World Naked Gardening Day will shortly be upon us - it takes place on the first Saturday of May each year. This holiday is relatively new and perhaps controversial, and it occurs to Etiquetteer that it might be helpful to set down some rules right now to keep things running with Perfect Propriety.
Do you plan to garden in the nude on World Naked Gardening Day? First of all, you’d better check out local laws what’s often termed “indecent exposure.”* Etiquetteer is not going to be responsible for anyone getting a ticket or hauled off to the clink because they neglected to do their own research.
Some things gardeners should always wear when they’re gardening, including on World Naked Gardening Day: insect repellent, sunblock, a hat, proper shoes, and gardening gloves. While a lady doesn’t remove her gloves before shaking hands as a rule, remember that she always removes gardening gloves before shaking hands. Do you have bad knees? Of course your knee pads are permitted, but you might also look for one of those knee support thingies like Faye Dunaway was using in “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Consideration of others is, of course, the bedrock of Perfect Propriety. In this case, it’s your neighbors. If you think they’d be agreeable to the holiday, invite them to celebrate with you - but be prepared for them to decline. To avoid annoying neighbors - and perhaps to avoid neighbors and passersby annoying you - take the time to consider privacy screens in places where your garden might be most overlooked. You may also wish to garden in pairs or groups for the same reason.
Aside from unwanted attention from fellow citizens, another risk of gardening naked is unwanted attention from insects and other creatures one finds in the garden, not to mention thorns and stickers. Checking for ticks afterward will be very important. Get someone to help you, and for heaven’s sake, do it inside. No need to run the risk of a tick check being misinterpreted as a Lewd Exhibition.
Now, what should you do if you happen upon World Naked Gardening Day celebrants industriously gardening away under your very eyes? Well, don’t make a scene! Avert your eyes and continue about your business. Especially don’t just stand there gawking. And if you’re a gentleman of a certain age, you risk becoming much less of a gentleman if you just linger there staring or, even worse, trying to engage nubile young gardeners in conversation. A voyeur is a naughty naughty thing to be. Stop it at once!
If you really think this is going to be a significant risk, Etiquetteer recommends staying at home with the drapes drawn tight shut. And don’t you even peek out once!
*Remember Richard Dreyfuss in The Goodbye Girl: “I am decent. I also happen to be naked."