Are you still weirded out by my naked arse?

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Actually, we much prefer the term “naturists.” But I’ll get to that later.

If this post ever finds its way online, that will be the result of taking my blog of the last ten years – The Meandering Naturist – back onto the airwaves. A move I have contemplated at length since I flipped off the switch about six months ago.

For long-time followers, you may recall the kerfuffle about a colleague losing their cool over the discovery of my naked ass on the internet. Allegedly, a student was “deeply concerned” about said anatomical discovery and it was strongly suggested by my administrator that I simply “make it go away” – which I did with haste. Mine is a very public life once I get up in the morning and put clothes on, and while I was all about fighting for a cause I believe in with all my being – that being naturism – that was not the time nor the place to take on that crusade. In the wake of all that, I spawned a second blog called the Cantankerous Naturist where you can read the blow-by-blow account of what turned out to be something between a ginormous annoyance and a direct invasion of privacy. Even my Dean (my boss’s boss!) called me days later to assure me that what I do in my personal life is my own business, and there are plenty of faculty who commit significantly more egregious sins than swimming naked in Europe! (Joke’s on him. I’m a terrible swimmer. I mainly float!)

The thing is, I remain passionate about naturism, and I love writing about things that are not part and parcel of my professional life. But it’s no wonder there are so many misconceptions about a middle-aged guy and his wife with a penchant for running around Europe in the altogether. As I write this, we are staying at the stunningly beautiful La Chiappa on the southern shores of Corsica alongside a convivial crowd of French, German, and Italian families who apparently share our ethos that Lycra and tan lines are neither flattering nor necessary. But truthfully, how would the average American even begin to conceptualize what that’s all about?

I have tried to avoid entangling my blog about naturism into my political predilections, though that’s become increasingly difficult with the events of the past five years in these Divided States of America. We were never fans of George “W,” feeling at the time that his actions in the White House were reckless and likely to provoke irreparable damage on the world stage, but looking back, that all seems remarkably tame by comparison to more recent developments. Was Obama too progressive? Was Trump fit to be President? Is Biden capable of steering the ship? In this context, that’s hardly relevant in what has become a nation that is deeply divided, and resultantly, wildly intolerant of that which seems the least bit foreign or peculiar. The far Left and far Right are equally guilty of their unwillingness to see things with any level of objectivity, which is a serious liability for the likes of people like us who find the best moments in travel to be those that crush our (unknowingly) narrow perspectives as to how we view the world, or perhaps more importantly, how the world views us!

In the midst of an unprecedented heatwave gripping the entire European region right now, I read yesterday that despite Europe’s track record to reduce carbon emissions and seek out alternative energies, climate change does not recognize international borders! What happens in Asia, South America, or the US of A has a direct impact on humans all over the planet, regardless of their sensibilities and awareness.

What’s the point, you may ask? Perhaps we’re just a bit paranoid after several years of pandemic solitary confinement, but we seem to get the same bemused look when meeting people abroad as to who we are and where we come from as we do from people at home when they find out about our proclivity for social nudity. If a European even cares to engage in discussion, they express their befuddlement about our blatant disregard for the planet, our apparent tolerance for random mass shootings, and a genuine sense of disillusionment in a country that was once believed to be a world thought leader. That’s exactly the same facial expression I’ve experienced with colleagues who stammered through the words, “You be you, but getting naked is certainly not worth wrecking your career over, is it?” I suspect Europeans imagine us storming the Capitol with a crude weapon in hand, while that colleague must have envisioned us at some tawdry bacchanalia on a French beach on the Mediterranean Sea. The absence of context and real information has become the fodder for misunderstanding and disgust, well beyond the parameters of naturist ideals.

But alas, I don’t need to fly across an ocean to encounter a lack of empathy and understanding, as those seem to have become the main operatives in a place we used to call the Melting Pot. My initial reticence about sharing our naturist doings with my colleagues and students was primarily an effort not to stir the pot, particularly when it came to honoring people’s religious beliefs and value systems derived thereof. As a professor of the arts, I have always thought it my place to present my subject matter in the most objective way possible. If a student can’t get past my political orientation, religious beliefs, or my propensity for swimming (or floating) naked, they might shut down their own ability to be objective in pursuing artistry in an academic setting under my guidance.

