html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: He seemed nice.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

He seemed nice.

I read yesterday that Andrew Martinez died last weekend. I was sorry to hear it. I don’t think I was ever introduced to him, but I knew him on sight. At the time he was campaigning for on-campus nudity, I was living in a clothing optional co-op, so my housemates and I thought his stance on nudity was self-evidently natural and right and beautiful and why all the big deal anyway? Andrew Martinez was a good spokesperson for public nudity. He was beautiful and graceful, and for being such a big guy, tall, broad shouldered, he had an easy, relaxed presence. Naked or clothed, he never had the invasive or imposing feel that some large men carry.

Andrew’s public nudity really caught people’s attention; my friends who weren’t at Berkeley would often ask if I’d seen him. Seen him naked! On campus! It is possible they didn’t have much of a conceptualization of my living situation. The people who didn’t approve seemed to mostly have the same objection: how could you ever concentrate in class with a naked person next to you? They didn’t believe me, but I’ll tell you the same thing I always told them. Naked people are boring. Naked people are intensely interesting for a second or two when you check them out, and maybe marginally interesting for another five or six seconds, and then nothing changes and they are still naked and still looking the same and what is for lunch and did the professor say whether this would be on the test? Boring*. I promise.

Andrew died of suicide, in jail for serious crimes. In my few memories of him, he radiated health and kindness; I hate to think that he changed so much. I sincerely hope that those changes weren’t a result of the attention and costs of his campaign. I have no objection to public nudity, but it isn’t important enough to sacrifice him for. Rest in peace, Andrew.

*I have heard that naked people are not boring for as long as you are about to have sex with them, but I’ll have to take other people’s word for that.



Blogger matt said...

I wish I would have met him, or been around when this was all happening, but I'm too young.

Luther used to have naked soccer every spring, the seniors celebrating the end of their four years. The cross-country team still holds a naked mile race each fall -- careful not to be caught -- and the track team holds naked olympics (participation at which has dwindled to the point of only two heats of the 400 this past year) each spring.
It never used to be a big deal, just people getting naked because they could. It saddens me that it is now.

I'm sorry he went the way he did. And if you don't mind, I'd like to hear more about your Berkeley years.

12:44 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Sure, when they come up. Honestly though, you've already heard most of it. I only really did two things in college, the co-op Lothlorien and taekwondo. One problem with being a collegiate athlete is that it makes you really boring.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm guessing it depends on who's naked and for how long.

I'm reminded of a friend who lived in Mali for a while. In the courtyards of certain villages, the women go topless (all, from young to old). You'd think the men would get inured to this over a while... but no, she said, they think it's great.

8:45 AM  
Blogger Sweet Coalminer said...

It was such a buzz. I remember hearing about him and seeing stories about it on the news when I was in college down here.

It's a shame this is how the story ended.

10:30 AM  
Anonymous ed said...

I think it's more the process of getting naked, and the things that you actually do while naked that are interesting. After the initial jolt of excitement, nakedness in and of itself is pretty boring. And as a physician, I can tell you that there are plenty of people out there that you really don't ever want to see naked (because clothes were invented for a reason).

11:26 AM  

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