This story is from a new guest blogger. See part 1 for details.
Greetings! Call me "Bob" (of "Alice and Bob" fame, the ballroom dancing couple mentioned a few times in this blog). The Academic Naturist asked me if I would like to contribute anything as a guest blogger, so I thought I would relate an experience from last summer at VVRC, and the ruminations resulting therein.
Alice and I are not members of VVRC but we visit every chance we get during the warmer months. Valley View was our first nudist experience, and it was the people we met there, more than anything else, that made it a pleasant, easy going experience for us. We have been to several other places since then (Sunny Haven in IN, Cypress Cove in FL, Turtle Lake in MI, etc.) but for coziness, relaxation and economy of travel time, we always keep coming back to Valley View... and primarily because of the people there.
And speaking of people, I want to relate a story involving a small child I'll call "Donna" ("Carol" is already taken by a friend of ours - see A.N.'s entry regarding last February’s winter party). Donna is about six years old and typically plays with any other children who happen to be around. When she's void of playmates her own age, she'll hang out with Alice, whom Donna thinks is "really really cool." Donna's mother sometimes worries Alice feels put-upon, but my wife is a trooper and Donna is not terribly high-maintenance.
On with the tale: last summer, when Donna was five, Alice and I stuck around for the monthly "Munchie Mixer," a production at the clubhouse put on by the VVRC members wherein they feed the guests in an effort to get to know them better. Alice and I really enjoy these because it gives us an opportunity to meet any new visitors we may have missed during the day with our typically busy schedule of reading by the pool, tanning by the pool, swimming in the pool, chatting with friends by the pool... you get the idea.
This time in particular we had pizza at the Mixer. Alice got our plates, found seats to settle into next to some newbies, and to no one's surprise Donna appeared with her plate stacked high with slices and announced: "Hi, Alice! I’m gonna sit by YOU!"
So we ate and conversed and little Donna occasionally offered up observations involving the pool, Barbies, and some of the VVRC members' pets that are nice to play with. After a while, I felt the call of nature and excused myself to head off to the men's room.
Sidebar, now, as I explain something about the layout of VVRC. The acreage is primarily populated by campers, some permanent, the majority summer-only. There is a small but respectable camping area on the property, over by the clubhouse, which is at the opposite end of the land from the entrance, where the office is located. While the clubhouse has refrigerators, stoves and running water, it does not have restrooms. For that sort of facility one has a choice of
A) The pool house
B) The showers - located more or less in the center of the property
C) The outhouses located right outside the clubhouse
Being a civilized and relatively normal socialized North American male of the 21st century, I decided on option "B" when I left the clubhouse to tend to my needs; it was closer than the pool house and had the much preferred feature of soap and running water for afterwards.
So I started on my way down the gravel path to the showers when I suddenly heard a familiar little voice cry out: "Hey! Hey! Bob!"
I turned around and saw little Donna, a smear of pizza sauce on her little face, running towards me with some urgency.
"What’s up?" I asked.
"You know, you can go there." She declared, pointing to the outhouses.
"Yes, but I would much rather go there," I replied, pointing to the showers and wondering if I would have to explain the importance of personal hygiene, especially when about to handle food.
From our vantage point, Donna could only see the entrance to the men’s room.
"But that one's for guys. Anyone can use those!" She retorted, pointing again to the outhouses with a little more emphasis.
"And that's okay, Donna, because I am a guy."
She looked at me blankly, for a moment, and then lowered her gaze and stared at me for a second.
"Yeah! You are!" she said, looking me in the face, again. "Okay! Bye!"
And she turned around and went back into the clubhouse to hang with the wife.
I continued on my way and for the briefest moment I was a little disturbed to have been scoped by a five year old... and then realized her attitude was the same as a kid picking up a hamster to see if its a boy or a girl: she was just checking to verify my statement.
The implications are rather interesting. Donna has been involved in nudism all her life. She is fully aware of the physical differences between men and women. So much so she does not really think about gender differences when communicating with people. It seems to me that without cultural gender markers (of which clothing, in American society, is a major set), to a growing nudist child primary and secondary sexual characteristics are about as common and mundane as fingers, noses, and eyebrows. To them, it's all just "people parts" and don't matter unless they are taught they should... such as which restroom one should use.
And in a time and place where we as a nation are, at least nominally, striving for gender equality, doesn’t it seem nudism is the best thing possible to teach our children so they can respect themselves and others?