Monika: It’s starting to get late, so let’s try to sum up a few things we’ve learned today. The first observation I’d make is that having lunches like this just for us double-X folks is very helpful. People with little or no knowledge of naturism – as most of us have been at some time or other – always find it very hard to understand why naturists defy our society’s irrational nudity taboos in order to embrace and enjoy our nudity rather than fear it. We’re helping each other gain that understanding by discussing all the different ways we have to justify ceasing or at least curtailing the habit of wearing clothes – so we can satisfy our mysterious desire to be naked.
Joyce: I love your term “double-X folks”. Maybe we should call this weekly event the “double-X naked lunch”.
Celeste: I’ll second that idea! It’s just perfect. You know, I can already imagine myself being naked around the house occasionally. I suppose if Kimberly continues being naked too it’ll be even easier. So I for one am beginning to understand some motivations for nudity. But I’m still wondering how much nudity is enough. Not wearing clothes somewhat frequently at home doesn’t seem that hard to get used to. But being naked outside one’s home – even just in the back yard – presents obvious problems. So I’m still a little puzzled by folks who want to be naked as much of the time as possible. Why does that seem to be so important to them? I can’t imagine that anyone will be able to be naked literally all the time in our society. Just staying warm is an issue. Unless, perhaps, one owns a private island somewhere that’s warm all year.
Jan: I guess it’s possible to get close to that living in a Florida naturist resort or somewhere even closer to the Equator – like Costa Rica. But very few can actually do that.
Celeste: That’s true, but almost everyone has to settle for something less than full-time nudity. Even if I were to get over any embarrassment of being naked, I might get bored staying naked as much as it’s practical. I mean, sure, I might be able to enjoy being naked a lot of the time. It feels fine right now, for example. But at other times I might just feel like wearing a little clothing – not necessarily even very much, maybe nothing but a top but no shorts, or vice versa – just for the sake of variety.
Kimberly: I’d say it depends on the person, Mom. Being a naturist doesn’t mean it’s necessary to be naked as much as possible. I don’t see any reason not to put on some sort of clothes just for variety, if one feels like it, or for some special occasion. Hey, if someone wants to be naked only 10% of the time, that’s OK. And 90% or more of the time is just as good. These days I think the answer for me is “most of the time”. Next week might be different. So what?
Danielle: “Most of the time” works for me, too. But some people just aren’t motivated much of the time to be naked. That’s fine too. People like that usually shouldn’t feel pressured to be naked. However, I can think of one reason offhand that someone like that might reasonably decide to be naked even if not entirely in the mood is at a naturist social event where almost everyone’s naked. Sometimes a naturist party where half the people are naked and the other half are clothed wouldn’t be quite as enjoyable as one where everyone was naked. The reason for preferring as many people as possible to be naked at such an event would be to respect the purpose of the event. That could be, for instance, if the event would be less fun for everyone if too many aren’t naked. Perhaps that’s an unusual case. But what do I know? I have little experience yet with full-time nudity, so I could be all wrong.
Joyce: You may have a point there, Danielle. There really are some occasions when it’s nice when everyone dresses pretty much the same way, in order to respect the purpose of the event. Like a wedding reception, for instance, where people would usually wear “nice” but fairly conservative clothes rather than sweatshirts and yoga pants. Or a fancy party where people wear tuxes and stylish but low-cut dresses. Or a pajama party where everyone’s wearing PJs – or less. Or a party where the majority are wearing fetish gear of some sort or other. Or a funeral. Of course, for a biker’s funeral everyone should wear boots and leather jackets.
Jan: Yes. Those examples are somewhat special situations that depend on people showing they’re in synch with the event’s theme. A few people who ignore the theme by the way they dress sort of breaks the shared feeling or mood people are trying to evoke. The mood gets spoiled like a few sour notes in some piece of music. If the occasion is about being totally naked, then a minority who aren’t kind of spoils things.
Monika: Those are certainly good points, Joyce and Jan. There are occasions where the whole idea is to create some sort of special shared “reality”, that’s different from everyday experience. Business suits at a Star Trek party wouldn’t compute. Why would someone want to do that? Consider what we have here right now. We’re comfortable because we’re all equally naked. People who aren’t used to nudity might feel less uncomfortable if everyone’s naked than they would being naked while a few kept their clothes on. We certainly want people at these lunches to feel comfortable being naked! If someone just doesn’t feel comfortable naked, they may not be ready for a group like this. It’s very difficult to understand the appeal of nudity if you won’t take your clothes off.
