It’s like the start of a joke. A Lady walks into a nudist resort…
But it’s no joke. The Lady in the Black made her first visit to a nudist resort and now reports on her experience. Maybe it’s not what you’d expect. But then again, maybe it is.
Nudity: Our Natural State
Nude. Naked. Bare. Called it what you will, nude is the natural state of human existence.
As a species, our collective culture has drifted so far away from our natural state that it is no longer socially acceptable. Just let that sink in. We are the only species on our planet that does not conduct our daily lives in our natural state.
I’m sure it started off innocuously enough. Like most things, right? Humans are vulnerable beings. Exterior coverings were needed to augment the role of our body’s largest organ, our skin. Clothes were invented to keep us warm and to protect our bodies against injury and harm…and probably mosquitoes. Because fuck mosquitoes.
Somewhere along the way, humans lost touch with our natural state and clung more and more to our coverings. In fact, nudity is now such a social taboo that humans who prefer their natural state are considered “alternative” or “fringe.” In contrast, the global apparel market is projected to grow in value to about 1.5 trillion dollars in 2020.
When my boyfriend suggested we visit a nearby nudist resort, I was eager to see what it was all about. In truth, I was more curious on how I might personally react.
What follows is a non-sequential and non-complete documentation of my personal experience and subsequent ponderings.
Naked Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Sexy
Right off the bat, every visitor to the resort is introduced to the true concept of the nudist lifestyle. If you were picturing the Playboy mansion or the pool scene from Fast Times, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Upon arrival, a cranky, weathered female receptionist greets you, pushes a clipboard of forms at you and collects the requisite fee…oh, but she’s “in all her glory.” Her glory was not so glorious.
The nudist lifestyle is not glamorous. It’s not about sex or rebellion or fairy-like frolicking. It’s real life, just with no clothes.
At it’s core nudism is about freedom and, for some, it has a certain anti-establishment FU baked in for fun. From the moment we entered, I felt this sense of “being off the ranch.” Of course, there were rules but, for me, there was an inherent sense of liberation…even before I shed a stitch of clothing.
Being The Naked King Of His Castle
The nudist resort I visited is located in Riverside county in southern California, otherwise known as the Inland Empire. As expected from a place requiring privacy, the location was remote.
Once we checked in with the front desk, the gates opened to reveal not only the road to the visitor’s clubhouse area but also the residents’ area. Yes, people lived there…at the nudist resort.
I questioned who on earth would live there. One simple answer? Nudists wanting to live a fringe lifestyle without mainstream society hassling them. Another possible answer? Someone who needs an affordable place to live.
You see, it’s ridiculously expensive to live in southern California. Housing is a big deal and a huge chunk of the budget. To provide context, the median cost of a home in California is $600,000, based on a September 2019 report from the California Association of Realtors(R). Personally, I spend $2,400/month in rent.
I was curious what it might cost to live out there and, for kicks, I ran some numbers on a hypothetical “alternative lifestyle” scenario. (In full disclosure, I didn’t do the math at the resort but could have.)
Let’s pretend you live in the Inland Empire. You make the area’s annual average income of $59,000. You could rent a place for an average of $1,577/month. But according to who you talk to, your rent should not exceed 30% of your budget. Already, the average Inland Empire Joe is stretching to rent a place with his rent-to-income ratio at 32%.
Or you could buy a home. According to the CAR report, the average mortgage payment in the Inland Empire is about $1,400, with an average downpayment of $77,000. That puts you in the range of the 28%/36% rule that states that “you shouldn’t spend more than 28% of your gross monthly income on home-related costs.” But that down payment? Yikes.
Or you could buy a nice, used, Class A RV for about $80,000. (More cost examples here.) That’s about what you’d need for a downpayment for a home so, for fun, let’s just say you pay cash. The nudist ranch only charges $225/week (plus an annual membership fee) to stay on property. Your total monthly housing cost would be about $900/month. Your electric and water are included in that rate.
So, would you forego wearing clothes in your free time if you could save yourself over $6,000 a year (vs. average mortgage payment)? The savings is even greater if you use CA state averages. You could save over $15,000 a year by ditching the duds and posting up inland (vs. CA state’s median monthly mortgage payment of $2,206.)
