Tab Tries: I Went Skinny Dipping in ULU’s Pool
Our writers will do anything for The Tab and its readers…
Here’s something you probably didn’t know: Every Sunday, ULU’s swimming pool is open to naturists.
Hundreds of bathers strip off and take the plunge each weekend, in a regular event organised by Naturist London.
As you can imagine, The Tab couldn’t resist getting involved; the headline practically writes itself. So I bravely went along with a close friend to discover the truth about one of ULU’s more bizarre events.
Although I wouldn’t say I’m shy, the functional ritual of stripping off in front of other guys for the gym showers and the odd ill-advised drinking game was about the extent of my experience of getting my kit off in public.
And I was certainly nervous when we entered the changing rooms not to get changed, but to get naked.
The few nerves we had were more to do with what to expect, especially regarding who would be there and who would see us. The thought of bumping into a lecturer or a random classmate made us hesitate a little.
With an awkward wince and a deep breath we took off the last of our clothes and steeled ourselves for the swim. Leaving our trunks in a locker and wandering out to the poolside in the buff was certainly surreal, but not as nerve-wracking as I’d expected.
Of course being nervous is part of the experience, and it felt good to take a small step out my comfort zone.
And although my friend and I had never seen each other naked before, I was glad for the company when I realised that many of the bathers already knew each other.
There was a definite social vibe to the event – the crowd of mostly older, male attendees were obviously regulars and were there to socialise as well as swim.
That wasn’t something I was expecting – the idea of having a cheery chat with complete strangers while wearing no clothing wasn’t anything I was prepared for.
Of course there’s no avoiding the fact that you’re going to get an eyeful of something or other, but the atmosphere was mostly relaxed and discrete. And there’s no need to feel too exposed; the water kept us covered a little and the presence of swimmers of all ages, shapes and sizes meant there was little to feel self-conscious about.
We were somewhat alarmed, however, by one man who seemed to be making use of his goggles to get a good look under the surface.
The absence of women at the swim was strange, too – there were only two young women among a hefty crowd of men.
But the mood was generally positive and friendly – you needn’t worry if you’re embarrassed at the thought of revealing your junk to the world.
And while I won’t be signing up to any more naturist events any time soon, the naked swim was an eye-opening introduction to the nudist lifestyle and is certainly something I’d recommend trying at least once.
If you’re feeling brave and like the idea of trying something new in the safe confines of the union building, the Sunday Swim will test your nerves and give you a bit of a thrill.