Grassroots naturism, Part 2

Introduction to the story
Previous installment

Mark: OK, gang, I think everyone who we were expecting is here now, and you’ve all had a chance to sample the snacks that people have brought and – if you came early enough – enjoy a dip in our pool. So it’s time to get down to business. I promise I won’t make this last too long. After it’s over with we can go back to enjoying the afternoon and evening nakedly.

Julie: Of course, you’ll probably want to stick around, since we’ll be grilling stuff on the patio. So I think you won’t want to leave too soon, or you’ll miss the food and the chance to spend more time socializing, getting to know each other better, and probably splashing in the pool.

Mark: So find a place to sit, and we can get right down to business. There are two main things I hope to accomplish today. Unless you just got here you’ve probably already started on the first thing – which is for everyone to get acquainted with each other. People you meet here today for the first time may become good friends for many years to come. The second thing is to discuss ideas for interesting and exciting things we can plan for our group in the future. The sorts of things I’m talking about are of roughly two kinds. The first kind is events that are just for fun and good times, such as parties, outdoor activities, and trips to nudist and naturist clubs and resorts.

Julie: The second kind is more serious but – I hope – no less enjoyable. That is organized efforts of various kinds to recruit new members of our group who share our interest in promoting social nudity. This doesn’t necessarily mean trying to “convert” people to become social nudists. I believe people first need to have a basic curiosity about and interest in this kind of activity. We shouldn’t try to proselytize. Rather we just need to spread the word that our group exists, to explain why we enjoy social nudity, and to help others become involved with our group if what we do appeals to them.

Mark: But it doesn’t stop there. Once we have a good core group of active members, I think we should reach out to make contact with similar groups in our general area to establish ongoing exchanges of information. We should encourage members of other groups to participate in our activities – and vice versa – when that’s convenient. And we should search for individuals who are enthusiastic about social nudity to start their own groups like ours if they don’t live close enough to an existing group for convenient participation.

Julie: Mark and I think activities like these are all important. Our whole family have been happily naked as much of the time as possible since before our kids were born, but we’ve generally found it difficult to meet other people like us who share this enthusiasm for nudity. We’ve fairly recently accomplished one of our long-term goals, which was to make a home for ourselves in surroundings that are ideal for full-time nudity. So now we’re ready to tackle our second long-term goal, which is to reach out to other people who are also enthusiastic about social nudity and – eventually – to establish a network of people and groups in diverse locations who share our enthusiasm.

Mark: I think most of you we’ve already talked with about our passion for nudity and our related goals have a good idea of where we’re coming from. We’re quite aware that this enthusiasm, this passion, that we hope most of you share with us – or might eventually share with us – seems strange and bizarre to most people in our society. We hope to see that situation change for the better – some day. But in the meantime we have to realize that many people think that social nudity is weird, kooky, eccentric, or sort of crazy. As a result, we need to be patient and prepared to be regarded, at times, as oddball nonconformists, whose motives might be vague, or even a bit suspicious.

Julie: That is exactly why we all need to build networks with others who share at least some of our enthusiasm for social nudity. Mark and I think that’s the only way people like us will ever gain the respect we deserve from the rest of our society. We think we must work actively toward this goal because, sadly, the existing “nudist” and “naturist” organizations in this country and most other parts of the world have not done well enough in promoting social nudity. We think that an alternative approach – grassroots networking – can eventually have more success than existing top-down organizations.

Mark: In any case, it should be fun to make the effort. So with those thoughts in mind, I want to go around the room, have everyone introduce themselves, tell us briefly what experience you’ve had with social nudity, tell us what sort of fun activities you think we should plan, and finally, suggest what we might do together to spread our enthusiasm for nudity to other people. We’ll start with Eric, since he’s sitting closest to me. And then let’s go around to the nearest person on the right.

Eric: I’m Eric Shaw. Sometimes I think I’ll never forgive my parents for naming me like that, but it is what it is, so I deal with it. My day job is managing a sporting goods store. I don’t particularly care for the managing aspect of it, but I love the sporting part – almost any sort of outdoor sports – hiking, camping, rock climbing, spelunking, surfing, hang gliding, white-water kayaking. You name it, I’ve probably tried it. I’ve never thought of myself as a “nudist” or “naturist”, but I have developed a taste for getting naked when possible. That started when I was surfing with a wacky group of guys in Hawaii who liked to surf naked. I tried that and really loved it. So I’ve tried to find other things to do outdoors that can be done naked.

Mark: I met Eric when I was in his store recently looking for camping equipment. As soon as he mentioned, a bit shyly, that he enjoyed being naked outdoors, I told him about this gathering I’d planned and invited him to come.

Eric: I accepted the invitation immediately, since I think naked outdoor activities are an excellent way to have a great time with other like-minded people. I believe there are a variety of really fun things to do with people who share that interest. Also, I think my position in the store will be an excellent way to identify other people who could enjoy outdoor naturism. I like to talk with customers, so I can mention the nudity aspect. If there seems to be any interest, I can pass along information on what this group or similar nearby groups are doing. That’s enough from me, so it’s your turn, Sally.

Sally: I’m Sally Yeager. Eric persuaded me to come here with him. But he didn’t have to twist my arm too hard. In case you’re wondering, I’m a relatively distant cousin of Chuck Yeager, if you know who that is. However, I’ve never actually met him. Eric and I are living together now, though we don’t actually consider ourselves a couple – just “good friends”. I suppose you could say our relationship is “interesting”. Draw your own conclusions. We do date other people sometimes. Anyhow, Eric and I met when I was in his store looking for some extra rock climbing equipment, because that’s my specialty. My actual job is waitress in a chain restaurant. Not very exciting, I know, but it pays the bills. I’m an experienced climber and do give lessons, but not enough to help much with the bills. Soon after we met I told Eric about a fairly difficult climb I was planning, and invited him to come along.

Eric: I accepted that invitation immediately too. I didn’t have any idea how Sally might feel about nudity, but I decided to take a chance and suggest we do the climb naked.

Sally: Unsurprisingly, that suggestion caught me off guard. I had no real experience with social nudity, but I’d visited nude beaches occasionally. I’m a backpacker too, and there’s not much privacy on the trail, so we see each other naked at times. Consequently, the idea of being naked with a casual acquaintance like Eric didn’t especially bother me, so agreeing to his idea would have been easy enough if it had been just the two of us. It actually sounded like a cool challenge. However, one of my roommates at the time, Katie, who’s also a climber, was coming along too. Nevertheless, I decided to go with Eric’s suggestion. Katie thought that was pretty weird, had no intention of getting naked herself, but agreed to go anyhow. As a result of this experience I found I rather enjoyed the nudity, so I started being naked much of the time in the house I shared with Katie and another young woman. That made them both somewhat uncomfortable… so I moved in with Eric. Since there was no longer any need for either of us to wear anything at home, we mostly didn’t. As far as what I’d like to see this group do, it’s much like what Eric wants. Plus maybe I can encourage some of those to whom I give climbing lessons to try it naked! OK, guess that’s enough from me. Next?

Dave: I’m Dave Stuart. My wife, Jan, and my kids, Danielle and Sean, are here with me, but I’ll speak for all of us. Although this is a pretty recent development, we’re all confirmed naturists now, and naked most of the time at home. I’m a free-lance computer programmer, so I can work mostly at home, and I’ve been interested in naturism for a while. However, I told Jan about that only this year. She was skeptical about it, but willing to let me experiment with going naked at home when nobody except herself was there. She was worried about how our kids might be affected by seeing me naked. But after she found out that her own mother had grown up in a home where nudity wasn’t uncommon, she agreed I could be naked when our kids were home and I could explain naturism to them. At first they weren’t terribly interested themselves, but they thought it was OK for me. As it happened, Danielle knew another girl on her swimming team was a naturist. That was Julie and Mark’s daughter, Shelley. Things sort of snowballed from there after we met Julie and Mark. Eventually Jan came around and became a naturist too. So here we are.

Jan: Mark told us about his plans to start a naturist group, and this gathering is the first step. I don’t have much to add to what Mark has said about his plans, except our whole family agrees with them. Sean and Danielle want me to say that they’re very interested in having other young folks around their age get involved also, so that there can be activities planned especially for their age group – such as “birthday suit parties” for anyone having a birthday. Along with Mark and Julie’s kids, Shelley and Terry, as well as a few others here now, it seems like they’ll have a nice core group. Looks like Sara is next.

Sara: I’m Sara Holmes. As the only “senior citizen” here today, as well as not being much of a practicing nudist or naturist, I’m sort of wondering what the heck I’m doing here. What happened is that an old friend of mine, Sharlene, who’s a neighbor of the Stuart family, mentioned to me that their family had recently all become nudists. She thought I’d be interested in that, since she knew my late husband and I had occasionally visited nude beaches and a nudist resort or two, a few years before Albert passed away. We’d started experimenting with that after our own kids had grown up and moved out, but we never really got into it. Although most of the people we met at such places were close to our age and seemed nice enough, we never felt much connection with them. Perhaps that was because Albert and I enjoyed intellectual and philosophical sorts of conversations – I used to be a junior college philosophy teacher. We just didn’t meet other nudists with similar interests. Sharlene told me the Stuarts were planning to get together with others who wanted to start their own local nudist group.

Mark: It’s quite fortunate that Sara learned about us, since she was willing and able to help with an issue we were thinking about – finding a place that the group could meet for indoor parties and other activities, especially during the colder months of the year. We’d planned our home so it would be large enough to use it for that if the group wasn’t too large. But having an alternative would be nice, for certain types of activities.

Sara: I’m the head of the board of directors of a tiny Unitarian Universalist Fellowship near here. It’s not much of a group anymore – only two dozen or so individuals or couples still attend services. We’re all fairly old and don’t seem to have much to attract younger folks. Although we have a secretary and a treasurer on the board, I actually do most of the work. However, what we do have is a modest but decent fellowship hall. It’s belonged to the group for many decades, and it’s too big for our needs now. I have no idea what will happen to it when most of our remaining members pass on. But it’s still a fine place for the purposes of a group like this. I doubt that anyone in our group would object if I choose to make it available occasionally, for a nominal fee, to be used by this group. So that’s basically why I’m here, although I wholeheartedly agree with your goals and objectives. As you can see, I am properly free of clothing myself just now. I even hope to be able to participate in your group and help out in other little ways if I can.

Mark: I really appreciate Sara’s generous offer, and I look forward to being able to make good use of her fellowship’s meeting place. I’m not a U. U. myself, but their beliefs and values are not too unlike those of many naturists. We’re all just a trifle outside of the “mainstream” of our society. Perhaps some of us will be interested in becoming involved in their fellowship. Moving on, it appears that you’re next, Joyce.

Joyce: Hi, everyone. I’m Joyce Coburn. I have an apartment I don’t share with anyone else, and I’ve occasionally been naked there when the spirit moved me, especially on hot days. But after a good recent experience, I’m now naked most of the time there. That’s the only thing about me that might be considered “naturist”. However, I’m looking forward to becoming more involved in social nudity. I work as a receptionist in a local insurance agency. Of course, that’s only how I pay the rent. It has little to do with who I am. The job, however, is indirectly responsible for how I happen to be here. The agency is owned by the father of someone else who’s here today – Skye Berglund. Skye’s a very successful professional photographer, even though she’s just in her mid-20s.

Jan: Sorry to interrupt, Joyce, but I have to mention that our family also knows Skye, since she made a very nice portrait of our whole family – naked – that we’re now proud to display in our living room.

Joyce: Yes, I’ve seen that portrait, and it’s as great as Jan says. Anyhow, Skye doesn’t live especially nearby, but I met her recently when she was visiting her parents and she stopped by the office. For some reason I don’t quite understand she found my face “interesting”, so she asked if I’d model for her. I agreed because, well, why not? Towards sunset that evening we went for the shoot to a nice spot on a small farm her parents own just outside town. The light was very warm and a little mist added a slightly surreal touch, so Skye got some excellent pictures. Then she asked whether I’d model nude for her. I wasn’t expecting that, but I agreed, since I wasn’t uncomfortable with nudity. That’s because I’d been a drama major in college and occasionally had roles that involved some partial or full nudity. Besides, Skye offered to remove her own clothes to take the shots. She said she often worked naked while doing nudes of others, because she’d worked as a nude model herself and felt her own nudity helped put her models more at ease. I’d already signed a model release that specified it would be completely up to me how the pictures would be used. We just added that the pictures would include some nudes of me..

Skye Berglund: If I may also interrupt for a moment, I have to say that I was tremendously pleased with how all the shots turned out. Joyce may be too unassuming to admit this, but the nudes of her were very flattering.

Joyce: Well, obviously my naked body isn’t as perfect as most nude model’s. But I was really pleased that someone thought my body was good enough to photograph nude. So the whole experience was very satisfying. Skye and I stayed naked the rest of the evening, even when we had dinner with her parents on their farm. I don’t know whether I’ll ever do much nude modeling, but I have other artistic interests that might involve nudity. I’m active in a local amateur theater group. It’s the only way I’ve been able to use my college drama experience. I doubt the group as a whole will do much that involves nudity, but there might be some who’d be interested in working on a few one-act plays that feature nudity in some way. I’m also an amateur violinist – not especially talented, I admit. But I do play with a local string quartet just for fun. Probably none of the others are interested in nudity. However, they – and some of the theater group – might be willing to perform for naturist groups like this one, and I could perform naked. The Fellowship hall that Sara has offered to make available could be a good place for that. Oh, gosh, I’ve been taking up way too much time now. But I hope it’s clear that I’d really love being part of this group!

Mark: You certainly needn’t apologize for your remarks, Joyce. I think you’ll be a tremendous addition to our group. I have thought occasional amateur musical or theatrical performances that include nudity would be excellent special events for naturist groups like ours. There might be opportunities for group members to participate too. Maybe you know some suitable one-act plays or a few scenes from Shakespeare that would be perfect for both naked actors and the audience. Perhaps something from one of the Bard’s comedies, like Midsummer Night’s Dream?

Joyce: That would be fantastic! If some group members want to participate, but have no acting experience, I could use what I learned from majoring in drama to coach them. You know, it’s not really all that hard as long as people can at least remember their lines. The rehearsals would also be lots of fun!

Mark: Yes, and putting on such plays as this could also be a great recruiting tool for our group. I’m sure some people could overcome their fears of nudity for this sort of thing. Let’s discuss this later, OK? We need to move on now. You’re next, Skye.

Skye: Well, you all know now that I’m a professional photographer. Nudity is one of my favorite subjects, and I’ve done some nude modeling myself. I’ve done a fair number of typical naturist things too – nude beaches, nude camping, nude parties, and so on. I heard about this meeting from Dave and Jan Stuart, when I made a family portrait for them, as Jan already mentioned. They were very happy with it. I’d be happy to do something similar for anyone else here – individuals, couples, or a whole family – for just the cost of my materials. In the interest of brevity, I don’t think I need to say much more. Personally, I’ll try to use my photography skills to document activities and events that this group organizes. Hopefully, photos resulting from that can be used in various ways to promote both the group and naturism itself. Don’t worry, though. I wouldn’t think of distributing photos of anyone involved without appropriate model releases! That’s enough from me. It looks like Erin, Drew, and their son Kyle are up next.

Erin: I’m Erin Fitzpatrick. Drew says I’m the better speaker, so I can speak for him too. Yes, as you can see, Drew and I aren’t nudists… not yet anyhow. Fortunately – for all of us – I’m not uncomfortable being outnumbered by all the naked people here, but it sure is a novel experience! I’m a hospital nurse, so I do see nudity often enough – but usually only one person at a time. Kyle seems to be the only one in our family who wants to be a nudist right now. So I’ll just let him explain.

Kyle: I’m really glad my parents were willing to bring me here. So, what made me want to be a nudist? It’s indirectly because I’ve imagined being a great pianist ever since I became curious about the piano in our home when I was only in fifth grade. The piano was there because Mom liked to play it.

Erin: But I’m a complete amateur. It’s fun to play simple tunes, but I don’t have any real musical talent, so I never got very good at it. Kyle, on the other hand, does seem to have considerable natural talent. Once I showed him the basics and taught him how to read music he was quickly able to play better than I could. So I eventually decided he needed a very good teacher. Fortunately, we found Jan Stuart.

Kyle: I’ve been taking lessons from Mrs. Stuart for about four years now. She’s made me play pretty difficult stuff, like Chopin, Mozart, Bach, and so on.

Jan: He’s easily my most accomplished student now. Don’t let him tell you otherwise.

Kyle: Whatever. Pretty recently I noticed this new framed photograph the Stuarts had in their living room. When I looked at it closely, I saw it was their whole family – completely naked. It was sort of what you might see in a photo gallery, only it wasn’t just random people – it was my piano teacher and the rest of her family. I was sort of afraid to ask them about the picture, but Danielle saw me gawking at it, and she asked me how I liked it. I said it looked pretty cool, so she told me that her whole family had recently become nudists. She asked whether I might like to be a nudist, and I said I’d never thought about it – but based on the picture it looked like the whole family was happy to be naked. That was a very surprising idea to me. I asked Danielle why I’d never seen any of them naked when I was there for a lesson.

Danielle: I told him it was because my mom didn’t think it was a good idea for us to be naked when she had students around. But I said we could be naked when he was there if he told his parents we were nudists who might be naked and they had no objections. I also suggested he could be naked too, if he wanted and his parents approved. I said my brother, Sean, and two of my friends – Shelley and Kimberly – also enjoyed being naked. And that we really hoped to find other kids close to our age who also enjoyed being naked, so he should seriously consider it.

Erin: The rest is history. When I picked Kyle up after his lesson he was clearly quite excited about what he’d learned – and that he might like to be a nudist too. We had a long discussion on the subject at the dinner table than night. Finally Kyle’s older brother, Devin, said something like “Look Kyle, just take your clothes off, go naked for awhile, and see how you like it.” The rest of us agreed that’s what what Kyle should do… so that’s why we’re here now. I don’t know whether any of the rest of us are interested in being nudists, but if it’s what Kyle wants, it’s fine with us.

