Maybe it's the warm weather. Or maybe it's just California. This much is for sure: in the Golden State, clothing appears to be optional.
From naked dining to mass-mooning an Amtrak train, California offers a little something for the budding exhibitionist — or voyeur — in all of us.
For starters, there's dinner. Like everyone else in America, couples in California are getting ready to spend Valentine's Day over a candlelit meal for two.
But leave it to Los Angeles to incorporate delicious food and a hot body without the worry of getting fat. Impossible? Hardly, assuming the food never actually reaches your mouth because you are — and this is no joke — the plate.
Gary Arabia’s Global Cuisine — a posh event-producing/catering company that boasts clientele like Kanye West and Shaquille O’Neal — offers the Body Sushi Experience, a sensual dining soiree in which Asian delicacies are painstakingly laid out on strategically placed tea leaves atop a beautiful nude model.
Arabia says the idea came to him years ago after spending time in Japan and feeding, if you will, off the country’s unique cultural and culinary experiences.
“I am based out of L.A. where people have seen it all and done it all. I had clients who were looking for a unique culinary experience. A young lady who worked for me, a beautiful girl, was my muse for bringing Body Sushi out of the closet. It was just natural,” Arabia said.
Au natural, indeed. Fortunately for those of us with a sweet tooth, Arabia’s foray into naked noshing did not stop there. How does a nude model covered in chocolate sound?
“Body Chocolate was an evolution from Body Sushi,” Arabia said. “They are both intimate, sensual, culinary performance experiences.”
But those with shallow pockets or a propensity for beer bongs and thongs need not inquire. The Body Experience will run you $500 a person, at least.
“Body Sushi encapsulates all of the senses. It’s not a bachelor party environment. That’s not to say it’s not incredibly sensual, but it’s not girls on poles,” Arabia said.
Get Your Strip On
The Erotic Museum in Los Angeles wants you to take your clothes off.
And not only if you're supermodel-thin. The museum is looking to create a naked database of all kinds of bods in hopes of painting a more accurate picture of the modern human, as opposed to the altered and often unattainable versions often served up by the media.
Not up for stripping? The museum also features adult-themed pictures, movies, paintings, graphs, etchings, dioramas and interactive exhibits. Not to worry, though — this is no house of ill repute.
“We never wanted to shock people. Our general motto is to educate, to entertain and to inspire people to talk about sex," said Erotic Museum CEO Boris Smorodinsky.
The Erotic Museum will be open late for Valentine's Day.
For those who enjoy their naked Valentine’s Day so much that they feel the need to incorporate random nudity into their life year-round, all that's necessary is a pair of sneakers.
Bay to Breakers, dubbed “the world’s most popular and colorful footrace,” is a 7.46-mile race through the hilly streets and parks of San Francisco that encourages participants to wear costumes, enjoy live music and lose themselves in the free-wheeling San Fran atmosphere along the way.
But the madcap costume circuit got more than they bargained for when people started shedding their inhibitions until there was nothing left to shed.
Bare-to-Breakers is an actual organized group of people that run the race — you guessed it — as nature intended. These pioneering pedestrians say that they do it because it is their constitutionally protected right, but the official race organizers beg to differ.
“The Bay to Breakers wants to remind everyone that public alcohol consumption and nudity are both illegal in the city of San Francisco. Those who wish to partake in these activities risk being cited and/or arrested by the San Francisco Police Department,” race manager Angela Fang said.
Nonetheless, they run en masse every year, and will do so again this year on May 21.
Far from the highbrow nudity served up in L.A., thousands of beer-swilling, pants-dropping folks swarm upon the Laguna Niguel's Mugs Away Saloon in Orange County every July with a purpose.
These are people on a mission. These are people with a message. These are people who travel for miles, on word of mouth alone, to line up along a chain link fence and moon an Amtrak train.
Dawn Capitan, a bartender at the Mugs Away Saloon and longtime train-mooner, explained that the tradition started 26 years ago when some guys were sitting in the bar, drinking what had to have been an astronomical amount of beer, and one of them bet another to moon the Amtrak that ran behind the bar. He did.
Somehow this small act of defiance started a rear-end revolution which today is complete with T-shirt stands and cookouts.
“You know when the Amtrak’s about to come because everyone’s got their butts pressed up against the fence. The train slows to a crawl,” Capitan said.
California's naked celebrations might be too much for most. But if you ever wake up one day with an insatiable urge to be seen in your birthday suit, pay no heed to the hysterical objections of your friends and co-workers. Whether you're a nudie foodie or goon who longs to moon, Cali's got it (un)covered.