I’m just saying that despite the numerous encouraging – if not a bit glib – posts in publications like Forbes or The New York Times, the “acceptance of social nudity” and the “mainstreaming of nakations” are not quite as pervasive as one might like to believe.

Reflecting back on my childhood, that goofy storybook called The Emperor’s New Clothes delineates my earliest fascination with nakedness. I not only remember staring at the cover trying to discern “the naughty bits,” but wondering – even as a child – what the world might be like if naked was more normal. Of course, that’s not the moral of this children’s fable, but instead, the king is tricked into total humiliation when he realizes everyone is laughing at him for being so gullible and self-absorbed that he didn’t even realize he was naked. At least, that’s how I remember the story in the shadowy corners of my childhood memory.

Strangely, I’ve thought quite a lot about that story in recent months. Not only the subliminal message it sent to generations of children about the shame associated with nudity, but in a more allegorical sort of way, related to my current thoughts about social nudity in general. As COVID restrictions eased and I found myself having to really get dressed to go to work each morning, (How many people weren’t actually joking about not wearing pants on those incessant ZOOM calls?) my typical proclivity for being naked at home took quite a hit. Mine is a job that frequently requires long workdays that stretch well into the evening. Even the ritual of getting naked for a glass of wine by the fire often seems like too much effort when you walk in the door, exhausted, at 10:30 pm.

It’s been affirming to hear from a few long-time readers in recent weeks asking if I’m going to resume blogging since I signed off in the midst of our travels last summer. I suspect the kind shout-out from Stéphane Deshênes on his podcast about Cap d’Agde helped a good bit with that, though to be honest, I still haven’t listened to it myself. After nearly two decades of advocating for and blogging about naturism and social nudity, I took quite a fall last summer as to my zeal for the cause. To lift a quote from those clever Wallace and Gromit shorts, “Geez Gromit, It seems you’ve lost the bounce in your bungee!”

Getting banned from Instagram was certainly annoying, but that happens so frequently to so many in the naturist community that it only seemed like a matter of time for me. But getting thrown off Twitter (with 30K+ followers) with a hard denial for reinstatement from the social media gods really… well… pissed me off! I had actually found a community in the Twittersphere as there were (and I assume still are) a substantial number of advocates for social nudity that were engaged in meaningful discourse about social nudity on a platform that had the potential to reach beyond the limited subscription base of AANR and British Naturism. I found it peculiar, knowing what other sorts of things show up on that platform, that my account had been identified as such as source of evil and malicious intent. It wasn’t just that some bot had identified too much skin in my profile photo, but more like someone had combed through my extensive thread – years of posts – and reported each and every one as offensive and unlawful. The follow-up correspondence from Twitter made it clear that if I ever attempted to post under a new name, any account traced back to my DNS (one’s personal identification on the internet) it would immediately be shut down and removed.

I find it ironic that one of my last blog posts had been a lobbying effort of sorts for the value of promoting the intrinsic values of social nudity on mainstream channels of social media, which in turn, spawned a tangly thread of comments from those who either shared or opposed that perspective. I thought it was an interesting and thought-provoking exchange.

Meanwhile, as all this social media craziness was going on, I was on a sort of rampage to broaden my perspective on organized social nudity while working to build a (self-proclaimed) comprehensive resource for other confirmed or would-be naturists. Given the opportunity to drive coast-to-coast across these not so United States, visiting every resort, nude beach, and naturist B&B I could find along the way, proved to be very enlightening, though not in the way I had expected. Positive experiences at such places were outnumbered by “less-than-pleasant” (to be kind) experiences, perhaps two-to-one.

Consider the innkeeper who refused my booking when I let it be known that I blog under a pseudonym. (That violated the proprietor’s ethical stance on promoting the acceptance of nudism. His place. His rules.) Or the number of times I was issued a hard ultimatum to reach the front gates by 5:00 pm sharp (after driving hundreds of miles in a day) or I would be shut out for the night. Or the burly old dude who gave me sketchy directions to pull up to an unmarked gate in the middle of nowhere wilderness, (at night) lay on the horn, (hoping I was at the right unmarked gate) to await someone to show up ten minutes later to open said gate. What’s more, nobody bothered to mention during the booking process that the “resort” was under renovation and the entire pool complex had essentially been demolished.

