Thursday, July 20, 2017

How to ask, How to say, It's OK

I'm writing this from an apartment we're renting in Oregon.  It's a VRBO, detached from the host's house on 40 acres of hilly, heavily wooded property.  Very secluded and private, accessible only by a long winding driveway through the woods.  I can image the hosts not bothering wearing anything, anywhere on the property on warm days when they don't have guests.  If so, renting out the apartment on nice days like this would be a real drag.  They're usually gone during the day on weekdays, but they sometimes show up out of the blue.  So other than sunning myself on the upstairs deck where I wouldn't be seen and being able to hear them when they come up the drive, we've kept ourselves covered up.

Poking around the VRBO and AirBnB sites you'll find very few references to naturist friendly offerings.  I suspect that more owners would welcome such use, if only so they didn't have to remain clothed themselves.  But it's probably a turn-off to many potential guests if it was even hinted that the option was available.  And it would probably be a turn-off to the majority of owners if guests outright asked "can we be nude here"?".

I suppose I could kid around with the hosts and say something along the lines:  "Your property is so secluded that it must be hard to wear clothes on warm days around here".  That would probably be taken as a bit odd, yet not direct enough to trigger a give and take about whether they really use it that way, and whether we'd be welcome to do the same.

Thinking about that, how would I hint that the option was available without turning off other guests, assuming I couldn't afford to rent to just naturists?  Perhaps I'd just mention in the paperwork at the time of rental that the property is completely private and though we'd normally be casual about being undressed, that we'd remain clothed unless we were told it's OK for us not to be.  But that you, of course, are free to dress or undress to the level of your comfort here, anytime.  I suspect some guests would tell the owners that it's OK if they're nude, but would stay clothed themselves  While others might try being nude, but they'd prefer the owners not be.

At home, we have a whimsical sign posted on our patio about skinny-dipping.  It sometimes triggers guests to halfheartedly ask if we actually did that ourselves. When it does, we simply say yes.  That when we don't have guests over, we don't wear anything in the pool or hot tub, and leave it at that. A few guests have asked if they could join us that way, and they have.  Likewise, if a family comes over, the kids want to go swimming, but drat, they didn't bring their swimsuits, we say it's OK that don't wear anything and leave it at that.  Sometimes the kids get to skinny-dip, but most of the time their parents don't let them.  Probably because they don't want their kids to even think that's a legitimate option.

I'm usually more direct and usually have a "Clothing Optional Zone" sign posed.  But my wife usually puts it away when we know we're having guests.  My sister-in-law often comes by the house to look in on things when we're away.  She knows we only use the pool and tub that way, and that I love to lay out in the back yard naked.  So when we leave, I remind her that she's free to use the pool and be out in the yard anytime, but that it would be a shame if she didn't take advantage of being naked there when we're gone.  I don't know if she's ever taken advantage of that, but I know the kids have when we were away,.  At least individually, until they left the nest.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Hot Springs Etiquette

Umpqua Hot Springs
We're on an extended road trip across the country and last week we stopped by a couple of hot springs here in Oregon.  Both were noted on web sites and by the signage there as being "clothing optional".  But it was obvious from the comments on the various web sites that a lot of people don't like the nudity (the "hippy-dippy naked people") they encounter.  We didn't have a lot of time, so we concentrated on just the two most popular public springs where nudity was supposed to be common.

Leading up to the forth of July weekend, we encountered a lot of people but only a few who were nude at Umpqua hot springs.  It was awkward.  The few who were nude tried to stay away from the textiles and their families, reaching for towels and covering parts of themselves up as they entered and left their tubs.  With my not wanting to put on my bathing suit (I reluctantly brought it) and my wife absolutely refusing to wear hers, we waited for an open tub far away enough from others that they wouldn't see us once we were in the somewhat murky water.

That didn't help.  A large clothed family settled into the tub next to us.  They seemed grudgingly OK with us not wearing anything, and I wasn't going to waste my time scurrying for a towel and trying to cover my bits as we moved into another basin.  Grrr...

It wasn't as I had hoped, but the next day we tried the other spring (Cougar Hot Springs).  What a difference.  A woman at the trail head collected our $6 each and asked us straight up if we were aware that the spring is clothing optional.  I smiled and said yes (thank you).  She answered questions, was very pleasant, and was there to watch the cars in the parking lot.  The outfit she works for cleans the springs on Thursday mornings.  Fortunately, it was Friday afternoon.  Unfortunately, it was the Friday going into the forth of July weekend, so there was even more people at that spring.

When we arrived at the spring after a short hike, it was wonderful to see that almost everyone there was nude, happy, and perfectly at ease.  People came, took their clothes off, socialized, and casually moved around no differently than if they were at a nudist resort.  Most of the time we were there the only people who were not completely nude was a few older couples and a couple of guys who were part of a large mixed group of otherwise happily naked young adult friends.  For some reason, those guys decided to keep their shorts on even though the other men and the women with them (who outnumbered the guys) stayed happily nude.

