Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My Most Expensive Suit

I'm happy when dressed in my birthday suit. In fact, I want to wear it all the time. (Unless it's cold.) Despite it being initially free, it has by far been the most expensive suit to wear.

Where can I wear my birthday suit? Vacations to nudist resorts ($), nudist campgrounds ($), nude beaches (often $ to get to), or private land ($ to own). For full-time naturism, the choices are either living at a nudist campground or private land. Since no campgrounds exist nearby, and real estate is on sale at the moment, the best investment is land.

I could live just about anywhere, since I don't mind small living spaces. Living in town means I'm close to work. Cheap commute, cheap to get utilities, and cheap plots to buy. However, I'd like to be able to get the mail and do yardwork in my birthday suit. In some locations this would be OK (Spain?), but in the US a neighbor would call the police. Personally, I don't see what the big deal is with my favorite attire.

Culture's irrational opinion of what I like to wear forces an extra requirement onto our real estate purchase: Privacy. And let me tell you -- privacy is expensive! Everyone, deep down, wants a place that doesn't have close neighbors.

Furthermore, privacy isn't something that is measured. Realty sites list the plot size, anything it contains, and usually have pictures of the land/house itself. Never do they show the views from the land. Can we see the road from it? Can we see neighbors? How many of the neighbors will call the cops when they see our naked butts roaming around? None of this can be found on the listing.

It's been a frustrating search so far. Almost everything that looks to have privacy is way beyond what I can afford. I've looked at several plots of land over the last year. Only two had actual privacy. The first was 10 acres, where maybe 2 were actually usable. Our house would be private, but the driveway getting there would be impossible to climb in a vehicle during the winter. Also, the wooded areas were far too steep to do anything with. The second was perfect (per my ideal plot), a hilltop all to ourselves. But, it was slightly beyond my price range and had two very questionable easements to get there. (Neighbors shouldn't take each-other to court like that, and I don't want to get in the middle of it.) It's no longer listed anyway.

A recent viewing was of a 40 acre plot in my price range. It was right off the interstate, on the other side of a small hill. There was a picture of the very top of a semi on the interstate, showing it can't be viewed from the road. Other pictures show rolling green hills and valley with no houses, fences along the property, and a stream. Was this the perfect place? The 40 acres were stretched out in the bottom of a valley with the stream down the middle, and a house on the hillside on both sides. It was a cow pasture, and the cows looked much happier than we would be.

The search continues... Recently, we checked out a 20 acre parcel. It's close to town, full of trees, and includes everything but a house. One side is a fence, and one side is a road. The fence line runs along the the top of a hill -- sure the farmer could peek over, but it's unlikely. Trees block the view to the road, and to the houses on the other side. The only problem is that a single house on the other side of the road has a mostly-clear view down a considerable length of the property. If we add a house in the right place we could block that view, but it means the front lawn is off-limits for nude use. I'm not even sure if creative shrubbery could save the front yard.

It's difficult to decide what to do. Do we make an offer on this one, or gamble that a better one will appear? I admit that this property isn't perfect, but I think we could be happy there. I'd have to give up my idea of opening a small campground (or future resort) since this land wouldn't support it.

Have any of you been through this before? Did you find the perfect place, where you can wear your best suit anywhere you want? Do you have any tips on what to look for, or what to do to find that perfect place? Any tips on dealing with neighbors? Any tips on bargaining with realters? Please leave a comment.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sexuality and Naturism

...And why those words don't link together.

This seems to be an important topic of discussion for almost every naturist, so I figure I should finally put in my 2 cents worth. For the purpose of this post, here are my definitions:

Naturism - Being naked in a family-friendly setting with mixed company. Either you do this or you don't.
Sexuality - Using the first three definitions from the Wiktionary, anything that has to do with sexual activity, or an interest in sexual activity. I include thoughts and emotions which are of a sexual nature. The measure can be in degrees. People whose minds are often in the gutter have a high degree of sexuality.
Advanced sexual freedoms - Those who practice sex in a variety of ways. This is different from sexuality (in a high degree) in that it excludes people who only have desire.
Sexual undertones - Nobody is having sex, or being sexual in any physical way. But some make comments of a sexual nature, laugh at sexual jokes, and do other things to indicate their minds are in the gutter.

Sexuality is a part of naturism, right?

Wrong. Although I must admit that the world would be a much better place if it was. Just think, if only naturists were sexual, all the children would grow up to be naturists as well. We'd have a true clothing optional society in a couple of generations.

The truth is that sexuality exists in high degrees with a large number of people, therefore it is not a subset of naturism. Since textiles are having more babies than naturists, it's fair to conclude that a majority of sexuality exists outside of naturism.

Naturism must be a part of sexuality then, right?

Wrong. Children love to run around naked, far before they develop sexual desires. Many other naturists aren't there for the sexuality, either.

I admit that there may be a high correlation between people who have advanced sexual freedoms, and people who are willing to participate in naturism. One is a catalyst for the other. They are already comfortable being naked, and having sex, sometimes in mixed company, so slipping into naturism is an easy thing to do.

I should also note, from experience, that many who have advanced sexual freedoms DON'T easily slip into naturism. Unless they are having sex, they strongly desire clothing.

All adults have an element of sexuality, right?

Wrong. I had a friend who was truly asexual. He had no desire for anything beyond friendship, either guys or girls. Make a sexual joke, and he wouldn't get it right away. He taught me that not everyone is a sexual being. Admittedly, he wasn't a naturist either. Someday I hope to find an asexual adult naturist! There have to be some out there...

A lot of people seem to think that there are sexual undertones in naturism. I believe it is these very people who are bringing sexual undertones into naturism. It is likely that they bring these sexual undertones to other elements of their lives as well. On a related topic, I talked to a cruiser at Mazo Beach. He truly thought the beach was full of sex and cruising. I've been there enough times to know that it really isn't, since I've never seen a sex act or have been bothered by a cruiser. It's people like him who bring it to the beach. Although a minority, they inflate the numbers in their own minds. Those with sexual undertones are doing the same. (And maybe I am too?)

There are three reasons why people might think sexuality and naturism have a stronger connection than they really do:
  • Out of sight, out of mind. Seeing parts that are normally hidden make people think about them more.
  • Relaxation. People go to nude venues to relax. When people relax, their minds are free to wander. Also, they tend to look at other people more.
  • Majority rules. If a majority, or even a vocal minority, of the people bring sexual undertones with them, it will be evident to those who don't.
The first two are "curable". Going to nude venues more often will lessen the first one. The second one disappears as soon as people get busy with something. As for the last... I often feel that naturism and medical practice have a strong connection, because we meet so many doctors, nurses, and CNAs. We also meet a lot of geeks, therefore linking computing and naturism. If a lot of people laugh at a sexual joke, then yes, it's understandable to draw a link. However, it doesn't mean there is a true link. They'd all laugh if they were wearing clothes too.

The only logical way to combine sexuality and naturism is to say: A part of sexuality exists in a part of naturism. The same can be said for other random topics too: hiking and naturism, holistics and naturism, environmentalism and naturism, ornithology and naturism, geology and naturism, anthropology and naturism, antinomianism and naturism, apiology and naturism, entryism and naturism, socialism and naturism, nephology and naturism, gnosticism and naturism, naturalism and naturism. (Really, I could go on from a couple of lists.) Why don't we make a big deal about any of those? Why do we gravitate to "sexuality", when all these other combinations exist too?

So, my point to all of this is that there is none. There is no point in combining "sexuality" and "naturism" because they really are completely separate topics. Combining them, and drawing links between them, only adds confusion. Please stop.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

San Onofre: Stakes and Strategy

Leave it to me to chime in a few months late on an issue... I've been seeing a myth perpetuate, so I feel as if I need to speak up about it. It's already been quickly addressed by Nudiarist, but perhaps I can make it more clear. Also, I'll discuss the strategies of both NAC and AANR.

What is the myth? That NAC and the lawsuit lost the legal status of state-owned beaches.

What is the truth? The DPR threw out the Cahill Policy, therefore making nudity illegal on ALL DPR managed public lands prior to the lawsuit.