This has all changed in recent years. Digital photography and the internet have altered the way everyone goes about their daily lives, not the least of which is the desire of so many to share their most intimate thoughts through the unfiltered megaphone of social media. And it’s difficult to imagine anyone who has spent more than a hot second on Twitter who hasn’t inadvertently stumbled into the most graphic pornography simply as the result of searching for a term with a little-known double-entendre. It’s ironic that the algorithms that Mark Zuckerberg purports to protect us from such graphic images seem to fail at that, but have at the same time proven wildly successful at detecting a nipple or a buttock which inevitably leads to the exile of so many naturist social media accounts, maligning so many people eager to speak to the altruistic values of non-sexual social nudity.

Since we have “come clean” in a more public way about our naturist doings, that has left the door open to more casual conversation about naturism – particularly as it exists in Europe – including that with former students who seem intrigued with our stories of body acceptance and less fazed than their parents by the premise of social nudity in general. A few have been brave enough to add a visit to a German Spa or a French naturist beach during their travels, only to come away with the quiet revelation that all the fuss had been much ado about nothing. Why would you want to sweat ten-percent of your body weight into a clingy swimsuit? And what does that bathing costume (British term. I love that!) do to actually obscure those parts of the body that one feels most insecure about.

Invariably, that naturist epiphany inherently leads to a line of questioning as to “Where can we find this in the United States?” To which we sadly reply – “Pretty much nowhere.”

It’s true that there are places here and there in the US that embrace naturist ideals as we’ve come to know them in Europe. A couple of resorts in Florida and Palm Springs. Historic campgrounds in New Jersey and Connecticut. Even a decent nude beach near San Diego. But for the uninitiated, chances are better than not that you’re going to wander into a situation that will simply confirm everything you suspected to be awkward or tawdry that perpetuates the very misconceptions that most Americans have about nudism in the first place. How many times have we driven into an American “nudist resort” ablaze with political banners celebrating Trump and all the conspiracy theories that come with? Hang around that place until Saturday night and chances are better than not there’ll be a gathering of the inebriated by the pool that, while not overtly sexual, is not a place where people would typically bring their children. And how many times have we heard the trope, “We found our true selves once the kids left home, and now, we’re ready to live our best naked adult lives!” How incredibly at odds that is with the family naturist environment here on the southern shores of Corsica, where young families are the predominant clientele? How could a prudish American even contextualize such a thing without jumping to some twisted or perverse conclusion?

On the trail near La Chiappa

It’s the peak of the school holidays here in the South of France, and La Chiappa appears to be near full capacity. At the beach and at the pool, families of all ages are plentiful and joyful as they do all the things you might expect at a Disney water park; fighting over floaties, chasing one another with water toys, and interacting with parents and grandparents in a manner we’ve seldom seen in the US. (Family is most certainly a thing in Europe!) Come evening, at least at this resort, people dress in simple but elegant pareos (sarongs) and shorts and t-shirts while the band plays and children stay up until midnight to dance the night away in a familial environment that just feels right. That’s not just a naturist resort thing. We saw that again last evening in the nearby village of Bonifacio where families spilled into the street to dance to the live band singing covers of American rock tunes.  

Try to explain this to someone in America who hasn’t experienced it and you risk association with the [imagined] super-liberal cabal that runs a child-trafficking ring out of the non-existent basement in a D.C. pizza place. (See Pizzagate, 2016) Families? Dancing? Beaches? Nudity? OMFG! Who are you and what the hell are you doing?

Ironically, Americans are inclined to refer to clothes-free recreation as nudism. In France, there is an unspoken association with the term “nudist” that implies that perhaps you’re not a family naturist, but more closely aligned with those seeking sexual pleasure as well. That most certainly exists in France (See our blog post about Cap d’Agde) and I don’t wish to pass judgment on that one way or the other. That simply isn’t our scene, nor is nudity inherently sexual to those who take their summer holidays at naturist resorts in France. If we had not discovered this some three decades ago, we would have given up on family naturism altogether. But instead, some of our fondest memories – as a family – with our now adult children occurred at places like La Jenny, Belezy, Montalivet, and La Chiappa. We’ll never know what we missed by not renting that expensive beach house on the Outer Banks each summer, but we doubt it was anything like this.

How reassuring that the French sensibility for naturism is still alive and thriving with so many young families crowding the pool that you have to plan your day strategically to work in your pool time. How frustrating that at home, where we – as a nation – like to think of ourselves as tolerant and open-minded, feel the need to look over our collective shoulder in an effort to protect ourselves from being labeled as “nudists.” If you do you equates to living a life where people value time with their children while seeking to enjoy nature while protecting the environment, all while placing a priority on conviviality, good food, and a nice, red wine, then yes – we’re guilty as charged.