This is to say nothing of the places that simply refused me as one-night guest, especially if I couldn’t make it in time for the tour and introduction to organized nudism. (I finally stopped sharing my blog as it became increasingly apparent that nobody cared, even if there was the potential for free publicity.) And oh… I’ve been delicately avoiding the bizarre political undertones that exist at so many American nudist resorts.

(Photo: The Meandering Naturist comes out!)

I’m pretty live and let live when it comes to accepting opposing ideas about politics, religion, and the like, but maybe not so much when you drive through the gates into a neighborhood that seems poised for a full blown political rally. I suspect that feels incredibly welcoming… to approximately 48% of the population!

The point being that even a devoted and tenacious naturist such as myself found it remarkably difficult to visit naturist destinations where I was not already a known member of the community. It should be said that there were a few notable exceptions, such as Squaw Mountain Ranch in Oregon that welcomed me to their Friday night potluck with open arms, or the beautifully developed Sun Meadow Resort in Idaho that provided one of the most comfortable accommodations on the entire trip, but alas, at this writing, Sun Meadow has recently announced that the property has sold and has gone completely textile. This was one of the few gems I visited amidst more than two-dozen stopovers, but sadly, they’re no longer in the mix. (I would have provided links to those to places, but for the first one, the website is down, and the second one is no longer naturist. Huh!)

It’s not that I didn’t meet friendly people along the way, nor was my journey devoid of some breathtaking moments of naked in nature, like walking to the bat cave at Orient Land Trust, (who asked me not to blog about my stay!) or my first visit to the stunningly gorgeous Black’s Beach near San Diego, of hanging with Frank and Nadine at the very hip clothing optional AirBNB in Florida. I’m just saying that despite the numerous encouraging – if not a bit glib – posts in publications like Forbes or The New York Times, the “acceptance of social nudity” and the “mainstreaming of nakations” are not quite as pervasive as one might like to believe.

My Twitter account was deleted while we were staying at a smallish clothing-optional resort in Europe last summer. I was in the midst of documenting our travels at the time, linking to my social media accounts in an effort to get the word out, “Hey, we just found this sweet little naturist place in Spain!” Once banned from social media, however, we paid visits to two or three other small inns where the accommodations were nice enough, the hosts were sufficiently welcoming, but we found ourselves amidst an aging clientele (where we felt sprightly and young despite the fact that we are neither!) that had uniformly succumbed to anchoring their naked bodies next to the pool one day after the next with little desire to see what might exist beyond the towering resort walls. I would initiate several posts in the subsequent weeks, but none ever went live. Truth be told, I had a great deal to say about the nature of naturism in 2021, but as my mother used to say, “If you can’t say anything nice…. !”

Am I done with naturism? Nope. I don’t think so. We have trips on the drawing board for the Caribbean this winter and back to Europe this summer – though likely to tried and true venues where we know what we’re likely to find there, including a few decent restaurants and accommodations with en suite bathrooms that would earn more than one star from AAA.

Will I keep blogging? Maybe. Perhaps I should change the name of the blog to The Cantankerous Naturist! I still have a lot to say about social nudity, but I may be done with the cookie-cutter best place ever and social nudity will change your life posts. I simply don’t know if there’s a place on the internet to have real discussions about the genuine complexities of nakedness, the future of naturism, and the actual reasons so many people are reluctant to partake!

And by the way, while I’m donning new clothes, I should mention that my name is Paul. (Hey innkeeper dude, can I stay at your B&B now?) Dan… as in Naturist Dan… is my middle name. I’m on faculty at a large university in the Northeast where I publish regularly under my real name and routinely work with high school kids in groups for 200-300 at a time as part of my job. I’m pretty sure that most of my (college) students know that my wife and I like nude beaches, as do most of my peers, though my wife is significantly more guarded about sharing our naturist doings with her friends. She much prefers nakation to vacation, but it rarely occurs to her to get naked at home. Too much of a bother unless we’re with naturist friends or headed to the hot tub. Nor does she care to complicate her life by explaining the concept of nakation to her not-so-open-minded friends. I respect her decision on that front.

