will have to come directly from him! Rohan is his given name.
He is from the priceless jewel of the Caribbean Sea, Jamaica! He openly identified himself to me as a proud bare practitioner – a man after my own heart! That is precisely how he introduced himself!
I first noticed Rohan, the Nubian-Ikigai in September of this year when he posted a comment on my announcement of the death of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. He wrote that she was also the Queen of Jamaica as part of the Commonwealth. We have since become blood brothers! As a fellow subject of the Commonwealth, my Canadian spouse, Aaron, has a fondness for him!
Rohan currently lives in France with his partner. He is employed as an English language coach/tutor. His ambition is to compose his autobiography!
Rohan, the Nubian-Ikigai on being gay:
Growing up, what were you taught about being gay?
This is a tough and tricky question to answer. I don’t know what angle to take on this, so I’ll take a human approach…What was I taught about being gay? Nothing…It’s funny, some boys can say that they learned about being a man, shooting a rifle or hunting and some girls learned about being a good wife. I picked up stuff along the way. I observed human behaviour and I listened attentively to what was said.
I understood early on that being gay was a disgrace, punishable by death, hell and damnation. I learned you’d be better off having Stage 4 cancer than being gay. I was taught that I’d better hide and stay hidden otherwise there’s gonna be gunshots and a lynching for my “batty-boy” (Jamaican derogatory term for gay man) head! Besides, who would want to be guilty of teaching anyone about being gay? I took the burden upon myself.
To your knowledge, were any members of your family gay?
My first gay experience was with a close cousin who happened to be a year younger than me. This happened during my formative years, I was about 8 or 9 years old. It went on for 2 years during the summer holidays when he’d come to visit from the USA. Let’s call him Kevin. Irony of this is I don’t know if he’s gay as we’ve lost contact. Who knows, it may have been his fault why I am gay today. I think there’s another distant cousin who could be gay.
Did you have any friends who were bisexual or gay?
Yes and not only. As an adult, my friends were gay and bisexual and also female. As a matter of fact, I’ve been in love with quite a few females. I do fantasize and have wet dreams about women (laughs).
At what age did you begin to realize that you are gay?
Another tricky question (laughs)! If I refer go back to question #2. I’d say, I was born this way (laughs). My relationship with my cousin was a natural progression. We were cousins, by blood; we met then became friends and ended up being lovers. It was beautiful. I wasn’t raped, traumatized nor shocked at what happened or at what was happening to me. I didn’t fight him off, I didn’t push him away. I didn’t look at him any differently. Nothing changed between us. I never put a label on it. I was too young.
Growing up, I categorically refused to label myself. Even to this day. The adults around me made me realize that I was gay.
When I was a teenager I had erections whenever I saw men in swimsuits. I remember my reaction the first time I saw a TV commercial and there was a guy wearing a red speedo, but prior to that, I remember always being fascinated by male nudity. I would sneak around to peek at naked men whenever I could. The male anatomy is the most beautiful thing in creation. I still believe so today. I remember being teased in school for being effeminate. So to this question there is no fixed answer as I have always been “gay.”
When exploring your sexuality, did you have anyone (family or friend) that you could ask or use as a resource?
No…I’m a self-taught, self-made individual (laughs). I was a resource for my friends. They came to me for advice especially when it came to sex and sexuality.
Does the gay social life in Jamaica help or hinder your involvement in the gay community?
No. I was determined to live. I especially loved cruising, despite the many risks and dangers. I couldn’t help it. At the time, I was a predator, I loved to hunt, I like to collect trophies (laughs). I took guys out on dates, I hung out with my friends and I went to parties. We learned that we had to be discrete about it. Keep it on the DL (down low) or under cover. It’s strange but I like being “out there.” I felt alive, I felt excited. In a way it was my form of passive resistance and rebellion.
When socializing with gay friends, what activities are especially enjoyable?
For me, nothing beats having great sex. Second, it’s the being together, sharing stories and laughing. The good times don’t last very long. I really enjoyed having my friends over to my house despite my mom’s strong disapproval. If not, I’d go to my friend’s houses. I miss having my friends.
Any special advice or thoughts to share with anyone who is thinking about “coming out” as gay?
This may sound harsh or blunt, but your sexuality is your own business. You don’t owe it to anyone to come out. Come out only if it frees you from pain and suffering. I’ve only officially come out to my mom: it became necessary. I didn’t come out to my brothers and sisters, they already knew or they simply figured it out. I haven’t come out to my dad, I don’t see the need. He left when I was ten years old, now I’m almost 45 and I don’t see how it matters.