Sunset at La Chiappa

Are you still weirded out by my naked arse? No worries – you don’t have to see it. We’ll simply buy a plane ticket to Europe and celebrate naturism in the company of the like-minded… open-minded…  humans. While we are eager to share the joys and adventures we’ve experienced over nearly four decades of naturist exploration, you won’t stumble into either of our naked arses unless you explicitly go searching for them!

As always, I (we) welcome comments and reflections, but better spoken to my face than behind my arse – naked or otherwise. 🙂

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31 thoughts

  1. Your being back is the best news we have had for long. Your comments on the various naturist resorts and activities practiced in the nude are always extremely useful, and written in a style that makes my wife and mysef want more!

  2. So great to see your photos (of land (sea-) scape) and read your commentary again! Great that you’re continuing a tradition. Have missed your on-line presence. Allen

    1. That sounds great. And I envy you for that. But I think the point of the post is that some of us live in situations where is just not that simple. My desire is to empathize with those who have faced similar perils and let them know, “you’re not alone!” Peace! ❤️

  3. Yeay!! Glad to see you back. I read this post right before entering a sauna establishment in Berlin. Awesome!

  4. A truly brilliant piece (as always) that is only overshadowed by the fact that you’re back! 🙂 So happy to read this and to wish you both a wonderful time overseas and safe travels. Stay cool, friends!

  5. It’s great hearing from naturists in academic fields; it goes to demonstrate the broad spectrum of people involved the clothes-free lifestyle.

    Regarding my own blog, I have long struggled over how much to expose of myself online. I eventually decided to own up to my beliefs, using my real name in all of my articles, along with Full Monty pics (nevermind my naked arse, you can see my penis too!). That being said, as an author who can hide behind the page, I am allotted a greater level of anonymity. Nudism is also a recurring theme in my work, so it makes sense that I not shy away from the values I so strongly espouse. The problem for me, however, is in becoming typecasted. I never wanted to be thought of as just a “nudist author” … I never wanted my work limited by a label, which is why I ended up making two blogs, one devoted to fiction and another to naturism.

    Marginalized groups face different challenges: whether those challenges involve public perception, the disapproval of an employer or family member, or conflicts arising from a religion background. For this reason, we should not be condemning one another for choosing how we handle these challenges. I admire nudists who find the confidence to express themselves, who post nude selfies, who use their real names, or who go out nude in public; but we cannot all be expected to share the same courage and, more importantly, we are not all in the same boat with regards to risk. Someone who has to worry about losing their job should not be pressured into letting the world know what they do on their off days. That being said, it’s wonderful that you were able to talk to your students about your nudism, and that your wife also supported you. You are very fortunate in that regard.

    Hopefully, someday, this sort of thing will simply be a non-issue, and going about naked will be deemed no more unusual than wearing shorts.

    1. Thanks Nick. I appreciate your kind words.

      My situation is exacerbated by the nature of my work. Were I simply an academic who publishes while teaching required course to an anonymous, ever evolving stream of students, that would be quite different, as would be my response.

      But I teach in a music school where my relationship and reputation with my students is paramount. That also takes me into the field where I frequently work with minors in various capacities. That’s where things get dicey in an era a paranoia and damning judgment from an untethered parent who decides to make our personal life a target. It’s a recurring theme in academia right now, and likely a topic for a future post.

      In any event, I’m hoping to restructure the blog a bit to provide substantive information to those who seek to truly understand, and get my blog off the tabloid shelf of the rumor mill. Enough playing hide and seek, already!

      Thanks again for you thoughtful comments! 🙂

  6. The mentality of Americans has always surprised us. When we see them on TV, they all seem proud and patriotic, telling everyone who wants to listen that they live in “the greatest nation on earth”.
    But when we met them in hostels in Guatemala or on nude beaches in France, they suddenly become apologetic, afraid to talk about their country, some even patching Canadian flags on their backpacks to avoid being recognised.
    This made us realise that there is no such thing is “The American”. Luckily.

    Great to have you back in the blogging sphere!

    1. Count us among the apologetic, along with approximately 51% of other people residing there in the US who wish to have nothing do do with all the palaver on Fox News. You’re not likely to run into “those folks” in a youth hostel or on a nude beach, though we did see them pouring off a cruise ship in Ajaccio the other day, pushing their way through the madding crowd in search of souvenir magnets.