As for the blog, when I upgraded the platform about a year ago, it greatly increased the administrative costs, (e.g. webhosting, etc) all of which will come due again in a couple months. That totally felt worth it when my posts were reaching 40-50k people via links on social media. But now, I’m not sure it’s worth it if I’m writing mainly to myself… and a few dedicated followers, of course, who probably don’t need my any more of my musings to convince them of the virtues of social nudity. (I could roll the web-hosting back to the cheaper package, but it would destroy the formatting of the current site, which translates into lots of hours in reformatting and loads of lost content. Nope – don’t think so.)

So, there we are there. An update from The Cantankerous Naturist. Life slows down a bit for me about this time of year so we’ll see where things go from here. As always, I welcome your feedback as I suspect there are others out there who share my frustrations within the context of sincere passion for naturism and all that it stands for. As in the past, I’m always keen for a good debate or a lively discussion. I am a university professor, after all. That’s what we do. I live in a world where critical race theory, non-binary identities, and sexual orientation are the core issues of nearly every conversation on campus. Now there’s some interesting fodder for conversations about social nudity!

18 thoughts

  1. Dude! Finally! We have been waiting for The Cantankerous Naturist for years! Now we can go travel together, we will be our cheerful selves and you’ll be bitching about everything, the good cop/bad cop thing. You will be Waldorf and Statler and we will be Kermit and Miss Piggy (please don’t tell Lins I said this). It’s gonna be EPIC!

    Just kidding, I actually had to look up what “cantankerous” means. But now that I wrote this down it actually does seem like a pretty good idea. Anyway, it’s great to see you back! I kinda knew that although you were thoroughly disappointed in worldwide naturism, I also knew that the writing bug would not leave you alone. We’re looking forward to reading many more blogs of which we need to run 1/3 of the words through Google translate. You’re an inspiration to us and many others. Just be real, be genuine, because that’s what the world needs!

    Greetings from Vera Playa, we’ve been here for almost a week and haven’t encountered a single person that wasn’t at least double our age. But we found a place with cheap wine and that solves a lot of our problems 😉

    Let’s talk soon!
    We need to do that good cop/bad cop thing.
    It’s gonna be EPIC 😉

  2. Paul,

    I’m very glad to see you back, in spite of the sensible and well-intentioned despondent tone.

    As I just quoted from Friedrich Schiller in a very different context,
    Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.

    My opinion remains that “the way forward” (if there is one), is to not rely mainly on “organized naturism” – either large-scale naturist organizations or existing, old-fashioned “naturist resorts” (AKA “retirement communities”). Instead what’s needed is to appeal to intelligent, open-minded people about the reasonableness and worthiness of social nudity and to develop a network of mutually-supportive local naturist groups.

    I don’t really understand your concerns about the “administrative costs” of blogging. I have more than 10 registered URLs (most currently unused) for which the annual fee is about $25 each. All of them are hosted on a service that costs about $25 per month for the whole shebang. All that is dwarfed by the cost of the decent-speed Internet connection, which one needs anyhow, and goes for about $100 per month. What expenses have I failed to burden myself with? Perhaps it’s the “elegant” formatting of the site? Personally I much prefer what seems now to be a stodgy blog format from about 2005. To make a new post all I have to do is type it in, proofread it, upload a picture or two and – boom – it’s done. And there’s no need to beg for donations.

    (I hope you don’t need to check the “spam” bucket because the version of WordPress you’re using is too cantankerous.)

  3. Much thanks to your position statement and lengthy evaluation of where you are and where you think social nudism is here in the states. We live part-time in Glen Eden Sun Resort near L.A. and San Diego, love it and the members. The majority of members are in the 50 and beyond demographic and the majority are quite active with tennis, pickle ball, water volleyball, 5k runs and swimming. We are beginning to see more younger visitors from throughout California and neighboring states and Canadian sunbirds.

    We’ll be moving in full time next summer. I’m somewhat limited in what I can do now. Last summer I broke my neck doing pull-ups, the trauma from that caused a lot of medical problems afterwards. I’ve always been very active so it’s a big change. I hope next year that I can begin again with weightlifting, walking, swimming. The members here have been absolutely superb and helpful, which is typical of our nudist community. Also we want to get back to cruising and visiting other resorts.

    We get a few visitors who bring their kids with them, though I wish more young families would entertain the idea of trying nakations and the lifestyle.

