Anything but naked

I wouldn’t normally spend any time on such a gloomy, antagonistic view of naturism as the following. But it seems easy enough to answer handily, so I offer that after a brief excerpt. Perhaps it will help others deal with people they know who have similar peevish attitudes.

Anything but naked

Freelance journalist Carol Glassman writes:

I won’t say some of my best friends are nudists, but I do know one couple that goes to nude resorts regularly, considering themselves to be naturists. We have never discussed it, and I couldn’t imagine asking nudists to share photos of their vacation.

For most of us, it’s difficult to think of nudity without the obvious, and unfortunately that elicits all the old jokes and clich├ęs with sexual connotations.

My response:

It’s a pity you feel this way about nudity and naturism. I’m sorry for you, since you’re missing one of life’s gentle pleasures and so much simple, uncomplicated joie de vivre.

Talk to your friends about naturism. Ask them to share their pictures with you. Unless your mien telegraphs disapproval, I’m sure they’ll be glad to.

If you are unable to think of nudity without the “obvious” clichés and sexual connotations, then that suggests to me your creative spark and ability to see life in new ways is failing. What a shame that you seem to be dying inside before the appointed time.

Florida has so many beautiful places to enjoy nudity. If you can’t bring yourself to try one of the fine naturist resorts around Tampa or the lively Haulover Beach in Miami, then take a day off to rent a canoe. Pick one of Florida’s endless, spring-fed streams somewhere, remove your clothes, and enjoy it to the fullest.

Remind yourself of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings friend Dess written about in Cross Creek:

She lives a sophisticate’s life among worldly people. At the slightest excuse she steps out of civilization, naked and relieved, as I should step out of a soiled chemise.

Read Rawlings’ Cross Creek yourself. It has only indirect allusions to nudity, like the above, but try to understand how a naturist vision suffuses parts of the book. Then visit Rawlings’ homestead at Cross Creek, near Gainesville. It’s a state park now. See if you can’t conjure in your imagination what a fine place it must have been in Rawlings’ day 60 or 70 years ago to enjoy life without clothes.

If you can summon the courage to experience a taste of naturism in whatever way suits you best, and if you still feel so negatively about it afterward, I’ll be very surprised.

Originally posted September 16, 2005