      We once had a travel acquaintance observe that there are tourists (who seek to see the world as some sort of museum or display) and there are travelers (who are seeking to absorb the culture and disappear into the local fabric. He called us travelers, which made our day.

      Happy to be back. 🙂 Hopefully the drama is well behind us.

    2. I’m convinced there are two kinds of American: those with passports and those without. Those you meet abroad mostly realise just how insular many of their compatriots are.

      1. Maybe three kinds. Those with passports, those without, and those who have one but never step out of their own comfort zone even when traveling abroad, especially if it means encountering an ideology that in opposition with their own. 🙁

  7. Hi Dan, good to see you’re back (not *your*back) and recovering from the kerfuffle. I appreciate your commentary on places I might visit (and those I won’t). You and the Naked Wanderers are a credit and huge benefit to naturism.

    1. It’s great to have you back, Dan. Seems like naturist blogs these days are an endangered species. Many seem to have gone silent or disappeared altogether. But I’m still trucking along.

      The situation for naturism in social media is pretty much as bad as ever. Facebook, in particular, keeps making things harder, though not impossible yet. (They put up a nasty message if one posts something on one’s own page and there’s merely a link to a blog post containing content that’s “violates” FB’s “community standards” (whatever they may be at the moment).

      And Twitter’s getting worse, too. They put a “warning” message on Tweets “that might have sensitive content” – i. e. images containing nudity. At least they don’t block them (yet), and haven’t tried to kick me off (yet).

      But then, “social media” these days pretty much stinks. It’s very sad, since at one time the Internet was a good way for like-minded people to communicate or convey one’s message to a broader audience. As Frost wrote, “So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay.” I guess part of the problem is that so many people now interact with the ‘Net on cell phones – which are really crappy for the purpose of written communication.

      Or, in other words, “Sic transit gloria mundi.”

      1. Enjoy Mallorca ( We know you will) No we will not be there this year as we have just come back from 2 weeks at Vritomartis .

  8. you may want to rethink all your bad words on Americans and even trump supporters i am positive he won easily just look at the crowds he drew while bidet stayed in a basement the whole time. as far as mass shootings you may do some more research it was in nice France just before my wife and i were there that a nut job guy drove a truck threw the crowded streets killing lots of people. and knife and sword attacks are very common all over europe. i have spent a good bit of time traveling in europe and i had no trouble speaking to and letting them know i am an american. I never once had anyone badmouth america at all. spent a few days on nude beaches in spain and the canary islands. and here in america i have spent a lot of time on nude beaches in fla and at nude resorts in fla. i do enjoy your posts and am glad you decided to keep doing your posts

    1. Hi Tim. Thank you for so succinctly illustrating my point.

      You will never convince me that you are right about the election, nor is there a rat’s chance that I’d ever convince you to rethink YOUR perspective! But that misses the point altogether, that being that during my nearly 60 years on the planet I simply can’t recall a time when Americans were not only so deeply divided, but so wildly eager to throw each other under the bus, if only to prove their point!

      I have no desire to reconsider my words, as I’m simply wanting to acknowledge that Americans have become increasingly intolerant about anything they don’t understand, and news flash… a LOT of them don’t understand naturism.

      Do terrible things happen in Europe? Yes. Are there sweeping populist movements with willing adherents who think Trump is a hero? We met one yesterday! Am I worried about my own granddaughter falling victim to a random shooting in her elementary school? Yes, I am. It happens so often now it doesn’t even get reported. I’ll NEVER understand how we got to this place, but at least when we arrive at a family naturist place in Europe, we’re not inundated with propaganda for ANYONE’S political agenda. Nor do I get labeled as a creeper for going to the pool where children are present.

      I simply wish to acknowledge that the world has gone bat-shit crazy, but we continue to find a respite from all that when we get off the tourist track and mesh with families from all over Europe who embrace holistic social nudity. We’ve visited at least 60 places in the US over the years (including nearly every place in Florida!) and while threads of that dynamic exist at some, they are far and few between, and becoming more scarce with each passing year.

      You be proud of what you believe. You have that right. I simply ask that you allow me to do the same.

      Thanks for following the blog.

      BTW… I had to laugh out loud at what I assume was an auto-correct, but a bidet is used to clean off accumulated shit. But perhaps that’s what you meant. 🤷‍♂️