Friday, June 3, 2011
Talking to nudists about Casual Fridays
So I’ve been yammering on the phone with nudists all week and I can’t get a satisfying answer to one burning question: What do nudists do on casual Fridays?
It turns out most nudists -- even those toiling in nudist professions -- wear clothes to work. It must mean every wage earner needs a place to shove their keys, their cell phones, etc.
Well, a comfortable place.
It doesn’t seem right. But I guess even those who are always nude couldn’t possibly dress down any further without shaving.
Four days after I wrote a story about my disdain for being surrounded by unshapely people in skimpy swimwear, I’m writing an msnbc.com travel story celebrating people who wear nothing at all.
And, hey, until the phones all transmit hi-def visuals, I’m into it.
So if I talk to a female representative of the American Association for Nude Recreation in Kissimmee, Florida -- and I love that a nudist organization is located in a town with “Kiss” in its name -- I can let my imagination roam.
I can imagine she’s about 29 with the body of an Olympian volleyballer without all the pesky tan lines. She’s certainly a free spirit, open-minded, loves Barack.
I’m thinking phone sex could break out at any minute and the day’s been a bit of a bore so that might be fun.
Of course, the nudists all stress that nudity has nothing to do with sex.
I can’t wrap my head around the notion. It goes against everything I’ve ever stood for, not to mention lay down with romantic aspirations for.
But true nudists make a point to distinguish themselves from swingers, swappers and other randy danglers.
“If a man starts getting aroused, he needs to wrap a towel around himself, lay down on his stomach or leave the area,” she said.
It turns out the only thing nudists are truly interested in raising is awareness.
“We’re all born nudists,” said an elderly California gentleman, a retired physician. “Being nude has physical, spiritual and emotional benefits. The doors and walls all disappear and pretty soon we’re all playing like kids again.”
He recalled a story about how a man he described as curious was in the room with his naked wife -- and curiosity is the go-to emotion for most any man in a room with any naked woman.
“He said he felt uncomfortable because she was naked and he found her attractive. I said, ‘Well, would you be attracted to her if she was wearing clothes?’ He said yes. I asked, well, how is this any different?”
At this point, I wonder if he was forced to retire from the medical profession for gross incompetence.
I can see a mighty big difference between a woman wearing clothes and one not wearing any.
Let me modify that: I’d enjoy seeing the difference between a woman wearing clothes and one not wearing any.
But given the morality standards at a typical nudist resort he has a point. He says accepted behavioral codes are enforced and a nudist resort fits somewhere between church and a bar in regards to sexual mingling.
I was surprised to learn there is a thriving nude cruise industry. All the top cruise lines have devoted big ships to nude-exclusive groups involving hundreds of passengers.
It’s been going on for 20 years.
Traveling nudists is a niche market I’d never considered. I asked if they packed as much clothing as non-nudists and was disappointed to learn they do.
You’d think an increase in traveling nudists would cut overhead bin burdens by 85 percent. Why pack beach or dinner duds to visit to a nudist resort?
The conversations were uniformly lively, if uniform’s a word you can use to describe people without clothes. I can now say that while I may not be a nudist, I’ll certainly embrace them. Well, most of them.
I didn’t want to end the calls on a downer topic that, to me, is of even greater philosophical interest than what a nudist wears on casual Fridays:
What do you see when you look in the coffin of a dead nudist?
I contend if you see a cheap suit then you’re looking at some body who’s lived a lie.