Kyle: I’ve been naked much of the time at home since then – and at my piano lessons too – so I’m already pretty comfortable without any clothes on. I’ve told some of my friends I’m becoming a nudist, and most seem OK with that, though they do think it’s rather weird. When Danielle told me about this meeting I especially wanted to be here, so I can talk with others here near my age about possibly interesting more friends in nudism. There’d be so many neat things we could do together, like pool parties, camping, and enjoying other interests we have in common, such as chess – something else I’m really into. That’s about all I have to say now.

Mark: Kyle, I think we may have a very good prospect to help you and others around your age find more like yourselves who’re interested in nudism. Monika Hamilton’s turn is next.

Monika: Thank you, Mark. It’s my son, Corey, that Mark is referring to. Like Kyle’s family, ours is supportive of Corey’s interest in nudism, although we’re still unsure about sharing that interest with him. I’ll let Corey speak for himself, but I have a few words to add when he’s done.

Corey: As Mom said, I’m definitely interested in being a nudist. That’s because of my best friend, Sean Stuart. His parents, Jan and Dave, have already talked about their whole family being nudists. Since Sean and I visit each other often, I learned about what was happening in his family pretty soon after he started going naked at home. At first I thought that was a rather crazy idea, but I could see clearly that Sean enjoyed it. I told my parents about Sean becoming a nudist and asked whether it was OK for him to be naked at our place.

Monika: My husband, Steve, and I didn’t have any objection. That’s because we already knew a little about naturism. My family had moved to Germany when I was 10, so my father could work in the German office of his company. As most of you probably know, Germans in general are considerably more sensible about nudity than people in the U. S. That’s true in many other places in Western Europe too. So I acquired a similarly relaxed attitude about nudity as a youngster. Our family didn’t consider ourselves nudists, but we sometimes visited places like nude beaches, spas, saunas, and even some public swimming pools where nudity was common, and we often went nude there too. Eventually we moved back to this country. I regretted that naturism was less well accepted here, but couldn’t do much about it. When I married Steve I told him about all of this, and he agreed with my feelings. But that’s as far as it went, since we knew of no convenient opportunities for social nudity.

Corey: Since my parents didn’t object to Sean being naked at our house, when I planned to have a computer game party with some friends, I told Sean he could be naked then too. Nobody else was naked at that party, but Sean seemed very comfortable that way, so the rest quickly decided it wasn’t any big deal. When I visited Sean a few days later, he suggested I get naked too. I was pretty nervous the first time I took my clothes off, but since the rest of Sean’s family was also naked I got used to it fairly soon. I was nervous again a little later when Danielle’s friend Kimberly dropped in and immediately stripped off herself. But we all had a good time using their pool that afternoon, so I decided I should seriously try going naked at my own home. The rest of my family was OK with that… so now I’m a dedicated nudist too.

Monika: Corey’s decision to become a nudist made me think again about my own experiences in Germany. Although I didn’t feel the same need as Corey to be naked much of the time, occasionally I thought I’d feel good dispensing with clothes. For example, on a warm, sunny day I might wish I could work naked in my garden. It’s visible from the street, but since we live on a cul-de-sac, not many people go by who might see me naked there. And it wouldn’t especially bother me if I were seen naked. However, there is one problem. In our society, unfortunately, there’s a very close association in most people’s minds between nudity and sex. It would be great if most people who saw me working naked in the garden simply thought how good it was that I could be carefree doing that on a beautiful day. But we know that’s not realistic. Instead they’d much more likely think I was either an exhibitionist who got a kick out of showing off her naked body, or else my nudity would make some people – men especially – think I was inviting sexual attention from them. Even wearing skimpy clothing causes that reaction from too many men.

Mark: But what about simply being naked inside if you felt like it?

Monika: There are problems with that, too. I do that a little now, especially since Corey’s likely to be naked himself. But ideally I’d like the freedom to be naked with a group of friends – most of whom might never be naked themselves – and not have them wondering and talking behind my back about my “real” motives for being naked.

Julie: I enjoy that freedom all the time. However, I’ve been a nudist so long that all my current friends just take my nudity for granted.

Monika: Sure, but I probably have many friends who wouldn’t be so understanding.

Jan: But in this group I doubt there are any who have serious problems with nudity.

Monika: Yes, because we’re already at least a little used to being around naked people – otherwise we wouldn’t be here. I’m thinking about something slightly different. I’d like to find some women – just women – who could enjoy nudity with a group of friends in which everyone else is also naked. Yet they might be uncomfortable being naked in mixed company, or even with their own families. The group could get together regularly, just to socialize, say for lunch a few times a month, at the homes of different members. Certainly many or most women here might be interested in that. But I’d like to interest some of my current friends, even neighbors I see often, in that sort of thing. I’m wondering whether that would work, as long as the group is for women only. It might, if nothing else, help some women become comfortable with social nudity more generally.

Mark: That sounds like a great idea to me, Monika. I’d encourage you to put an initial group like that together later today with any woman here who’s interested. Now let’s finish up with introductions, since we’re almost done. Just one more left. Go ahead, Brice.

Brice: I’m Brice Kennedy – just a single guy who’s interested in naturism, although I haven’t gone very far with it. Various articles on the Internet about it got me interested, so I thought I should give it a try. I discovered there was a place on a small lake near where I lived that a lot of locals used without swimming suits. It seemed like a good place to start. At the time I was dating a girl named Cecily, but I couldn’t guess how she’d feel about skinny-dipping around strangers. So I went by myself to check out that lake. I really enjoyed skinny-dipping there, even though there were mostly guys around. The few women there all seemed to be with male partners or friends. I told Cecily about my visit there, and eventually persuaded her to go there with me, although she was dubious about how she’d like it. She didn’t get naked there along with me, but she didn’t find the experience as unpleasant as she’d feared. We discussed the subject a few more times, but she finally said she didn’t expect she’d ever get comfortable with social nudity. Eventually we mutually decided to stop dating each other for that and other reasons, though we’re still friends. But I still want to become involved in naturism myself. I’m here now because Eric Shaw’s a friend of mine. When I mentioned my interest in naturism to him, he told me about this meeting and said I should attend. I got in touch with Mark, who wholeheartedly urged me to come.

Mark: In fact, I suggested that this group would be a good place to start looking for friends – female or otherwise – who’d be more favorable towards naturism than Cecily. The right person might not be here today – but we’re just getting started.

Brice: Mark was very encouraging. As far as what I might contribute to this group, there’s maybe one thing I could offer. I’m a software developer at a small company that develops smart phone apps. I’m pretty good at that, and I had an idea that might be useful. That would be an app like a lot of other messaging apps already out there, except it could have features useful for a naturist group. Most importantly, in order to use the app a person would have to apply to an administrator of a naturist group like this to join the group, preferably on the basis of a recommendation from an existing member. So naturism would be the focus of the app’s users. It would be a small-scale version of Facebook, where people could post status information, hold discussions, make announcements of activities and events, and provide useful information, such as about that skinny-dipping place I mentioned. For instance, if you were planning to do something naturisty you could broadcast a message to group members about it, and say you’d welcome anyone who wanted to join you.

Mark: I asked why naturist groups couldn’t just use a private group on Facebook for this sort of thing.

Brice: Well, I pointed out several problems. A big one is that Facebook doesn’t allow pictures of “explicit” nudity, even in private groups. Many people don’t want to post on Facebook about their interest in nudism, even in “closed” groups, since they don’t know who might see the post. Some people just don’t like Facebook – usually for good reasons – and don’t want to use it. It doesn’t provide good ways to organize different topics and types of discussions. I think I can make something that’s much better for a naturist group like this. So that’s about it for me.

Mark: Thank you very much, Brice. We should definitely spend time later today talking more about your idea. It sounds very useful to me. Right now, let’s all take a break, stretch our legs, enjoy some snacks for – let’s say – half an hour. And then come back and discuss where we can go from here.

To be continued.

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Posted in Dialogues, Family naturism, General naturism, Naked living, Promoting naturism | 1 Comment

Grassroots naturism, Part 1

Introduction to the story
Previous installment

Danielle: You’re not nervous are you, Mom?

Jan: No. Why should I be? I’ve been a nudist like the rest of you since we got back from Reese’s.

Danielle: Did they want to know all about what happened?

Jan: Yes, but I didn’t go into specifics. I didn’t want to make a big deal about it. As you’ve been telling your friends, whether or not to wear any clothes should be a choice people make for themselves. I just finally made my choice.

Sean: Hey, everybody, they’re here now. Just pulled in the driveway. I’ll go let them in.

Danielle: Hold on, I’m coming too. (Opening the door and waving to the guests) Come on inside. You’re here just when we were expecting you.

Julie: We left a little late, but we made good time on the way.

Jan: I don’t have all the food set out yet, but that’s no problem. We’re glad you could come.

Julie: We’ve been looking forward to the visit. It’s especially nice that you’re all nudists now. We’ll be interested to hear what finally brought you around.

Jan: Oh, it’s a long story. I’ll tell you about it later. Let us show you around the place first.

Danielle: You’ve gotta go in back to see our pool! Our house is kind of ordinary compared to yours. But the pool area is really great! Let’s start there.

Shelley: Hey, you’re right, Danielle. The whole back yard looks really neat.

Mark: That slope behind the pool – mostly natural-looking stone. And the waterfall. Very classy. Nice patio, and plenty of privacy, too. Makes our pool area seem very ordinary.

Jan: The pool was already here when we bought the place, but Dave designed all the other stuff around it except for the patio.

Julie: That’s a beautiful fire pit. Should be comfortable even for nudists on a pretty cold night. Can we try it out this evening?

Jan: Yes, of course.

Shelley: How about that tall slide that dumps right into the pool? I’m going down that right away!

Jan: OK, folks. You’ll have plenty of time to admire the pool area, since we’ll be eating out here.

Mark: We’re all looking forward to that, Jan. I’m ready for some good eats.

Julie: Looks fine to me. Simple and serve yourself – my favorite kind of meal.

Danielle: Can we show them around the house now, Mom?

Jan: Sure. I hope they don’t expect too much. It’s not custom-built like their place. Just plain and simple. But it works well for us.

Danielle: OK, let’s go see the living room first.

Julie: What’s that picture over the fireplace… It looks like you whole family.

Danielle: Go have a closer look.

Julie: Yes, I knew as soon as I saw it. You’re all naked! Even Jan. The color in the picture is terrific, great lighting, casual poses, wonderful skin tones. It shows off everyone’s nudity very well. All of you look comfortable, relaxed, and proud in just your bare skin. Not even a hint of self-consciousness.

Dave: It was done by a very talented professional photographer.

Julie: You must give us the photographer’s name. We absolutely must have a picture like this of our own family. This picture must be very recent, since it has to be after you decided to be a nudist, right Jan?

Jan: Well, actually, no. It is recent, but was taken before I definitely became a nudist. There’s a little story behind it.

Julie: Please tell us.

Dave: A couple of weeks ago we went to my friend Logan’s home for dinner. His wife’s name is Haley. He’s my insurance broker, but we’ve known and socialized with him and his family for some time. Logan and Haley are empty-nesters now. However, their youngest daughter, Skye, was visiting them at the time. Skye is the professional photographer who took the picture. She’s only about 26, but apparently already quite successful at what she does.

Mark: Her talent with a camera is quite obvious, so it’s no surprise that’s she’s quite successful. Are any of Logan’s family nudists?

Dave: No, not as far as I’m aware. But Logan had heard that I and perhaps other family members had become nudists since the last time we were together. You know how word gets around. So he called me up and invited us all to come for dinner with him, Haley, and Skye. He also insisted that all of us who were nudists should feel free to be naked for the occasion. He said he didn’t think he’d ever met an actual real-life nudist, but he understood that many nudists are comfortable being naked around other people as long as the others are OK with that. I assured him that was how I and my kids felt. But I added that Jan was still undecided, so she probably wouldn’t be naked.

Jan: Since I still wasn’t a nudist then, I wore a new pareo that Danielle picked out for me just for this occasion. The rest of the family wore their own pareos to Logan and Haley’s, but removed them as soon as we went inside. Our hosts were dressed normally. Skye wore a rather short, slinky light green dress that covered the usual places but left little to the imagination. It also contrasted rather strikingly with her bright red hair. It was clear she knew how to make a distinctive visual statement, so it’s not surprising she’s an accomplished photographer.

Dave: Skye is also a photographer’s model sometimes, and has often modeled nude, though she claimed that she didn’t consider herself a nudist. She still had an obvious flair for conceiving great visual effects.

Jan: While Skye was talking about her work as a photographer, she said she’d be happy to make a family portrait for us. And she wouldn’t charge anything for it except a little bit for materials. She was taking a short break from work, so she’d enjoy taking us to a place with a nice background for the picture. She already knew that the nudists among us – that is, everyone except me – wanted to be naked in the picture, and she was fine with that, since she liked photographing “ordinary” people nude, not just professional models.

Dave: The next day Skye took us to a place she thought would be just perfect. Since she’d lived in the area with her family until she went to college, she knew some really good places. This place was far enough from the main roads that there was little chance we’d be interrupted during the shoot. Our family wore pareos for the trip. Unlike the rest of us, Jan planned to keep hers on for the picture.

Jan: Skye took about half a dozen pictures of us, so we’d have a choice of which we liked the best. A pareo can be worn in many different ways. Since I wasn’t very experienced with that, there were some pictures where more of me was exposed than I’d intended. Those turned out to be rather “interesting”. After taking those first pictures Skye came up to me and said, “You know, Jan, you might change your mind about nudity some day, so perhaps you’d like a few pictures with all four of you naked.” She said that if I were OK with that, she’d give me all the prints she made in which I was naked. So what to do with those prints would be up to me.

Danielle: Obviously Mom agreed to that. The rest of us thought the prints where all of us were naked were the best ones. It was hard to decide which of those we most preferred, but what you see here was the ultimate choice.

Julie: It’s certainly an excellent picture – you should be very proud of it. However, with it displayed so prominently in your living room, are you concerned that all your visitors will know your family likes nudity?

Jan: Now that I’m naked most of the time at home, like Dave and the kids, most people hardly need this picture to get the message. It’s not very surprising to most people who know us. Most visitors who’re OK with nudity will find us naked, but the picture underscores this is how we think of ourselves now, and we don’t try to hide it, because were comfortable, even proud, of being nudists – not at all ashamed of it.

Dave: If we’re expecting visitors who don’t yet know that any of us are nudists, we’ll put something on before they come. When they see the picture they’ll think it’s “interesting”. They may think this was just something we did to make a general statement about being comfortable with our bodies. Many people do that, according to Skye, even if they aren’t nudists. The visitors may then ask whether we are nudists. But even if they don’t, we can easily clue them in.

Julie: Yes, no doubt it’s a great conversation starter! But what about Jan’s piano students?

Jan: Oh, many of the students, or at least their parents, are already aware we’re nudists. Nevertheless, none of us will be naked when a student is around, unless perhaps a parent is also present and has no objection to nudity. Our piano’s in the family room, so most students wouldn’t be going through the living room. A couple of students who’ve noticed the picture have asked me about it, and I just say we don’t think nudity is bad, because we feel good about our naked bodies.

Danielle: Really, the picture shouldn’t be any more controversial than any other traditional artistic portrayal of nudity – say if we had a copy of Michelangelo’s David in there.

Mark: It’s great that you actually want people to know you’re all nudists and proud of it.

Jan: Well, we assume some people will find that shocking. However, on balance we agree it’s best to be open about it. That gives us a chance to discuss the subject. As a result, some may tell us they won’t mind if we’re naked. If we kept it a secret, we’d never find out who’s open-minded – or might even be interested themselves.

Julie: That’s been Mark’s and my approach as long as we’ve been together. It’s worked quite well for us.

Danielle: Mom, excuse me, but Kelli and Alyssa just pulled into the driveway.

Jan: Oh, that’s good. I wasn’t expecting them back so soon, but now they’ll be able to spend a little more time with our guests.

Julie: Are Kelli and Alyssa friends of yours?

Jan: They’re more than friends – they’re relatives of ours we’ve just become acquainted with. Julie, if you and Mark don’t mind, we can finish showing you the rest of the house later. I’m sure you’ll find it much more interesting to meet Kelli and her daughter, Alyssa – especially since they’re part of the story of how I’ve overcome my reservations about nudism.

Julie: We don’t mind at all. We’ve been impressed with what you’ve shown us here so far – but I’m sure we’ll be most pleased to meet Kelli and Alyssa.

Danielle: Should I go finish putting the food out, Mom?

Jan: Yes, please do that, honey. I need to tell the Ambersons all about our “adventures” at your Aunt Reese’s cabin.

Danielle: OK, Mom, I’ll get right on it.

Kelli: Hi, Jan. We finished our shopping sooner than I expected.

Jan: I’m glad you did, Kelli. We’ve been showing the guests we told you about – Julie and Mark Amberson and their children, Shelley and Terry – around the our house. But that can wait.

Kelli: I’m pleased to meet all of you. I’ve been hearing so much about how your long experience as nudists has been so helpful for Jan’s family becoming nudists themselves. Alyssa, you may as well take your clothes off now, then come over here and meet the Ambersons.

Alyssa: Should I take everything off, Mom?

Kelli: Yes, of course. I know you can’t wait to get naked again.

Alyssa: Are you going to take your clothes off, too?

Kelli: Certainly, dear. (Turning to speak to Julie and Mark) Alyssa gets so impatient with me if it takes me a little longer to get naked than she does. And we haven’t even been three weeks.

Julie: Have you and Alyssa really become nudists that recently?

Kelli: Yes. I don’t know how much Jan has told you about us, but our lives have been rather chaotic and unsettled recently. Jan and her family have been incredibly kind to us. They’ve provided us with a safe, comfortable temporary place to stay, here in their home, until we can make more permanent arrangements. I don’t know that we can actually be called nudists. But since Jan’s family have been so good to us, Alyssa and I agreed it would only be fair to show our gratitude by adopting their naked lifestyle.

Jan: (Turning to Julie) You must certainly be wondering what this is all about. But I just want you to know that we haven’t put any pressure on Kelli and Alyssa to be nudists. It was entirely their own idea to do that. Let’s go sit outside by the pool, and I’ll summarize the story for you.