The DPR chose to ignore the Cahill Policy with regard to San Onofre. At that point, the Cahill Policy was essentially abolished (and nudity illegal) since the DPR could choose to ignore it at any time with any beach. Thus, it no longer existed.

In this context, what exactly was NAC putting at stake in their lawsuit? NOTHING. If they lost, nudity would be illegal. If they didn't file the lawsuit, nudity would be illegal. If AANR kept talking with the DPR, nudity would still be illegal.

It sounds like AANR started this rumor:
According to these sources, other venues where nudity has been traditionally enjoyed may be under threat now that California’s Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued its ruling regarding the Cahill Policy. This situation is, of course, what the American Association for Nude Recreation feared could happen when the Naturist Action Committee filed suit against the California Parks System.

So the DPR closing random beaches and ignoring the Cahill Policy isn't the threat? What, exactly, was AANR fearing? That nudity would continue to be illegal?

It was then perpetuated by Tom:
They put at risk nude sunbathing at ALL beaches in California.

Wasn't it at risk already? More correctly, wasn't it dead?

And also perpetuated by the SCNA, who take it a step further:
Allen says he may consider getting a ticket at San Onofre in the Spring and taking the case up the court system on the nudity issue itself. The trouble with that is if he loses, then ALL the beaches are gone.

Wait -- if it's illegal already, then how exactly is Allen going to make it illegal?

It's court cases like that which made Mazo Beach legal. A person got cited for indecent exposure, and the courts said it's not indecent if it's in a traditional nude sunbathing area. They stated that they will throw out any indecent exposure citation from the traditional beach area. If they can do this in California, that would be great!

Nobody blames the EMT for trying to resuscitate a dead patient, and failing. Why are people blaming NAC for trying to resuscitate the Cahill Policy? Allen simply offers up another try in the future. I hope they keep trying.

I understand AANR's strategy as well. It's not quite as bad as Nudiarist seems to convey. Their strategy can be summarized as follows: Stay out of the spotlight.

The DPR had only one beach in the spotlight. AANR said "OK, but continue to ignore the rest." This could've worked to keep all of the other beaches semi-protected under the Cahill Policy, but that assumes that the DPR would actually do it. Sure, it's a strategy that could've worked for years, until the DPR decides to rock the boat again. Either way, it's the DPR that ultimately chooses the legality of a beach.

From the DPR's perspective, they are responding to reported problems at the beach. It doesn't matter how factual those reports are (as shown by the San Onofre case), they will still respond by doing the easiest thing they can. If it's naked people causing a problem, it's easy to just ignore an informal policy and chase them away. If problems are reported at another beach, it's easy to do the same thing again. There is little reason for the DPR to appease AANR by leaving the other beaches alone when problems are reported.

Society is increasingly against simple nudity. We're in a population explosion, and there is more traffic than ever even in remote areas. We're connected by cell phones, allowing anyone to snap a picture and call the police before even thinking about the situation. Society is becoming more sexualized too, and it's an increasing problem that this sexualization is invading naturist beaches and pressuring them to be an adult-only playground. I expect that reports of lewd conduct are increasing at beaches which lack a method to deal with it. I also expect that they are reported more frequently, since it's so easy with a cell phone and there are more people around that may do it. Lastly, I expect that there are more false alarms, where people complain about activities which really aren't lewd. I doubt that these false alarms are removed from the complaint lists.

The DPR took action from the complaints they have received. They put naturists in a defensive situation by closing San Onofre. This requires a defensive strategy. My favorite analogy is the situation where a bear approaches you in the woods. What do you do?

First is to back away slowly. Both NAC and AANR did this by talking with the DPR. But, the DPR decided to take a chomp at San Onofre.

Then, the strategies diverge. AANR decided to offer up their arm to the bear, in hopes that it satisfies the bear. They assumed that the bear would eat the arm, then spare the rest and maybe make a few promises to avoid humans in the future. Hey, it could work. It's a valid strategy.

More specifically, it's a valid strategy for an offensive situation. For example, if AANR demanded 5 new beaches to be created, and the DPR compromised to only create 3. This compromise would be wonderful! Business in general is offensive (always want to expand, advertise, and gain new markets), which is why businessmen tend to say that compromises must be made to get what you want. The keyword is 'want', indicating it's an offensive strategy. When applying it to the bear scenario, it sounds dumb. Applying an offensive strategy to a defensive situation generally doesn't work.

More realistically, the bear would eat the arm and everything else attached. Then they might consider humans an easy target.

If the bear took a chomp at me, I'd climb the nearest tree and kick it in the face if it tries to follow. I might get eaten, same as the other strategy, but I'm not going to offer up myself, or any part of myself, on a silver platter. This is the strategy that NAC went with -- defend all our limbs at all cost, and show them we're a tough contender.

Yes, they lost. And everyone is saying "I told you so!" What did they lose? NOTHING. Legal nudity at the beach was lost before the lawsuit. Nobody, except AANR, talked about what they might've gained with the actions:
From the day the suit was filed, it was unlikely to accomplish anything more than to delay the Department. Even if successful, the suit would have only required the Department to go through a public hearing process, after which it would not be bound in any fashion to follow any recommendations made through the hearing process, and could have then proceeded to do as it pleased at San Onofre.

A public hearing process? NAC is great at winning those! Especially in California! The NEF/Roper Poll (2006) found that nude beaches have an 84% approval on the west coast. Naturists would've won the public hearing process, and therefore revived the Cahill Policy into an official policy stronger than before. San Onofre would be legal, and other beaches wouldn't be under attack in the near future. Remember that NAC initially won the first court case, so they started off good.

So would you risk nothing for a slim chance to officially legalize the nude beaches? NAC said yes, and AANR said no.

AANR thinks that the lawsuit will make the DPR act quicker to enforce textilism at other beaches. AANR thinks that their strategy would've allowed nude beach use for longer. I don't think the DPR is going to act any faster or slower, since they have the same legal standing from either strategy. If anything, the NAC has shown that naturists will make it as difficult as possible for the DPR bear to eat us.

I should also note that it's a good time for naturists to be kicking at the DPR. California is very poor, and the DPR and law enforcement are strained from budget cuts. Even though the DPR has the legal standing to issue citations for nudity, I don't think they can afford to yet. NAC at least has some time to take further action. They could take further legal action, call on naturists to overwhelm the DPR with letters, sweet talk the DPR into profiting from beach parking, or any number of things. All-in-all, now is the time for change. If we gave up one beach and went stalemate for a couple of years, the DPR would be a stronger force to deal with later. Tom, at least, thinks we should've waited: "NAC sued prematurely and lost the Cahill policy. " (He said this multiple times.) Ummm, wasn't it dead already? Let's start CPR after lunch.

Another strategy deviation to consider is what would've happened if NAC and AANR joined forces. I don't think more money, or more naturists from AANR, would've changed the courts decision that Cahill isn't an official policy. Adding AANR's name to the supreme court request would've given it slightly better chances of being heard, but probably not enough. I don't think AANR could've done much to help, but by joining up in the beginning they would've done less things to hurt. The SCNA explains (and NAC also mentioned):
I know AANR's reps (Debra Sue Stevens, etc.) met with the chief deputy of the Parks Dept when the ban was first proposed and they gave Parks the impression it was ok to close San Onofre. Debra refuses to believe she threw gas on the fire but she did. Well-meaning people who don't know all the facts (Park's statistics about crime and lewd behavior was very incorrect but AANR did not challenge it) need to stay out of this!

How the whole San Onofre thing spun into a call for donations for both AANR and TNS/NAC is beyond me... What exactly has AANR done again? NAC is doing the work, so send all your donations to them.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fearful Freaky Fright Night 2009

The Badger Naturist Halloween Party was at the same venue as last year's Bare Bones Bash. And just like last year, we had a ton of fun!

