Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Wild VVRC Mid-Winter Party

I'm sick. (Great way to start a post!) It doesn't happen often, but by chance my body decided to be sick this week with some sort of chest cold. If we didn't already agree to share a room with some friends, we probably would've skipped it. I can't talk well, have a scratchy sensitive throat, and would much prefer to stay at home. But I'm a man of my word and have a pesky girlfriend who wanted a mini-vacation, so here we go!

On the drive to VVRC's Mid-Winter Party, my girlfriend informed me of something I didn't know: Apparently there was an issue between one of the members of Friends of Mazo Beach and one of the members of VVRC, and the result was a ban on Friends of Mazo Beach people from attending their events. (Shhh! We're members! But I can't see how they would deny us since we have a lot of VVRC friends and are peaceful in general.) Over the years, I have noticed a lack of Friends of Mazo Beach people at the VVRC events. It's starting to make sense, but I think the whole ban thing is silly. VVRC is still affiliated with TNS, and I wore my TNS shirt!

[UPDATE: Had a comment to correct this hear-say: "Being a member of VVRC and a past board member, I can assure you that not all FOMB are banned from VVRC or it's events. I do know the incident and it was a specific 4 people that have been banned from VVRC and it's events. It was not personal, but unacceptable behavior on the grounds of vvrc that caused the situation."]

Looking at my list from last year and comparing it to this year:
  • The pool was warmer initially, but the heater must've quit at some point.
  • The hot-tub was cooler, so it was often full.
  • They served the same great meal, and there were plenty of munchies too.
  • No DJ this time -- instead, a guitar player who managed to play non-stop for over 3 hours.
  • There was no YMCA.
  • There were no edible gel wielding swinger gals.
  • The ballroom-style dancers were back, and this time they brought a friend. Using standard names, they can be Alice and Bob, with Carol being the friend.
  • The arcade has been removed, and there is a dedicated "smoking room" which is the boiler room for the building. The building is all non-smoking otherwise.
  • Dave and Eve (more standard names), the ones who invited us to share a room, respectively declined to honor the above policy. I say "respectively declined" because they limited themselves and kept things ventilated. The rooms must've been smoking rooms previously, based on their omnipresent smell. Either way, I'm sure the hotel isn't happy about it. They're great people to hang out with, and I can't hold it against them. I wouldn't want to stand in a crummy boiler room to smoke either.
  • The turnout for the event was around 160, and it's been growing every year. I told them that they might need a bigger venue next year, which they shot down with budgeting reasons. There was no room for a dance floor, and they were out of seating space. It was getting cramped.

After making our way through the check-in process, my girlfriend had to make a run to the car for that one item we always seem to forget. In the couple of minutes she was gone, I witnessed a couple walk in and greet a guy they apparently haven't seen in a while. Then, the wife and guy kissed...on the lips. The only thought in my mind was: "Why am I here again?!"

In all fairness to them, it seems that only adults attend this party each year. (The listing never says it's an adult party though.) The entire evening did remain a "nudist" setting, but it was apparent that a majority of the people were something beyond nudist... This is why I like the Badger Naturist parties better -- more regular nudists.

We made our way to the room, dropped our backpack, dropped our clothes, and dropped ourselves back into the pool room. I spent a lot of time sitting by Dave and Eve (and friends) pretending that I wasn't sick and was having a good time, despite talking as little as possible. My girlfriend made her rounds to greet friends, check out the pool, and have a quick dip in the hot-tub.

Alice and Bob were at the next table, and I noticed that they were chatting a lot with a cute new friend (Carol). When my girlfriend returned, I asked her if Alice and Bob brought a friend this year. "Yep, and Alice says I have to chat with her later tonight. She's a dominatrix!"

After that bombshell, we grabbed an open side of the hot-tub and privately discussed how the evening was progressing and how interesting it may get later on. Soon after, she went to nap for an hour (she worked the night before and didn't get enough sleep). I resumed my position at Dave and Eve's table, pretending I wasn't sick and was having a good time.

As dinner was starting, Dave made a trip to the room. My girlfriend followed him back down, and seemed well rested at the moment. She returned to find an extra couple wedged on to the end of the table, who had been there for a couple of minutes. (Did I mention it got cramped?) She broke the ice with them and started chatting away. I didn't want to, because talking hurt my throat even more. A simple "hi" always leads into an hour or so of conversation. Maybe I was a bit rude, in retrospect.