  4. Dan/Paul, I encourage you to stick around on at least WordPress. I miss your intelligent and thoughtful posts.

    You are VERY right about the US not being a friendly place for nudism. I have caught flak a number of times for pointing out the kind of social hostility and legal problems nudists can encounter here. There is a contingent who seem to think that pointing out the real issues is wrong because it might discourage would-be nudists. Apparently they don’t think that outraging conservative parents with kids or meeting a squad car at the trail head for some serious questioning would discourage them even more.

    Public nudity is a special interest fro some of us but not a hill we are willing to die on. There are times and places where it is quite safe and others where it is not at all.

    There are also a number of arm-chair nudists who insist they’ve been hiking nude regularly through busy Bible-belt trails for years with regular encounters and never had one go negative. I’ve lived in those areas and that’s disingenuous to say the least. In any social bubble, there will be many people who want to appear to be more righteous than thou.

    I’ve been booted from FB twice. I was within the literal wording of their standards. However the standards are intentionally vague so that two people looking at them would come to different conclusions based on their personal biases. There is also no opportunity to argue your case. This is intentional to discourage one from even coming close to their stated rules. It also gives them flexibility to be overtly biased. The standards are also interpreted differently depending on how rich and famous one is.

    If you really want to get back on short form social media, you could create a new account through a VPN from whatever country and IP address you want. There’s no crime here and the worst thing they can do is boot you again. (I don’t think it is worth the effort.)

    I work almost entirely with long form social media like WordPress. They make their money from the individual doing the posting and not from advertisers and are less vulnerable to so idiots getting a fly up their collective butts and threatening boycott or parents blocking kids access to the site. If they shut down nudist bloggers they’d lose money.

    Still, I save everything important locally because when social media lock you out they don’t give to access to save the material you produced. (The older I get the less seems important to save.) It is in the nature of social media to be unpredictably ephemeral.

    I recently went through a change from the free WP plan to the business plan on my main blog just so i could get a better format for my posts. I had about 480 posts (!!!) and simply dropped 2/3 of them. At the same time my own rate of posting has dropped considerably. Putting together a good post is tremendously time consuming and I need to really feel it before I spend half a week to do it.

    I suppose I could just do short text posts. And photo editing consumes a lot of time. But then I’m not happy with the product. I don’t write to please other people so much as I write to express myself and other people are the sounding board for my thoughts. As long as somebody likes my work, I don’t care how many see it.

    Here’s a non-WP blog I’m a contributing editor on that you might enjoy more than WP:

    https://naturismcommunity.substack.com/

    And here i have written a reply to someone else’s blog that is as long as a full fledged blog post itself. It didn’t take 8 hours over 3 days and I didn’t spend most of the time collecting source material and editing photos. That’s the advantage of a text only post.

  5. Dan/Paul,
    I’ve always enjoyed your posts on the various social media outlets on which you used to/still post. Please don’t let up and I will continue to be a fan!
    Thanks for your perspectives, always!

  6. Wow, there’s a lot to unpack here! Despite the (very understandable and relatable) undertone of the post, it is indeed great to hear from you.

    No matter what the future may have in store for the site, we hope to continue to read your blog entries, even if they show up in our inboxes much less frequently than before. We hope you are enjoying the holiday season and wish you all the best in 2022 and beyond. Please do be in touch (via whatever communication platform you find most preferable) and we hope to cross paths soon!

    All the best to you both, whatever your names are! 😄
    J&N

  7. Hey, Dan, so great to see you back and writing in your usual style … Well, maybe with a bit more ginger/cayenne than I remember, but certainly in good, spirited voice, with your enthusiasm for naked living, and appropriate complaints about the frustrations of your treatment at the hands of the nudist establishment and the capricious gods of the social media world (grr …. I can sense your upset … and so soon after your getting back after your early summer sojourn). Nonetheless, it was so wonderful to see you at a couple of classic places, and now it’s almost as wonderful to see you back on line! (I say almost because it’s always better to see a good friend in person.) Welcome back to the cyber-world. Hope you’ve caught your breath — and are getting accustomed to putting on your trousers for those meetings we all love so much to attend. So, until such time as we come into a place where trousers are not needed — keep the faith, and keep on blogging!