Julie: You didn’t mention that you had house guests, Jan. I’m looking forward to catching up on various things, especially how you’ve overcome your reservations about being a nudist – and how Kelli and Alyssa are involved in that somehow.

Jan: Well, it’s a little complicated – and a bit unpleasant at one point. But it started when I got an invitation from my sister, Reese, to bring my family and spend a week at a secluded, rustic cabin she and her husband recently bought in a very scenic part of the state. Reese had been hearing from my mother about how Dave, Sean, and Danielle had become essentially full-time nudists, although I was still a holdout. My mother told Reese about her own experiences with nudity when she was young. She’d never told any of her children about this before.

Julie: That cabin must be a great place to be naked. Do Reese or others in her family also enjoy nudity?

Jan: Actually, no. Reese said nobody in her family had been tempted by nudism, although our mother’s early experiences had made it seem more interesting. But she could see my family would certainly enjoy the cabin. She made it clear we should feel free to be as naked as we liked there. This was obviously an offer we couldn’t refuse. Fortunately, we didn’t have any firm plans for the week that we couldn’t adjust.

Sean: In fact Dad, Danielle, and I decided we wouldn’t bring any clothes with us, except for our pareos to wear on the trip there. That way there’d be the least possible temptation not to stay naked the whole time. Although there wasn’t any indication we’d need the clothes, if for some reason we had to cover up, we could just put on the pareos.

Jan: Of course I brought clothes along, even though I was toying with the idea of maybe spending a little time naked, given such a suitable, friendly environment. Reese herself was suggesting that, at least, I ought to try it out.

Shelley: Let me guess. Sooner or later some other people turned up at the cabin.

Jan: Yep – Kelli and Alyssa, to be specific, but they were just the first. They weren’t nudists themselves then. But fortunately they had no problems with my family’s nudity.

Kelli: The nudity was surprising, as it never occurred to me that there were nice, normal people who were actually nudists. However, I couldn’t see any harm with a few naked people around in a place like that – people who were Reese’s guests, and our relatives, besides. But I was a bit concerned about Alyssa’s reaction to the nudity, as she’s only 7 and had little if any exposure to nudity, except for me.

Alyssa: I wasn’t afraid of naked people, since I didn’t know any reason to be. I just thought it was, um, strange that there are people who don’t like wearing any clothes. Oh, and I wondered why Jan wasn’t naked like the rest of her family.

Julie: So, how are you related to Jan’s family, and therefore to Reese?

Kelli: Well, my grandmother is an older sister of Reese’s and Jan’s mother. I guess that makes Jan and me sort of like cousins. My mother was actually Reese’s and Jan’s cousin. But she died a few years ago of breast cancer, and we hadn’t been living anywhere near Jan or Reese, so I never really knew them, except by name. As I’ve recently learned, both my grandmother and Jan’s mother grew up in a family where nudity wasn’t unusual. But that’s not why Alyssa and I are going naked now.

Julie: What is the reason, then?

Kelli: I’m coming to that. See, I’ve been going through a pretty tough period in my life the last few years. I was studying for a degree in nursing when my mother died. My father got hooked on drugs, so he couldn’t work. I don’t even know where he is right now – if he’s not dead too, he’s probably homeless somewhere and living on the streets. Anyhow, I couldn’t afford to stay in school, so I had to drop our and take a job. Also, I got married to a guy named Rick about that time and became pregnant with Alyssa. He got tired of me after a couple of years, so we split up. He joined the military and I haven’t heard from him for several years, so I have no idea where he is either.

Julie: That all sounds really terrible. I’m so sorry to hear all that.

Kelli: Yeah, but it gets even worse. I couldn’t afford the rent on the apartment where Alyssa and I were living, so I let another guy move in with me, to pay part of the rent. We didn’t get married, but did sleep together. However, just a few weeks ago he left me for another woman. I’m glad he left, actually. But I had nothing in the bank, so I couldn’t even pay next month’s rent. It really looked like Alyssa and I were going to be homeless too.

Julie: I can hardly imagine how tough that must have been for you.

Kelli: I couldn’t think of any close relatives to ask for help. Fortunately, before my mother died, she told me about her cousin, Reese, and where Reese’s family was living at the time. I did a little searching around, and luckily I located Reese. I called her and told her my situation. The last of Reese’s kids had just left home, and Reese and her husband were about to go to the cottage they’d just bought. But without a moment’s hesitation Reese insisted that Alyssa and I come to stay with them at the cottage. She also sent me enough money to buy bus tickets to get to her place and pay the next month’s rent on my apartment, so I could leave our few belongings there. That’s where things stood when Jan and her family showed up.

Jan: The cottage was in good condition, but not very large. There was only one bedroom, for Reese and her husband, plus a loft that Kelli and Alyssa could use. That didn’t leave any room inside for me and my family, but we planned to stay in tents outside anyhow. It wasn’t much different from camping, except there was a kitchen, so we could have regular meals.

Julie: Did Kelli and Alyssa then came to live with you after your time in the cabin?

Jan: Yes, but not right away. During the week we were at the cabin, Kelli and Alyssa hit it off very well with my family. After just a day or two Alyssa had decided going naked looked like fun. There was a nice shallow stream beside the cabin. It was a great way to keep cool during the heat of the day, and Alyssa couldn’t resist it.

Kelli: Reese offered to buy a bathing suit for Alyssa, but Alyssa didn’t see any need for it, as Sean and Danielle showed that being naked worked just fine. It looked like fun to me too, but I wasn’t quite ready to try that myself.

Julie: OK, but clearly there’s still more to the story. How did you happen to try nudity yourself, Jan? And how did Kelli and Alyssa wind up staying with you?

Jan: Let me take that second question first. Reese and her husband had already offered Kelli and Alyssa a place in their home to stay until Kelli could find a suitable job and start putting her life back together. However, Kelli really wanted to finish getting her nursing degree. That seemed like a smart thing to do. There was a good nursing school close to us but not to Reese, so we offered Kelli and Alyssa a room in our home, rent free. And we agreed with Reese to share the cost of Kelli’s education.

Kelli: I felt pretty guilty about accepting that, since I had nothing to offer them in return. Plus, it placed an extra burden on Jan and her family – they had to move stuff out of their extra bedroom, and there’d be two more people to feed. Alyssa, however, liked the idea of living in a home where she could be naked if she wanted. 7-year-olds are so flexible!

Julie: How about you? You stripped everything off after you got back from your shopping trip.

Kelli: Jan and her family were very gracious. They didn’t put any kind of pressure on me to be naked. But I figured I probably wouldn’t have such a good opportunity again to find out what it was like to be a nudist. So I tried it. I liked it. And that’s about all there is to it. Besides, if I kept any clothes on just now, I’d be the only one here. That wouldn’t be very respectful of the rest of you.

Danielle: Come on, folks. The food’s all ready. Has been for a little while.

Kelli: And it’s a hot day. You’re probably as eager as I am to get into the pool as soon as possible. We’re already wearing all we need in the way of bathing suits!

Julie: Sounds great – but I’m still dying to know why Jan seem to have overcome all her misgivings about being a nudist. Except for the tan lines, you’d never guess from her demeanor that she hadn’t been going naked for years. How much longer do I have to wait to find out what gives?

Jan: Oh, yeah. I can explain what happened briefly, although some of it’s kind of unpleasant. See, I wasn’t actually opposed to nudism after Dave first raised the subject. I couldn’t see it for myself, but there didn’t seem to be sufficient reasons to interfere with others to whom it appealed. Imposing my feeling on others just seemed unfair. Once I thought about it, I was really bugged about how unfairly and unreasonably our society in general treats nudity – even completely nonsexual nudity. I mean, most people seem to think that men who like to be naked are perverts and potential rapists.

Julie: How true. And the general opinion towards women in nudism may be even worse.

Jan: I know, and I experienced that directly. Apparently most people think that women who enjoy social nudity are either crazy – or else they’re nothing but sluts and skanks. I never had such opinions myself, but that’s because I’d never really thought about the issue. Certainly, I didn’t get such opinions from my mother, given her own background. But my father, unfortunately, was a different matter. Once Dave raised the issue and I thought about it some, my first thought was that I’d just rather not have to bother with arguing against those very negative attitudes. But I could hardly avoid that if I started going naked myself.

Julie: I know exactly what you mean, believe me. But if you deal with it enough, you realize that many people won’t change their opinions on this issue, or most others, through rational arguments. I decided that people who won’t listen to reason don’t make very good friends anyhow. If you’re going to change any minds, you have to find reasonable people to associate with.

Jan: Yeah, that’s OK – unless the person who won’t change their mind is one of your own family.

Julie: Did you have that problem? Certainly not your mother or Reese. Was it another sibling or your father?

Jan: The latter. Perhaps I’ve told you how when my siblings and I were young my father occasionally went on rants about how terrible it was that young women were wearing such “immodest” clothes, and how he’d better not catch any of us doing that. Sometimes he also attacked nudists – they must be really terrible people. Any girl who wore skimpy clothes might as well just be a nudist, since what she was doing was almost as bad. I never forgot those rants, and that certainly colored my opinion about nudism when Dave started talking about it.

Julie: But clearly you didn’t really agree with that opinion, or you’d never have allowed nudity in your family.

Jan: That’s true, although it probably did leave a residue of misgivings in me. Fortunately, my Dad didn’t have any idea that some in my family had become nudists. I made sure my Mom didn’t let him know about that. Unfortunately, he found out anyhow. In the worst possible way. See, Mom and Dad had recently bought a big RV and they were traveling all over the place in it.

Julie: Oh, God, no. They didn’t show up at Reese’s cabin, did they?

Jan: That’s exactly what they did. It was a little before supper time. All of us – Reese and her husband, my whole family, Kelli and Alyssa – were just sitting in front of the cabin, relaxing and chatting about this and that. Everyone except for Reese and her husband, and Kelli, was stark naked – including me. The cabin was set back from the dirt road it was on, so passers-by wouldn’t see us. But then this big fucking RV pulls up the driveway. Mom was driving, and as soon as she stopped Dad burst out the passenger side – ranting like crazy, just as he used to do. Going on and on about what terrible people we were, corrupting the all the kids with our shameless nudity, all the females were simply tramps, sluts, or slatterns.

Julie: That’s appalling!

Jan: Yes, of course. I was so angry. I was absolutely not going to allow anyone – not even my father – call me or my daughter or a little 7-year-old girl a tramp, slut, or slattern just because of being naked with others. I tried to make that clear as politely but as firmly as I could. That, however, went nowhere. He may never speak to me again – but that’s up to him. He’d just better not let loose an outburst like that again around me.

Julie: What a horrible, totally insensitive thing for anyone to do – especially someone who ought to act with some trace of maturity and respect for members of his own family.

Jan: Long story short, Mom was in tears with embarrassment. Dad went back in the RV and slammed the door. They were both too tired from driving all day to leave immediately. Dad stayed in the RV until they left early the next morning. Mom did come in and have dinner with us, but she could hardly think of anything to say to make things better. And that was the point where I decided I should be every bit as committed a nudist as the rest of my family. I really hate injustice, especially when it’s so senseless and unreasonable. Going naked now is one way I can be perfectly clear how I feel.

Mark: All I can say is, wow, just wow. I hope I never manage to say or do anything to be on your bad side.

Jan: Well, at least now you know why I’m going naked – and have no intention of turning back.

Julie: At least now you have that off your chest.

Jan: Yeah, as well as my clothes. I understand now why nudists say that nudity is a way to express that we shouldn’t ignore truths about our bodies. I keep thinking of that line from the end of Shakespeare’s King Lear: We should speak what we feel, not what we ought to say. I suppose my dad would agree – except his feelings about nudity are just so messed up.

Mark: Your attitude is what some psychologists refer to as “authenticity”. I think we all agree with the idea. The question is how we explain it to the rest of the world. And I have some definite ideas about that. Perhaps you recall that when you visited our home I mentioned was my desire to start a local nudist/naturist club so that people like us could socialize together easily and often, without having to travel a long way. But now I’ve gotten much more ambitious. In brief, I’d like to start – or help start – a number of local clubs like that. A series of clubs, a network of them, in fact.

Dave: I remember that. I think that makes a lot of sense, and I can see how it could be fun to do. Perhaps I can help somehow.

Mark: Yes, I’m sure you can help. In fact, arranging that is one thing I’ve been looking forward to discuss with you while we’re here. You may also recall that I said a little about one of the problems local clubs have, which is that it’s difficult for people getting interested in naturism for the first time – or active naturists who’ve moved to a new location – to find local naturist clubs.

Dave. Yes, I’m very aware of that.

Mark: There are some directories of clubs that help a little. The national naturist/nudist organizations in this country have lists. But quite a few clubs aren’t on those lists. Sometimes they just don’t see the value of being listed, since they think they have all the members they need. In other cases they may want to keep a low profile to avoid attracting undesirable attention. And in still other cases they may simply be loosely organized groups of naturist friends who don’t want to be formal clubs.

Dave: I remember that, too. It’s difficult to advertise such groups locally, since there could be too many people who might want to join, but don’t really have “good” naturist values. At least, it takes effort to properly vet potential members. And word of mouth doesn’t work well, because the typical group member probably doesn’t think in terms of growing the club, and may be afraid of telling friends about the club, because they’re afraid of reactions to learning a friend is interested in naturism.

Mark: Right about all of that. I think there’s one basic problem here. It’s that most clubs don’t do much outreach. They tend to wait for people to find them, instead of proactively trying to “recruit” the “right” kind of people as members. And by “right” I don’t mean discriminating against certain types of people on the basis of demographics. Having good naturist values is what I mean by the “right” kind of people. A proactive approach to adding new members is what I think needs to be encouraged. And I think that many or most club members need to think of finding new members as one of the responsibilities of being a member.

Dave: How is that different from just asking friends you trust to join if you think they might be interested?

Mark: I think what’s different is that this needs to be done in a way that’s both “smart” and organized. By “smart” I mean that people should use their experience and their intuition to figure out who among people they know might want to participate in a club for social nudity. A good example is friends who welcome you in their homes whether or not you’re wearing any clothes. A still better example is friends having family members who actually enjoy being naked – even if only to use a swimming pool or to be naked sometimes when camping.

Danielle: In other words – people just like my family!

Mark: Sure – but they need not be nearly as enthusiastic about nudity as your family. They just need to be open to the idea, and willing to give it a try.

Jan: What do you mean by this effort being “organized”?

Mark: What I mean is that the club leaders, and the members too, should plan events that can be put on by the membership specifically to introduce prospective members to the club and to social nudity in general. For example, the club could have a “naked yoga night” where you arrange for a yoga instructor who’d lead a group doing yoga naked, and get the word out about it to anyone who’s seriously interested in that activity. The instructor would probably be willing to announce or advertise it in his or her studio.

Danielle: Or maybe a body-painting party, if you could find one or more people with a little artistic talent who know how to do body painting well!

Mark: Now you’re getting the idea!

Jan: Don’t the national nudist/naturist organizations help at all with doing any of this kind of outreach?

Mark: No, I’m afraid not very much at all, at least in my experience. Unfortunately, their top-down approach to promoting naturism just doesn’t seem to work. It hasn’t been a smashing success.

Jan: What a shame.

Mark: There’s one additional aspect to this that I’m thinking about. I believe it’s very important to work not only in the local area, but also to make contact with naturists and local clubs outside the immediate area. By that I mean several things. For instance, if you get a new member who’s moved to your location from somewhere else not too far away, find out how much experience that person has with social nudity where they came from. They may know other naturists in their previous location with whom you could make contact. Then you can set up lines of communication with naturists in the other area. That allows the groups to exchange information about their activities, so others can participate even if they have to travel a little farther. Your own members too would learn about activities elsewhere they might enjoy. So groups in both places have more potential participants for their activities.

Dave: I suppose that even if you could identify only a small number of people in that other location, you might assist them in getting a club of their own organized.

Mark: Yes, exactly. You could help arrange a naked yoga night or a body painting party in the other place, for instance. This sort of thing is actually done frequently in a number of other contexts. You may have heard of it – it’s called “grassroots organizing”. The idea is not to rely so much on national or statewide organizations – if there are any – but instead do the actual organizing on the local level, and establish good lines of communication so local groups can help each other. This is done all the time in politics, of course. Other examples are environmental groups and small-business organizations. I think it could work very well for naturists and nudists too!

Jan: The idea is the people who want the benefits are the same ones who do the work of organizing. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, really. To get something out of any activity, you need to put in some effort yourself.

Mark: That’s it, in a nutshell!

Danielle: It’s just like my swimming team. It’s fun to compete in swim meets, but the goal isn’t just to be there – it’s to do as well as possible. That means helping other team members improve their performance. And in return, you get support and encouragement for your own efforts.

Sean: I think young people could be especially helpful in this effort. We may have a larger circle of friends than adults, since we interact with many others our age in school and in some other organizations, like scouting, or chess clubs – or swimming teams. And we don’t have full-time jobs that might be at risk if people we work with have negative ideas about nudism.

Mark: Absolutely right, Sean. By interacting with friends in your home and in theirs you learn which families are open-minded about nudity. When you find people like that, you’ve identified possible prospects for a local naturist club.

Sean: But to do that, you can’t be secretive about your interest in nudism.

Mark: Right again. This is a very important point. You have to be open about your interest in social nudity. At least talk about how you enjoy being naked, so it’s not a secret. If people are too secretive, then most of the stuff I’ve been talking about won’t work. Ideally, you’ll find friends who don’t mind if you’re naked when they visit you or you visit them. And some of those friends may try it out themselves.

Sean: We should be sort of like talent scouts, right?

Mark: That’s a great analogy.

Dave: Do you have some specific notion about when you might start taking action on your ideas?

Mark: Yes, I do. Within the next week or two I’m planning to invite a group to my place to get the ball rolling. I already know some people I should invite. I’ll greatly appreciate any additional names you can give me. Or simply invite suitable people yourselves. When I think there’ll be be a sufficient number of people I’ll pick a date and time that seems best for everyone.

