The Do's and Don'ts of Skinny Dipping: An Etiquette GuideS

As August winds down, many of us will be pressured—by our closest friends, whom we have known since childhood, by beautiful crushes, whose tanned skin glows dusky bronze in the moonlight, by drunk assholes whom we don't know that well—to kiss summer goodbye with a skinny dipping romp.

Politico reported Monday that one such romp was recently the subject of an FBI probe, after it emerged that several Republican lawmakers had, last year, turned the Sea of Galilee (a freshwater lake in Israel where Jesus is said to have walked on water) into their own personal Jewsy Shore, drinking and carousing—nude, in the case of one Congressman—under the moon's watchful gaze.

However, many non-congressmen are unsure about the etiquette of nude frivolity.

Am I allowed to look at everyone's butts? How can I combine my respect for naked partying with my love of Israel's historical sites? What if I really don't want to do it?

In the spirit of summer's end and school's beginning, Gawker presents: Skinny Dipping 101.

Do I have to skinny dip?
You do not. Many people prefer not to cavort naked with others outside of the boudoir. For these people #YOLO is not a justification for selfish madness, but a reminder to live very carefully. Many of them grow up to be captains of industry, "the responsible twin," and brunettes.

A great way to appear spontaneous and fun while not stripping down to show off your jubblies (or your jigglies) is to jump into the body of water with all your clothes on. Now you're not the plain potato who refused to take part in a bacchanalian adventure. You're the curly fry who was so ready to get crazy you didn't even waste time removing your clothes. But aren't you worried you'll ruin your silk dress? Hell no because, guess what, you're rich. Everybody loves you! (It's also perfectly acceptable to hop in wearing just underwear, if you don't want people to think you're rich.)

If you absolutely must wear a formal bathing costume, that's a little boring, but people probably won't harp on it for too long.

Can I just stay on land and watch? I'm okay with being a plain potato.
No, you cannot. Staying on the sidelines and watching makes you a perverted potato. If you don't want to hop in the water, you should either turn your back, busy yourself with another task (NOT masturbation), or remove yourself from the area.

Active participation is the price you pay for witnessing skinny dipping antics. You want to watch people have sexy fun while you do nothing? Watch a porno.

My friends and I are all skinny dipping. Now can I ogle?
Skinny dipping is not for ravishing your acquaintances' naked forms with your eyes. That's what orgies are for. Skinny dipping is about enjoying the pleasant "Water is everywhere!" sensations of a bathtub in an even larger bathtub. Try to interact with people as you normally would, keeping your gaze on their face and their boobs in your mouth (ONLY if you are a lil baby).

What if I get an erection?
You'll probably be way too nervous about the possibility of that happening for that to happen. But, if you really think you might, skinny dipping is not for you, my friend. Sorry.

What if I'm the only one who wants to skinny dip?
Under no circumstances should you ever be the only person in a party who is skinny dipping. It does not speak well of you that you are so obsessed with the idea of being naked in front of others that you are willing to force it on group, even if no one else thinks it's a good idea. Best case scenario, people will stop inviting you to hang out with them, because you will earn a reputation as The Guy (or Girl) Who Makes Everyone Else Uncomfortable by Constantly Taking Off His (or Her) Clothes. Worst case scenario, you're forced to release a statement like this:

A year ago, my wife, Brooke, and I joined colleagues for dinner at the Sea of Galilee in Israel. After dinner I followed some Members of Congress in a spontaneous and very brief dive into the sea and regrettably I jumped into the water without a swimsuit. - Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan), Birthday Suit Apologist

The rules against watching are completely reversed if only one person in the group is naked. Then everyone is allowed to watch with raised eyebrows as the attention whore dances himself dizzy.

What's the best way to go from wearing lots of clothes to wearing no clothes?
Unless you are a professional practitioner of the stripping arts, you may have a hard time looking good while removing your clothes. Make up for this by embracing spontaneity over seduction.

Strip down to your underwear (including bra for ladies and men who wear bras) as fast as you can, then get yourself into the water. Even the finest ass looks dumb jiggling around as its owner toddles unsteadily into a lake. Underwear will help conceal this. Once you are submerged, remove your underwear and toss it onto the shore. Maybe swing it around your head with a little "woop!" first. Make sure your "woop!" is that of a sexy helicopter propeller, and not the "woop woop!" sound of da police.

What's the policy on stealing clothes?
Don't do it. By the time people have climbed out of the water and begun hunting for their clothes, they've (sobered up and) realized maybe they're not such exhibitionists after all. If they were exhibitionists, they would still be splashing around naked. Skinny-dipping has no land-based component. Do not be the dick who tries to embarrass your friends by stealing their clothes.

That being said, there will always be a dick tries to embarrass his or her friends by stealing their clothes. If you are that dick: leave behind shoes, to protect modesty and/or feet. To avoid being the victim: hide your clothes and hide them well. The inconvenience of wearing sandy shorts you have buried, or a freezing dress who have concealed at the bottom of a cooler far outweighs the embarrassment of scrambling around pathetically, asking your friends if they've seen your tanktop.

NOTE: If only one person has chosen to go skinny-dipping, you are absolutely permitted to steal their clothes. You may intend this action as punishment or a wake-up call. They may interpret it as appreciation for their fine naked form.

Where and when is skinny dipping appropriate?
Skinny dipping is most appropriate at night, in a private water source. Pools, lakes, and beaches all work equally well, though creatures of the deep are least likely to lodge themselves in your crevices of the deep in a pool. Do not skinny dip with minors. Do not skinny dip at public beaches or famed religious sites, even if you are totally in the shadows and probably no one can even see you there, right? Someone can see you there. Do not force your nakedness on them.

You guys are like my best friends and I want to remember this night forever. Can we take pictures if we promise never to share them?
Under no circumstances is ANYONE allowed to take photos. Embellished memories will have to suffice. If you're unable to retain memories because you're blackout drunk, it's too dangerous for you to be swimming in the first place. No one whom you would describe as "like my best friend" is actually your best friend.

I have a cool trick where I walk on top of water instead of sinking down into it. Can I do this while skinny dipping?
Jesus Christ, no. This is as attention whore-y as being the only person who is skinny dipping.

[Image via Flickr/my 2-dimensional world]