Dinner was great, as always. The pasta was throat-friendly, but the breadsticks not so much. Other harder snacks like RR1 popcorn (our contribution), puppy chow, crackers, veggies, chips, and most everything else was off limits for me too. Bummer! After dinner was a raffle drawing, and most people at our table won prizes. We won a fancy insulated water bottle. Other prizes included shot glasses, scratch-off lottery tickets (no winners), and a jar of candy.

After most people were finished eating, the hotel clerk on duty was taking care of garbage. She's around our age, and wasn't sure if she wanted to work a nudist party because she didn't know what to expect. The nudists, as usual, were holding doors for her and giving her friendly greetings. My girlfriend talked to her a bit, and she said: "I'm glad I worked this party because everyone is so nice and kind and sweet." I think it's great that she had this opinion! Maybe she'll join in next time?

The clothed guitarist starting strumming mostly country tunes. One cute swinger gal danced on the tiny dance floor for several songs to the enjoyment of a lot of guys. Eventually, the guitarist played a slow song, and many crammed in for a slow dance and an occasional butt grab on their partners. I was too busy to watch much of the dancing.

My girlfriend started up a small game at the table. Dave and Eve played, with Alice joining in after a while. The game was similar to the game we played last year with Alice and Bob. It's simple and entertaining, but easier to play without a loud guitarist. We eventually moved to the food area, which wasn't being used much after the dinner items were all cleaned up. It was quiet. Dave and Eve didn't join us, but we managed to recruit in a total of eight players. With two cute girls in front of me (Alice and Carol), a cute girl next to me, and an entertainingly drunk Bob at the end of the table, I suddenly felt a little better and really was having a good time! I won the first game, and Carol tied me in the second game. Wait...maybe I shouldn't phrase it like that...

Some left, including Alice and Bob, but we were still a chatty bunch. A few minutes later, Bob came back and whispered in my ear: "Carol really wants to talk shop, and isn't really fond of the guys hanging around her." (Being an attractive single girl, she was a magnet for guys.) I conveyed this to my girlfriend, and we three managed to remove ourselves from the conversation. Soon enough, we were in Carol's room listening to the interesting documentary of her life and having a chat.

She had a strict upbringing that she wanted to break away from, and finally did after college. (She's quite smart, a little philosophical but down-to-earth, and is great at telling a story. I think she should write a book!) She found a place where she was able to work as a professional dominatrix, and did so for several years, but decided to give it up a few years ago. She noted that this is not prostitution -- intercourse wasn't expected and didn't happen. Apparently there is a surprising number of people who have a foot fetish, and it's like a day at the spa for her. Her summary of the psychological aspects of the whole scene was very interesting to me at least. I may have a separate post, with a new naturist-related hypothesis, stemming from that in the future...

My girlfriend asked a few questions, but none were nearly as important as mine: "How the heck did you end up here?" The common perception is that a lot of people gravitate towards sex clubs because they offer more "freedom" than nudist clubs. With that in mind, how is it that someone who worked in a domain beyond sex clubs ended up at a plain ol' nudist hotel party? And was she even enjoying the evening or bored out of her mind? The answer was simple -- it all depends on what you're looking for. She wanted to hang out with her friends, and her friends were here. She was enjoying the evening.

My girlfriend and I went back down to the food area. The place was clearing out since it was close to midnight. My girlfriend visited the bathroom while I found some throat-friendly snacks. Eating grapes and watching the latest news on the TV, a couple entered the room and started making out right behind me. Resisting the strong urge to bounce a few grapes (or other foods) off their heads, I chose to avoid a confrontation and simply walked out of the room.

Together again, we noticed that an overly friendly group had taken over the hot-tub. They were doing nothing overt or lewd, but we knew better than to even attempt to fill the few empty spots. It would've been awkward. The longer we waited for them to clear out, the fuller it got with similar people, so we eventually gave up and went to bed. What happened in the hot-tub as the night went on is anybody's guess.

The next morning wasn't too exciting, but there's a strange behavior that I always notice. The night before, everyone is fully naked with exception to a few things the women may wear. In the mornings at every party I've been to, people seem to acquire a random state of dress. Some are fully clothed, some are wearing just pants or just tops, and some are wearing nothing at all. Why is that?

Anyway, we said our goodbyes to all of our friends. We got invites to Blue Lake Resort, a place I'd love to check out sometime. Alice and Bob invited us to camp a weekend or two with them at VVRC, which is another thing I'd love to do this summer. Lastly, Alice and Bob suggested that we all share a room next year. Rooming with people who are much closer to our age would be a welcome change!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Psychology and the Shock of Nudity

"What do you say to a naked lady?" It's an entertaining old video, but it's also a very good question for naturists to analyze. More specifically, how the answers are different between naturists and textiles. The first step to effectively educating textiles about naturism is to understand how they think about it.

