Living the Nudist Life in Southern California
By Max Hartshorne
Sittin’ by the Pool
Joe said one of the problems at the nudist club is that there are few members who like to be active, almost nobody wants to play tennis, horseshoes or shuffleboard.
We did get a spirited game of water volleyball going, but Joe wishes that more members were interested in sports and active recreation. Joe drives a truck for Wal-Mart out of Phoenix during the week, he and his wife drive over every Friday night.
Nude Family Photos
After we took a desert hike, I visited the couple in their comfortable modular home at the back of the park. Every family photo on display was nude, there was their nude daughter with a motorcycle, there was their nude son in law with their nude second daughter. Clearly, this was a lifestyle that was far more than a hobby.
I asked her about the photos, she said that she wanted to get photos of her grandsons in the nude, but her daughter was afraid to have them developed at a local CVS. So they sent her a digital camera.
The photos brought home the point that to Joe and Jeana, nude is normal. Nude is what makes them comfortable and whole. One time Joe was doing some work on his house in the buff, and the neighbors called the cops.
Come Get Naked
Jeana said they cannot wait until they get here and are able to get naked and go outside. Some times their friends say they want to go out to the casino when they come up on Friday nights. But Jeane always says “no, we want to stay here and not have to put on clothes.”
They have friends who have visited them at the resort but asked to wear clothes. Jeana hates it. These friends are planning to come again for a week’s visit. This time nobody will bother with clothes — enough of that!
Joe gave me some videotapes to look at, one was called Body Acceptance for Women. It was a documentary in which naked women nudists talked about what it felt like at a nude resort. Over and over, the woman said that nudism made them feel better about themselves. One woman said that ‘textile’ churches didn’t make her feel as safe and as spiritual as when she attended services in the nude.
“No one expects that women will be ‘tens’ at nudist resorts,” she said. Another woman said that sharing their nudity and not having to put on make up and stylish clothes is liberating. “It’s opened me up more, removed defenses that have separated me from others…without the encumberment of clothes, I feel so much more relaxed, so much more in touch with myself, so much freer.”
A third woman in the film said that being naked makes her “feel closer to the whole world. It helps me maintain my link to the natural world.” Being naked under the sun is so liberating, the textile world is more artificial, more sterile. Naturists say that there is nothing like being with the other nudists, this safety, this special bond with others is very satisfying.
Looking The Part
In the office, there are various degrees of nudity, a loose blouse for one receptionist, and no pants for Dave as he helps out a Dutch visitor who has come for the first time here, as evidenced by his pale skin.
Kim said that it was important for the women in reception to look and act like nudists since women so often can be terribly intimidated by the initial arrival.
There is an uncertainty about this lifestyle as if it is precious because it could be lost. The average age of the nudists here is about 55. In a few decades, there will be far fewer people to rent these RV parks and sit by these pools.
“No, No, No Naked Parents!”
Young people don’t want to hear about their parents being naked. They certainly won’t emulate them in their future. I got the obligatory waving hand saying ‘no, no, no details, dad’ from my 24-year-old daughter, so that is my own empirical evidence that they aren’t going to join us.
Yet Stacey, whom I met at the dance, suggested that since many people discover nudity when they reach old age, or in retirement. Maybe the vast wave of baby boomers will provide one last spurt of enthusiastic new nudists. Sometimes a widower will discover that nudity that he always wanted after his spouse passes away.
Dave said the hard part of getting more people to join their group is the “Bowling Alone,” syndrome — people these days are not big joiners, preferring to cocoon alone or do other more solitary activities. With today’s soccer mom, kids-taking-lessons lifestyle, fewer and fewer families with children are joining nudist resort, said Carolyn Hawkins.
Attracting Younger Members
Still, Dave tries with some success to get younger people out to the club and has had mixed results. One promising sign is a younger nudist, Brian, who now lives at the club. He has brought a younger crowd with him since he runs a club that offers a variety of nude excursions like Whale watches, trips to other clubs and dances.
It will be interesting to come back to De Anza Springs in twenty-five years and see whether people in the year 2030 are still interested in nude recreation. It is not likely that you will see it, so if you ever wanted to get naked for a long time, the time is now.
De Anza Springs Resort is located in Jacumba, CA, a little more than an hour east of San Diego. Four nights in the hotel rooms or in one of their rental RVs and all meals cost about $340.00 plus airfare. To find out more about Nude Recreation visit www.aanr.org. or www.deanzasprings.com 619-766-4301
The Berkshire Vista Resort in Hancock, MA offers many of the same amenities as De Anza Springs. 413-738-5154, www.berkshirevista.com.