Unlike last year, the crowd was huge! Not only did the rooms sell out this time, but people doubled up upon request (we had roommates) and several overflow rooms were booked at a nearby hotel. At least twice as many people wore costumes for the judging. And all evening, we feasted like royalty at the huge selection of thoughtfully prepared pot-luck food and a couple of catered dishes. Last year, we ran out and my emergency pizza's saved the night. (This time, they weren't needed at all.) The hot tub was perfectly hot, and the pool was comfortably warm (even for me).

A lot of Mazo Beach people were there, and a lot of regulars to VVRC, Sun Ray Hills, The Homestead Nych, and Northern Exposure Naturists were all represented as well. A group came from Indiana, a couple came from Florida, and one even came from Canada. We even had celebrity among us -- the head honcho of TNS! I think it's wonderful that all these people attended.

My vivacious lady friend and I were, however, disappointed that some people couldn't make it. Steve & Angie were in our thoughts. They announced the event on their blog, but were unable to attend. I wore the exact sarong that Steve gave to me last year, and promise to do the same next year. Admittedly, I didn't wear it much. I mostly carried it around. I like it a lot more than a towel.

The other couple that didn't attend are the ones who normally coordinate the games. Thus, there weren't as many games this year. I personally don't think this mattered -- the few games and events still provided a full evening of entertainment. People didn't mind socializing to fill in the gaps, or breaking into card games, swimming, hot tubbing, or relaxing poolside. The kids entertained themselves in the pool. The meal took a while. Bowling down the hallway went on for hours. Costumes and judging took over an hour. Music went on all night in both the conference room and the pool area. Puzzles were plentiful. Prizes were won by lots of people.

There were a lot of new people too. Or at least new to me, since many skipped last year but attended many times before. We met a couple our age -- or close to our age at least. The younger of them was the age of the older of us. He's a tech guy like me, and they were both fun to talk to. They are regulars at a TNS affiliated resort that isn't too far away, so we might just have to visit them next summer.

One of their close friends, and ex-roommate, was also at the party. I've never really met her, but I certainly know about her! She's the busty star of one of my Mazo Manor episodes -- Bambi! (Of course, that isn't her real name, and I don't intend to disclose any names here.)

As a funny side-note, remember that I called Bambi "college-age". Kingpin wrote me a letter, part of which was ranting about how far off I was about her age. Come to find out, she's just now finishing up an associates degree. Technically speaking, that makes me half-right about my first impression. She may not be the typical age, but she certainly seemed like a student.

She managed to win a special place in my heart -- she's the first true naturist that I have actually disliked. With clothing and status gone, I strike up conversations with people I would normally never talk to. I have never before, after probably hundreds of people I've met, actually disliked any true naturist. The root cause of my opinion stems from her being completely rude to my girlfriend one sentence after introductions. I won't go into details. We were being nice, and everyone in the group knew that. Everyone else was friendly and cheery except for her. Too much alcohol maybe?

Later that evening, she pestered the musician to put on her CD, loudly, and to play the drums to it. However, he got rewarded... She belly-danced for him (and for the couple of people in the conference room) for almost an hour. She's quite good, but not good enough to be forgiven. Maybe next year?

She at least started out on my good/neutral side. In costume, she laughed and commented on my "cute hairless butt" and how it went so well with the costume. I wasn't really sure is she was laughing at it, or giving me a compliment. Either way, I laughed it off. I still don't understand why she said it.

So what was my costume? I'll get to that... We had it all planned out, and order mattered. That's how we won the "most in-character couple" award. We love the simple costumes that, when seen together, add a whole new level of humor. This time it worked best if we played the part.

My girlfriend got dressed in our room. I was there too, but only to wait for a while. She put on homemade pig ears (headband with pink foam ears cut from cheap sun visor hats, zip-tied together), a homemade snout (paper towel tube, with an end glued on, painted with nail polish), and some pink undies with a tail (bunch of pink pipe cleaners bent into shape). The costume was a hack-job for sure, but she looked great! Her plan was to stop by the BN room, go mingle through the conference room, and mingle into the pool area. She had 15 minutes. Being cute, she drew attention from everyone on the way.

I put on a store-bought butcher's hat and apron, with a big plastic knife in hand. Blood was painted on the clothing, and we used nail polish on the knife. I followed in her footsteps. I hastily walked into the BN room, stopped, and sternly said "Has anyone seen a pig around here?!" Instant laughter! They pointed and said "That way!"

I did the same thing in the conference room, and by groups along the hallway. One guy said "that's just sick!" Many of the women went with the "don't lay a finger on her!" routine. Some pointed in the opposite direction, or simply said "no pigs around here." No matter what the reaction, they figured it out quickly and were laughing as they responded.

In the pool room, she hid behind chairs and I pretended not to see her as people were pointing me away. She would "eep!" and run, and people cheered her on. I eventually caught her before the parade (as planned), where we both paraded together as I held on to her wrist. She whimpered a few oinks and save me's during the parade.

There were a lot of clever costumes including:
  • Juggling ninja (who could actually juggle).
  • A couple who were a tortoise and hare.
  • Three people who were bride, groom, and preacher.
  • Dominatrix holding a knife with a bloody slave. (A little edgy, but oh well.)
  • Sexy nurse and surgeon couple, very detailed and well done.
  • Caveman and cave woman, the original skinny-dippers.
  • Guy with a tie: birthday suit. We contemplated what he was wearing when he took it off.
  • A couple who simply glued a beach-ball valve to their backs: blow-up dolls. (She was in character by wobbling around with her mouth open.)
  • A belly dancer in full jingles (wonder who that could be...)
  • A guy with laundry stuck to him: static cling. (Led to many "he's wearing my underwear" jokes from his girlfriend.)

After a dozen winners were announced, the party went on until around 3am. After a few games in the arcade, we finally made it to bed at 3:30, only to discover that our roommates snore in a not very subtle way. The alarm was set for 8am. We didn't get much sleep. We didn't plan on a full night anyway, so it's no big deal.

In the morning, my girlfriend and I got to chat with the couple our age some more. Breakfast was a feast. I have no idea where all that food came from, but I loved it.

Same as last year, we had a giant table full of goods (and money) donated from naturists to the food shelter. The best part about this fundraiser is that there is a link between us naturists, the food shelter, a church, and the DNR who manage the Mazo Beach area. We like to stay on their good side and help out the community. Based on how much gets donated, it's apparent that us naturists are good generous people.

The event this year was a huge improvement over last year, not to say that last year wasn't fantastic already. We're hooked. This is by far the best hotel party we've attended. We plan to go every year.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Burning Man 2009

As is usually the case, I missed out on yet another Burning Man. Long-term readers know this is my yearly ritual. I end up pouring through the pictures and wishing I had gone, while making empty promises for next year.

Perhaps it's an obsession, but deep down I believe that Burning Man represents an experiment for a clothing optional society (among many other things). Nudity is completely legal, and accepted by other attendees. The city is very hot and sunny during the day, and dirty all the time. Going nude seems like the logical thing to do if you want to stay cool and not have filthy clothes. When a clothing-compulsive society lands themselves in Black Rock City, do they take the logical path?

This year I wrote a script. Quite a clever script, actually. It downloads all the pictures without duplicates in 5 photo streams (tags: burningman, burningman09, burningman2009, BM09, BM2009) over a variable amount of time (depending on how busy the feeds are, 10 minutes to 75 minutes). It saves all the pictures along with the original links so I can view it on the flickr page if needed. Note that it will miss pictures when there are more than 20 uploaded between updates, which happens often enough to bug me. Google Reader is worse since it has much slower updates. I use Plumeria (windows program) to delete or save photos one at a time. This results in a large representative set of pictures chosen basically at random, which is better for seeing how the event really is. I let the bash script run on my 15 watt Zonbu (linux) since the event started, and just shut it off this week.