    Allen

  8. On a lighter note, it never crossed my mind that some people might be joking about not wearing pants while on Zoom. But that’s me.

    Back to point, Yeah…. Between the people who seem excited about a political rally at their nudist spot, the disingenuous pearl-clutching among social media (self appointed?) watch dogs, and the spread of an ‘under siege’ mentality despite a lack of identified besiegers, It can look like you’re beating your head against a wall. The wall will not suffer but your head will. At same time, if you stop it looks like you’re giving in or admitting that the ‘wall’ is ‘right’ in some way that never gets identified.

    The only thing to do is outflank them.

    “Instead what’s needed is to appeal to intelligent, open-minded people about the reasonableness and worthiness of social nudity and to develop a network of mutually-supportive local naturist groups.”

    My guess is that local groups working together probably would have the best ‘results : head banging’ ratio. Fair warning: My perception is skewed by the fact that I live in a very blue city that offered a plethora of social nudist activities pre-Covid.

  9. Paul, if I may,

    I too am glad that you’ve posted again, and as we discussed via a recent email exchange, I hope you continue to do so as I believe you have a lot to contribute. I’m particularly glad to see you back as we are somewhat close in age, and my wife and I somewhat identify with you two as a couple, though you are for more travelled than we are.

    Turning to Orient Land Trust, as a 20-year visitor and long-time sponsor (despite living nearly 900 miles away – we love the place and it was our family’s introduction to social nudity in 2002 when the kids were 10-12), I suspect that the reason you were asked not to blog is purely COVID-related: OLT was closed to everyone for post-pandemic 2020 and most of 2021. With their re-opening, they’ve limited the number of people allowed on the grounds and in the pools at one time. They have been trying so hard to accommodate those who already know about it and want to be there, my guess is they simply didn’t want you publicizing it and generating new visitors when they have not been able to accommodate long-time repeat visitors. But that is only a guess.

    Finally, I knew, or at least surmised, that you normally go by Paul. During one of the zoom things you did with Nick & Lins and Sam & Aleah, Charlotte either called you or referred to you as “Paul”, and I figured she would know what you are called outside of the webisphere.

    Regards,

    Bill

  10. As always we really enjoy reading your blog. We assumed you had retired as this is the first one we have received for a long while.
    May we wish you both a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous and naked new year

    Gordy & Sue

  11. Dan/Paul,

    Great to see this post! So nice to hear your thoughts.

    I still can’t help but get riled up a bit when I think of what transpired with your Twitter account. I know dwelling on that doesn’t help. But the fact that one of the best, most honest and transparent naturist commentators was silenced, undoubtedly targeted out of spite and vengeance…it’s hard to swallow. I suspect I know the post and issues that started the fire. Quite frankly, that makes it even more unpalatable. My friend, you were most definitely wronged.

    Regardless, whatever path you take in terms of blogging and SM is entirely up to you. Do what is right for you and your family. But I for one hope the insightful blogs will continue. They are a great read.

    All our best

  12. On a second read I wonder if you’re suffering from the same kind of ‘covid fatigue’ that I and many of the other 52% seem to be afflicted with. It’s not the fatigue from social distancing, hand sanitizing, etc. It’s the fatigue of over exposure to people who tell you their ‘research’ shows that water boils at 311F which equates to 113C (no, that’s not a typo; that’s my point) and you don’t understand how math works if you think differently. Or that the Vikings had Maori as their native language and wrote in Kanji. The result is that if you’re contemplating doing something and you catch even the slightest possibility of that sort of thinking your interest is gone so quickly it’s like Scotty beamed it out and you feel this crushing weariness.

    Unfortunately, I can’t remember where I read this, but the author gave this specific type of Covid fatigue a very witty name, which I’ve also forgotten.

    I wish I had a solution but I don’t. My short term strategy is to remember that Darwinism does not require my belief or acceptance or that of anyone else in order to take its course. It’s best to stay out of its way.

  13. ‘The Cantankerous Naturist’ ? Or maybe rather ‘the canary in the (naturist) coal mine’ pointing out shortcomings and indicating the direction to a better future?
    Looking forward to your future blogs 😉

  14. I went on Twitter, typed in meanderingnaturist, and I got your account. I sent you an email through Twitter asking if you are back in their good graces. Are you?