Julie: This won’t simply be a business meeting. We’ll have plenty of party food and snacks. And our pool will definitely be available, of course.

Jan: By all means count all of my family in. I’ll really be looking forward to this!

Dave: Do you have some sort of name for the kind of activity you’ve been talking about?

Mark: Yes, of course. I call it “grassroots naturism”.

To be continued.

Posted in Authenticity, Dialogues, Family naturism, General naturism, Naked living, Promoting naturism | 1 Comment

Jan and Dave’s family, Part 8

Introduction to the story
Previous installment

Sharlene: I’m sorry I had to interrupt our conversation because dinner was nearly ready. Perhaps we can resume now, where Danielle was about to tell us about what happened after that eventful camping trip – which was the first time she started to really enjoy nudity. Ready to go back to that now, Danielle?

Danielle: Sure. When Sharlene dropped in on us unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago she first saw me naked when I came in from the pool to get some lunch. As I said, I’d decided after the trip to proceed cautiously in being naked for long periods of time. At first, I was naked only for using our pool and working on getting rid of my tan lines.

Sharlene: You seem to have done a very good job of that.

Danielle: Well, remember that I tan pretty easily and seldom burn. But I definitely wanted to get rid of the tan lines, even though others on my swim team would realize I’d been spending a lot of time naked in the sun, just like Shelley. In my case, they’d know that this was something new for me. But your visit was the first time someone besides my family saw me naked at home. However, the pool was the only place I was naked for relatively long periods of time then.

Sean: I should get some credit for nudging Danielle to be naked at home more frequently. She mentioned that one day she overslept and Mom sent me to wake her up for breakfast. She’d already been sleeping naked all the time, but that morning I encouraged her to stay naked at least for breakfast.

Danielle: That wasn’t so radical, since both Sean and Dad had for a while been naked most of the time at home, not just for meals. It was just a first for me. And it felt really good – just like my naked experience on the camping trip. So I decided then to stay naked the whole day, simply to prove I could. It went just fine, and was pretty routine, except for my nudity – just a normal day – practicing the piano, reading a book, checking Facebook, and swimming and sunbathing. It seemed so normal that after an hour or so I wasn’t especially aware of being naked! Occasionally, though, I thought “Wow, I’ve been fully naked and exposed the whole day, and I really like that, yet nobody acts like this is anything unusual.” But I shouldn’t have been surprised, because that’s how it was on the camping trip.

Sean: Yeah, she was so oblivious to the fact she was bare ass that at one point she was halfway out the front door to take our dog for a walk. I had to shout “Hey, Danielle, do you realize you don’t have any clothes on?” Maybe I should have let her go out, just to see what would happen! I was wondering whether perhaps she intended to go out butt naked.

Danielle: Going out was definitely not my intention. It just shows how much I wasn’t thinking about my nudity. Being naked feels great, but it’s easy to forget about it. So now I make an effort to remember not to walk out the front door partly or fully naked.

Sharlene: Sounds like you were in some in-between state – seriously enjoying being naked, but having to not let that lead to something you weren’t quite ready for.

Danielle: Yes, that’s a good way to put it. Part of me wanted to be naked as much as possible, but the other part feared what I might do, and what that could lead to, because I wasn’t clear about what was actually “possible”.

Sharlene: Perhaps your naked euphoria would let you miss signals from someone else who wasn’t comfortable with your nudity.

Danielle: Yeah, and that leaves me feeling ambivalent. It’s taken me some time to work through that ambivalence. But now I’m on a path to being fully naked as often as the situation allows. It may be very hard to turn around and go back the farther I am along that path. But sometimes one can’t avoid making choices, and where I’m headed now seems like the right direction for me.

Sharlene: Well, you know, you can’t wade in the same river twice, because it’s always moving and changing. But there will be times that you’ll have different paths to choose between. They won’t be the same alternatives as before, but they will exist.

Danielle: That’s true. A big reason I’ve made the choice I have is that both Dad and Sean made the same choice – to be naked most of the time at home – and they’ve seemed to feel very good about it. Shelley and her brother, Terry, never really had to make that choice, but their parents did. The people I know on that path still feel it’s a very good choice. I think, or at least I hope, that it’s the right choice for them and me, because we’re similar enough in ways that matter. But it could be wrong for others.

Sharlene: What “ways” do you think matter?

Danielle: Oh, various things. Being sensitive to what other people are thinking, so we don’t piss them off or push the wrong buttons for them. Having a sense of how much we can get away with, and what would be “too much”. Having intuitions of how to get sympathy for one’s point of view. That sort of thing.

Sharlene: Sounds like a recipe for a successful politician.

Danielle: I don’t know anything about politics, but I doubt that many successful politicians have been known as nudists. Whatever. Our choice might be wrong, even disastrous, for people who aren’t similar in those ways. When it comes down to making everyday decisions, our intuitions tend to be accurate. For instance, we know when some times are not suitable for being naked, such as when we’re expecting visits from certain neighbors, friends of someone in the family, or repair and service people.

Sharlene: It can take some people longer to decide on the “right” path – years, perhaps. But generally there will be later opportunities to choose again if a previous choice hasn’t been quite right.

Danielle: Yeah. It takes some people, like me, more time to commit to major changes. Mom still has significant reservations about going naked. I’ve been a little more adventuresome, but until recently I’ve played it safe by limiting my nudity to times when visitors are unlikely – so in the middle of the day I generally wore something, except when I was in or around the pool. I usually take more chances now.

Sharlene: Another compromise would be to wear just a little, but not enough to be “properly dressed” by conventional standards, no?

Danielle: Right. Often I’d wear only shorts but no top. Most people are surprised to encounter a bare-chested girl my age, but much less than a totally naked girl. Most sensible people wouldn’t make a fuss about a girl who was bare to the waist. According to what I’ve read, there are places – like New York City – where it’s not only legal for a female to be topfree in public, it actually happens in certain spots. Anyhow, when you came to bring Mom some roses I was still in “cautious” mode. I was naked when you arrived only because I’d been in the pool and just came in to get some lunch.

Sharlene: Well, as you know, your and Sean’s nudity didn’t bother me at all. I just hope I didn’t cause you any embarrassment.

Danielle: You obviously didn’t mind. Having unexpected visitors while being naked happened more for Dad and Sean as long as they were naked more than I was, but it did happen to me a few times. However, even then I wasn’t especially embarrassed, since I felt increasingly more comfortable without any clothes on, even around people who’re dressed normally. Like Sean and Dad I’d decided that in our own home wearing nothing is a very reasonable alternative to wearing something.

Sharlene: There’s no reason to feel embarrassed at all, since it’s your home, not theirs, and nothing’s wrong or bad about being naked at home. That’s your right if someone visits who’s not expected. Your home, your rules!

Danielle: I agree, of course. However, when that happens I usually offer calmly to put something on if the visitor prefers. I think I should go a little out of my way to be considerate. Most visitors can tell I’m naked because I like to be, not just by accident. I want to be sure they don’t mind my nudity, but I still want to make it clear I’m not embarrassed about being naked. As often as not visitors will say that since I’m not embarrassed I needn’t bother putting anything on. I feel good when that happens.

Dave: Sean and I feel the same way. It’s our home too. But we don’t want to be boorish, so we do just what Danielle does and ask whether a visitor wants us to put something on. So far we haven’t had any situation that hasn’t been handled satisfactorily for us and the visitor.

Sharlene: You seem considerably more comfortable and happy being naked than the last time I saw you, Danielle.

Danielle: Well, a few days after you were here was when I started going naked at home most of the time. Since that’s worked out pretty well, even when there’ve been unexpected visitors, I feel a lot more confident about nudity now. Even if there’s a little initial embarrassment with an unexpected visitor, it quickly disappears, I know I can be naked again pretty soon, and everyone’s satisfied. So I realized there wasn’t any good reason not to be naked most of the time here. Nudity is very much the norm now.

Pete: That all sounds very positive, very reassuring. But are there problems with good friends any of you have? If one of you has a visit from a good friend, I’m sure the others will be considerate and do the right thing if that friend isn’t comfortable with nudity. However, some good friends probably visit more or less frequently. Wouldn’t all three of you really prefer the friend to become more at ease with nudity – for the sake of the friendship?

Dave: Yes, of course. But most of my close friends are part of a couple, and they’re considered friends of our whole family – just like you and Sharlene. These friends generally only visit as a couple, usually not unexpectedly, and with their kids if they have any. Jan and I aren’t the most sociable sort of people, but we do enjoy having company from time to time. We’ve had only a few adult friends visit since all of us but Jan have been going naked. That’s usually been in the evening, for dinner and conversation.

Pete: How did those visits go?

Dave: In one case our friends brought their kids, who happened to be fairly young. So rather than have them decide whether they were ready for the kids to get OK with seeing nudity, we all wore some clothes. But other cases were couples who either didn’t bring their kids or didn’t have any. In all of these instances the friends knew about our interest in nudity, because I’d discussed it with them. Their attitude was that it was no problem if anyone wanted to be naked. Also, one time we visited friends as a family, and with our friends’ encouragement all of us except Jan quickly got naked.

Sharlene: Now that it’s summer, you’ll probably be relaxing and eating outside by your pool a fair amount, and having friends over for that sort of thing.

Dave: That’s true. Jan and I are still discussing how to proceed in specific cases. Some of these friends are primarily friends of hers rather than mine, of course.

Jan: Generally there are two possibilities. The first is if I think nudity won’t put them off too much. Then I’ll tell them about what Dave and our kids are doing. If they’re OK with that, then no problem. Otherwise I’ll ask the others in my family to wear something or other. That works for the second possibility too, so I don’t even have to bring up the issue. For better or worse, however, the word’s probably going to get around that most in our family enjoy being naked, so I might have to discuss how they feel about that anyhow.

Dave: For friends of Jan and myself, the possible problems are at least a little simpler, since the visits are usually a result of a specific invitation, not just folks randomly dropping in on us. If one or both of the couple are among my friends, I may be more interested in letting them know about my interest in nudism and the fact that I – and now my kids too – prefer to be naked when possible. So we have a conversation about that. Then
the dress code will be based on the friends’ reactions. They’ll either say “fine, go ahead and be as naked as you like” or not. Either way all of us know what to expect, so there’s no problem.

Sharlene: What about you kids? How do you handle being naked around your friends?

Sean: That hasn’t been much of a problem for me, but then I don’t have as many friends as Danielle. I’ve already told most of my friends who are likely to come by unexpectedly that I like to be naked as much as possible now. But all of these friends are guys. I don’t know any girls very well who might surprise me by just dropping in. That could be rather interesting, but I’m not expecting it.

Pete: Are your friends very surprised when you tell them how interested you are in nudity?

Sean: Sure, at least in the first few cases. Since this has all happened relatively quickly, it can be quite a surprise. But now that I’ve told some friends I enjoy being naked, the word seems to have gotten around to a majority of people who know me. I haven’t asked anyone to keep it a secret. So even if someone happens to come by without telling me first, chances are they’ll already know what to expect.

Pete: But if they haven’t heard already, what’s their reaction?

Sean: Some guys say something like “Hey, man, just do whatever suits you.” But in other cases I’ll have to give a longer explanation. It’s so unusual in our society to admit you like being naked that doing so is considered at least a little weird. I think this is even more true for people my age, since we are usually more concerned with what others think about us than people who’re older. However, only a few of my friends have said they’re unlikely to visit unless I’m wearing something. Maybe they’re afraid I’m gay.

Sharlene: Do you tell your friends that your father and Danielle are also naked most of the time?

Sean: Yes. If they know I’ll be naked, that information probably won’t change their decision to visit. But if they think Danielle may be naked too, then for some strange reason they may feel more positive about nudity.

Pete: What about your friends’ parents? Even if your friends don’t mind seeing nudity their parents might have objections.

Sean: I know, so for friends who decide to come visit I also ask them to tell their parents that Danielle and my father will probably be naked too. That’s just covering my ass in case a friend’s parents might feel that it wouldn’t be cool if they learned their son were around naked people.

Sharlene: Danielle, do you have any problem if Sean has friends visiting while you’re naked?

Danielle: Nope, not at all. Earlier, before I was more comfortable with nudity, it would have been a problem. But now I’m past being bothered if guys see me naked – as long as they behave themselves. Remember, it wasn’t a problem on that camping trip. However, although I had little experience being naked then, that was a rather unusual situation, since I wanted to make the most of it and prove I was brave enough to ditch all my clothes. In fact now, if I’m interested in what Sean and his friends are doing – watching videos, playing computer games, swimming, or whatever – and if I’m welcome to join them – then I’m be fine being naked in that situation.

Pete: Now I’m wondering about the reverse situation, Sean. Have you been naked when visiting a friend?

Sean: Yeah, sometimes, especially if I’ve discussed nudity with the friend, and his whole family thinks it’s OK. If they actually express some approval of the idea or I’ve been naked at that home before, they might even invite me to get naked if I feel like it. However, that’s just been with one or two friends at a time. I haven’t been naked in a larger group yet – but I will be pretty soon, since Corey, one my best friends, has invited me to a party next week at his home, with a bunch of other guys who’re seriously into computer games, as I am also. It’ll be a pretty simple thing. We just bring our favorite games and anything we need to run them on. People can try out games they haven’t yet had a chance to. There’ll be pizza, other snacks – and probably lots of Red Bull. Corey knows I like to be naked, and his family’s OK with it. So I’m about to find out how it goes.

Pete: I assume you wouldn’t just drop in unexpectedly on someone who didn’t know you like to be naked.

Sean: No, of course not. It’s just common sense to inform people ahead of time. In general I’d prefer to be naked at someone else’s place, just like at home. Anyone I visit would certainly want to find out beforehand how his family and anyone else who might be there would feel about my nudity. If I don’t already know somehow whether that would be OK I’ll ask about it before I go. What it all comes down to is that the best approach is to not keep it a secret that I enjoy nudity. So anyone who wants to visit me or for me to visit them is well prepared and knows what to expect. That’s simply in my own best interest, since I don’t want any unpleasantness with friends. I’m not a fanatic about this nudity stuff.

Sharlene: How about you, Danielle? I have the impression you’ve already been naked with some of your friends. What’s that been like?

Danielle: Well, don’t forget it hasn’t been very long that I’ve usually been naked at home, even considering times I’ve been naked only in or around the pool. So Sean has had to deal with this situation more than I have. I agree with most of what he said. If a friend wants to visit me at home, the first thing to consider is whether they know nudity’s the norm at our place. If they don’t and I’m ready to let people know, I’ll tell them. Once they know, I’ll find out how they feel about nudity. If I know they’re OK with nudity, then there’s no problem, and I can be naked myself. In any other case and Dad or Sean will be around, I’ll ask them not to be naked during the visit. They always cooperate. Net result is that anyone who I’m not sure is OK with nudity won’t have to see it.

Sharlene: How do your friends react when you’re actually naked with them?

Danielle: To be honest, many seem a little embarrassed at first. That’s hardly surprising, since in our society if friends see each other naked it’s almost always either briefly or in the context of something like an overnight sleepover – not with someone who’s naked all or most of the time, and maybe with other people around.

Sharlene: But there are others who are immediately cool with the nudity?

Danielle: Sure, and not just people like Shelley who’re used to nudity. There are more than I would have expected. One example is Kimberly, who’s probably my best friend on the swimming team. Like everyone else on the team she knows Shelley is an enthusiastic nudist, and she’s even visited Shelley’s family several times. She says that the nudity wasn’t any problem for her at all. Last week she came home with me after a practice. She knew I was at least a part-time nudist since my tan lines had mostly disappeared. I told her I was actually naked most of the time now, and of course that was fine with her.

Sharlene: Ah, another potential nudist, maybe?

Danielle: Well, it would be great if she were. Then there’d be three of us nudists on the team – me, Kimberly, and Shelley! But I don’t know whether it’s a real possibility. I told her a little about experiences my family and I have had with nudity, including the camping trip with Shelley. She was very curious about my experiences and how it feels to be naked most of the time. I could understand the curiosity, since she’d never seriously considered the possibility of going naked.

Sharlene: Sounds like a hint she’s considering it now.

Danielle: Oh, she definitely is. Since she knew Shelley was a nudist and suspected I was becoming one, she has discussed the idea with her parents. She told them she’d, at least, like to find out what it’s like to be naked around other people. Although she was afraid her parents would just laugh at her, she was surprised they had no strong objection, at least as an experiment. Then she became nervous about what she might be getting into, as the possibility of experimenting became real. However, her parents didn’t want her to be naked at home, because of concerns about how their neighbors might react if Kimberly were seen naked at home – especially since their backyard pool isn’t very private.

Sharlene: Not being able to swim naked in the pool would eliminate one of the best reasons for being naked.

Danielle: Right. Kimberly was eager to come home with me after our practice so she could experience being naked at my place and in our pool, and also so we could talk more about my experiences. Before we got home I pointed out that Sean and my father would also be naked. But that was fine with her. She’d seen Shelley’s whole family naked on her visits with them, and she was actually hoping to be naked with people she knew who were also. When Mom came to pick me up I asked whether Kimberly could come and have dinner with us, and Mom was happy to have her join us.

Sharlene: So how’d it go?

Danielle: Just fine. Kimberly and I stripped completely just as soon as we got inside. She talked with the others in my family for a few minutes in order to explain why she wanted to visit. We then went outside to swim – naked and in a more leisurely way than was possible during practice. She never put any clothes back on – through all of dinner and until it was time to leave.

Dave: Actually, we’re now having various people from around the neighborhood come to visit for some reason or other – people who’ve known us for some time but haven’t been among our closest friends. Most people in the neighborhood apparently know that all of us except for Jan usually don’t wear clothes at home anymore. Whatever their stated reason for visiting, there’s usually at least a brief discussion of how Sean, Danielle, and I are usually naked. We regard this as a good development. It shows that there are a number of people who didn’t know dispensing with clothes is a reasonable way to live, and that there’s generally nothing wrong with it. Yet hardly any of these people, as far as we know, have tried being naked in their own homes. Since being naked isn’t at all embarrassing to us, we’re fine with these visits. And we now feel closer to some of these people we hadn’t known very well before.

