Nudism is hailed as a way of living in which people’s diversity is accepted and appreciated. We all hear the nudist mantra about body acceptance and within the nudist community this acceptance is definitely seen. Within my own home club, I’ve seen people of all sizes, people with amputations/ mastectomies, people with colostomy bags, people with scars, and the list goes on. All are accepted- which is as it should be.
Last night I realized that the diversity that we, as nudists, cherish often ends at body acceptance. How did I learn this? I happened to be helping out at the sign-in desk at a Young Nudists and Naturists America (YNA) Event (I met the heads of the group, Jordan and Felicity, online and in person last summer and have been following the group ever since) and looked over at a group of about 10 individuals who were dancing with each other in a big circle. That circle was truly a circle of diversity, representing male and female, differing heritages, different languages, numerous ethnicities, varying dancing levels, and a wide range of ages. Such diversity is unheard of in nudist circles, from what I’ve seen, and I was in awe at the beauty of the diversity that I saw.
To be honest, I’d been “warned” about the YNA group. You know how “those young people are” with “only one thing on their mind.” Being my father’s daughter and having his stubbornness deeply rooted within me, I had to find out for myself. And I must admit that those warnings about having one thing on their mind were quite true: they did! The thing on their minds, though, was this: it’s all about the love. The people in this group truly, truly love each other. They embody the loving acceptance that nudism is all about.
Along with the love, the group definitely was about having fun. They had an incredible and funny show featuring various professional entertainers, naked Twister, dancing, refreshments, body painting (gotta practice for the Amazing Canvas Event!!!), and the general chatter that nudists so love. As I watched those around me interact and participate actively in all that was going on, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the nudist photos of old that showed the high activity level of nudists as the competed, participated in sports, and were just generally “on the go.” When did nudists… stop? Nowadays, I hear about Nudist Stew, which involved nudists sitting the hot tub chatting or laying on pool floats chatting or reading. Good stuff, to be sure, but this event made me realize that something is missing: action!
Speaking of action, there is one part of the night that really stood out for me: dancing. Now, I don’t dance. Mom made me take tap dancing as a child and I was both no good at it and didn’t like it. I have zero music sense and just don’t know how to dance. Yet somehow, someway this group of people managed to get me on the dance floor. I won’t be quitting my day job anytime soon to become a professional dancer, but I truly did enjoy it. And as I danced, I kept thinking that I wished I could have that moment videotaped and sent to my doctor. You know, the one who said a year ago that I’d likely never walk again (somehow dancing wasn’t mentioned.) Dancing with a bunch of other nudists at that event was my little act of defiance toward the expectations of me: you can have your expectations, but, really, I’ve got my own, thank you very much!
One other thing that was very obvious to me as I spoke to individuals who were attending was that there were many individuals there who were attending the event as their first nudist experience. I suppose we’ve all encountered newbies within nudism, but I’d never before seen the huge percentage of newbies that this group had! How do they get people to join in? Beats me- but you know I’m going to ask them!!! Those who weren’t newbies were often individuals who had been to YNA Events before and couldn’t stop themselves from attending again. Really, when having so much fun with amazing people in an accepting and loving environment, it’s hard to NOT want to go back!
As with any event, it’s fair to point out the negative parts of it, too. So here is my list, in no relevant order: 1) I didn’t like that my GPS hasn’t changed it’s hour with the hour change from daylight savings (not YNA’s fault- they definitely would have helped me with this if I had asked) 2) NYC is way too far from my house (I guess that’s my fault- I chose where I’d live.) 3) The Lincoln Tunnel is the scariest location on Earth AND it’s too expensive (I don’t think YNA can control that.) 4) I didn’t like the feeling of being jealous of Felicity’s relationship with her mother, who was also present at the event; they not only enjoy nude events together, but “mom” is clearly VERY proud of Felicity and for very good reason (I suppose this is the mom’s fault- but can I really blame her???)
Overall, I have to say that I’m VERY glad that I didn’t listen to the detractors and that I decided to head down to Manhattan for this event. It truly was the BEST nude event I’ve ever been to and I can’t wait for the next get-together. Even if the group does have a one track mind: it really IS all about the LOVE!