Dating for Naturists: Can I fit “Naturism” into my Tinder Profile Description?

Meet Addie Foster!

Actually, if you’re an avid follower of the Meandering Naturist, you’ve already met Addie, first in a rather poignant post about her first experience with social nudity, then somewhat vicariously as the subject I wrote for a piece about navigating the German spa culture.

We’ve known Addie for quite a long time, and by now, she’s become something of a surrogate daughter to us, though I first came to know her through professional endeavors where she once inquired about my obsession with European travel, and I ended up telling her about our quest to find a place where our kids – also about her age – would find a sense of normalcy in a naturist place. She and my daughter have since become fast friends as well.

This is her latest installment. I’m hoping she’ll become a regular on my blog as she has most definitely embraced the naturist ideal, and I think she has quite a lot to say about helping us seasoned type naturists understand what’s in the cards for the future of naturism here and abroad. Thanks for that, Addie!

[Photos are either from our personal archives, or a few additional pics from clothesfree.com]

– Dan Carlson, blogger

Dating for Naturists: Can I fit “Naturism” into my Tinder Profile Description?

“Happy Hour. 🍷 Travel. ✈️ Likes Getting Naked.🌴”

. . .[backspace, backspace, backspace, backspace].

“What’s the coolest place you’ve traveled? Mine is an all-naked island near Corsica!”

. . .[delete, delete, delete].

Writing a Tinder, or Bumble, or Hinge, or Coffee Meets Bagel profile as a 26-year-old heterosexual woman is difficult for numerous reasons. But as a hopeful long-term naturist? Yikes. Any mention of “naked,” and you’re sure to get a series of creepy messages. “You like taking off your clothes? Me too. Wanna try tonight?” And in one sentence you’ve moved from the idea that “I like sitting with my friends on nude beaches” to “Let’s have sex before we even know each other’s last names!

This confusion of sexually available/easy and naturist is something that I’m constantly trying to figure out. I’ve settled on decidedly not including naturism in my dating profiles, but if I’m on the road to find a potential life-mate, the candidate would at the very least have to look interested at the mention of a naturist beach in the south of France or a nude spa in Germany. You would think that’s a given—what dude in the 21st century wouldn’t be interested in going to a swim up bar in a naked spa in Germany with his girlfriend? Unfortunately. . . a lot!

But that also might be a bit of a relief. Because when you match with 5 or 10 or 20 people a day, that’s a lot of potential life mates. And many of them actually might be nice dudes. But if on the second date, they give you a look of confusion/apprehension/fear/disgust at the very mention of naturism, you get to cross them off the list, and narrow it down to 19 or 9 or 4. Whew-thank God-on to the next one!

I don’t mean to make this sound dismal or difficult (though dating is inherently difficult, naturist or not). In fact, there’s nothing more intriguing than watching a person’s eyes light up as they state casually, “Wow. Never tried it, but that seems kind of awesome.” And that makes the whole endeavor worth it-the thought that there ARE other people out there who are capable of understanding, and actually prove to be more interested in you as a human after the mention of naturism (not only as a potential sex-mate, but as a human being with real interests and thoughts!)

Finding a future life mate is not easy; my naturist and non-naturist friends share in that sentiment. But I suspect that in the end, my interest in naturism will become an important point of departure for a new relationship filled with many things that I actually enjoy doing (*hint: it’s not sitting in the Ramada Inn swimming pool in New Jersey).

Does “naturist” belong in the average Tinder profile? Not unless you’re looking for a reason to attract creepy comments. But should it come up in the first or second date? Yeah, probably! Because unless you’re looking to spend the rest of your days packed like a sardine on the Jersey shore, wondering if your bikini is cute or sexy or modest enough, it’s worth mentioning, so that you simply can know if Joe is the kind of guy with whom you should “not pass go.” However, if Joe ends up hiking with you in the nude to a hidden gem of a beach off the coast of Thailand, then it was probably worth having those less than ideal conversations with Tom, Richard, and Kirk! Happy Tindering!

Nudity and Friendship: Does it matter?

It’s the first day of the new year. 2019! My feelings about 2018 are decidedly mixed – not just because of my tendency to worry about how things are going in Washington DC, but to be blunt, it was a tumultuous year with a lot of unanticipated change. Some good. Some challenging. Almost all of it someplace between disorienting and disquieting.

Photo credit: http://clothesfree.com

Last evening, on New Year’s Eve, we had friends over who have grown accustomed to going naked in the hot tub with us. They would never call themselves naturists, and in fact, the “she” of the couple wasn’t too crazy about sitting in the hot tub in the rain and so she abstained. Meanwhile, another friend stopped by – the one who has been the subject of a few of my previous blog posts, including the recent guide to exploring German spas – and she was naked and in the tub in a flash. I think she would tell you social nudity has provided her with a new sense of identity and self-expression – part counter-culture, part self discovery, as she is facing a lot of difficult questions in her life right now. She’s a natural born naturist!

In the meantime, while our non-naturist couple friends are inclined to quickly wrap in a towel the minute they step out of the spa, our younger companion never seems quite sure just how naked to be once making her way inside the house. Is this a wear your towel zone? Cover your mid-riff area? Funny – we seasoned naturists like to tout the simplicity of it all, but in fact, knowing when to be naked and just how naked to be can be little confusing, especially when you’re not at a naked place like a naturist beach or resort.

Interesting also, when I put my wife into this mix. She loves our nakations! She has no aversion to getting naked at home except for one – It’s not practical! “I need to take out the recycling. Or the kitchen is chilly. Or it simply hadn’t occurred to me to get naked right now.” Not a statement, per se, just an extra chore that adds one more step to the mix. “Pull on a shirt to go get something out of my car? Meh… I’ll just keep my clothes on.”