Jan: Some of these folks have been visiting more regularly now for perfectly good reasons, such as using our pool or chatting about something in which there’s a mutual interest, like gardening or sports or movies, perhaps. Yet they don’t show any interest in being naked here or around their own homes. If they actually are interested, at least they don’t mention it. Dave thinks this may be like the situation at clothing-optional beaches he’s read about where many people regularly use the beach, even though they don’t get naked, yet have no objection if others do.

Sean: Here’s an example. There’s one family around here that has twin kids, Andy and Allie, who are a few years younger then Danielle and me. Several times the twins’ father or mother has brought them here to use our pool and left them with us for a little while to run some errands. The kids always wear bathing suits, but they and their parents are fine with us being naked. Yesterday the kids even stayed long enough to have dinner with us.

Jan: It’s getting to the point where people ask why I’m still a holdout on nudity. It’s becoming increasingly hard for me to explain that, but I just say “Look at your own family. Not everyone finds it especially easy to give up wearing clothes. The rest of my family are the exceptions.”

Danielle: The world would be a much better place if people could be as accepting about personal differences of many kinds, not just feelings about nudity. For lots of things there simply isn’t a single way that’s right for everyone. The big problem is people who gain some advantage by putting down groups of people who are “different”. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. It’s just silly and harmful to disrespect others who wear different types of clothes – or make different choices about wearing clothes at all. People who disrespect others because of differences they think are important – but that really aren’t – just bring on disrespect towards themselves.

To be continued, with the title “Grassroots naturism”

Posted in Dialogues, Family naturism, General naturism, Naked living, Promoting naturism | 1 Comment

Jan and Dave’s family, Part 7

Introduction to the story
Previous installment

Sharlene Hansen: I’m delighted that your wonderful family was able to accept our dinner invitation so soon. Pete has been almost bursting with curiosity to learn more about your family’s adventures with nudism. Dinner’s in the oven now. It’s a standing rib roast – should be plenty enough there for all of us. But it needs to cook awhile longer. Let’s go into the living room so you can tell us about what’s been going on since I saw you a couple of weeks ago.

Jan: Thanks so much for your hospitality, Sharlene. I’d never have expected anyone to be so interested and positive about what’s been going on with us. Frankly, I can’t say I understand it very well myself. No doubt Dave and the kids will talk as long as you care to listen about how much they’ve enjoyed becoming nudists. It’s to the point now that if I see any of them with clothes on I have to wonder whether they have plans they haven’t told me about – or whether I have a piano student that I’ve forgotten about who’s coming for a lesson.

Pete Hansen: I believe we have to thank all of you for being so open and honest about this new enthusiasm of yours. After all, we live in a fairly small and not exceptionally sophisticated community. So as far as Sharlene and I know it must be pretty unusual for people around here to develop such an ardor as your family seems to have for nudity. I’m truly impressed that Dave and your kids seem to have become so comfortable being naked with neighbors like us who, to be honest, probably haven’t been among your closest friends. You must all be very brave people.

Jan: Well, as you can plainly see, I’m still pretty much of a holdout from going naked compared to the rest of my family. But that definitely doesn’t mean I disapprove about what Dave and the kids are doing. I admire their passion – and their bravery – in being happy to go naked as much as they do.

Sharlene: Oh, we certainly understand that, Jan. The amount of comfort one can have with nudity must be a very personal thing. Your hesitation in developing anything like the same comfort as the rest of your family is surely far more common. Before I happened to learn about how easily the rest of your family – Dave especially – have become unapologetic nudists, I’d have said that comfort with nudity was very uncommon.

Pete: Sharlene and I agree that as far as we know we’ve never been acquainted with any actual nudists. But perhaps that’s because most nudists are rather secretive about what they do. I suppose that if most nudists were less secretive, they wouldn’t seem to be so uncommon and so little understood by the rest of us.

Dave: Or perhaps you and Sharlene just deserve lots of credit for being so accepting and open-minded about nudity and a person’s choice to enjoy being naked. If there were more tolerant people like you, I’m sure nudism wouldn’t be such a mystery to the rest of society.

Sharlene: Thanks for giving us so much credit, but I think that’s enough of such preliminaries. Perhaps since we’ve sufficiently complimented each other – and you and your kids are now comfortably naked – we should let you tell us more about your nudist lives until dinner’s ready.

Pete: I hope I don’t embarrass Danielle by mentioning this, but I must say that was a very attractive little thing she was wearing when she arrived. And it was so graceful how easily is slipped off with just a little pull. It’s evidently not the sort of thing one would wear any place a random accidental movement would cause it to fall off! Is it what’s called a sarong?

Danielle: Yes, it’s called a sarong, or also a “pareo”. I think either term is used. How readily it comes off is a feature, not a bug! I love how quickly and easily it lets me get completely naked. Much less awkward than pulling a shirt off over my head, and then bending down to pull off my shorts.

Pete: But surely it might come at least partly undone accidentally, no?

Danielle: Oh, well, if it should come off “accidentally”, in most circumstances I’d be more pleased than embarrassed. I could still claim it was an “accident”, if necessary. I’ve had that “accident” happen more than a few times now! Maybe that’s sort of naughty – but nobody’s objected yet.

Sean: Danielle’s gotten pretty good at that maneuver of letting her pareo come undone. As often as not, someone will simply say “Oh, don’t bother putting it back on. We know you’d probably rather be naked, and it’s no problem for us if you are.” That’s what she’s waiting to hear so she doesn’t have to worry about being naked around whoever it is. It’s easier than just coming out and asking “does anyone mind if I take all my clothes off?” I have a pareo too, but I just wear it wrapped around my waist. And it’s also been known to fall off “accidentally” a few times.

Danielle: Sean’s right. About half the time people who know I enjoy nudity won’t say anything at all if the pareo happens to slip off, even if they haven’t seen me naked before. Guys are lucky they aren’t expected to cover their chest the way girls are. So if they’re wearing only shorts, it’s that much easier for them to get naked.

Sean: Yeah, but at first when nudity was a thing at out place Danielle was generally bare-chested herself at home and with her friends before she decided to just go with full nudity. So before that point, just pulling the shorts down was all she needed to get naked.

Danielle: When I started going naked more openly, I didn’t know how to ask whether anyone minded if I were naked, without that being a little embarrassing for both me and others. Since almost everyone who came for a visit at our house was aware that nudity was common, I avoided having to ask by simply being naked when they arrived. But if I were visiting someone else, then I couldn’t be naked when I arrived, so this was a little problem. But generally only at first, if at all. If I visited a friend someplace where I’d been naked before, but didn’t strip off quickly enough, my friend might say something like “you can just put what you’re wearing in that closet if you want”.

Sharlene: If I may change the subject now, I’m still very interested in that camping trip you all had with the family of Danielle’s friend, Shelley. As you recall, I had to leave before we could get around to talking about that. I’ve already told Pete just about everything I could remember up to that point, and I don’t think I missed much, so you can assume he knows what happened before the trip itself.

Sean: Is it OK if I start off talking about that?

Dave: Certainly. Go ahead.

Sean: Thanks. Near the end of our visit at the Ambersons the subject of camping came up, because Shelley’s father, Mark, and maybe others had said it’s been one of their favorite things to do naked. Our family has also quite enjoyed camping, but of course not naked. Mark said that they had a camping trip planned for the very next week. It wasn’t going to be at an official campground, since that would rule out any real nudity. Instead they liked to go to places in a nearby National Forest, where camping is allowed almost anywhere. They had in mind a place that was pretty remote, but quite beautiful. You needed to go quite a way on dirt roads to get there. Fortunately, Dad has a 4wd truck we use for camping, and it can handle such roads easily.

Dave: The place they had in mind was a small meadow in the forest, so there was plenty of room for setting up tents and other camping equipment – for both of our families. A variety of activities were possible in the area, such as hiking, playing in a small nearby river, setting up a volleyball net, and so on. Plus sitting around a campfire in the evening after dinner and just relaxing.

Sean: And bird-watching! That’s something I’m really interested in. Mark also mentioned that there it was likely we’d have the area to ourselves, at least the area around the campsite. There might be other people on the trails, but they’d probably be camped at other spots. Naturally, all the Ambersons expected to be naked the whole time, and it wouldn’t bother them at all in case anyone else happened to see them. They told us that campers in that area are quite used to seeing nudity, even if they aren’t naked themselves. So there’d be no problem for anyone in our family who wanted to be naked some or all of the time. I was pretty sure that would include me, at least part of the time. After all, that would just make good sense for playing in the river.

Danielle: I thought the idea of going naked outdoors sounded like great fun – especially playing in the river. I knew I’d be quite tempted to do that. But I was afraid I might be too chicken to try it – especially if there could be people other than my family and the Ambersons around. At that point in time Dad was usually naked most of the time, and Sean was cautiously experimenting with going naked, just like Dad. However, the only time he was sure to be naked was around our backyard pool. Indoors he seemed somewhat less comfortable being naked. Right now you can see I’m very comfortable being naked in a situation like this – actually almost all the time, just like Dad and Sean. But back then, before the camping trip, about the only time others in the family ever saw me naked was if I’d forgotten to bring my towel into the bathroom for a shower. After the camping trip, however, I was much more comfortable being naked, as Sharlene could see when she dropped in on us.

Sean: I guess – because I’m a guy and Dad was already naked most of the time – that in the days leading up to the camping trip I was somewhat less nervous about being naked than Danielle was. So I spent some time every day being naked around the house – not just around the pool. Pretty soon I was naked at mealtimes, just like Dad. How could there be any problem with me being naked if Dad was too? And there wasn’t any problem. So I was pretty sure I could be naked for the whole camping trip, as long as it didn’t become too cold.

Danielle: Sean asked me several times before the trip whether I planned to get naked at least some of the time. I told him the truth, which was that I couldn’t really predict what I’d do. And I never made up my mind until we were fairly close to the camping place. As Shelley’s father said they’d planned, they stopped their truck at a spot well away from the main road. All of Shelley’s family got naked at that point, and Sean and Dad did also. I took my shirt off then, but not my shorts. However, just a few minutes later after we were moving again, on impulse I decided that I’d try to stay naked too for the whole time, so I pulled off my shorts. And I never put them back on until we got back close to the main road!

Sharlene: Was the place you were camping reasonably warm, even late in the day and at night?

Danielle: Well, it did get pretty chilly after dark, so I put on a hoodie, but nothing else, while we were sitting around the campfire. I got naked again in the tent and in my sleeping bag, which was quite comfy. It was also cold when we got up in the morning, but I decided I’d be tough and not put anything on. I was goose bumps all over, and my nipples were complaining. It was too cold even for Shelley, but somehow I managed to get along OK staying naked. I just kept pretty close to the fire until the air warmed up. But that first evening was the only time I wasn’t completely naked. I simply decided that I should stay naked just to prove to myself – and others – that I could do it, no matter how cold it got.

Sean: It turned out that we had to share that camping area at the meadow with others. The day after we got there, another family showed up about noon, and they wanted to camp at a nice spot about 100 feet away from us. There were two boys in the family, about the same age as Danielle and me, as well as their parents. They weren’t nudists, so they didn’t plan to get naked, but they didn’t have any objections at all to our nudity. In fact, when they saw we were all naked – except for Mom – they asked politely whether we’d mind, even though they planned to keep their clothes on, if they camped about 100 feet away. Shelley’s parents said they were fine with that, so my parents didn’t object either.

Danielle: As you can imagine, that was a little unsettling to me. But I was quite visibly naked, and they all saw me while they were talking about setting up nearby. So I figured I’d just better go through with my plan to stay naked the whole time, no matter what. And I did.

Sean: Shelley’s dad had planned to take Shelley and her brother, Terry, and Danielle and me on a hike one day. None of us would be wearing anything but boots and a day pack. But Mark invited the two boys of the other family to come with us too, and they happily agreed.

Danielle: So there we were, two naked girls with our naked brothers – and two other guys who were dressed normally. Five males altogether, counting Mark. Two girls and three guys were in the altogether. All going for a five or six hour hike in the woods. At least there was one – naked – adult along to supervise things.

Sharlene: Sounds like it must have been a pretty fun excursion for everyone. Did you meet anyone else on the trail?

Danielle: Yep, one family with two younger girls, fully dressed, who must have been camping somewhere nearby. They were a little surprised, but not really fazed by what they saw. We just smiled at each other and went on our ways. Who know what they told their girls.

Jan: In fact, that family walked by our camp, where Dave, Shelley’s mother, Julie, and I were chatting. I wasn’t naked but Dave and Julie, of course, were. This family told us what they’d seen, and we admitted we were with those others but skipped the hike. They just laughed and said it wasn’t the first time they’d encountered naked people out in the woods, so they weren’t too perturbed. The girls understood that there were simply a few people around who just didn’t care much for wearing clothes, and that was OK.

Danielle: Yeah, it’s really true. People who enjoy being naked and others who prefer to wear clothes are perfectly capable of getting along very well and having a good time together. But before then, if anyone had told me I’d happily be doing what we did, I wouldn’t have believed it. Yet I got comfortable with the situation pretty quickly. I really didn’t want to miss the hike. I didn’t want to put any clothes back on either. So I just went naked, and it was fine. The boys from the other family were very well behaved and respectful. It was just like nobody cared who was naked and who wasn’t – because that’s really how it was. I thought to myself, “Hey, self, this is really peachy keen. How come I ever thought it was such a scary thing to be naked?”

Pete: What other fun things did you do on this trip?

Danielle: Besides the hike, Sean, Dad, and Mark went off on several shorter walks so Sean could try to spot interesting birds. The rest of us stayed behind in camp while the others were away. The two boys from the other family joined us to work on a jigsaw puzzle and play board games.

Sean: At various other times, the kids in our group and the other two boys played in the river. Unfortunately, we couldn’t convince them to go in without swimming trunks, despite our best efforts.

Danielle: One night the other family invited us to their site to have dinner with them. So all of those folks got quite an eyeful of totally naked me and the rest of us nudists!

Sharlene: And yet you never changed your mind about being naked.

Danielle: Nope, I never changed my mind. And I’m so glad I didn’t. That’s probably the main thing that completely changed how I felt about nudity! Unsurprisingly, I was rather disconcerted about the situation at first – and that’s an understatement. But it wasn’t long at all before my discomfort just sort of disappeared. What I realized is that I could be comfortably naked around people I hardly knew – boys especially – and they could potentially see every single naked square inch of me. In fact, they probably came fairly close to doing so, considering how uninhibited I felt playing in the water, and doing cartwheels around the campsite. I even climbed a few trees naked after Sean did and dared me to do also. Yeah, I know, I was acting rather crazy there. Mom did look at me like “what the fuck does she think she’s doing?” But nobody actually said anything to calm me down.

Jan: Perhaps you can imagine I almost freaked out about how uninhibitedly Danielle was showing off every bit of herself. I almost – almost – started to have a word with her and suggest she should be just a bit more restrained. But I suppose, since nothing bad happened and Danielle gained a great deal of self-confidence, it was on balance for the best. As a result of that self-confidence Danielle’s now become fairly comfortable being naked. In any case, Danielle wasn’t alone in her disinhibition, as Shelley was doing pretty much the same things.

Danielle: Oh, come on, Mom. Yeah, I’m pretty uninhibited now when I think the situation is appropriate. But I do try fairly hard not to embarrass myself or anyone else if how I’m naked seems it might cause offense. I try to be careful and considerate of others until I have a sense of their attitudes towards nudity. But as long as I feel confident that others are OK with nudity and don’t have any unacceptable intentions, I’m happy to let them see me naked.

Sharlene: So you’ve become a full-fledged nudist like your father and brother since the camping trip?

Danielle: Well, yes, I definitely am now. But it wasn’t quite that simple. I didn’t become a full-time nudist immediately. See, in that situation at the camp, there was just my own family, Shelley’s family, who are all nudists, and that other family, who weren’t nudists, but were very tolerant of our nudity. That family were strangers to us. They don’t live anywhere nearby, and they turned out to be pretty nice folks. But we’ll probably never see them again. And even if we did, we knew they were OK with nudity. Back here at home, however, I have a lot of friends, and I don’t have any idea how most of them feel about nudity. At least, I didn’t know at the time we got home, though I have a better idea now. So I figured that I needed to proceed somewhat cautiously. I didn’t want to take a chance on alienating friends, if I could avoid it.

Sean: I have the same problem too. It’s one thing to be naked at home when nobody’s around but family. However, friends who come to visit, or whom I intend to visit at their homes, are another matter. There are ongoing relationships I’d just as soon not damage, if at all possible.

Danielle: I definitely had second thoughts about this stuff when we got home. You know, when you’re camping you’re out in nature, you have this sense that the rules may be different from what they are back in “civilization”, that is, at home. Camping is just a different environment, and the rules may well not be the same. I mean, at home you never know when a friend who’s not aware that you enjoy nudity might drop in unexpectedly – just as Sharlene did.

Sharlene: You’re lucky, I guess, I’m a pretty easy-going, open-minded sort of person!

Danielle: Definitely. Anyhow, it’s hard not to consider that some careful re-evaluation might be in order. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I was concerned that my behavior at the campsite was just a bit reckless. I started to have some regrets, and I worried that unless I dialed back my enthusiasm for nudity, at least temporarily, I could find myself in a situation where I’d have to choose between uninhibited nudity and the prospect of hurting relationships with people who are important to me – perhaps even my mother, who was clearly not yet especially enthusiastic about nudity.

Jan: I’m glad you decided to take a more cautious approach. Although you’re now a pretty committed nudist, and I don’t expect or want that to change, it’s good that you chose to examine things more carefully before proceeding.

Danielle: Yeah. Here’s one thing I was thinking. Let’s suppose that I immediately gave up wearing any clothes at home and did everything I could naked. Then nudity might become like an addiction I couldn’t easily give up. That could lead me to do things – who knows what? – that I might really regret later. Although I knew by then that I definitely loved being naked, I realized that it could be a very painful quandary if I ever had to choose between nudity and something else just as important.

Sharlene: Would you care to give an example or two?