A couple of young (probably only 16 or so) girls came later and joined us.  I assume they grew up as nudists or at least grew up being nude in hot springs.  My wife was concerned about them coming on their own, but to tell you the truth, I felt they were much safer around the people there than around the people at the first spring.  One large older full blooded looking native american was there that my wife thought was a bit creepy around the girls, but I found him to be rather majestic.  There was a German, a Polish, and a Japanese couple there, about our age.  All chatty and fine with everybody being nude.

But most of the people there were young (20's, early 30's) with only a few being loose couples and the others being part of the large group of friends.   All very friendly and social.  We stayed several hours, chatted with just about everyone, and hated to leave.  Just as we left, another large clothed family with young children set up on one of the lower basins.  I felt sorry for the kids.  At least they should have been allowed by their parents to enjoy being nude there.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Are Nudists Born or Made?

I enjoy reading questions and answers on Quora.  I learn about a lot of subjects and I like putting in my two cents on topics that I have some knowledge of.  I do so under the name Rick Orlando, which is, of course, the name I use here.

Yesterday a question came up there that got me thinking:  Are Nudists Born or Made?  If you follow the link, you can read my response.  Meanwhile at about the same time, Nick Alimonos of The Writer's Disease wrote a very interesting article Sex Nudity and Science which I think is a "must read".  His article least likely to become a nudist has a lot of parallels with my own life.  Including my growing up not very far from (actually, scary close to) where he grew up.  Maybe it was something in the water...

Nick brings up the point that when he had a pituitary problem and his testosterone level sank, he lost interest in being naked.  From my understanding, having low testosterone causes men to lose interest in just about everything.  Plus, why do so many women love being nudists?  Or for that matter, why do so many of us of "advanced age" with lower testosterone levels still love being naked?

Beyond that, in the "Sex and Science" article he ponders the "nature vs. nurture" question.  In other posts I've talked about my background of being likewise painfully shy well into my 20's, yet raised in a family that was apparently more casual about nudity than most other families around me were.  Humm...  So did I come to identify myself as a nudist because it developed naturally from my upbringing?  Or was I genetically predisposed to become a nudist because I inherited it from my mother, who was the most casual one in the family about nudity?

I thought back to when I was dating my then future wife and she told her mother that I liked being naked (she has a weird habit of outing me, which I've learned to appreciate).  She said that her mother's response was a nonchalant "maybe he's a nudist".  What the heck was she thinking when she said that?  That men have their unique kinks, but at least that one's a rather harmless one?  As in, sorry dear, he was born that way and that's the way he is.  Or that he's been conditioned or influenced to be that way and maybe he'll grow out of it.  What's the truth?

So yeah, why do I like being naked?  The more I think about it, the more I think why the heck shouldn't I like being naked?  It's more comfortable, it's often more practical, I feel better about myself when I'm naked, and I feel happy for others when they're naked and feel accepted by me simply as they are.

Thinking further about it, I'm just resentful that my culture doesn't accept everyone just as they are.  And that for a long time, I didn't accept myself, simply as I was.  It's not that clothing is a perversion, but that the need to hide oneself in it so quickly becomes one.

So am I different?  No.  I'm sorry to say that other people have just simply made themselves different from me.  After a couple of bad decades of not being happy being what I was, I became happy to be as God made me and I've been happy to be that way ever since.




Sunday, May 21, 2017

Revisit: Blind Creek Beach

The wife's out again this week and she doesn't like hot weather anyway, so I made a short return visit to Blind Creek Beach near Ft. Pierce today.  It's nice that it's only a little more than an hour away from our house.  It's much closer than Haulover and about the same distance from home as Playalinda, which I  still consider somewhat unsettled.  Plus, we know the county sheriff who has justification there very well, which makes going there a bit awkward.

It was mostly cloudy when I got Blind Creek and it was a pleasant 83 degrees.  But within a few hours, it was 90+ with more sun than I needed after a few hours.  The water at least was delightfully cool.  My informal count was around 100 nude people, expanding to probably over 150 by the time I left.  They're off to a good start and I suspect Memorial Day Weekend will have more people there than I'd be comfortable around.

The Treasure Coast Naturists put some signs up before I left and I was generous with a contribution on the way out.  They pay, not the county, for the porta-potties and their servicing.

I notice that I get a much deeper and more even tan at the beach than I do in my own back yard.  Probably because of the UV backscatter from the sand and water, and the more uniform exposure as one walks along the beach than one gets just laying out in the yard.

Either way, my dermatologist never says anything about my burn free even tan when he examines me.  I wonder what a black doctor, such as himself, thinks about white people who deliberately try to darken their skin against their advice.  I have a massage this week which I routinely remove everything under the sheet, and I'll have a general annual physical in a couple of weeks where the way that doctor does it, it's obvious that I'm responsibly tanned everywhere.  Never in decades of being exampled by these professionals has anyone questioned how I got so tanned.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Naked Pictures of your Kids

Ever since the invention of the film camera, parents have been taking naked pictures of their kids.  My mother certainly had plenty of such photos of us from infant "bare rug" shots, to us in the tub or kiddie pool together, to us just running around and playing naked, which was pretty much our right at home when it was just family around.

