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”.