Danielle: Um, let’s see. Maybe I’d fall in love some day with a guy who couldn’t stand letting other people see me naked. Then I’d have to choose between the guy and the nudity I love. Or maybe when I’m older and have to support myself I might want a career that would be incompatible with nudity, such as elementary school teaching or going into politics. Maybe the only satisfying job I could find would be working in a strip club. Those are just hypotheticals, but you get the idea.

Sharlene: Thank you.

Danielle: So, to make a long story short, I decided to start being naked at home somewhat less than all the time. That would give me some time to think more carefully about this stuff, without allowing myself to become addicted to nudity too soon.

Sharlene: This is a very fascinating discussion. But I think dinner should be almost done, so I suggest we take a break while I get things ready so we can eat. We can resume this conversation at the table.

To be continued.

Posted in Dialogues, Family naturism, General naturism, Naked living, Promoting naturism | 4 Comments

Jan and Dave’s family, Part 6

Introduction to the story
Previous installment

Sean: Mom, I think there’s someone at the front door.

Jan: Well, I’m on the phone right now. Please go see who it is. Wait – do you have any clothes on?

Sean: No, of course I don’t.

Jan: Then grab something to cover up quick – wrap on a towel if you have to. Sorry to interrupt our conversation, Anna. My son just said there’s someone at the door.

Anna: Yes, I heard. Is Sean spending time naked now, too, just like his father?

Jan: Yes, I’m afraid so. Like father, like son, you know. I’m surprised he hasn’t started before now. When we go for lunch tomorrow I’ll fill you in on the details. It’s kind of complicated. Listen, let me call you back after I deal with whoever’s at the door.

Sean: It’s Mrs. Hansen, Mom. Says this is just a social call and she can come back later if you’re busy.

Jan: No, send her in here. I haven’t heard from her in awhile, and I’d be happy to talk with her. Oh, and where is your sister?

Sean: I don’t know, but she’s probably out in the pool to work out, as usual.

Sharlene Hansen: Hi, Jan. Sorry to barge in on you like this, but I’ve been harvesting some of my roses. The bushes are just going crazy with flowers this summer. Must be all the heat we’ve had. Anyhow, I wanted you to have some – I can’t possibly use them all.

Jan: Oh, thank you so much, Sharlene. Why don’t you come in and sit down for a bit. Can I offer you some iced tea?

Sharlene: Yes, that would be lovely. It is so darned hot outside.

Danielle: Hey, Mom, I just came in to make myself a little lunch… Oh, excuse me, Mrs. Hansen. I had no idea anyone else was here.

Jan: Danielle, please go put something on to cover up if you’re not going right back outside.

Danielle: Gosh, I’m so sorry, Mom, really.

Sharlene: Oh don’t apologize, Danielle. And don’t be so hard on the girl, Jan. I raised a family of three kids, you know. Seen ’em all naked many times, even when they were almost as old as Sean and Danielle. Come on in, Danielle, and please don’t bother putting anything on if you don’t feel like it. If your mom doesn’t want me to leave right away you might be interested in our conversation.

Jan: No, no, Sharlene, don’t feel you have to leave quickly. I was on the phone with my friend Anna. But she’ll understand if I don’t call back right away. And thanks so much for the roses – they’re beautiful! Was there something in particular you wanted to talk about?

Sharlene: Yes, but first I want to tell both of you kids that there’s no need whatsoever to wear any clothes at all while I’m around. You can take that towel off right now, Sean, if you want to. Might as well get as naked as your sister.

Jan: I guess I’d better explain about this nudity. It’s a long story, but, see, Dave has been interested in nudism for some time – at least a year. He finally told me about that a couple of months ago and said he’d like to experiment with going naked around the house.

Sharlene: I imagine that must have come as a bit of a surprise to you.

Jan: Yes, of course. You have to understand I don’t find nudity all that shocking or scandalous or anything like that. As far as I know I’ve never been acquainted with any nudists, but I wouldn’t lose respect for anyone if I learned they were into that. To each his or her own I believe. But naturally I was surprised to learn Dave was interested in nudism. He pointed me to information on the subject, and I have to admit there are some aspects of it that I can understand might be appealing. So I told Dave it was OK if he wanted to be naked at home, as long as nobody besides me – including our kids – were around.

Sharlene: But evidently conditions have relaxed a little since then.

Jan: Yes, obviously. What happened is that my mother was here for a short visit. I told her about Dave’s interest in nudism, and she told me something she’d never mentioned to me before – namely that nudity was not uncommon in her family when she was fairly young.

Sharlene: Were you mother and her family actually nudists?

Jan: No. As Mom’s siblings got older and had friends often visiting, nudity around their house gradually became less and less common. But she did emphasize that she couldn’t see how any harm had been done to herself or her siblings as a result of nudity in their family.

Sharlene: And so you gave Dave the OK to be naked even when Sean and Danielle were around.

Jan: Yes. But that meant we had to explain to the kids what was going on, so they’d understand why they’d probably be seeing their father naked quite a lot. So we had to explain “nudism” to them, why Dave was interested in it, and so on. Naturally they had lots of questions, but we let them read Dave’s nudist magazines, and Dave tried to answer the questions as best he could. He encouraged them to look for further information on the Internet.

Sharlene: So, did the kids get interested in being nudists too at that point?

Jan: Well, yes, but rather gradually. They quickly got used to seeing Dave naked, and didn’t seem perturbed about it. But they were slower to try it themselves. Sean took the lead by deciding he wouldn’t bother wearing a swimming suit to use our pool. However, what really broke the ice was when Danielle told us that one of the other girls on her swimming team, Shelley, was a nudist, like the rest of her family. So we met Shelley’s family the next time we were with Danielle at a swimming team practice. We had a nice conversation about things, and they invited us to visit their home after the practice. We did that and learned a lot about their family’s involvement with nudism. Shelley’s parents had gotten into it just after they were married, and they raised their kids in a home where nobody wore any clothes unless absolutely necessary.

Sean: And you know what was really cool?

Sharlene: No, what, Sean?

Sean: Shelley’s family had planned to go on a camping trip the following week – and they invited our whole family to join them! So we did, and I think we had the best time camping ever! We hiked and played in a little stream near the campsite, and I saw about a dozen birds I’d never seen before. Oh, and all of us except for Mom were naked most of the time.

Sharlene: That was your first experience being naked around people other than your family?

Sean: Yeah. It was easy for Dad, of course. But Danielle and I were sort of afraid, before the trip, that we might be tempted to go naked too. Fortunately, by the time we got to the campsite, Danielle and I felt a lot braver. In fact, we actually started looking forward to see what it felt like to enjoy camping naked.

Sharlene: That’s wonderful. I’d love to hear all about that trip.

Jan: I’m sure the kids would love to tell you, too. But perhaps you weren’t planning to spend the rest of the afternoon here.

Sharlene: Well, I do have a few other things I need to do this afternoon. However, I’m really curious to hear more about what’s been going on in your family as far as nudity is concerned – but only if you don’t mind talking about it. I certainly don’t mean to be too nosy and pry into anything that’s none of my business.

Jan: Don’t worry about that, Sharlene. I’ve given up thinking it would be possible to keep this stuff a secret for very long. I have the impression that you’re pretty open-minded about this subject.

Sharlene: Yeah, I guess so. Nudism’s certainly not anything Pete and I have even considered for ourselves, but I don’t think either of us could object to anyone else’s interest in it. I’m very curious to know how Sean and Danielle feel about all this. They both look quite comfortable without any clothes on. Are both of you often naked now?

Sean: Yeah, I am a lot of the time here at home, just like Dad. But I don’t go naked elsewhere, like at friends’ homes. I’m not quite comfortable enough to try that yet. It’s sort of an embarrassing thing to talk about. I’m not sure I could explain well enough about being naked that my friends and their parents would be OK with it.

Sharlene: How about you, Danielle?

Danielle: Well, so far during the day I’m mostly not naked except to use the pool. I almost always put some clothes on – at least a pair of shorts – when I’m done swimming and sunbathing. But I do sleep naked all the time now! As for other times, I haven’t really decided yet. I’m not as brave about it as Sean is. But I’m getting bolder.

Sharlene: How so?

Danielle: It wasn’t actually intentional. A few days ago I overslept a bit. I woke up when Mom sent Sean to tell me breakfast was ready. He’d already started being naked most of the time. So I figured, what the heck, I might as well stay naked to have breakfast, so that’s what I did. And it felt pretty good! You know, just doing something completely ordinary like eating breakfast, but doing that naked even without a particular reason such as when I’m in or around the pool.

Sharlene: So it just seemed normal pretty quickly?

Danielle: Yeah! That was the best part – nobody teased me or even commented on how I didn’t have any clothes on! I’d have felt much more self-conscious if they’d done that. It was like, hey, what’s the big deal about eating breakfast naked?

Sean: Of course we didn’t say anything. Dad had been doing that for a while, and I’d started being naked a lot too.

Danielle: So I decided to be brave and see how long I’d feel comfortable staying naked after breakfast. I didn’t put any clothes on at all that day! I mostly stopped even thinking about how I was stark naked. A few times I did think “Wow, here I am without any clothes on, and nobody seems to regard that as the least bit unusual.” I really understood how Dad enjoyed being naked so much.

Sharlene: Good for you, Danielle. You’ll find many times in life that you need to be brave to try something new, even if it’s something you want. There are always fears whenever you think about making significant changes in your life. You just have to consider those fears objectively, and then decide what’s best. Was this your first day being naked at home the whole time?

Danielle: Yeah. I’d been naked at certain times, like from before bedtime until after breakfast, and when I was around the pool. I was naked for a few days straight on that camping trip. But that was kind of a special occasion when it would have seemed uncooperative not to be naked, since there was no real excuse for wearing any clothes.

Sharlene: Not even any worries about sunburn or bug bites?

Danielle: Nope. I tan easily, as you can see, and seldom burn. Besides, we were camped in a shady area. And there didn’t seem to be mosquitoes or other unpleasant bugs around.

Sharlene: Good thinking, Danielle. That’s just the right way to deal with your fears. You already knew from being naked at home that nobody, at least in your family, would make you feel embarrassed about being naked. And you don’t seem at all embarrassed because I’m here. I bet your father is impressed that you’ve been pretty brave about going naked.

Danielle: Yep. He didn’t put any pressure on me, but I’ve done it anyhow. He’s also glad he isn’t the only one in the family now who goes naked.

Sharlene: Although I’d love to hear more about that camping trip, I really can’t stay much longer. Can I have a rain check on that.

Jan: Certainly. We all really enjoyed that trip – including me, although I didn’t get naked, since I haven’t worked through my concerns about nudity the way the others have.

Sharlene: I sympathize with you, Jan. If anyone suggested camping naked to me, I’d also need a lot more time to think about it. We all have our own unique situations and feelings, so one size don’t fit all. I do need to discuss something more before I need to leave, but first I just have to ask Danielle whether after staying naked the whole day the first time at home she felt really comfortable doing that.

Danielle: Actually, no, not quite. Most days since then I’ve stayed naked until after breakfast, then I usually put something on. I’ve generally stopped wearing a top at home now, but I usually have at least shorts on. However, unless there’s a particular reason to be naked, I’ve generally had something on until supper time. Then I get naked again for dinner, and stay like that the rest of the day. I don’t feel quite ready yet to be naked as much as Sean and Dad are.

Sharlene: How come?

Danielle: Well, it’s mostly because I have a number of friends, and I don’t know quite how to explain to them that nudity has become common at our house. Many days I either spend much of the day visiting a friend or friends, or have someone visiting me, so I get dressed normally for that. If I know there’ll be anyone else visiting here, I also dress normally. Mom has piano students here many days, you know.

Sharlene: What about Sean and your father when there are visitors?

Danielle: So far they’ve both been very cooperative about putting something on if they plan to be around. See, none of my friends know yet even that I go naked around the pool. So I haven’t had to try to figure out how they might react to nudity – either mine or someone else’s. I’m not very sure I could explain it too well.

Sharlene: You never have unexpected visitors?

Jan: No, so far there haven’t been any surprise visits. You’re actually the first to drop in unexpectedly and find anyone naked. But remember, it’s been about three weeks since my mother’s visit and nudity became much more common here.

Sharlene: So you haven’t had any surprise visits from friends yet while you were naked, Danielle?

Danielle: No, not yet. I know it’s bound to happen eventually, so I need to figure out what to tell anyone who comes unexpectedly. My goal is to be naked as much as Sean and Dad. For that I want to have a pretty good explanation. But until then it’s best if I’m not completely naked too much myself during the day.

Sharlene: That’s too bad, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out. Your mom always tells me that you’re really smart.

Danielle: I don’t know about that, but I’m just going to need more time to think about this nudity stuff. My friends might understand how Dad and Sean can handle it. But going naked just seems riskier for girls than boys.

Jan: Unfortunately, I can’t give Danielle much advice, since I don’t quite understand this “nudity stuff” myself.

Sharlene: For sure Danielle should take all the time she needs to think about it. Whatever decision she makes could have a big effect on her. But just to be clear, at my age I could hardly criticize anybody I know who enjoys being naked. As far as I’m concerned, go for it, if it’s what you want. But you’re OK with what your kids are doing, Jan?

Jan: Well, I still have some reservations, but I’m trying to be patient and see how this develops. It’s kind of an experiment for our whole family. What happens to any of us will affect the rest of us.

Sharlene: Being patient with others even if we don’t fully understand what’s driving them is pretty important.

Jan: I did get used pretty quickly to Dave’s nudity. If anything I’m a little surprised the kids – Danielle especially – have been as cautions about taking up full nudity as they have. Danielle has usually been more impulsive and more of a risk-taker than Sean. But we can go into that some other time. You said there was something you wanted to talk about?

Sharlene: Yes. I just have a little information for you. It’s no big deal. Nothing I’d be too concerned about. Probably it won’t even be news to you. But there are rumors going around the neighborhood, and I thought you ought to know.

Jan: I can guess what those rumors are about. After all, the evidence is standing right here in front of us. So, I suppose there are neighbors who’ve learned that we have at least one dedicated nudist in the family now, and perhaps more. I’ve been pretty sure the fact would leak out sooner or later.

Sharlene: Yes, you have the gist of it. But it doesn’t seem like anybody’s upset about it. People just find it, oh, “interesting”. More just curious rather than anything else. Perhaps they feel, like me, that everyone has a right to wear as much or as little as they want in their own home. At least, that’s the sense I have from most of those I’ve talked with. I think you don’t have much to worry about.

Jan: Who have you heard this “rumor” from?

Sharlene: Maybe half a dozen people. I’m not even sure who was first. You know, if anything you should be glad that many neighbors know about this, but don’t seem upset about it. And if they are, it’s really none of their business. I think you should feel it’s OK to discuss this with anyone you care to – or nobody if that’s what you want.

Jan: I don’t mind discussing this a little with you, since you seem to be interested and open-minded. But please keep anything I say to yourself. If the subject comes up with anyone else, tell them you’ve heard that I know about the rumors and I’m willing to talk about them if they come to me. Wait, I just heard someone pull in the garage – must be Dave. Don’t worry – he’ll have clothes on. Doesn’t drive around naked, at least not as far as I know.

Dave: Honey, I’m home. Oh… hello Sharlene. And, Danielle, isn’t this a first for you? Not having any clothes on while we have a visitor, I mean.

Danielle: I just came in from the pool a few minutes ago to get some lunch. You know I’ve usually been naked in the pool a little while now. I didn’t realize Mrs. Hansen was here, but she said I didn’t need to bother putting anything on.

Jan: Dave, it seems like the cat’s out of the bag now. Sharlene says a number of the neighbors she’s talked with have been spreading rumors about us… which apparently are roughly accurate.

Danielle: And Mrs. Hansen says not to worry, Dad. Evidently nobody thinks we’re doing anything bad.

Dave: They shouldn’t. Anyone should have the right to be naked in their own homes if they want to be.

Jan: Well, pull up a chair, then. We’ve been discussing this nudity stuff. Sharlene says she may have to leave soon. But perhaps she still has a few more questions. She’s promised that she won’t tell anyone else, and if anyone’s still curious they can come talk with us directly.

Sharlene: If my understanding is correct, Dave, you like to be naked most of the time now at home. So feel free to strip off if you want.

Dave: Seriously?

Sharlene: Sure. You don’t need to be embarrassed. Won’t bother me at all.

Dave: Well, maybe I’ll hold off for a bit, until I know more about these “rumors” that you say are spreading around.

Sharlene: Let me put your mind at ease then. The “rumor” is that you and perhaps others in you family enjoy being naked at home. But nobody I’ve talked with seems to be upset about that.

Dave: OK, that’s good. Normally I’d already have my clothes off. But I could tell there was someone else here, so I figured I’d better wait.

Sharlene: Jan and your kids have already given me a bit of the history about your interest in nudism and how things have unfolded here, so we don’t need to go over that again. Sean and Danielle have also said a little about their perspective on the topic. So right now – if Jan wants to talk about it and doesn’t think I’m being too nosy – I’m curious to know more about her own hesitance about experimenting with nudity.

Jan: I don’t mind your asking. No, I’m not experimenting with nudity yet myself. Being naked except in a few obvious circumstances just isn’t how I was raised. Although, as I’ve mentioned, my own mother says nudity was common in her family when she was growing up. But she hasn’t done anything like that for many years. Well, except for just a few times while she was here.

Danielle: Mom, I know it’s not polite to eat in front of other people who aren’t eating, but I’m starving. Would it be OK if I fix myself a sandwich?

Jan: Sure, it’s OK. Sharlene, can we offer you anything to eat?

Sharlene: Well, as usual I’m trying to watch my weight. But I haven’t had lunch yet. Danielle, what are you having? If it’s not too much trouble, I’d be happy with just a little of what you’re fixing.

Danielle: I’m just having a simple ham and cheese sandwich.

Sharlene: Oh, one my favorites. I’ll have one too. Mustard and mayo on it, please, if you can.

Danielle: One ham and cheese with mustard and mayo coming right up. Would you like fries with that… just kidding! Want anything yourself, Mom? Dad?