That was back in the day when the clerk at the store would check the photos on arrival for quality, but before anyone would ever think to question any parent about those shots.  Mom would torture us by showing off the photos to her friends, but in the end, we stopped caring.  My wife even used a few of the shots with my older sister and I on a poster board she made for my 50th birthday party.  I took some ribbing about "now we know what you look like naked" from friends and co-workers.  If they only knew...

Further revealing my age, our son is married and now has a son and a daughter of his own.  I married my wife with her family in progress from an earlier marriage to a jerk who would have made our lives miserable if I tried to raise "his" kids as nudists.  Our son (technically, my step-son) is married to a wonderful, but very conservative lady who I doubt approves of casual nudity, period.  Her husband, our son, certainly knows his mother and I are pretty casual about it between the two of us, but he doesn't know all the details of my background in social naturism, the way our daughter does.

Either way, it's sad to watch them so ruthlessly clothe their kids.  Around their house, bathing and diaper changing is the only time they're not compulsively imprisoned in clothing.  We go up and visit about once a month for a few nights at a time and sometimes when they're away we let the kids play in their kiddie pool, diaper free.

The last time we were up and the two were away, my wife went a bit crazy taking several dozens of pictures of their kids, completely naked, in their pool and running around the yard with me in the pictures.  Granted, they have a huge back yard which is completely fenced in, but I'm quite sure their mother would not approve, even though my wife and I stayed clothed.

When my wife asked me to send the pictures from the visit, I "neglected" to send the naked pictures, and I got roundly chewed out by her because of that.  I guess I'm still sensitive about being a nudist male and people assuming that I must be some kind of pervert, even a potential pedophile, for being around naked kids.

Dealing with Guests

Whenever we have house guests, I'm reminded how much work it is for those who hide themselves in their own homes all the time.  Doors have to be closed when one is changing, sleeping, or getting in or out of the shower, you have to be "properly" dressed all the times, and don't get me started on having to wear a bathing suit in the pool and hot tub with them :(  What a drag!

My wife is much more likely to "out" me when people unexpectedly drop in, than I am with her.  She'll just say I'm out back, naked, sunning himself, working in the yard, or swimming.  She'll then come get me (meaning she'll ask that I at least put a towel around myself before I come in).  I'm pretty sure that if they were to say it wouldn't bother them, she'd just let them come out and I'd be perfectly fine with it.

On the rare occasion that a neighbor or delivery person has gone through the fence and run into me naked, I've acted no differently than if I were clothed and let it be on them for coming in unannounced.

One of my wife's sisters lives nearby and stops by often.  I expect that one of these times she'll intentionally go out back, knowing I'm naked.  She'll try to make fun of me, and I'll stop getting dressed when she's around.  So there.

We have had a few guests who when told that we normally would be nude in the pool or tub, have asked if they could join us that way.  Likewise, once that's over with, them being nude and us being nude is OK thereafter.

Haulover Update

One of the entrances into the CO section of Haulover Beach

I had to take my wife down to the Miami International Airport yesterday and on the way back I stopped in to see what's become of Haulover Beach.  It's been many years since I've been down there.  You have to understand that South Florida is an entirely different planet than Central Florida where I live is.  I intentionally don't go down that far south very often.  Too many people, too much traffic, too much crime.  The last time I returned back through Miami's airport late at night, I walked into a heavily armed drug buy at a convenience store trying to get a receipt for a gas purchase.  Let's just say they were not happy to see me :(

Haulover has matured very nicely.  I suspect that the CO section is even larger than it used to be. Excellent signage, including reminders as one nears the dunes along the line that that this is a public beach and that any sexual activity will be dealt with harshly.  Thanks nasty guys for making that even necessary to have to say.

The gaudy temporary orange snow fence of long ago is gone.  Instead, there's just thin short unobtrusive, permanent, almost transparent fence that just reminds you where the very large CO section begins and ends (with signs in both directions on both sides of each cut in the fence).  They have very large lifeguard stations ("towers") every few hundred feet.  Interestingly the ones in the CO section are pink.  The clothing required section towers are yellow.

In other words, clothing optional use of Haulover is there to stay!  Note the welcome sign on the left picture above from the South Florida Free Beaches organization.  You're not going to see anything like that or like Haulover anywhere else in the US.  Good parking ($6) right off A1A and it's a short walk to local high rises and hotels.  Just like any other highly used, well loved, urban beach.

I didn't stay long.  It was a weekday, so at least the beach wasn't packed.  I can only image what it's going to be like this Memorial Day weekend.  It's a monster huge beach, but millions of people live within a short drive of it.  But yesterday the surf was rough, it was mostly cloudy with your typical South Florida sprinkles on and off, and there was a strong sea breeze that left everything coated with salt.  Next time I'll bring and put my clothes in a plastic bag and use the clothing optional showers before getting dressed and leaving the CO section.

If you have any reason to visit the Miami area, go up A1A a few miles up from South Beach and visit.  You'll be very glad that you did.  Thank you South Florida Free Beaches for all the work you've done there!  It wouldn't have happened without them.