With that in mind, a unique chain of events unfolded a few weeks ago.
  • My girlfriend came home in the morning and went to bed (naked).
  • Very rarely does it happen that she forgets to lock the door.
  • The weather turned bad during the day.
  • Carol (not her real name - I'm using standard names again), who is a typical sweet motherly type in her 40's, left work and decided to stay at our place to avoid the slippery drive to her rural home and back the next morning.
  • My girlfriend rolls out of bed and visits the restroom.
  • Carol does a quick knock at the door and then walks in.
  • My girlfriend says "hi honey!" thinking it's me, opens the door to walk out, and gives Carol a full frontal. She then says "oh hi!" and smiles on her way to the bedroom to put some clothes on.

The part that confuses me is that Carol felt really bad for catching my girlfriend in the nude. My girlfriend repeatedly said she didn't care at all about it, and we told Carol that we're naturists anyway so it's no big deal to us.

Carol is completely fine with us being naturists and all, and asked a whole bunch of questions about naturism. We told stories, and she thought it was neat and was happy for us but would never consider it herself. (The usual story...) Despite all this, she still felt extremely bad about catching my girlfriend naked! She kept saying she was sorry about it, even when she left the next morning.

This is how I believe the chain goes, when a textile (Alice) catches another textile (Bob) in the nude:
  • Alice sees a naked body, and is a bit surprised but realizes that naked bodies do exist and are generally harmless.
  • Bob is completely embarrassed: Body shame, bad luck of being naked at that moment, feeling vulnerable, whatever. Bob's life is changed forever, or so it seems.
  • Alice feels guilty for embarrassing Bob, conveys that she's very sorry. Both pretend that it never happened, and both feel bad about it in separate ways.

Naturists have a different attitude in the second step: You've seen me naked? Good! That means I don't have to get dressed next time you come over...if that's OK?

Since the middle step is different, the final step should never happen. Why should Alice feel bad about seeing Bob naked, if Bob didn't care at all about it? Alice is not guilty of embarrassing Bob.

Next time Carol is over (assuming we get bad weather again), I'd like to investigate this further. Why, to this day, does she still feel bad about it? What other forces are at work? Does she feel bad simply because she's supposed to based on other experiences with textiles? I thought I addressed that in our evening of chatting, but apparently not.

A similar thing can be said about meeting a hunter while freehiking, and the GoTopless protest. The hunter avoided looking in our direction and seemed shy, as-if our nudity is some sort of blinding light. Carol did too after the initial sight. A majority of people at Chicago avoided looking at us as well, but we weren't naked and most probably ignore all protest groups. (Others, in all fairness, seemed to think this was the only time in their lives that they would see a breast and cherished it for all it was worth.)

Getting textiles to not feel guilty about seeing nudity would be a good step for general acceptance. If we can better understand the problem, or what leads up to the problem, then we have a better chance of correcting it early.

Maybe we're wrong about how we notify others? The signs at Haulover warn "ATTENTION - BEYOND THIS POINT YOU MAY ENCOUNTER NUDE BATHERS" Perhaps the right approach is something like "There's friendly naked people beyond this sign, and we won't mind if you stop over and chat with us!"

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Although most other bloggers retain their entire history, my opinion is that it creates a lot of clutter. Links break, comments get dated, posts that are of no interest beyond a few days still manage to look important, important posts look dated, and it's hard to find the good stuff among the clutter. Thus, I intend to clean my blog!

I've always had two main goals with this blog. First is a publication space for articles and essays. Ideally, this should read like a book. Second is a storyline of my forays into naturism. This should be a timeline.

I plan to create an index post with the above mentioned "table of contents", "storyline", and add a few links with my profile and recommendations sort-of like a resume. Posts that apply to either of the two main topics will be kept. Other rants and links (such as most of the Missed News series) will be removed since it's unlikely that anyone cares at this point in time. If any good bits remain, I'll concatenate them into a single post.

One thing that I'd like to fix is dates. All events that I wrote about were posted at least a week after the actual event. I'd like to fix the dates to represent when things actually happened -- including the Australia story that happened over a year before I started the blog. The problem with this is that Blogger uses the date in the link, and therefore it will break all of my links. So, it's probably not a good idea to fix dates! I'll at least have the correct ones in the timeline.

For multi-part stories and posts, I can add "Previous" and "Next" links to the bottom for easy browsing.

Lastly, with the important posts, it would be good to refresh them a bit. Little updates here and there will show that the ideas still apply and are actively maintained.

If anyone would like a snapshot of the blog prior to my cleaning, download an archive from here (~6.5 megs).