I suffered through a total of 21,142 pictures from 660 different flickr accounts. What did I learn?
  • Don't do this again next year, though I probably will since I have a baseline now.
  • Most people take really bad pictures and have a strong urge to upload every one of them.
  • Professional photographers offer small resolutions with watermarks, and their pictures usually aren't as good as amateurs who share in full resolution.
  • Men often wore shorts and no top.
  • Women often wore bikini tops (or bras) and shorts.
  • Despite the freedom of top-equality, women almost always wore tops and the men didn't.
  • For a vast majority of group/crowd photos, there wasn't a single instance of nudity.
  • Roughly 600 of the photos included nudity of some sort within the frame. (That's almost 3%) Beware that there are groups of several photos that depict the same scene, so I tried to limit it down to unique people when tallying numbers.
Of the ones including nudity....
  • There were a lot naked men, mostly photographed by chance. Sadly, I don't have an accurate number. Saving naked men caught by chance was an afterthought a few weeks into it. I consider the women to be the canaries anyway.
  • Excluding the Critical Tits parade (but possibly including after-party):
  • About 35 women were brave enough to go naked or only in body paint among the general public. (In other words, bottoms were exposed.) 4 of these were obviously modeling.
  • About 120 women went top-free without cover. Some were for erotic situations (12).
  • About 43 were top-free but with bodypaints.
  • About 27 were exposed by wearing see-through clothing, all except one wore bottoms.
  • For for no good reason whatsoever, about 41 decided to wear pasties. Why would you even bring pasties to an event with legal nudity?
  • Out of 43,435 total participants, about 225 women and a guess/estimated 35 men (based on this old stat, but likely more) exercised their right to bare breasts or be naked and happened to be caught by a camera, flickr, and my script. That's almost 0.6% of the population. Remember that it excludes the Critical Tits parade and party, which typically sees hundreds topless.
The old stats (from 1999) estimate about 5% go nude or top-free. My estimate is 0.6%, but that includes a set amount of error. Much of the nudity probably isn't captured, and many photographers probably choose not to upload photos with nudity. If I do the same experiment next year, it'll be possible to compare my estimates. Otherwise, I need to stand on top of an RV at the event and count with my own eyes to get a number comparable to 5%.

All-in-all, I get the feeling that nudity at Burning Man is on the decline. I know the American society is at war against nudity more than ever, and it seems like a lot of college students have been more prudish than usual in recent years. Seeing less nudity at Burning Man, in my opinion, confirms that American culture is getting more prudish. In all the pictures I've seen, there was only one topless firedancer, and no topless stiltwalkers. In years past, I saw many of them each year. It worries me that so many women are opting for pasties (ouch!) instead of simple body paint. It also worries me that so many are putting on skimpy tops, and sometimes even layering up with a bra under it all. (Why wear a bra at this event?) It seems that more have done this in recent years.

This year gives me a reasonable baseline for tallying up nudity via flickr pictures. Next year, I plan to travel to Burning Man and perform the same experiment that got the old 1999 stats. Ha! More realistically, I'll probably end up cruising pictures again. At least next year I can draw some conclusions statistically.

I'd love it if any of my readers can contribute. If you attended BM this year and in previous years, in your opinion has the amount of nudity changed? If you go next year, please stand on top of your RV for a while and do some counting.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Free Book? Rejected!

While visiting TNS HQ earlier this year, I decided to buy 6 copies of their latest book: "The World's Best Nude Beaches and Resorts" The plan was to keep a copy for myself, and give the rest away. Two were given away at the Nude Olympics. The rest are still in my apartment.

I liked TNS's suggestion to donate them to libraries, so I did just that with our small local library. My girlfriend dropped it off a few months ago, and has checked back periodically. She was told that they would put it in the "adult section".

They never had an "adult section". Even if they did, this book belongs in the travel section since it talks about beaches all around the world. It's clearly a travel book.

We got a call recently that they decided not to accept the book. As we picked it up, we were told that "it's a really good informative book, but we don't have a place for it." In other words, they don't want to put it in the travel section and don't want to make an adult section.

Why was it rejected? Nudity! Lots and lots of nudity!

Follow along with my analogy... Alice is a firm believer in the National Rifle Association (NRA). She believes that she should be able to carry a gun with her anytime she wants, and does so as much as she can. She also wants to attend the annual NRA meeting that is many states away. By going, she can contribute a lot to advancing the rights of gun lovers everywhere. She doesn't have the vacation time to drive, so therefore she must either not go at all or fly there. By not going, she can't do anything to promote the right to carry guns. By going, she must leave her gun at home in order to be allowed on an airplane. What should she do? The obvious answer is bite the bullet and leave the gun at home, despite her belief that she should be able to take the gun with. She'll have a much bigger impact on the future rights to carry a gun if she goes without it.

Bob is a firm believer in naturism. He believes that he should be able to go naked anytime he wants, and does so as much as he can. He also wants to promote naturism. Can you see where I'm going with this?

Where the stories differ is that naturists put naked (and exposed) people on EVERYTHING. This is akin to Alice wearing her gun to the airport anyway, and then promptly getting stopped (arrested?) by TSA. Naturist stuff gets promptly classified as "adult" by most of society and then ushered off to places where nobody will see it. Naturists will all agree that this shouldn't be the case -- but it is and we must deal with it anyway. Sorry, I don't make the rules.

How can I promote naturism if no libraries will accept my books? I can't just remove the nudity like Alice can remove her gun and leave it at home.

I have the same problem with TNS's latest tri-fold information pamphlet. I'd love to slip these into tourist information centers guerrilla naturism style, but the cover shows a naked woman with a naked child. If certain things were covered, everything would be OK. Since they aren't, it could lead to a police investigation and a sting operation to catch me for "distributing child pornography" or something stupid like that.

TNS's DVD, Chasing the Sun, is absolutely great for introducing naturism to political leaders and anyone else. However it's scene after scene of naked people with all bits exposed. Those who are seriously offended by nudity, perhaps the very people that SHOULD watch the video, won't because of all the nudity. The nudity prevents it from being shown in a lot of places. I believe they should put a censored version on YouTube for everyone to see.

The answer is that we need to bite the bullet and censor ourselves to get past the firewall of society. It's fine to have uncensored books and DVD's for naturist consumers, but it's also a good idea to have censored versions as well just in case they are required by non-naturist consumers. When the choice is to have a censored video or no video at all, I believe the answer is clear. People can use their imagination to fill in the blank spots, like they do with expletives. We should be educating people before we offend them, because if they are educated they probably won't be offended by the nudity. (My hiking signs are a good example of this.) Currently, we offend them with nudity first and then expect them to hear what we have to say. It doesn't work.

I seem to be the only person advocating for naturists to cover up sometimes. I suggested that naturists should wear clothing to save money during the winter. I suggested to put clothes on and do road cleanups, as we have done several times. We put clothes on and covered nipples to protest. I suggested to do clothed fundraisers at places other than resorts. I suggested a lot of things that require clothes! I also don't post nude photos on this blog, which is why it doesn't have Blogger-induced warning messages. By self-censoring, my words can reach a bigger audience. By getting dressed on occasion, we can have a bigger positive impact on the future of naturism.

I intend to ask the local library if they will accept the book for the travel section if I go through and marker out all of the normally censored bits. I know this action might tick off a lot of naturist purists, but it's the ONLY way that the book will end up available for public browsing at that library.

UPDATE: Wow! It's not the coarse I planned to take, but under NAC's direction we're going to pressure the library to accept it! Apparently NAC won a case a while back that deals with this issue. My fear is that they will accept it, then keep it behind the desk instead of on the shelves. We'll see where this goes... I have a letter to draft!

UPDATE 3-2010: Still working on this one...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Slippery Slope to Winter

Right after my last big post, I noticed that my blog queue was empty. Mind you, I have a LOT that I could write about, but nothing that I was actively perusing at a high priority. So, I put up a twitter post requesting ideas, and got a reply.

The response I got was from @EDUNARAS. She (?) is from Wisconsin (somewhere, depending on which profile you look at) and seems like she (?) is fairly new to naturism. The reply asked What can you do in a Wisconsin winter?

With the trees already turning colors and dropping leaves, we're on a slippery slope to another dreaded Wisconsin winter! Normally I don't acknowledge this fact until it's snowing, but since it was forced upon me I'll write up my list. Note that this is mostly from memory, so I could be missing some stuff or have things incorrect.

