I grew up in an era when there was a Baskin-Robbins 31 Flavors ice cream store on seemingly every corner. They’re still around, but the logo and marketing strategy has evolved over the years. I’m not sure if the 31 flavors thing is actually still… a thing.
But something that is a thing? There are at least 31 flavors of naked! And by the end of this summer, I will have tasted nearly all of them. Except, of course, for those that have no personal allure. (I love pistachios. I love ice cream, but I’m not fond of pistachio ice cream.)
This evening, we’ll go live with episode three of Simply Naked, a live conversation with several nude bloggers to discuss how one might go about finding their preferred flavor of social nudity, since as it turns out, there are way more the thirty-one flavors when it comes to nude recreation. This has become blatantly evident to me in my ongoing project that I’ve recently labeled, Vitamin D Data Collection.
What is Vitamin D Data Collection, you might ask? Well, when all the borders closed about fourteen months ago, many of our favorite flavors of social nudity were suddenly no longer available. That little island in the South of France. Those awesome resorts in Croatia. The beautiful resort near Pretoria, South Africa. In fact, I just barely made it back onto American soil from a naked place in Thailand before the entire world went into total lockdown on Friday, March 13th, 2020.
Those who have an insatiable appetite for world travel can surely relate to the general sense of malaise we’ve felt when the sights, sounds, and smells of international exploration were suddenly off the table. Not just the naked part, but that pitcher of wine at a Greek taverna, or morning espresso by the sea near Gibraltar. All of it! So, we turned inward to seize this opportunity to experience our own US of A, if only to see what we’ve been missing that doesn’t involve a trans-oceanic flight.
Back to the Vitamin D data collection project, by the time Europe opens to Americans again this summer, I think we will have made at least a perfunctory visit to about sixty naked places in America. That’s a lot! In fact, at this writing, I’m working on another cross-country road trip to retrieve some family heirlooms from the opposite coast, making a point to check out notable naked places along the way, be those nudist resorts, naturist B&Bs, hot springs, or simply places where social nudity is acceptable, if not the norm. Sometimes I announce that I’m a blogger and that I would be happy to “talk up your place” should it be possible to arrange a visit, while other times I simply pay the gate fee, assuming my role as the Meandering Naturist, quietly and discreetly taking it all in. Naturism and nude recreation is a highly visible sector of the hospitality industry in Europe, (especially when you wrap in the spa culture in places like Germany and Holland) but here in the US, not so much. With that in mind, here are a few things I’ve discovered along the way…
- Every naked place has a distinct flavor, which becomes evident from the very first point of contact. A simple phone call might take you to a dedicated (volunteer) member of the club, a complacent staff member, or the impassioned owner of the property. There is no uniform protocol for booking a day at a nudist resort.
- American nudist resorts love to give tours. And more often than not, that will take place on the back of a golf cart, quite possibly, NAKED! I try to remember our first clothing-optional experiences, and wonder how I would feel today if my first experience with social nudity involved following a middle-aged guy around – naked – while he explained the protocol of sitting on a towel while pointing out the new pickleball courts. Even after all these years, I find it all quite off-putting, even though I get why they do it. But interestingly enough, be it in Europe, Asia, or Africa, we’ve been left to figure out the “nudist etiquette” thing on our own, without coaching or a golf cart, and somehow everybody has figured out the sit on a towel thing. Bizarre!
- I can’t get naked in the US without a background check. Sometimes this takes place at the office while checking in. In other cases, you have to submit your request to visit weeks in advance so they have time to complete the full workup. I always wonder what that process involves? Are they cross-referencing the known sex-offender list? Calling the FBI? And then I think about the irony of it all, wondering what it would be like if you had to jump through that hoop every time you booked a room at a Marriott hotel. Surely, there are creepy humans hanging around the pool at the Maui Westin that may well be on somebody’s no-fly list, but because everyone is wrapped in nylon and Lycra, they apparently don’t pose a threat there.
- The owner is always right! That’s quite a lot different than my father’s mantra as an independent businessman, where the customer was always right. I had something of a tussle with the owner of a boutique naturist resort a few weeks ago when I tried to book – under my real name – but was denied because I use a pseudonym as a blogger. He was kind enough to lay out his rationale for enforcing this policy, to which I retorted, in some detail, as to why I have chosen to maintain some level of anonymity in the blogosphere. He completely supported my rationale, but went on to deny my booking as it seems I’m permanently blacklisted from visiting that venue. The policies and rules of each naked place we’ve visited are widely varied. I have to say, simply the process of figuring those policies out on the fly can take up a lot of brain space – even on a free beach when you’re trying to discern where you can or cannot be naked.
- And then there’s the hot spring thing! A whole different tradition and set of rules as hot springs typically cater to people who don’t consider themselves naturists, nudists, or even clothing-optional enthusiasts. If it’s a commercial enterprise, like some of those in Colorado or on the West Coast, you have to comb through several webpages to figure it all out, but if it’s simply a hidden public-access hot spring, you likely won’t know until you get there if nudity will be forbidden due to the presence of the textiles who got there first. Spend ten minutes on TripAdvisor, and you’ll find radically opposing views about the “virtues or atrocities of naked people in in the pools” at any given place.
So, this afternoon, we naked-blogger-social-nudity-enthusiasts are going try to give some pointers on how to find your favorite naked place. Truthfully, I’m not sure what to say, other than, “It depends.” For starters, you may be looking for the very thing that I’m trying to avoid., (SEE: What Kind of Nudist are YOU?) and thus, my extensive blogging efforts to simply document what’s out there, whether it’s my naked place or not. But not unlike visiting Baskin-Robbins, you really can’t know if you’ll like licorice spice ice cream until you give it a try. And if you don’t like it, remember, there are at least another thirty options on the menu!
Maybe that’s the point. Especially if you’re a newbie nudist, you may have to try a few flavors until you find one you that resonates with you, realizing there’s no such thing as a standard vanilla in the world of social nudity, and the fact that I’m not fond of pistachios in my ice cream may turn out to be of little consequence to you. Apparently, somebody likes pistachio ice cream! You simply can’t know until you try it.