Sure, why not?
Paradise Lakes Resort in Land O’Lakes, Florida has tried it out (Friday, January 27) as part of a promotional event to entice students to visit and learn about the pleasures of clothesfree socializing. They’re especially interested in attracting the attention of some of the 43,000 students scattered around several campuses of the nearby University of South Florida. (Which, being in the Tampa area, isn’t exactly south Florida. But nevermind.)
A strip poker tournament geared toward students at the University of South Florida will highlight an all-day “Bulls in the Buff” event at the clothing-optional resort just west of Dale Mabry Highway.
Resort owner Joe Lettelleir said Kristy Lucas, an unpaid USF intern, came up with the strip poker idea. Lettelleir has been trying to find ways to introduce younger people to the nudist lifestyle.
“She came up with this idea,” Lettelleir said. “She jumped in the boat, and she has an idea a minute. We’re anxious to hear more of them.
A subsequent op-ed article, while finding the idea amusing, wished the organizers success:
Here’s hoping all went well, if not simply for Lucas’ future in the hospitality business, then for the boost to central Pasco’s economy a surge of free-spending college students could bring.
It will be interesting, to say the least, to find out just how successful the event was.
Also, it must be said that, in fact, not all naturists and nudists are happy about the idea. They think it “sexualizes” naturism and does not really represent naturist ideals.
The response might be this: Wouldn’t one have to say the same thing, honestly, regarding (say) almost any form of dancing? Especially dancing than involves lingerie (which is popular at some nudist clubs), exaggerated body movements, etc…. In fact, scientists have recently documented that dancing does play a role in courtship and mate selection for humans: Rutgers Researchers Scientifically Link Dancing Ability To Mate Quality.
To me it seems clear that most forms of dancing either promote physical contact or draw attention to bodies as visual objects. Or both. There are lots of “eroticized” messages in many forms of dancing, IMHO. So, is most dancing — allowed and even encouraged at most naturist places — any less eroticized than strip poker?
Some people say that naturist places should totally avoid eroticized signaling. Even of the sort (like dancing) that’s quite prevalent in the textile world. That just doesn’t make sense to me. And to be honest, such avoidance is not practiced in most nudist/naturist venues.
But if such avoidance were the norm, one shouldn’t be surprised at all if young people avoid naturism.
A more detailed criticism is the claim that most people, especially young people, associate nudity with sex. And so, if invited to a strip poker event at a nudist club, would they be expecting a very sexualized atmosphere and be tempted to act accordingly? Or, on the other hand, on discovering that open sexuality is discouraged, would they be confused and disappointed?
I think that different young people will have different reactions. The desired outcome would be for the young folks to just stay naked after they’ve stripped the first time. As naturists often say, after the first 5 or 10 minutes, it’s easy to forget you’re naked, and it’s no big deal. Seems to me it would feel kind of silly to put on clothes again just so one could play another round of strip poker. Either people would stay naked to keep playing poker (if they like the game), or they’d wander off to try something else — dancing, a dip in the pool, or munching on pizza.
So the whole point is to get them into the resort and have them get comfortable there ASAP.
Of course, you’d want to have some responsible adults (sober grandmotherly types) watching quietly to intervene discreetly in case of any inappropriate behavior. Also, be sure that there’s a majority of experienced naturists around so first-timers can see what’s proper naturist behavior and do like the Romans do.
Hmmm. Speaking of Romans, maybe a toga party might be another good hook to attract college students. One where the togas aren’t really expected to stay on for long, and this is understood beforehand. (The challenge is to dare your date to be first in your group to drop the toga.) Toga parties are a hoary college tradition… (Or maybe they’re passé now… but I doubt it.)
One can object that this hook is sexual too. But maybe the psychology is just the reverse. Maybe young people are less reluctant to try nudity if there’s an excuse for being naked (losing at poker, having a costume malfunction with the toga) that is not overtly about sex. (“Oh crap. This thing just won’t stay on. Mind if I lose it?”)
Originally posted January 29, 2006