I'll start with what you should be doing in the summer. When it's warm, lots of naturists congregate at Mazo Beach (every nice weekend) and VVRC (at least for the car show). Even visiting a campground such as VVRC, Sun Ray Hills, Aurora Gardens (though I haven't heard the best about this one), The Homestead Nych (See N magazine, 28.4), or Dragonfly Beach. When you're there, you'll meet people and make connections. These connections are vital to survive the winter as a naturist. The months are cold and lonely without them.

A common thing during the winter months are "hotel takeover" parties. This is where a group sweet-talk a hotel owner into closing the doors to the public and reserving the whole place for the group. This is almost always done in smaller hotels that have a pool and hot-tub. A list of the parties I know about are as follows:
  • Badger Naturists always have a Halloween party West of Madison. (I like to go to this one!)
  • Badger Naturists sometimes have a party in the early spring, and sometimes it's a collaboration with Northern Exposure Naturists.
  • Northern Exposure Naturists usually have their own party. Haven't been to one yet, but I'll be a member soon.
  • VVRC has a mid-winter party, which I've been to.
  • Cold Tanners are a little further north. I don't know for sure if they have a hotel party, but a house party is likely.
  • [UPDATE - bowling! There's a group who does monthly nude bowling in the Oshkosh area.]
All of these parties and clubs are actually in the bottom half of the state. If you live in far northern Wisconsin, you'd better find some friends.

A majority of the things going on during the winter months are between friends. We have some friends that live nearby who own two sauna's (outdoor and basement). We like to stop over every couple of weeks, have supper in the nude, and jump in the sauna. They visit us sometimes too, where we offer food and theater seating. We have a projector, a white wall, and a bunch of classic nudist "sexploitation" films which provide hours of entertainment. We also have a Wii which is great on the big screen.

There are a lot of naturists who have nice homes with hot-tubs, and are willing to have friends over for the evening. As long as you have friends, you'll be able to find something to do.

Then there are some naturists who are driven mad by the winter months. Steve (from AllNudist), my girlfriend, and I have all made naked snow angels. (The people in Minnesota are a bit more creative.) In the past, I've heard of a person who went nude cross-country skiing in February at Mazo Beach. If you can do it, go for it!

Of course, most nudists stay naked at home during the winter months. I don't recommend it because cranking up the thermostat all winter is bad for the wallet. However, it's nice to dedicate a few days each month as "naked days", especially if you're expecting friends over. It's a good time to bake stuff for them as well.

If all else fails and you have money and vacation time, go south. I know several naturists who migrate south each winter. I'm even considering a trip to the TNS Mid-Winter Festival in Florida this time. How else am I going to keep my tan?

If you have a full-time job, like I do, you'll often find yourself daydreaming of the warm naked summer months. As Wisconsin naturists, we need to make the most of those months! All through the winter I spend a lot of time researching where I want to go and planning out summer-time trips. Not just vacation trips, but weekend trips as well.

See, just because winter hits doesn't mean that naturists go into textile hibernation. If you've got connections, then you'll be invited to parties at hotels and small gatherings of friends. Feel free to invite friends over if nothing else is going on. Go naked at home on occasion, and maybe travel south for a bit. Summer will come eventually, so make sure you're prepared.

Mazo Manor - S2E06 - Found

It's been a really long time since my last trip to Mazo (1.5 months). I wouldn't have gone since my girlfriend couldn't go (and I don't like to go alone), but the road cleanup makes the lonely trip worthwhile. I'll talk about that later...

Kingpin doesn't have a computer. Since my last visit, someone printed out this season (S2, E1-5) of Mazo Manor and gave it to him. Note that I write this blog in such a way that I know everyone can see it, so I try to be fair in protecting privacy and choosing what details to share. I knew Kingpin would see it eventually, along with everyone else I talk about. Soon after Labor Day weekend, I got a letter in the mail from Kingpin and he was angry. (Actually, he's still angry from last winter.)

Why was he angry? It wasn't because I had insulted him in any way. Nowhere in his letter did he indicate that he was offended by anything I've said about him. In fact, he even liked that I called his camera use "trustworthy and responsible". He seemed to like his nickname as well.

His reason for writing was to "correct" some of my "facts" that I say in my dramatized posts. He did correct a few of the things I said, simply because he knows more than me on some subjects, but all were fairly unimportant. My interpretation of Bambi and friend was quite wrong. Will I correct it? No. Will I correct the other stuff? Probably not, since it's not important. I'm sure the story writers for Meerkat Manor get the stories incorrect on occasion too. A majority of the letter was about things I really don't care about, or of things where I know he has no clue what he's talking about, or just plain slander. He loves including meaningless slander, and has admitted that he says a lot to just get people riled up. This completely matches his writing style from last winter. I didn't bring it up before, but since he's at it again I think it's fair. I'll be honest in saying that my response most likely upset him. Tit-for-two-tats is my typical strategy, let's see if it works. (Kingpin's is typically Grim Trigger, so it probably won't.)

Speaking of trash talk, let's get back to the road cleanup! We didn't have the biggest crew this time (9), but we were very efficient. After the doughnut breakfast from the back of Captain Planet's truck, we paired off and stated landmarks that we would work between. The day was shaping up to be beautiful, and the walk down the sides of the road wasn't bad at all.

We found a lot of strange stuff, but the best was an item that my partner found. He picked up a CD and read the label. "Sex Pistols". I pointed out that it's a band. Once I saw it, I realized that it certainly wasn't the band! It was an "interactive DVD" with a lot of adult imagery on the front! There were a couple of CD-R's that were found as well, but it's unknown what they contain. One I looked at had about 100 MB of something burned to it, based on the width of the ring.

We were done picking up trash in a couple of hours. We piled the trash in one spot, took a picture, and were off to Culvers for our free scoops of ice cream. We shared some of the odd things that were found. The DVD took the prize. We also found a medical bracelet from someone's hospital stay, with all the info on it. There were a few unopened bottles of beer, and an unopened bottle of salad dressing. Captain Planet found a YMCA club card with the name and photo of a person who used to frequent the beach many years ago. He plans to return it to him in person and catch up on old times.

Since it ended up a beautiful day, we headed for the beach. The first thing that I noticed was only one of the Elders was there -- EagleEye. (Note to those who are easily offended: "Elders" isn't meant to be derogatory. I chose the name since the group has more "beach-days" than any other group, therefore making them wise and all-knowing in regard to the day-to-day activities. The members aren't all that old.)

Since the forecast had been shaky, there weren't many people at the beach and they were all guys until our group showed up. I sat in a group with Captain Planet, Holler and Screech, and the couple that helped us the most previously. (I understand that Holler and Screech could be considered offensive. But seriously, can you think of a more fitting nickname for each of them?) After hearing the report that the water was clean and not too cold, I wanted to head down and enjoy it for a bit. Stories were being told, however, and I didn't want to miss those. Ask Captain Planet sometime about how a group went bar-hopping naked in a hot tub in the middle of winter.

I eventually made it to the water with two of the guys.While we were standing there, Holler felt something strange under his foot and dug through the sand under the water to pull it out. A wallet! Complete with credit cards and a license, but no cash. (Others in the group are working to get it back to the owner. I'll check up on that during the Halloween party.) When a muskrat swam directly toward us from the island and dove under the water about 15 feet away, we decided to not be in its way. The water was a little cold and we needed to warm up for a while anyway.

As the sun got low and the clouds rolled in, we decided that it was time to go. Back in the parking lot, yet another thing was found -- a ring of keys. (It was on the DNR board, so someone else found it.) Two keys (with clickers) looked like they went to nice cars, and a lot of the other keys looked important. They didn't unlock any of the cars in the parking lot. The only thing we could really do is put them back and hope that the owner turns up.

Do I anticipate another trip to the beach this year? It's hard to say... We're at the mercy of Mother Nature. Usually she provides a few Indian Summers before Christmas, and one might get up to the 70's. If it happens, we'll be there to make the most of it! If not, then this post is the conclusion of the season, and possibly the series.