Jan: But on the other hand, when a bunch of naturists just get together to socialize at a backyard barbecue or someone’s birthday party, I’d say it doesn’t really matter that much if some are totally naked and others aren’t. In fact, we should generally let people who’re new to naturism wear something at typical naturist social events if they wish – so they have the opportunity to learn what real naturism and naturists are like. Let them get used to nudity at their own pace. I needed a lot more time for me to feel good being naked than the rest of my family did. But I caught up with them eventually by easing into it at my own pace.
Erin: Seems to me we’ve now pretty well covered Celeste’s original question about how people have different degrees of needing to be naked by now. So if it’s OK with everyone I’d like to ask a different question.
Monika: Sure, go ahead.
Erin: This question’s really about you, Monika. When you were talking about yourself you told us how you liked working naked in your garden, and Katryna eventually joined you working naked there too. I thought it was great how you and Katryna felt comfortable doing that, even though lots of people would see you naked. But what’s just as interesting to me is that it seems nobody objected to either of you being naked. Apparently they just accepted your nudity quite readily. Do I have that right?
Monika: Yep, that’s about how it was.
Erin: Well, what I want to understand is how that happened. I need to know because many people in my neighborhood are already aware that Kyle is now naked most of the time. Some have kids who are among Kyle’s friends, so they know Kyle seldom wears clothes now. He’s made little effort to keep it a secret. Consequently the word gets around. We have a large backyard, and it’s still his job to mow it. Fortunately it’s not that visible from the street, but Kyle’s naked when mowing, so people do sometimes see him there. Also, we have some nice trees in the yard. It’s quite pleasant to sit out there under one and read a book on a hot afternoon. I might feel like doing that – naked, perhaps. Who knows? It’s possible my husband or my older son might get interested in nudity unexpectedly and want to be naked outside. In any case there’s a potential problem even with Kyle, unless we insist he not be naked outside where he can be seen. Even so, maybe somebody will complain if one of their kids sees Kyle naked when they’re at our house. So I really need to know why it doesn’t seem you’ve had that problem. I’d bet most of the others here have the same concern.
Celeste: I certainly do, because of Kimberly, as well as possibly myself or others in my family.
Erin: So, Monika, here’s what I want to know. Was it just good luck that you live in such a tolerant, accepting, open-minded neighborhood? Is it that everyone in your neighborhood knew and liked you and your family so well that they didn’t want to spoil your enjoyment of nudity? Or is there some other explanation?
Monika: It’s probably partly any or all of those things. My family’s lived in the neighborhood longer than most. We’ve always gotten along pretty well with everyone – no major problems or disagreements. People in the neighborhood often invite each other for meals, parties, outdoor cook-outs, and so forth. The neighborhood really is fairly peaceful and harmonious. Probably that’s mostly just good luck. It’s just fortune that most neighborhood folks are open-minded and tolerant. And I think I have a good reputation for being sensible and responsible. So people don’t automatically assume I’m OK with the nudity because I’m a flaky, inconsiderate weirdo. I get some benefit of the doubt.
Erin: Just good luck is the explanation then?
Monika: No, not entirely. There’s more to it than that. I understand very well how word about things tends to get around a neighborhood. People talk to each other a lot over the back fence or when having meals together. So because as soon as Corey started going naked I knew the word would get around, I didn’t waste any time doing something about it. I deliberately went to each of our neighbors and told them what the situation was. I explained that Corey got the idea from his friend Sean, who’s Jan’s son. I said that Sean’s father and his sister Danielle had also become naturists, so they’re naked most of the time too. So I had to explain that naturism is pretty much the same thing as nudism, which is the term most people know better. Then I had to explain what naturism actually is – just a belief that social nudity is wholesome and good. Furthermore, people become naturists because they enjoy being naked since it feels good. However, the pleasure isn’t sexual. It’s simply that exposing one’s whole skin to the Sun and the fresh air is very pleasant – the same reason people enjoy going to the beach or simply lying out in the sunshine.
Erin: So in effect you were a salesperson for the idea of naturism.
Monika: Yes, that’s it exactly. That doesn’t mean I was able to “sell” naturism to anyone as something they might want to try themselves. All I needed to do was sell the idea that naturism is a reasonable, harmless activity that someone might discover appealed to them. And that’s exactly why Corey chose, as much as possible, to stop wearing clothes. I also wanted to say that Corey doesn’t enjoy nudity only because it feels good. Being naked is also quite important to him and his sense of self. Not all naturists feel that way, but many do. Although people generally try not to venture too far from social norms, they also like to have a few characteristics that distinguish them from others. Enjoying nudity can be that factor sometimes.