Jan: Nope, no thanks. I had a little leftover potato salad about half an hour ago.

Dave: I just had a sandwich at Subway on the way home, so I don’t need anything. But perhaps Sean would like something. Where is he, by the way?

Jan: Probably went back to his room to resume playing a computer game. He wrapped a towel around his waist when Sharlene came by, but he dropped it as soon as Sharlene said it was fine with her if he wanted to be naked.

Sharlene: Thanks for the sandwich, Danielle. Ummm – ciabatta bread, one of my favorites. Now, where were we? Oh, yes, Jan was starting to talk about how she’s still a hold-out as far as nudism is concerned. I imagine, Jan, that if you’re not yet a nudist yourself – and maybe have no intention of being one – all of this nudity may be somewhat embarrassing for you.

Jan: Yes, perhaps just a little. But I’m getting used to it. I imagine I’ll get over the slight embarrassment, though, whether or not I decide to give up wearing clothes at times, like the others.

Sharlene: You said your own mother was raised in a family where nudity was fairly common when she was young. However, she didn’t become a nudist, so I presume that nudity wasn’t very common in your family while you were growing up.

Jan: That’s correct. Nudity was hardly even discussed seriously. My mother never even told me until she was here so recently how things were in her family. I knew there were such people as “nudists” who like being naked just because it feels good to them – but assumed they must be very unusual.

Sharlene: Did you think that being a nudist was “bad” somehow?

Jan: Honestly, I probably never really thought about it. Although nudity was seldom discussed, it was obvious that my father strongly disapproved of it. From time to time he’d say pretty negative things about clothes that were “too skimpy”, let alone full nudity. Things like how often prominent movie stars and other celebrities – females in particular – tended to wear very revealing clothes, how awful it was that many movies were increasingly showing explicit nudity, how scandalous it seemed to him that there were a few public beaches, especially on the coasts, that were “clothing-optional”. And stuff like that.

Sharlene: So of course he also had nothing good to say about young girls and women who were scantily clad.

Jan: Right. When I and the other girls in my family were teens, there was definitely a dress code. We couldn’t even think of wearing dresses or shorts that were “too short”. Or skimpy tank tops. Or bare midriffs. Or prom dresses that showed “too much” cleavage. You get the idea. I assume he picked up these fairly prudish attitudes from his own family. But since this wasn’t a topic about which his opinions could be questioned, I never learned exactly how he justified them.

Sharlene: I’d guess that your mother never discussed these issues with him, in spite of the way she’d been raised herself.

Jan: Correct. She was quite well aware of my father’s opinions, and she told me while she was here that she didn’t feel it was worth the hassle of telling him about her own upbringing. In any case I suppose that my own hesitance about open nudity is an ingrained effect of knowing my father’s opinions. Now, of course, I can see that they were rather extreme. So although the idea of being naked like Dave and our kids seem to be enjoying still makes me uncomfortable, I have to respect what they feel is right for them.

Sharlene: Well, it’s been many years since I had a few psychology classes in college. But from those and all my experience since then as a parent and knowing other parents I’m well aware of how much influence a parent’s attitudes can have on their children, for better or worse. Sometime kids will rebel against those attitudes when they’re teens, but just as often they’ll find other ways to rebel. I suppose it depends a lot on the kinds of friends they have as teens. At all events, even if they rebel, they’re often left with some residue of guilt that they’d rejected their parents’ attitudes. And they often don’t quite understand the sources of their own feelings as adults.

Jan: That seems to be true of my own mother. Although she never felt she could oppose her husband’s attitudes on nudity, it was quite clear when she was here – without my father, who she’s still living with – that she feels no disapproval of “sensible” nudity. In fact, once she’d explained to us how nudity wasn’t unusual in her childhood family, she encouraged all of us to enjoy being naked if that seemed good to us. She congratulated Dave for being honest with the rest of us about his interest in nudity. So that, together with Dave’s own example, has allowed Sean and Danielle to become increasingly comfortable being naked themselves. And she happily joined with them in using our own pool naked.

Sharlene: Thank you so much, Jan, for being so open with me about sharing all of your “family secrets” on this. I think you’re doing the right thing by giving yourself plenty of time to figure out how you really feel about this “nudity stuff”. I’d love to continue this discussion the rest of the day. However, unfortunately, I do have other business to attend to this afternoon, so I’ve got to cut this short. I was really hoping to hear much more about this camping trip you had with the family of Danielle’s friend Shelley. But we’ll just have to save that for another time – very soon, I hope.

Jan: I feel very good about this discussion we’ve had, since I haven’t been able to share this information with anyone else in the neighborhood. But you’ve made me fell that it’s OK to discuss it – with the right people.

Sharlene: I’m glad if I’ve been of any help. I like to feel I can be a “sounding board” for anyone who wants to “get something off the chest”, so to speak. I’ll look forward to anything else you all would care to share with me about this nudity stuff. Perhaps you’d like to have dinner with Pete and me sometime soon. May I tell him what you’ve been telling me?

Jan: That would be OK, but please don’t tell anyone else unless and until I let you know otherwise. Be sure Pete understands that too. And we’ll be glad to have dinner with you anytime you suggest.

Sharlene: Yes, absolutely. Will do. For now it’s just between us and your family. And when you come for dinner, any of you may be as naked as you want. I’m sure Pete won’t mind.

To be continued.

Posted in Dialogues, Family naturism, General naturism, Naked living, Promoting naturism | 1 Comment

Jan and Dave’s family, Part 5

Introduction to the story
Previous installment

Julie: We’ll give you a tour of the rest of the property a little later. But we’ll show you the house right now, since the very first thing the rest of the family and I always do when we get home is to strip off all the silly clothes. If anyone else wants to do likewise, that’s absolutely OK with us – but we never expect visitors to take off anything unless they want to.

Dave: Thanks, Julie! Can’t wait to get naked myself. However, although the rest of my family seems to have become pretty used to seeing me naked, I don’t think they’re quite ready to follow my example.

Julie: That’s perfectly OK. Whether to be naked or not certainly should be everyone’s personal choice. We don’t know many other people in this area who enjoy being naked as much as we do. Most of our friends and neighbors who drop in to visit prefer to keep all or most of their clothes on. Fortunately, they seem to be pretty comfortable with our family being fully naked. Also, they generally invite us to strip off when we visit them the first time – so that’s exactly what we do. After we’re naked the first time, our nudity is simply taken for granted. But I suppose our friends tend to be a bit more open-minded than average. They have to be to put up with us!

Mark: As you can see, we have plenty of closet space near the front door. That’s where we keep clothes to wear if we’re going someplace we can’t be naked. And of course all the clothes go right back there as soon as we return.

Shelley: Danielle and Sean, are you sure you wouldn’t like to take off any clothes? Maybe just your tops? I bet you’d find it feels great!

Danielle: Um, I don’t have any problems being with people who like to be naked, but I still haven’t figured out whether I’d be comfortable without clothes on. I hope you understand.

Shelley: Yes, absolutely. Most of my friends are same way. But it’s cool that they don’t mind at all if I’m naked. More often than you might expect, their families are just as tolerant. How about you, Sean, want to try stripping off?

Sean: Maybe later. I’m still thinking about it.

Dave: Looks like a pretty impressive place your family has. How long have you lived here?

Mark: Somewhat less than two years. Being a contractor with a lot of home building experience, I’ve always had the ambition to build something like this for my own family – a place that’s comfortable and spacious, without having to compromise too much on anything important. But it took awhile to accumulate enough money in the bank that I could afford to build what I really wanted without going into lots of debt.

Julie: It’s also been very important for Mark and me to have a place that’s just right for our naked lifestyle.

Jan: What is it you think’s important for that lifestyle?

Julie: Well, among other things, that means plenty of open space indoors, so the family can do what they like – whether it’s reading, playing games, working in the kitchen, indulging hobbies, being on their computers, or just watching TV – without having to retreat to some room apart from everyone else. See, a naked lifestyle isn’t just enjoying being naked yourself. It’s also being together with the rest of your naked family in one place, without being separated by walls.

Mark: Julie and I have a private bedroom upstairs, and the kids each have their own too. There’s also a sort of utility room with a big closet for storage and plenty of space to provide a bed for guests. But right now we’re not really set up for many guests at once, unless they don’t mind sleeping on air mattresses somewhere or other. However, I do plan to build a separate guest house outside. But I’m not sure when we might have lots of guests, so I haven’t decided yet how big to make it. Both Julie’s family and mine live pretty far away, and they’re still not very comfortable with our naked lifestyle, so they probably won’t visit often.

Julie: There’s only one big bathroom upstairs, with an open shower area and four shower heads so we can all shower together if we want. There are curtains around the toilets, though we don’t always bother with those.

Jan: Peeing right out in the open? I know some guys are OK with that, but you and Shelley too?

Shelley: Yeah, we have some of those little gadgets so we can pee standing up and direct the pee into the toilets. It’s almost as simple as peeing is for guys – especially if one doesn’t have any pants on. We go camping a lot – naked – so we’re used to doing it that way.

Julie: But if anyone, like guests, wants more privacy we have two smaller bathrooms on the ground floor.

Mark: I also have a private office for running my contracting business, to avoid distractions and also to have meetings with clients and people I work with. For meeting with people like that I might wear a little something or other in case they might not be comfortable with nudity. We’ll take you upstairs to see the other rooms and the views from the windows, but you can see just about everything else on this floor right from where we’re standing.

Julie: One other thing you’ll notice is that about half the outside walls in this room are glass about 7 feet high, so there’s plenty of light during the day and great views over the patio and swimming pool and to the woods beyond. It’s almost like living outdoors! Unfortunately, though, there’s not a lot of usable wall space for displaying art – nude art, of course.

Jan: Wow. This place seems palatial. I can understand how it took awhile to save enough money to build it.

Dave: I’ve heard that “great rooms” aren’t as popular now as they were 10 or 20 years ago, but yours is obviously just right for your naked lifestyle.

Julie: We certainly think so.

Shelley: Know what else we can do in this room? We have a portable zip-line that can be set up from the landing at the top of the stairs running over to the that window. Inside it’s only about 30 feet, but really fun. I’ll get it out if there’s time before you have to go. It’s especially fun if you’re naked, but still good even if you’re not. It can also be set up outside over the pool – so you wind up in the water! It’s almost 60 feet in that case.

Jan: This room looks perfect for having large parties. So much space, and with everyone in one room it’s easier to circulate around and find others. Do you entertain much?

Julie: Well, that’s been one of our objectives. Perhaps it’s obvious. We’d like to have lots of people here for great parties – as long as clothing is completely optional. Full or partial nudity is always encouraged – though without any pressure – even for people who’re OK with other folks’ nudity but may be a little hesitant about trying it themselves. Unfortunately, since we’re relatively new to this area, we don’t know all that many folks with pro-nudity attitudes yet. Maybe about four other families, several couples without kids, and a few single people who might or might not come with dates. I hope we can add your family to our regular guest list!

Dave: I think that would be great!

Mark: I think the most guests we’ve had for parties so far is only about 20, and most have gotten partly or fully naked. That’s a good number, but it was only once. I think we could comfortably handle 35 or 40 if we push the furniture to one side and set up tables on the patio for buffet food. 50 might be pretty cozy – though that’s not such a bad thing when folks are naked.

Dave: And unless it’s too cold outside to be naked comfortably, you could have many more people on the patio and around the pool.

Julie: Yes, of course. But hosting a party with so many people is rather daunting – except for one thing. Perhaps you recall that Mark mentioned one type of informal nudist organization – “travel clubs”.

Dave: Yes, I remember. That’s for groups of people who enjoy nudity but don’t have convenient commercial resorts or campgrounds to go to regularly, so they meet for parties at private homes of their members, and visit commercial places or camping places on public land as a group from time to time.

Mark: Right. We know of a couple of groups like that in the general area, but they’re not much more convenient to visit than commercial nudist places. And besides, most of the members are somewhat older couples, most of whom don’t have younger kids like ours. They’re still nice people, but they aren’t as interested in the sorts of things that we like, such as going to clothing-optional spots on suitable rivers or lakes, or camping in the woods, or just hiking naked.

Dave: So you’d like to start a nudist group of your own with members who are more like yourselves?

Julie: Exactly! I’m a more sociable sort of person than Mark, but we both want to meet more people who already do or could enjoy a naked lifestyle like ours. It’s just difficult to find people like that. Mark sometimes says I’m sort of a social butterfly, and I probably was before we got married and decided to be naked as much as possible. The nudity aspect makes finding compatible friends more difficult – especially people who don’t mind being rather open about enjoying nudity. I mean, I can’t just set up a table like others do in some city parks or shopping areas and pass out flyers announcing a nudist group. And especially I can’t do it being naked myself.

Jan: Does sound like a tough problem.

Julie: Yes, and there are plenty of other concerns. For example, just putting up announcements on community bulletin boards in supermarkets or post offices isn’t a great idea. You’d never know what sort of weirdos might turn up. Ditto for announcements in community newspapers. And Terry has suggested setting up a page on Facebook and referring people to it from existing Facebook nudist groups. But you may know how Facebook and most other Internet sites are pretty full of weirdos. There are various other possibilities, and we’ve tried a few, but haven’t had much success so far.

Mark: Although the idea to start our own nudist group has been in the back of our minds, and we now have the perfect home to host a group like that, we’ve only started to brainstorm seriously how to do that. However, as they say “word gets around”. When you’re naked all or most of the time at home, and don’t try to hide it, most of your neighbors eventually know about that. Many will be friendly, understanding, and sympathetic, yet not interested in going naked themselves. But they tell others about their naked neighbors. That’s how we’ve met almost all of the other people around here who really enjoy nudity – they come to us. Often they just shown up unannounced at our front door and leave a small gift like cookies or potted plants to welcome us to the area.

Shelley: And girls on out swim team know I’m a nudist, of course. If anyone mentions it, I certainly don’t hesitate to confirm that – and that my whole family likes to be naked. I get kidded about this a lot as a result, but I don’t mind. However, I’ve been on the team for only a few months so far. You guys are the only ones who seem to have been especially interested.

Julie: One thing I worry about is that many people who are favorable towards nudity just don’t want to be as open about it as we are. So they think maybe we’re atypical, and they don’t discuss the subject with others. Maybe they’re afraid that if they join a nudist group then they’ll have to become more open. That’s not really true. Many people who like to be naked are quite able to keep this interest a secret from people they don’t want to know, if they’re just careful enough. In the private groups I know about, people are also very careful not to talk about other group members by name to outsiders. But we don’t know about these “closet” nudists unless they come to us. It really sucks how nudity is such a taboo in our society, so that people who might enjoy nudity think they need to be secretive about it.

Jan: But isn’t it true that people who enjoy nudity could lose their jobs or many of their friends if they were open about it? Like teachers, for example.

Mark: Unfortunately, that can be true, especially in certain communities and parts of the country. Everybody’s circumstances are somewhat unique, just in terms of what kinds of friends and family they have. What can you do if a close relative you like is really negative about social nudity? This is a genuine difficulty, or at least seems to be risky to many people.

Julie: Well, enough of this downbeat chatter. Let’s go have a look around the rest of our house and then our property outside. After we’ve shown you around, you’re all certainly welcome to join us for a dip in the pool if you like.

Jan: But some of us don’t have swim suits and are still not sure we’re comfortable being naked. That’s no problem for Dave, of course, and Danielle still has her suit from swimming practice. But what about me and Sean and Susan?

Sean: I guess I can go in the pool naked. I might not stay naked, but I can cover up with a towel if I need to.

Susan: I’ll be brave and go naked, too. Remember, I was used to that in my family when I was much younger. My body’s completely different now, but what the heck. I’d love to feel like a five-year-old again!

Julie: Great, Susan. And you needn’t worry, Jan. I keep a few clean women’s suits, both tanks and two-pieces, for situations just like this. It’s fine with us for you to wear one of those if you wish. Oh, and by the way, I want to ask you now whether you can stay for dinner. We’d love to have you. We have various things we can put on the grill: chicken, steaks, sausages, or burgers – take your pick. I’ll make a simple salad. Won’t be any problem at all to feed you folks.

Jan: I’d love to accept your hospitality. That OK with you, Dave?

Dave: Certainly.

Mark: It seems we’re all set then. As we’re walking around, I have another suggestion for you all to think about. Camping has been mentioned several times, because it’s something our family loves to do. We know various great spots in the woods and other places off the beaten path where we can be naked the whole time. It just happens that we’ve already planned a trip for next week, in a spot we all like in National Forest land not too far away. You know the Forest Service allows camping almost anywhere except a few areas, right?

Dave: Yes, I’ve heard that. Our family likes to camp too, but so far we’ve mostly just used established campgrounds.

Jan: But are the Forest Service folks OK with people being naked while camping on their land?

Julie: In our experience there are very few who will have any objection if they happen to see you naked. They might let you know, however, whether there are other campers in the area who might have objections.

Jan: But doesn’t it happen often that other nearby campers aren’t OK with nudity?

Julie: Yeah, to be honest it does happen sometimes. But people are almost always civil about it. Occasions where someone gets very angry and hostile are very rare, at least in our experience. It’s usually possible to work out satisfactory arrangements, such as moving a campsite a little for more privacy. We’ve even agreed to cover ourselves up a bit for a little while, if we or others aren’t planning to stay around much longer or when individuals who object to nudity are present. And after all, there are other situations besides nudity that can present problems for nearby campers, such as loud music, noisy generators, smoky campfires. Making accommodations for nudity isn’t very different from what would be done in those other cases.

Mark: Most people who enjoy camping in remote places, as we do, tend to be pretty laid-back types, so there are fewer problems than you might think.

Dave: Good. That’s reassuring.

Mark: Not to change the subject, Dave, but I noticed you have a nice 4wd truck rather like mine. The place we’re thinking about is almost impossible to reach without that sort of vehicle, especially if you need to bring much equipment. Rather primitive back roads, you know. But your truck would be just fine. So I’m suggesting you’d be quite welcome to join us if you’d like to and can get away.