Friday, September 25, 2009

News Bits (9/25/09)

There hasn't been a whole lot going on around here... My queue is nearly empty now that fall is approaching and my adventures have been slowing. I have a Winter-related post that was suggested via twitter, which will be up soon. At some point, I need to conclude the season of Mazo Manor. This weekend is the Badger Naturist Road Cleanup, which I'll be helping out at yet again. And speaking of cleanups, my winter project is to clean up this blog. I'll talk more about that later.

I've started a new hobby, which may or may not develop into a fundraiser. I don't drink alcohol, but I've started homebrewing anyway. I have textile friends who do it and enjoy it, and I've been enjoying it as well. What could I possibly be brewing? If you add lots of sugar, seal up the container, and cut the process short, yeast adds carbonation (and not alcohol) to make soda. This is much healthier than store-bought sodas. If I get good at homebrewing soda, I can sell batches at work as a fundraiser for whatever charity I choose. (NAC/NEF!) We'll see how it goes... (Note: It's possible to carbonate using compressed CO2, but that's the cheaters way and is much more expensive. The yeast method is almost free.)

One interesting thing that happened recently is that the director for the Maslin Beach movie stopped by my movie review page and added some insight to one of the strange characters. I still stand behind my misleading interpretation. I'm sure many others would be just as confused as I was. If anyone else has seen the movie, feel free to post your opinion!

Random items and commentary:
  • I've had lots of feedback regarding my Guerrilla Naturism post. To start, Nudiarist highly recommended it. Lots of people commented on the original post, and one commented on a different blog. I'd like to revamp the post and submit it to N magazine, since the original one I quote is from N also, so keep the feedback coming!
  • I like a sign that shows a topless woman with "You have more freedom than you're using." There are a few states where that's very true.
  • If you plan to go topless in the park as a test, you should at least be comfortable with it. Her actions make it seem like it's wrong. I would've told the park employee that it's LEGAL, instead of blushing and saying "thank you" while putting a top on.
  • There was one more GoTopless writeup with pictures. We're in a few! Still nothing on flickr...
  • A naturist resort on a boat was my idea. Here's a real one that launched on the Danube River, but it's not a naturist oasis yet. How much are old barges again? We have the Mississippi and some Great Lakes to cruise around on! If I'm too cash-strapped, I can downgrade to one of these instead.
  • There's a book titled "Sleeping Naked is Green". I assume that sleeping naked is one of the changes she made?
  • It's all in the title: 15 Shocking Tales of How Sex Laws are Screwing the American People
  • I at least thought it was funny that a full-scale search was initiated for an embarrassed nude sunbather. (Although I admit it's not funny seeing piles of clothes with nobody around.)
  • I had to add a comment to this Treehugger post. 10 overlooked ways of keeping cool, and going naked isn't one of them? (I forgot to when it was new, so I just added it now and it's not approved yet.)
  • Nudist Day posted an interesting collection of stories from the 1930's.
  • A man strips naked at the airport, and I have no idea how people couldn't just laugh it off.
  • A bit of art in Key West. I think they're ready for a nude beach.
  • No speedo's? Covered is covered -- are bikini's and swim trunks next?
  • Here's a funny "skinsuit" ad on flickr (must be signed in).
  • Wired's Mr. Know-It-All says that naked babies are OK, and points out that Facebook (who bans breastfeeding pics) agrees. Apparently Wal-Mart is more prudish than Facebook?
  • A nude dude "shocks" a woman along a trail. This is EXACTLY why I put signs on the trail -- to prevent this sort of thing from happening. The end advice is good though: "people should consider hiking in groups". Yeah, so we outnumber the textiles next time! (Or isn't that what they meant?)
  • I'm am SOOO jealous that the Germans have an 11 mile naturist hiking trail!
  • Finally -- Google has an opt-out option!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Guerrilla Naturism

"What happened?"

I recently got my hands on a copy of N 12.1, from fall 1992. It contains a brilliant opinion article by a relatively unknown author, Gene Caywood, about "Changing Culture". The intro to the article shows a quote from Fred Foldvary in N 9.1:

"It's more important to change the culture than to change the law. Judges and legislators will find ways to bend law to their culture, but once the culture is changed, the law will follow or become mute."

Caywood notes that if this statement is true, then naturists may not have their priorities straight. The highest priority should be to change culture's attitude towards the body. This doesn't mean that we should abandon the legal battles. NAC, and AANR when they poke their noses in, should continue to fight the legal battles. Changing attitudes is a much bigger goal that TNS, NEF, and grassroots naturists (like us) should focus on.

It's interesting how Caywood's article has played out over the years. There were a lot of predictions made, and whether he inspired them or not some have come true.

Prediction 1: Periods of culture change happens, like a pendulum, where gains are partially lost until the next swing. In the last century we had the following swings with repression and body freedom: Victorian era, roaring 20's, World War II, hippy 60's, 80's repression in the arts. (Remember this was written in 1992, so that's it.)

It's fair to say that we may have had a body freedom era in the 90's and early 2000's, and we're swinging back to repression as we speak. Caywood's point to drive home is this: "...when the next wave of repression strikes...how will culture have 'permanently' changed? The answer, I believe, lies in how well prepared we are, in how much we influence culture in the meantime." It's too early to tell what permanent changes from the 90's and early 00's will stick through the next wave of repression.

Prediction 2: Caywood very openly talks about the future: "I don't know what it will be, but some event may happen soon which will cause large numbers of people to consider going nude." Let's see -- the World Naked Bike Ride, Freemont Solstice Parade, Bay to Breakers, Burning Man, Spencer Tunick, and varies nude runs seem to satisfy his prediction on a small scale.

What was his point with this prediction? He continues: "Whatever it is, I believe Naturists ought to be prepared for an onslaught of interest. When it comes, the tendency will be to relax and say: 'Look at all these nude people. We've succeeded!' But we won't have succeeded unless and until they are not just participants, but educated participants. Otherwise, it will just be a passing fad..." In my opinion, TNS and AANR have failed to grab the naked people mentioned in the events above. Although a lot of naturists participate, a vast majority of the participants are not naturists. TNS and AANR have not been targeting these people as well as they could be.

Caywood predicts an "onslaught of interest", which I believe may never happen in the way he hopes. An onslaught is initiated whenever something bad happens in relation (no matter how weak) to a naturist resort, for example the recent FBI investigation of Jasmine Trail. There's also an onslaught of interest from people cruising porn. Both of these work against us. When people strip at the events listed above (2 paragraphs above), they get a taste of the naturist lifestyle but do not make any sort of connection with the naturist communication channels. They are just part of a passing fad.

Prediction 3: Caywood liked the idea of naturists speaking at classes, and recommended: "The Naturist Action Committee should coordinate the establishment of such classes in at least the top 200 metropolitan areas of the country. They should publish materials to train prospective class leaders as well as for distribution to class attendees. Obviously the national NAC cannot go around teaching all these classes...they must organize local NAC's..."

The NAC has branched out in to NACAR's (Area Reps.), the NEF (Naturist Education), and NEFAR's. They haven't quite achieved their 200 metropolitan areas. The NEF provides educational materials, including the often-cited Roper poll. They have a few other projects, publications, and videos. What's usually handed out at classes (the few that representatives speak at) is N magazine. From Caywood's prediction, the NEF still has a long way to go!

Prediction 4: Caywood's next suggestion is to "establish a marketing campaign. This should be done with the ASA [now AANR]. Nudists badly need a nationwide media campaign aimed at changing their public image."

This had been happening for 18 years already by the time the article was published. TNS established "Nude Recreation Week" (NRW) initially on their own, and AANR eventually joined in (not sure when exactly). The idea was to promote nude recreation with a new theme every year, and offer this to the press. In recent years, AANR started claiming this event as their own, to the extent of modifying the TNS-designed logo (against their wishes) to proudly show AANR instead. AANR broke away from NRW this year [2009], and did their own thing with a Skinny-Dip world record. They did not invite TNS to help out, despite it clearly being TNS's domain. It's often been said that TNS and AANR should work together with their advertising campaigns, and I completely agree. TNS is always open to collaboration -- it's AANR that thinks they are better on their own. They could be right, and they've gotten a lot of success on their own thus far, but I've proven before that if they achieve a monopoly it will be bad for naturism as a whole.