Celeste: You must have been asked whether naturism appealed to you or others in your family also.
Katryna: Like me, for instance.
Monika: Sure, of course they asked. So I explained that I had some experiences with naturism as a child and when I was living with my husband in Germany – since naturism is more popular and acceptable there than it is here. This showed I knew what I was talking about. I also said I didn’t enjoy naturist experiences less after moving here. There simply was less opportunity for them here. The next question that came up was whether I or others in my family were considering being naked as much as Corey. I said I was, and both Steve and Katryna might be too. Another thing I said is that naturists don’t feel shame or embarrassment being naked. So if I decided to be naked more frequently, I’d hope not to be treated any differently than if I had clothes on. In particular if I were naked outside – like in my garden – it would still be perfectly OK to stop and chat with me, and even talk about nudity if they want to. As a result nobody was very surprised the first time they saw me naked in the garden. Now a majority of my neighbors don’t mind if I’m naked when dropping in on them for some reason or other.
Katryna: Fortunately, that’s been my experience too. I like the notion that bare skin isn’t very different from any other sort of clothing, so there should be no difference in social interactions based on whether or not a person is wearing clothes.
Erin: So it seems the implication is that as long as we think most of our neighbors will be open-minded and understanding we should proactively try to explain naturism to them and actually try to “sell” it as a good idea – at least as a reasonable choice that a person might make, even though many or most people might not choose to go that way themselves.
Monika: Correct, that’s exactly what you should do – as soon as possible, even if you don’t think you’re ready to go naked openly yourself. Here’s one other thing you might want to mention. That is, naturists are harmless people, not exhibitionists or perverts or pedophiles or anything like that, so they aren’t a danger to anyone’s kids. This is tricky, since there are plenty of folks who believe that simply seeing naked people is harmful to kids. If you encounter folks like that it’s best to tread carefully and listen to their concerns. You might even have to suggest some sort of compromise that helps avoid letting their kids see nudity up close. That’s unfortunate, but it might mean it just takes a little longer to get such folks to form more understanding attitudes towards naturism.
Jan: You know, it might be a good idea to take some time at future double-X naked lunch group meetings to discuss how to “sell” the idea of naturism to skeptics and people who just know little about it.
Joyce: Yes! And actually it would be good to write up some ideas on how to do this selling and talk about it in our whole naturist group. I’d be willing to work with Monika or anyone else who wants to take that on. Among other things, we could prepare a printed handout or brochure of important facts about naturism, to be distributed at other public events we put on like the Bare Fair.
Jan: You can definitely count me in to help with that.
Sally: Me too.
Joyce: OK, folks, it’s getting kind of late. This has been a really great meeting. I think we’ve all learned a lot – about each other, as well as about many aspects of how to cut back, perhaps drastically, on wearing any clothes.
Sally: Before you all get ready to go, there’s one other thing I’d like to announce. In case you haven’t already heard, my boyfriend Eric and I are organizing a campout for the group. Since we seem to be the most outdoorsy people in the group, we’re the most interested in doing it and the logical ones to pick up the ball and run with it. Tentatively we’re thinking of doing it around the end of August, just before Labor Day, so most kids won’t be back in school yet. There are several suitable group camps around here that we can rent for a few days to have the campout. If we don’t delay too long we can likely snag one of them.
Kelli: Do you think it might be fairly expensive?
Sally: It won’t be dirt cheap. But the cost should be a lot less than you’d spend on many other vacation activities, including a single site at a public campground. We can pitch in to buy some food for everyone to share, but people can bring anything else they want, either for themselves or to share. Everyone will need enough tents and other camping gear for whoever comes with them. Any campground we select will have picnic tables, toilets, fire rings, and the usual stuff like that. If you’re interested in going, let me or Eric know as soon as possible, so we can decide on a date. Oh, and of course, since we’ll have the campground all to ourselves, people can be as naked as they want.
Alana: I’m sure my kids will be very enthusiastic about the idea. Carson loves being naked as much as Kathya does. We’ve done family camping, and Steve’s done a lot of camping by himself or with buddies. He’s still rather skeptical about naturism, but as long as he doesn’t have to be naked I think he’ll like this idea. We may also know one or two other families that like camping and might be interested too. Will it be OK to include them – assuming they don’t mind being around lots of naked people.
Sally: I think bringing some friends along should be OK if, as you say, they don’t have problems with naked people. I just need to know as soon as possible so we’ll know how many people will be included.
Monika: And if they are OK with naked people, they might eventually be interested in joining our naturist group – or our double-X naked lunches if they’re female!