I've been fielding myriad questions about my recent experience at a nudist camp, ranging from "Did you get really sunburned?" to "Could you please get away from me?" (That one has been coming mostly from my coworkers.)
Anyhoo, here are some parting thoughts from my day of parting with my clothes:
The first rule of Nudist Club: There is no Nudist Club Well, there is, but it's easy to miss, even with its sign that says "Natural Horisun Nudist Camp" and little American flags. I must've passed the entrance to Natural Horisun three times. I had no idea what to expect as I drove down the dirt road towards the camp. Would there be a naked security guard wearing an unfortunately placed badge checking you in? Moreover, when I finally left the camp that evening, I felt as though reality had set back in the minute I turned off the dirt road and onto the highway. It seemed like a dream, like there was no way 70 naked people could be dancing to the Village People in that camp. It begged the question: If you take your clothes off in the woods, and no one sees you, are you really naked?
Nudists don't judge Unless you're clothed, that is. Though they're born nude, most nudists aren't born nudists. They say that they understand the trepidation of dropping trou in front of others, that they remember their first time. Of course, they say all this while they're in fact, nude. The nudists didn't really warm up to me until I was nude, too, making me wonder how people who observe the "optional" in "clothing optional" nudist camps are treated.
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Nothing breaks the ice like a little public nudity I found the nudists I met to be terribly friendly. Most of them went into a pseudo-socio-anthropological spiel about how once clothes are off, the normal barriers that people put up are gone. No looks to see what brand your jeans are, or whether your shoes are in season. I left knowing more about these folks than I'd anticipated. They left knowing whether I'm an innie or an outie. Nudists aren't hippies Go figure: Based on my very un-scientific survey (I was naked, okay?), the majority of nudists I met were card-carrying Republicans (although I didn't ask where they were carrying their cards). Only a few, who would answer, said they were Democrats. Most balked at the notion of nudists as hippies. Memo to Karl Rove: You're really missing out on an untapped voter base. Could there be a nudist candidate in '08?
Survival skills are important Once you strip down, your major physical concern is how much sunblock to slather on, and making sure you have a large enough towel (see the story for details). But what about the emotional/psychological aspects of going buff in front of strangers?
With no therapist around, I was forced to assimilate and find my own happy place. I smiled a lot. Also, I found that singing a tune in my head helped. Level 42's "Something About You" really helped me when confronted with naked children and large fat men.
And I recall one thought that ran through my head the entire time I spent with these happily nekkid folks: I wonder what they'd look like clothed? -- Steven Devadanam