Was NRW the type of nationwide media campaign that Caywood wanted to see? Maybe not. He should've been more specific in his article.

It is my opinion that a simple nationwide media campaign can't solve the problems of naturism. It's well beyond what the organizations can afford. There is a more targeted media campaign that I mention later which should be utilized.

Prediction 5: This is a big one from Caywood: "Hit and run guerrilla tactics. Naturists should realize that we are in a war against our culture. [These tactics] can and should be adopted by Naturists. Under the coordination of NAC, local naturist groups should organize hit and run nude teams." He then details that teams of at least 2 men and 1 woman should do guerrilla warfare weekly. They would engage in brief nudity, looking normal except for their dress. This would desensitize people to nudity, in a way that is too quick (30 seconds to 2 minutes) to call the cops about. The goal is to not be arrested as this would cast negative publicity. Instead the events should desensitize and plant the seed in peoples minds to try it sometime.

The NAC has never gone in this direction. Instead, a man named Mark Storey has attempted to fill the gap. (OK, so he's one of several.) In 1996 he was running through Martin Luther King Jr.'s and John Rawls's checklist on civil disobedience and if it was appropriate for naturism. In 2001, him and others (Daniel Johnson (activist), Shirley Gauthier (from AANR)) formed the Body Freedom Collaborative, which promised things similar to what Caywood was hoping for. They got front page exposure in 2003. He wrote a few essays on the topic, the latest of which is 2004.

In 2004, Mark stated that "The future of naturism is on public lands. To gain naturist freedoms on public lands will require getting naked in public." The BFC site was last updated on August 03, 2007. In Spring of 2008, N (27.3) featured an article from Michael Cooney stating that "The future of naturism may be in the backyard." Mark seemed to second this in his N 28.4 editorial, "Getting Back to the Naturist Future." He describes a future where people safely hide in their backyard, or secure privacy in public venues, or stay far off the beaten path in parks out West (like he does) all the while public beaches are eventually inevitably closed. [UPDATE: I have a published response to this in N 29.2.]

The latest several issues of N lack any serious naturist activism outside of traditional or privatized places. In the latest (29.1), Mark Story is relaxing at a hot spring with just his wife, and Daniel Johnson is seen making compost tea and gardening. They are both also seen at a private skate party, secluded from the public. What happened? When did their primary goal go from changing culture to avoiding it in favor of personal happiness? It seems that the promising activists of the previous decade have turned into softies within the last couple of years.

Correction: Daniel Johnson helps to organize the WNBR in Seattle and other places each year, and is a main contributor to the whole WNBR event. Good for him! He's exempt from being a softie, as long as the event keeps growing and he keeps his page and wiki up-to-date. The event still seems fairly disconnected with naturism, but that might be a good thing.

Modern times have made the activism of yesteryear more risky. Everyone carries a cell phone, with a good camera and always-on connectivity built in. Being naked for 10 second in public is enough time for a picture to be snapped and sent to police. And if you succeed a couple times, the police and news agencies become willing to launch a full-on sting operation to catch you. Caywood's suggestion was under the assumption that activists would not get arrested. Now, it's likely to happen, so the hit-and-run nude teams are increasingly out of the question. We need new tactics!

We're still at war with culture. The big-names had a great thing going initially, but things have fizzled. That leaves us, the grassroots naturists, to do what we can. This is my list of ideas and ideals for cultural warfare.

--Psychological Warfare--

What people think about us is important. It doesn't matter how many laws we can fight, or how many beaches we can designate as clothing-optional, or how many resorts we have. If the general public doesn't like us, we have a tough road ahead. (Currently, they don't like us.) I believe that the primary reason that people don't like us is because they don't understand us, followed by the opinion that we are a rare group. The solution is to educate. We need to show that there are a lot of us, that nudity itself isn't bad, and that we are good people just like them.

Make it an everyday thing. One of the big problems we have is that we try to keep our naturism secret. In general, any secret means you've done something wrong. The mere act of keeping naturism a secret implies that it's wrong. The best thing to do is treat it like an everyday thing. If you treat it like no big deal, others will eventually think that it's no big deal.

Be a tourist. If you're at an information booth, ask if there are any naturist opportunities in the area such as beaches or resorts. You'll probably get an "I don't know", which is a good time to explain the correct answer. (Or you'll get an answer about parks, in which case you describe the difference between naturist and naturalist.)

Make it seem like we are everywhere. The problem right now is that people think nudists stay in little colonies. They think there's maybe a couple hundred of us in the country. If people see one thing related to naturism every day, they'll think it's a common thing. We may be a minority, but if we each hold up a couple dummies we may give the impression that we're not. Be vocal and be everywhere.

Establish new sites. If a piece of public land is great for clothing-optional use, and it's technically legal to use it, make it known. Make it sound like it's been used forever by lots of people for such a purpose. (See Geocache below for an example.)

Be more generous, friendly, and a better person than others. Get people to really like you. They will make a positive connection that naturists are good people.

Make it known that you are a naturist. The easiest way is to wear a naturist-related shirt. There are hundreds to choose from at zazzle (do some searches), and most resorts sell some too. (I like my brown nude beaches style tshirt, and my girlfriend likes her Adam and Eve and Rags shirts.)

Go naked by wearing clothes. What am I talking about? Clearly you've never seen david shorts (please don't get the XXL version). They look fairly real at first glance. For shirts they have a fake chest, hairy chest, and bra top. A better guys one is here. I haven't seen any good tops or bottoms for ladies, so post in the comments if you know of any. There's also the classic naked suit. Either way, you get the idea.

Challenge social norms by wearing less. (This is suggested as part of Caywood's strategy.) It really doesn't take much fabric for men and women to be legally covered. During summer, wear a little bit less than everyone else does. This will slowly adjust what people consider normal. Or, you can just wear the bare minimum. Morley Schloss is great at that -- the most I've ever seen him wear is a pair of shorts. During our week at Eastover, he was nude the entire time. After we left, we saw him at one of the service stations in New York. He was waiting in the parking lot and was only wearing some gold colored underwear. I'm a naturist, and he was even challenging my social norms!

Secure the area. When we freehike, we post very informative signs at the trailheads. This allows us to hike naked safely on trails that may see a few other visitors. After thinking about this, I've considered securing an area but not actually going naked on it. (Call it an experiment.) How would people react if it were a busier trail? Or a secluded park? Would people try the radios to make us get dressed? If not, we may be clear to freehike some much busier trails using this method. No matter if naked people are seen or not, the sign still plants the seed of naturism and makes them consider if they would actually be offended by simple locker-room style nudity.

Geocache -- it's a fun sport! Geocaches are hidden containers all around the world. The website gives the coordinates, and you go find them. Some are in the middle of little-used public lands, so finding them naked is possible if you're safe. We've done this naked, and logged it. If you find a cache naked, make use of it by educating and promoting naturism.


Follow the church. Want to know how sailboat racers win the race? They play monkey see monkey do. The wind is always the same between boats, so copying the sail position will ensure that both travel at the same speed. The person in first place almost always copies the person in second place to ensure that the person in second can't get ahead. While naturism isn't quite like sailboat racing, and the church is in first place for influencing culture, copying what the church does will at least ensure that we are not left behind. Their methods have been thriving for centuries, so they must be doing something right.

Advertise everywhere. The church is quite good at this. There are a lot of places where businesses and people can advertise. Although most billboards and TV channels are fairly expensive, there are other options. Be creative. Advertising in the middle of the night on lesser known stations is cheap. Billboards in the country are cheap. Radio advertising, depending on the station, can be cheap. Participating in conventions and expos often includes advertising. Sell stuff at flea markets. If your resort has a community garden, sell stuff at farmers markets. Classified ads are cheap and can say just about anything, as long as you blend in with the section your targeting. "Nude resort seeking game coordinator" might raise a few eyebrows, too bad the position was filled already. Advertise events and fundraisers in public places. If you find an opportunity to advertise, do it! By staying quiet, people will think we don't exist. If you see a church advertisement, consider it a challenge to put yours there too.