Gay men deserve as much respect as anyone else on this planet. We shouldn’t be apologizing or giving thanks or getting down on our knees to any other human being. We all have the right to live our lives the way we choose. Coming out should never be forced or felt like a rite of passage. That’s nonsense! Being gay is neither a mistake nor a punishment that can be erased or prayed away.
Rohan’s gravatar here at ReNude Pride!
Rohan the Nubian-Ikigai on nudity:
Growing up, what were you taught about nudity and being seen naked around other people?
Well, to answer this question in all honesty it might be necessary for me to point outthat in my country “social nudity” does not exist. People don’t just get naked and go walking around outside in nature or hang out together for the fun of it. This concept is reserved for the North Americans and the Europeans; as such those foreign notions are usually seen with an evil eye.
On the other hand, nudity wasn’t a subject. Nudity is or let me say baring skin was not a taboo. We live on a hot tropical island, my city was built on a beach, Dance Hall and Carnival are a mainstay of our culture. Being poor meant you bathed outdoors or in a river and if you like the rain, it’s a great time to take a rain shower.
But ironically though, we are also very religious, so modesty and clothing meant you were closer to God. So a constant clash between Christian and non-Christian, all in good fun of course.
Once youth reach adolescence, they become very body-conscious and modest. Was this ever the case for you?
Absolutely! Even to this day, I am still very body conscious. But I am taking it in stride. I work out regularly to gain a bit more confidence and overcome that shyness.
Have you ever skinny-dipped (swim naked) with others?
No, which is sad because I lived near a river and a beach…and I’ve seen so many men skinny-dipping in the nearby river as a child growing up (laughter). I think I may be hydrophobic. I don’t really take to water that much. I never really liked swimming, and to make things worse, with my extreme shyness and body-consciousness, skinny-dipping was a definite no – no!
Any awkward or interesting experience being socially nude (naked in the company of others) that you’re comfortable to share with us?
I have a few experiences with being nude in public; the most hilarious was when my best friend – who is also straight (opposite gender loving) took me to a topless bar. It was so shocking for me to see a woman topless in public. I remember being so nervous that my hands kept trembling like a leaf. My friend ordered us some sodas. I couldn’t take my eyes off her breasts though (laughs). She served us our sodas, but I was too mesmerized to see that she had put the bottle right in front of me. As I reached for my drink, I ended up spilling it all over the bar counter. She was very sweet; she simply smiled while my friend laughed his head off!
Any advice for anyone considering social nudity for the first time?
Go ahead. There is a lot to gain. Remove the shackles that enslave and the chains that bind. If it feels weird or awkward at first, it’s normal. Living in a society where covering up is the mainstream; we rarely ever get to see ourselves and others for who we really are. Before joining a crowd, though, make sure you’re comfortable being naked with yourself first. Social nudity may be like jumping off the deep end of the pool.
Compare your body type to that of others; this allows you to see that all body types are natural and there isn’t one unique body type. My personal technique is to watch a lot of porn. I also enjoy watching porn. Porn allows me to see lots of naked people without running the risk of being called a pervert. Plus, porn shows men, of so many varying body types and what’s more they are so comfortable. And that’s the key. Being comfortable and being around other people who are also naked and comfortable. You want to be around as much positive energy as possible.
And finally don’t be too critical. Avoid judging others: you may be surprised at how quickly you stop judging yourself in the process!
Rohan, the Nubian-Ikigai!
One of the many amazing aspects of Rohan, the Nubian-Ikigai is his candor and honesty – not to forget his willingness – in sharing his true self with others! Alex, my identical twin brother, and I had one another to rely on when we began to openly acknowledge our same gender love (gay) and our nudity. His solo acceptance of both who and what he really is isn’t just just brace and courageous but is also exemplary and inspiring!
In the words of Aaron, my spouse, “Fantastic job, Rohan! Congratulations on being you and proud of it! Welcome to our natural world!”
Taking into account the laughs that Rohan, the Nubian-Ikigai shared with is in his interview, we’re all pleased to have him as an optimistic fellow bare practitioner! You’ve earned our admiration and respect, my friend! I am grateful for your participation in this interview on ReNude Pride!
It is a true honour for ReNude Pride and for myself to feature Rohan, the Nubian-Ikigai here today. He’s a remarkable man and an awesome bare practitioner extraordinaire! We have to all make our distinct beginning in our own way and it is refreshing to see Rohan’s initiation into our community and culture in progress! Great job!
Rohan will visit here as a guest co-author on December 1, 2022, for World AIDS Day! Plan to join with us then!
Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride
Author’s Note: The next post entry here is planned for Wednesday, November 30, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “Bottoms-Up! November, 2022!”