Thanks to the glory of social media, I have watched the controversy of NOD vs. EOE with interest for the past couple of years. I loved NOD. It was crucial in my growth as a sex-positive queer individual, and I thought my voice might be useful in this conversation.
I recognize problematic aspects of the NOD of 20 years ago that mirrored problematic aspects of a society that had a primitive view of sex and gender. That discussion has flourished since my last time nude on campus, and I am grateful it continues. NOD has evolved and should continue to evolve. I hope women and LGBTQ+ folx are well-represented on the organizing committees or are at the very least involved in the planning of what ought to be an inclusive event.
Despite its limitations, NOD was an event in which eroticism was valued rather than shamed. For a 20-year-old who had absorbed puritanical stereotypes that constantly battled against their free and curious spirit, it was heaven. The nostalgic among you can try to track down my column entitled “Nudity Offers Liberation,” which appeared in a fall 1995 issue of the Thresher. The short version is that I went to my first NOD that fall and ran in the Baker 13 Halloween run shortly after. The experience impacted me enough to, well, write a column about it.
I agree with the recent editorial that EOE is direct competition for NOD, and it is framed in a way that is meant to demean NOD itself. The “alternative to NOD” is the same as the alternative to any other campus party: do something else. To throw another Rice party at the same time suggests that the decision not to attend NOD is somehow different from the decision not to attend Rondelet or Archi Arts or whatever Will Rice College tries to do these days. Part of my mission as a sex-positive person is to erase judgment of others’ consensual sexual choices. Attending NOD is one such choice. That choice transformed me.