Follow up on issues. This one is Caywood's suggestion. An example is if top-freedom is legally granted in a state, run an advertisement in that state's paper to make people aware and to let people connect to exercise their right. If the arts challenge some body freedom issue, run a promotion in an arts magazine. Caywood also suggests to target any possible special interest magazine that can be related to naturism. We could do some great advertising during bikini-buying season, and we could promote cheap (or free) nude recreation during the recession.

Leaflets are often used by the church. They hand them out to everyone, and leave them everywhere in public. Driving back from Eastover, several of the service stations had religious leaflets left in every stall. I would do the same thing with TNS leaflets, but they always seem to contain nudity (this year including kids). We need to print leaflets that won't get us in trouble so we can leave them in places where we find religious ones. We can preach naturism without showing naked people.

More custom leaflets, specially crafted to be slightly shorter than normal ones and blend in with the surroundings. Why? So we can slip them randomly into the big tourist information racks. Tourists should learn about all of the area attractions, including naturist ones! The slightly shorter design will make it difficult to remove by workers.

Litter. Most people ignore it, but not all. Dropping a leaflet in a random place will probably be found by someone. Targeting an adopt-a-highway section of road is a better idea since the sign shows who cleans up that section of road. If you think they need to see a leaflet, drop one. It's typical that people in the cleanup crew will show it to the group. Note that littering is illegal in most places, so I'm not advocating it. See the next entry.

Earth-friendly litter. Dropping a leaf can't be illegal, because trees drop them all the time. So stamp a message on them and have fun. If it's winter, you can stamp or write messages in the snow.

Make videos. YouTube and similar sites are in need of videos that promote naturism! If you have a cheap camera and some software for editing, you have all you need to make a good video. Content is the only tricky part, but remember that you can promote naturism without showing actual nudity.

Make the news. It's a free form of advertising, so it's worth trying. However, make SURE that it will be a positive article on naturism otherwise it could be very destructive instead. We put in a plug for naturism recently.

Make a donation. Donating to local projects allow you to "buy a brick" or "buy a step" with a name or message on it. Donating to an event gives you advertising space. Donating to the local nursing home, animal shelter, or other community establishment usually buys permanent recognition of some sort. And what should that recognition say? Make it generic like "area naturists" or a local nudist club name.


The church has an advantage. They pressure all members to donate a small amount every week, and it adds up to be quite a bit of money! This is how they can afford all the advertising. There are ways that naturists can raise money. One way is to just ask for it by using a sign explaining where the money is going and a bucket for donations. (I'm amazed at how few places do this.) Another way is to ask to round up payments, with the extra going to the bucket. Internal fundraisers can work, but funding from the outside will be much more rewarding.

Put your clothes on. There aren't many ways to make money naked, unless you are a model. This helps with other forms of public relations as well, and leads me to my next point.

Fundraisers, which I've written about before. Having a fundraiser in a community building or public area is a great way for non-naturists to meet you and learn more about what goes on in those secluded acres. Around here, it's common to see small groups with a brat stand. It's also common for fire departments and churches to have spaghetti suppers, chicken-Q's, and pancake breakfasts. Why can't naturists put these on too? (They don't have to be at the resort either.) Once a year, have people donate extra stuff to a garage sale fundraiser. This garage sale can be advertised in the local paper.

--The Mighty Pen--

Help NAC. If they call for naturists to write letters, do it! You can always do this on your own as well, if there is an issue that you are concerned about.

Restrictive covenants. They may not be useful often, but over time they could have an impact. If every naturist puts a restrictive covenant on their property that states that the owner must be OK with neighborhood nudity, we'd eventually weave together legal clothing-optional neighborhoods. At one parcel of land that I looked at, the covenant said I couldn't build a pig farm or have a junkyard. I believe neighbors are able to place restrictive covenants on land if they all agree on the issue, which I think happened in this case.

Snail mail things to key people. Freelance writers, comic authors, and other people in the media are always looking for ideas. Why not spark a few by mailing a naturist magazine or brochure to them? If government officials or reporters don't understand naturism, mail some information to them. If you can think of someone who should really read a piece of naturist material, why not make sure that it happens? I've seen several comics in the paper that deal with nudity, an episode of Monk where he's at a nude beach, a Nude Beach beer, commercials, and a lot of other random nudist-related blurbs in the media. Spark more if you can!

Graffiti. Another illegal item, but less so if you use washable markers or chalk so it doesn't cause damage. Write your favorite quotes along the sidewalk in chalk. Or, write them in washable marker in the bathroom. Both will last until they get washed. The goal for any graffiti is to put out a short message that challenges the common misconceptions. People might be bothered by graffiti, but they'll still ponder the message that it says.

Reverse-graffiti. Also known as cleaning. This works very well in dirty places, and I can't see how it would be illegal.

Steganograffiti. A term that only I seem to be using (since around 2002). It means to do graffiti in a steganographic way, where the message is hidden in plain sight. One classic MIT prank was done this way, and the police didn't spot it. My hometown has a pedestrian road sign where the person is walking a snail -- it's been there for years, and people I asked who drive by regularly have never noticed it. Related to naturism, a brilliant idea that was implemented during election time was the Nude Beaches Yes! campaign. They put out political-poster-lookalikes that blended in well but still managed to catch attention. The goal for this method is to not be noticed for the most part, because then it'll last for a long time. Some people will eventually find it and admire the cleverness of it.

--Armchair Warfare--

For those nudists who avoid clothing at all costs, or that want to stay anonymous. These things can be done from the comfort of your armchair.

Contribute to wikis. Do you know something that wikipedia doesn't? Add it. There are some sites for how-to's, add how to do things as a naturist. (For example, "How to cook bacon as a naturist" would be a good one.) Some sites are question and answer, go in and answer things as a naturist (body issue questions, bathing suit questions, etc.) Some travel wiki's are popular too, so add your favorite naturist destinations. Here's a big list of wikis, many of which are severely lacking in the naturist department.

Make naturism known on the social webs. Add events to facebook and myspace, join groups related to naturism, post your wonderful travel to clothing-optional destinations. OK, so this one isn't for the people who want to stay anonymous, unless they create a new anonymous account to do this with. (I'm an active member in a few different community forums.)

Leave comments. Post feedback to articles that are bad for naturism, and praise good ones. Reporters don't often get it right. If you correct them, there is a chance that they will get it right next time.

Leave unexpected comments. If you can wedge in a reference to naturism, do it! I'm guilty of doing this on occasion. Recently, the Worldchanging blog asked for lurkers to introduce themselves. I did, and included that the naturist lifestyle is very green and that we're talking about it at the gatherings. (I also recently posted here, and put in a suggestion for Cap d'Agde.) News stories about bathing suits, swimming, body issues, hot weather, public lands, and anything else we can relate to are fair game.

Link warfare. Search engines are all different, and it's everyone's goal to be at the top of the rankings. Google uses a PangeRank technology. A page's rank is calculated by how many other sites link to it, and the rank of the other sites. To get a good rank, you should link to yourself from popular site (like wikipedia) and have all of your friends linking to you as well. It's best to put all of your favorite links on every page of your site. Bing, Microsoft's answer to Google, uses a RankNet technology. People enter a search term, and click on what they are looking for. These two actions train a neural net that bumps those results to the top. (details) To get a good ranking, keep searching for yourself and clicking on your site.

Add naturist places to maps. There are plenty of map mashups out there, including adding things to google's own maps. People should know where they can go for clothing-optional recreation, right?

Any site with user-submitted content can advertise naturism for us. The more we add, the better.

--The Goal--

If we can bend culture, then culture will bend the laws in our favor. We can't change culture by staying quiet. We need to be vocal, visible, and maybe even a little pushy. But, we need to be careful -- we can't get arrested or cast naturism in a negative light. The activists of yesteryear are slowing, and it seems to be our turn to lead the fight. We're all in this together. What will you do to help out?