Dave: I have a fair amount of free time in my line of work. Although I do have a contract programming job right now, there’s no big time pressure. I could take off for up to a whole week, I think. How about it, Jan, did you have any plans?

Jan: Well, my Mom is leaving on Sunday.

Susan: And I’m sorry about that, too, since I’d love to go camping as well. But the flights are all arranged and it’s too much hassle to rebook.

Jan: I do have some piano students scheduled for lessons next week. But their families often want to reschedule for various reasons, so they’ll probably be OK with a new time the following week. I’ve been known to make schedule changes like that before. Shouldn’t be much problem.

Danielle: It’s summer. I don’t have many commitments, except for swimming. But Shelley will miss next week too. There’s usually two or three team members that can’t show up. Should be OK.

Sean: Nothing’s on for me that I know about.

Mark: Excellent, excellent! Let’s do it, then!

Sean: Will there be lots of birds in this place you’re going? I’m super interested in birds and like to see as many different ones as possible.

Mark: Yes, Sean, I think so. I don’t know much about birds, so maybe you can help me learn to spot a few. In the woods, you probably know, there are various raptors and quail and so on. Many you’re not likely to see in town, I suppose.

Julie: How about you, Danielle? What do you like to do on camping trips?

Danielle: Well, if there’s a lake nearby I love to swim, of course. And I love hiking too.

Mark: I’m afraid there are only some small streams where we’re going. No lakes of any size. So you can get wet and splash around a little, but that’s about it. However, there’ll be plenty of places to hike.

Danielle: You go on the trials naked very much?

Julie: Absolutely. It wouldn’t be nearly as much fun if we wore anything besides boots and perhaps a shirt – but only if there’s not much shade and we need the protection. Sunburn on your boobs is a bitch.

Danielle: Is this a place you won’t meet others on the trails if you’re naked?

Julie: No, I’ll be honest with you, Danielle. There may be a few others. But there’s hardly any objection to nudity on the trails. Since the encounters are brief, it’s even less of a problem than around campsites. You’d be surprised how many people hike naked. And most of those who don’t seem to have little problem with those who do. At least that’s how it is in the places where we like to camp. Once you’re fairly comfortable being naked, you can be as naked as you like and probably won’t have any hassles. In decent weather what’s more important than how much you wear is to have good boots, some sunscreen and insect repellent if you need it, and a pack that’s comfortable to wear next to your bare skin.

To be continued.

Posted in Dialogues, Family naturism, General naturism, Naked living, Promoting naturism | 1 Comment

Jan and Dave’s family, Part 4

Introduction to the story
Previous installment

Susan: So this is your local high school. It seems almost brand new, and impressive.

Dave: Yes, it’s pretty new. The old high school was a real relic, of the 1930s I think. This one is better in almost every way, in addition to simply not being rather decrepit. There’s a fine library, comfortable, well-lit classrooms, a modern computer network so that students can do a lot of their learning on individual computers. And, of course, an excellent swimming pool. Although Danielle’s swim team isn’t sponsored by the school, they’re able to rent the pool – at a reasonable price – for their weekly practicing and when they’re hosting a swim meet.

Susan: Goodness. It still can’t be cheap to rent an Olympic-size pool for a couple of hours every week.

Jan: No, it’s not cheap, but all the parents of team members seem to think it’s worth it. I know we do – especially since Danielle has been so successful as a swimmer. Also, the girls themselves work hard on several fund-raising events during the year. That gives them plenty of motivation to perform their best in competitions.

Susan: While it’s true that winning isn’t everything, there’s still no doubt it’s a big deal. Didn’t someone say “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll certainly end up somewhere else”?

Dave: That was supposedly Yogi Berra, I think.

Danielle: I’m probably being quite overly ambitious, but I have hopes of at least trying out for the next Olympics.

Susan: Well, I certainly wouldn’t bet against you, dear. It’s certainly impressive that you’re also a virtuoso pianist – in addition to being a potential Olympic competitor.

Danielle: That’s probably far too much to hope for – but I can certainly try.

Susan: You go, girl! That’s definitely the right attitude. However things turn out, your Gramma will be very proud of you.

Danielle: Oh, look, here come Shelley and her family right now. At least, I suppose that’s her family. I’ve seen her with them before, but haven’t actually met them. The family name is Amberson, but I don’t know their first names. Hey, Shelley, could you and your family hold up for a sec so we can get acquainted with all of you? My Gramma is here to watch us practice today.

Shelley: Sure. (Turning to her mother) Mom, this is Danielle and her family. She’s probably the best swimmer on the team.

Julie Amberson: We’re delighted to meet you and the rest of your family, Danielle. It’s our pleasure to meet the family of the team’s star swimmer. I’m Julie, Shelley’s mother. This is my husband, Mark. And this is Shelley’s older brother, Terry.

Mark Amberson: This is my pleasure, too. It’s unfortunate we haven’t gotten acquainted before.

Danielle: This is my Gramma Susan. She’s my Mom’s mother. And this is my Dad, Dave, and my brother, Sean. Gramma is visiting with us for awhile, and I’m really glad she could be here to watch our team.

Jan: We’re the Stuarts, and we’re pleased to meet all of you, as well. I agree it’s too bad we haven’t introduced each other before now.

Julie: No problem. This is Shelley’s first year on the team, so it’s not too surprising we haven’t met all the other parents yet. Sometimes I just bring Shelley by myself, since Mark has to work some Saturdays. He’s a contractor, and his schedule is not very predictable. He usually has several projects he needs to keep an eye on.

Mark: It’s kind of a hectic job, but I make enough to support the family on. I can’t complain about that. I’m sure the girls are eager to go now to get ready to swim, since practice is scheduled to start in just a couple of minutes. Shall we find a place over on that side where we can watch and get to know each other a little better?

Dave: Certainly, that sounds fine.

Mark: So what do you do for a living, Dave?

Dave: I’m a freelance software engineer. It’s pretty specialized work, since I have skills that not a lot of others do, but they’re in a good deal of demand. So I don’t have any trouble finding gigs, and the pay is good. We live in a pretty comfortable house in town, and it’s perfect for Danielle, since we have a very nice pool. During the summer she can use it as much as she wants. At other times she has to rely on the indoor pool here, but fortunately it’s very convenient for us. How about you and your family? Danielle says she thinks you live a few miles outside of town.

Mark: Yes, we’re about 15 miles outside. But it’s not any trouble to come in here when we need to, for shopping and things like this. The upside is that we have a nice piece of property – about 10 acres, with trees on it and plenty of privacy.

Jan: You say “privacy”, so there’s a question I want to ask. I hope you don’t consider the question too nosy, because if my assumption is wrong it might be a bit embarrassing, but I’ll ask anyhow.

Julie: No problem. Ask anything you like. We can easily say “no comment” if necessary, though I rather doubt it will be. We don’t have anything we feel a need to hide.

Jan: Fine. Well, you see, Danielle has noticed that when your daughter changes into her swimsuit at practices she doesn’t seem to have any tan lines, even though she obviously spends plenty of time in the sun. So Danielle has wondered whether perhaps there are some in your family – in addition, possibly, to Shelley – who might be nudists. Danielle doesn’t feel she knows Shelley well enough to ask her directly, so she’s kind of been bugging us to ask you for her.

Julie: Oh, yes, we’re all definitely nudists, and we’re not the least bit ashamed to admit it to anyone who seems reasonably open-minded – as I’m sure you are. Do you have nudists in your family too? Shelley has told us that she’s the only one on the team that doesn’t have any tan lines, so we suppose Danielle, at least, isn’t a dedicated nudist.

Jan: I’m afraid I have to say that at this point in time Dave is the only one in our family who even comes close to being a “nudist” – or “naturist”, which is the term her prefers. My mother, Susan, had some experience with open nudity in her family, but that was a long time ago. I think I’d better let Dave explain a little more where he’s at.

Dave: I guess, especially compared to your family, I don’t have much right to call myself a naturist. I have been interested in the idea for almost a year, and I’ve been gradually learning more about it. A couple of months ago I started going naked a fair amount of the time at home when nobody else but Jan was there. I usually work from home, so it’s quite possible to be naked a lot.

Jan: I must admit it was a little surprising to me when I learned about Dave’s interest in nudity and naturism. It’s not something that had even occurred to me. And, honestly, I don’t have the desire that Dave has to be naked as much as he can when nobody else is around and it’s possible.

Dave: Fortunately, Jan has been pretty understanding of this interest I have in nudity, but until just this week our kids, let alone anyone else, haven’t known about it. Since Susan has been visiting with us, and she told us she had experience with nudity in her family when she was pretty young, I’ve sort of put all my cards on the table. Sean thinks it’s fine for me to be naked if I want when only our family is around, though he hasn’t actually tried it yet, as far as I know. Danielle doesn’t seem to mind at all either for me to go naked around our place, including our backyard pool. But like Sean she hasn’t indicated an interest in trying it herself.

Julie: Well, our experience has been quite different. Neither of us were raised in nudist families, but shortly after we got married we both decided that, hey, it’s a real blast to be naked most of the time at home, not just when we’re in bed, so let’s just do it. We’re usually naked outside on our property too, when it’s warm enough. And if we have any clothes on when we go out, they come off again as soon as we get inside. Terry and Shelley do just the same – we’ve raised them as nudists since the day they were born.

Mark: For a long time our kids had no idea that most people aren’t usually naked when only their family is around. When they learned that, they felt sorry for families that weren’t naked like ours.

Jan: So it’s worked out pretty well for your family, then.

Julie: Yes, on the whole it’s been quite a positive experience. However, from meeting many other nudists, we’re quite aware that everyone’s different in how they become nudists. People become full-fledged nudists like Mark and me at very different rates and for many different reasons. No one needs to apologize if it takes them much longer to grok it. Many people never quite get what’s so great about nudity. But even in that case, most are understanding about our preference for nudity – as long as they’re open-minded and willing to accept us naked, as we are whenever possible.

Jan: Do you have much trouble from people who find out you’re nudists but aren’t especially open-minded?

Mark: Yes, sadly, that does happen sometimes. That’s the reason privacy’s important for us. In the past most neighbors we’ve had raised no objections if they happened to see us naked occasionally. Neighbors who had young kids tended to be a little more concerned about visible nudity. But on the whole, only a few neighbors have actually been rather unpleasant about it. And quite a few neighbors have been very accepting of our nudity.

Jan: That’s encouraging.

Mark: In fact, we’ve had many neighbors who’ve defended us to others who are more skeptical of nudity. Many have been happy for any of us to visit in their homes as naked as we normally are – even if they had kids. And they’ve generally felt free to visit us at home or let their kids visit – just as they would with most other neighbors.

Julie: Nevertheless, we’ve always tried not to be flagrantly naked where others could see us, unless we were fairly sure they wouldn’t mind. And it’s always possible neighbors might have visitors who’d object to seeing nudity even if their hosts weren’t. We’re never ashamed of being seen naked. However, we now have a place with 10 acres, and almost none of that can been seen from outside. So we can be completely relaxed being naked almost anywhere on the property.

Jan: Since our place is in town, there’s no real privacy in the front yard, but the backyard is pretty private. It is possible to see small parts of our backyard and the pool area from a few directions. Now that Dave plans to be naked most of the time, I guess we’ll cross our fingers that nobody’s offended if they happen to see any nudity.

Dave: Isn’t there’s a downside to living away from town, even though you can have lots of land and little exposure to neighbors? Doesn’t that make it more difficult to find other nudist or naturist families that you can have a lot in common with?

Mark: Yes, but finding other naturist families has always been a problem for us, and living in a sparsely populated area doesn’t make it any easier. I think that’s one of the main problems for people who enjoy social nudity these days. It’s just too difficult to find other people who enjoy being naked as much as we do. It’s only natural for people to want to socialize with others who enjoy the same sorts of things – and that means a variety of preferences and attitudes, as well as activities. Sure, it’s all well and good to interact with different types of people. But when what you really want is to do things you especially enjoy, you want to be with people who enjoy those same things.

Jan: I don’t really have any idea how you’d go about finding other people who enjoy social nudity, though I assume there are clubs and resorts and associations for nudists and naturists. Seems like, in the past at least, there were nudist camps scattered around the country.

Julie: Sure, there are still nudists camps, as well as more upscale resorts, and other specialized things like bed and breakfast places, clothing-optional commercial hot springs, and so on. There are still clothing-optional beaches here and there, at some spots on lakes, rivers, and the coasts. But the number of such opportunities seems to be gradually declining. For whatever reason, nudism and naturism, at least in their traditional forms, seem to be losing rather gaining popularity.

Mark: In our experience the problem seems to be that most nudists and naturists these days are older folks. Younger people seem to have become increasingly less likely to get involved. We’ve gone as a family to a variety of places like Julie just mentioned. And the majority of people at many of the places seem to be already retired folks, or others who are near retirement. At a lot of places most of the people there come and stay in big RVs or travel trailers. These are generally older folks, rather than young families or young single people. Please don’t misunderstand. We have nothing against people who are older. It’s just that we don’t have as much in common with them as they have with each other.

Julie: Single people without partners of the opposite sex used to be unwelcome at many nudist places. That’s changed somewhat now, but the singles who come seem mostly to be males. That’s not to say anything bad about such people. The problem is that there are just too few who are like our family or yours. These problems are well-recognized among nudists and naturists, but nobody seems to have good ideas for what to do about them. It’s kind of depressing. As Mark said, we don’t mind meeting different kinds of people – but we certainly want to do things with others who enjoy the same things.

Jan: What sorts of things, for instance?

Julie: Oh, like camping in more remote or undeveloped areas – places you need a sturdy 4wd truck to get to, where big RVs and trailers just can’t go. That’s definitely not because we don’t want others to see us naked. It’s because being naked in places that are very different from modern cities and “civilization” just feels so – I don’t know – comfortable and liberating to us. Modern amenities are well and good in general. But such things are closely associated with clothing – and that’s exactly what we want to dispense with. We want to spend time in places that are very different from where any clothing at all is required.

Mark: There is one other alternative to fixed places where it’s possible to enjoy nudity, usually called “travel clubs”. These are relatively small groups of people who associate together to meet at the homes of members, or go to beaches or commercial nudist places. Some of them even do camping trips like Julie mentioned. One has to be accepted as a member to join, but that’s no big obstacle for “real” nudists who are socially compatible with others in the group.

Dave: But how do you find such groups in the first place?

Mark: Well, that’s the problem, no? Some are listed in various directories, but many aren’t, and nobody really knows how many that might be. Word of mouth from nudists or naturists you happen to know seems like the main way to locate such groups. And even then, a suitable group could meet mainly somewhere far from where you live. Sure, it would be fine to attend a party of nudists for occasions like potluck parties, Halloween parties, football-watching parties, or whatever. But how often would you want to do that if travel time to and from takes longer than the party itself?

Dave: What about the Internet? Isn’t that the way most people now learn about all sorts of things – commercial resorts and destinations, social groups, and even people to go on a date with? Aren’t there groups on places like Facebook where people can “meet” to talk about social nudity?

Julie: Oh yes, indeed. Our son Terry spends a lot of time checking out online places like that. I have the impression he hasn’t found that sort of thing very satisfactory.

Terry: Yeah, unfortunately it’s pretty depressing. There are various groups like that on Facebook. But they have all sorts of problems. People who participate actively seem mostly to be guys. There are a few younger and older women, but they’re way outnumbered. I suspect many women read the discussions in those groups, but they’re afraid to speak up, due to concern about revealing their names or locations and getting lots of unwanted attention. And you have little chance to know what the person behind any particular name is actually like, unless you’ve met them personally. But what good is that if the goal is to meet people in the first place?

Jan: Sounds a lot like all the dating sites that seem to be popular now.

Terry: Exactly, just like in dating apps or at dating sites you can’t tell very much about a person from what they reveal online. There are a few “social networking” places, sort of like Facebook, but just for nudists. Not only do they have the same sorts of problems, but the level of activity is usually much lower, so if you check in occasionally you may see very little that’s new.

Dave: This is all rather discouraging. I’m still kind of in the dark about how to get more involved enjoying being naked with other people who share that enthusiasm. At this point I don’t even know whether others in my family are also ready to enjoy being naked.

Julie: Mark and I understand your frustration very well – even though our whole family has had the advantage of a naked lifestyle for a long time and people like us are generally much more welcome in nudist activities. Other families like ours are still hard to find, given the problems Mark and I have mentioned. I’m pretty sure there are quite a few families in which all or most members are frequently naked, yet they’re afraid to let most neighbors or even most relatives know that. We’ve been acquainted with various families like that in places we’ve lived before. But we found out about them only by chance, or because they knew about us since we’re so open about our fondness for nudity and they sought us out.

Susan: My own family was a little bit like that when I was young.

Julie: That’s great. Once a family is comfortable enough being somewhat open about enjoying nudity, the word gets around. You can depend on that, and you should be prepared for it. The chances are that others who aren’t so open may come to you. But the problem is that as long as families that enjoy nudity are secretive about it, they’re hard to find. Someone has to make the first move.

Dave: That’s certainly how it looks to me.

Julie: You know what? Maybe you’ve just made that first move. It often takes only one person in a family who’s enthusiastic about nudity to gradually bring more family members around. Here’s what I think: if you don’t have other plans today your family should come visit our place after the practice here is over. We have a nice pool if there’s anyone else who wants to beat the heat, naked or otherwise. You could stay for dinner if you like. Maybe we could even talk more of you into trying nudity. That OK with you, Mark?

Mark: Yes, certainly.

Julie: There’d be no pressure on anyone to take their clothes off. But even if it’s just Dave who wants to be naked, that’s fine too. How about it?

Dave: You can definitely count me in. What about you, Jan?

Jan: It’s fine with me. I rather doubt I’m ready to take off all my clothes, but I’d love to see Julie and Mark’s place.

Susan: I’d absolutely love to go too. Who knows? I might even take off my own clothes.

Jan: I’m pretty sure Danielle wouldn’t want to miss this. If not, she’d better have a damn good excuse. Sean?

Sean: Sure. Sounds fine to me too.

To be continued.

Posted in Dialogues, Family naturism, General naturism, Naked living, Promoting naturism | 1 Comment