by Sam Levin
Can't wait until July 27 to take off your clothes in front of strangers? Fear not! The good people of the World Naked Bike Ride in St. Louis -- and other local groups that like to celebrate the unclothed human body -- have got you covered (or, you know, not).
Tonight, head to Shameless Grounds (1901 Withnell Avenue) for an event called Bare as You Dare where you can, you guessed it, bare as you dare. Unfortunately, within legal limits. You must wear shoes! It is a dining establishment.
"It's very cathartic for people who have issues with their body," David Wraith, co-founder of Sex Positive St. Louis and an organizer of the event, tells Daily RFT. "It's really about empowering...people to live without shame...and to love their body and love themselves."
If you're a woman who was hoping for some catharsis by displaying your nipples, you are, however, unfortunately out of luck. By law, women in St. Louis are not allowed to expose bare nipples ("sorry ladies, we're working on this," the organizers say in a recent e-mail blast).
Exposed genitals is also not "street legal," and, yeah, do wear shoes.
(If you're curious, the naked bike ride is considered a protest, which means nudity is protected free speech; the ride in St. Louis has not had problems in the past with full-on nudity).
Wraith, who is coordinating the event alongside SlutWalk St. Louis and the World Naked Bike Ride, will be facilitating a discussion on a range of nude-related topics -- clothing-optional meet-ups, clothing-optional yoga, National Go Topless Day and more.
"Participants can talk about their own body image issues," Wraith says.
The forum may touch upon nudism, fat shaming, slut shaming, top-free equality, body image in the media, etc.
"There are people who are afraid or ashamed...who feel their body isn't good enough," Wraith says.
When the groups did this event for the first time last year, he says he got a lot of positive feedback from participants.
"It really helped them get over some of the things they are insecure about," he says, explaining that it can be productive to talk out loud about these insecurities -- or directly display them in front of a crowd.
The event is tonight at 7 p.m. The patio will be open and the organizers advise that you bring a towel or seat cushion or something if you're planning on sporting a thong or jock strap!
To get you pumped for the event and for the bike ride later this month, we've included our best photos from last year's nude ride -- with the very NSFW ones on the next pages.
Continue for more photos (warning NSFW!).
Continue for more photos.