We have some friends from work who, quite by accident, we came to know of their affinity for Montalivet, a popular naturist destination in France. They’ve been going for years while we’ve been visiting a similar resort just an hour down the road. He is French and was raised with naturist vacations, and they have taken their children on nakation nearly every summer. We had them over for a naturist evening on the porch a few months ago on the coattails of summer, but as it turns out, they confessed they had never been naked at a friend’s home before, especially here in the US where they’re sure their neighbors would call the police were they ever to set foot in their backyard wearing anything less than modest swimsuit.

Then we have these friends we used to go to St. Martin with – every year for quite a stretch. One of the couples has a particularly naturist friendly backyard that is something like a private naturist resort on a warm summer day. In the winter, we’ve had a fair number of naked holiday dinners as well. But as is wont to happen, the complexities in each of our lives have made that more difficult in recent years. All said, it takes a good bit of planning to facilitate an evening of social nudity. It’s not just like, “Hey friend! Come on over and we’ll all take our clothes off!” At least in our circles, it almost never happens that way.

Photo credit: http://clothesfree.com/

Other than rambling along in a reminiscent sort of way as one often does at the demarcation of a new year – and I am the meandering naturist for God’s sake – I’m really not sure what point I’m driving for here, except that I found myself strangely intrigued with a blog post I reposted on my other blog a few days ago called I Socialize Naked. The young, female author made a rather compelling case for calling out social nudity for what it really is. “I would like to not be wearing clothes right now, and I would also like to be with my friends. No protest to mount. No fitness agenda. No underlying implication of inner healing or truth. I just like being naked, and it’s more fun to be naked with other people around.”

Her words really resonated with me, particularly in my shared affinity for the simple act of nudity itself, immediately complicated by the fact that unless you have made an intentional effort to go someplace where getting naked together is the primary objective, then in fact, the nuances of when and how to get naked can be quite confusing, if not overwhelming! “Do you mind that I’m not wearing pants right now?” I might say to my fully clothed, or even towel draped friend. Even as you say it, you sort of wonder if you should be phoning the authorities to turn yourself in.

And finally, to further complicate things, I think there is a train of thought that seems to empower the most ardent naturists to believe those who get naked together are destined for more intimate and meaningful relationships. (Speaking of the platonic flavor here.) They would say our nakedness itself is a statement of vulnerability and freedom from the constructs of religiosity, narrow-mindedness, and decidedly in the face ideological norms that have made it clear that hands, faces, elbows, and knees represent normalcy, while the exposure of a breast or a penis represents abhorrent behavior. The most altruistic will make a case for full self realization that is beyond the consciousness of the average work-a-day mortal.

I actually spent a good bit of time musing over these ideas in a previous post called The Demographics of Nakedness, where I essentially put my opinion out there that the only thing naked people truly have in common is… well… nudity. I don’t happen to belong to the camp that posits that nudity is the great equalizer, nor do I believe that naked people are categorically more or less genuine or vulnerable than the clothed. It occurs to me that some people simply think it feels good to be naked – and sometimes it’s fun to hang out with other people. Nice when those two elements coincide in some manner that feels organic – or at least, less than contrived. My wife and I are vowing to make 2019 less frenetic than the last year or two, which is a tall order given the demands of family, workplace, and society. To me, that automatically implies that there will be more more naked time in 2019, as the shedding of my worldly cloaks immediately represents a step-back from my everyday existence in the chaotic and noisy existence of my professional circles. For my wife, that would mean slowing the pace of our collective lifestyle so that it’s actually worth the time to get naked and stay naked when there are a bazillion other things to do around the house – most of which are much more pragmatic with clothing. We’ll see how that goes.

Photo credit: http://clothesfree.co

In the meantime, I’ll be eager to see who responds to this post. If it finds its way into the retweeting blogosphere, or even spawns an engaging discussion on reddit. I suspect there are others, like me, who find a certain (and apparently, somewhat bizarre) pleasure in the simplicity of wearing no clothing, and feel all the more validated when they find there are others who not only enjoy doing the same, but find it strangely validating to conduct normal social interactions – watching a movie, chatting over a bottle of wine, playing cards – with no clothes on. Are we freaks, us naked people? Maybe. But no doubt, whether we’re more genuine and vulnerable or not, it’s most definitely more fun to be freakish with others than by one’s self.

On a side note, since I mentioned reddit, and I will likely repost this chronicle to those forums as well, I will call myself out for the use of images in this post which I have pulled from a collection of naturist sources over the years. Perhaps not surprisingly, I’ve been less than proactive about capturing social gatherings with naked friends in my digital image archive, and while most of my travel blogs feature, almost exclusively, photos of me and my wife, I come up in short supply of graphics for my posts of a more philosophical nature. This is quite upsetting to my reddit colleague, as the use of any image without permission and confirmed attribution is a breach of social contract at best, flat out stealing at least. With that, I will close with the disclaimer that if you find any image in this, or any of my other posts, lacking appropriate attribution or used in an otherwise exploitative manner, I trust you will let me know, and I will remove that image at once.

Ultimate social nudity – The Big Nude Boat

Here again… I keep thinking that embracing nakedness is supposed to represent a step toward simplicity and clarity of mind. Neither of those ideals are easily defined on this first day of 2019. Maybe I’ll just take my clothes off, pour a glass of wine and give that some thought. If you were here, I’d invite you to shed your clothes and join me.