I got an interesting response to my annual Burning Man post from a reader named Jon. He attended Burning Man 2003 for the sole purpose of living naked among a bunch of textilers. Him and I share a common curiosity: What would a true clothing-optional society be like? Especially if the majority of the people are textile? There's no better place to find out than Black Rock City.
This clothing-optional city goes from a normal population of zero to (currently) almost 50,000! (That's more than Cap d'Agde!) It doesn't have the same luxuries as a typical clothing-optional venue, but does have the basics such as beautiful weather, grass, large swimming pools, luxury accomodation, a roller disco, and even a few cruise ships. If you're up for recreation, try some hockey, or a few other games. There are also plenty of activities for the kids after school such as teeter-totters, swings, and bouncy castles. Of course, there are adult things too after work, but some just like to complain. Hey -- wait a minute -- that last link has a naked guy wearing a cheesehead hat. Take a closer look and let me know if any of you Wisconsin nudists recognize him.
UPDATE: A number of the links above have broken, but they all linked to funny pictures related to what I'm talking about. I'm leaving them as-is, since removing the links would look silly.
Anyway, back to Jon's story. I found his story interesting because it parallels what might happen if the clothing laws were relaxed everywhere. The first brave people go nude, and the first prudes would freak out about it. Give it some time, and society would likely have the same attitude as mentioned in the story. Being the only nude in a textile group is often uncomfortable -- but why? Is it because we feel that we are dressed inappropriately? Or is it because we are worried about what others are thinking? Jon's story answers to this.
Another reason I found it interesting is because I've wanted to do the exact same thing. I want to go to Burning Man and be naked! One of these years, I finally will, and I'll probably have a similar story to tell. Until then, I have plans to be nude among textiles in a much smaller place next summer. I'll tell that story when it happens...
The following is part 1 (of 3) of Jon's story. Anything that I changed or commented on is in [brackets].
Quite some time ago I came across the following on a site about nudity at the "Burning Man" festival that stirred my imagination [I found the referenced site, but it's not one I'm going to link to here...]:
"The large majority of people at the Festival don't go nude, at least most of the time. But anyone can be nude if they wish to be. It's an interesting lesson in how nudity fits smoothly in 'everyday life' (if it can be called that in this context) when each person is free to choose how to dress without the usual social taboos. Although nude people at the Festival are a minority, in contrast to the conventional society, they are an accepted minority."
[In Aug-Sep 2003] I traveled to Nevada to see, and experience, if this was in fact, true. Believe me when I say it is! My schedule only allowed four days, but they were a memorable four days of living nude among 30,000 textile campers for the entire period!
I was fairly confident because nudity was said to be acceptable, but approaching the Black Rock Desert, I was a bit nervous because I wasn't really sure of what to expect. My confidence was bolstered as I was met at the entrance by a topless volunteer greeter wearing only a bikini bottom and baseball cap. When she asked if I was looking for a particular theme camp, I boldly replied, "Anywhere I can be nude!" The reply was, "Anywhere you want."