Now, of course, there’s far more details to consider in this hypothetical scenario but, in general, it seems like there may be more benefits to being a nudist than the lack of tan lines.
If we have to push alternative cultures to the outskirts, the least we can do is cut them a break.
The Emperor’s Spent How Much On His New Clothes?
Now before anyone chimes in with “nudists wear clothes” comeback, I know. No man is an island. Even a naked man. Nudists must enter mainstream society for any number of reasons, including employment, social activities, church, grocery shopping, hair cuts, etc. And each of those visits will require the appropriate attire.
However, I think it’s safe to say that living a nudist lifestyle would require less clothes in your closet. That savings might add up.
“The average household spending on clothing and related services (such as tailoring and dry cleaning) is $1,803 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2016 Consumer Expenditure Survey.” (Source here.)
Foregoing inflation and calculating the average adult lifespan (about 78 years) with a halved budget for clothing, a nudist might save over $70,000 in a lifetime.
Ready for a Nakation?
I didn’t conduct exhaustive research on the subject but it’s logical that if nudism can save you money, it can also make you money.
You’ve heard about eco-tourism, right? Well, it seems that nude tourism is a thing…and not a small thing. It falls into Special Interest Tourism (SIT), or niche market tourism.
Tampa Bay Times says “The “nakation” — aka clothing-optional tourism — is becoming one of the fastest-growing segments of the travel industry.”
The American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) 2017 report claims 2.2 million annual visits and a $7.4 billion economical impact in Florida alone! If anyone has national stats, please share.
Per their website, the AANR mission is “to advocate nudity and nude recreation in appropriate settings while educating and informing society of their value and enjoyment.” They offer association members reduced admission fees at over 180 AANR clubs and resorts throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, as well as other benefits.
Of course, you could also make money off of nudity by investing in sunblock. Because, seriously. Going nude means going hard on the sunblock. No. Seriously. Don’t miss a single spot.
Nudity and the Battle for Human Self-Esteem
There’s nothing like a visit to the nudist resort to send a middle-aged woman into a panic. Surprisingly, I wasn’t really very nervous. I knew in advance that lack of clothes does not equate sexual debauchery. I also knew that my level of modesty was never overly robust. I also knew my 49-year old mom body had seen better days but it is what it is.
The way I see it is that the condition of one’s nude human body is a biological fact. And sure the “nurture” of grilled cheese sandwiches, Stella Artois, and Ben and Jerry’s may provide “nuance” to your (ok, my) body’s shape, the true nature of your body really boils down to 1 head, 1 torso, 4 limbs, 1 set of reproductive parts. (Props/respect to other-gendered humans here.)
It is really unfathomable to me that as a society, we haven’t evolved past the stigma of nudity. Really, aren’t we all the same?
But what really gets my proverbial panties in a twist is that the public’s current standard of beauty is physically impossible for the large majority of our population. I won’t rant too much about popular concepts of beauty but the fact my daughter is of an age where she’s forming ego, esteem, and self-confidence is top of mind.
I’m not a religious woman but I found this article, Eve’s Nakedness and Your Broken Body, very interesting. It claims that “Eve was the last woman to experience unbroken body-image.” And I believe it.
As the nudist ranch I visited was family-friendly, there were children there. Some were visiting and some were being raised there. Of course, my first reaction was shock and some genuine discomfort. But then my attention transitioned from their lack of clothes to their overabundance of confidence.
These children were being raised in a small, socially accepting sub-culture. These children’s life experiences were probably worthy of a Harvard-acceptance college application essay. These children were just happy children playing in a pool. They will probably grow up with a comfort and confidence about their body that few of us can conceive of.
During my whole visit, I heard zero comments about anyone’s body. No one was too thin, too fat, too tan, too gray, too anything. Everyone was just there soaking up some sun, swimming in the pool, and chatting about their daily lives.
It was open, accepting, and quite lovely.
Oh, you made it to the end of the post and still didn’t read about the cost of nudity (as the title suggests)?
It’s free. Duh.
But I did pay $22 to get into the resort.
Not-so Deep Thoughts on Nudity
- Bras get a bad rap. While the woman’s brazier has earned the reputation of a medieval torture device, they actually do help your body from a pure physics standpoint. A bra can offset the effect of gravity and help establish one’s center of gravity. In short, boobs are heavy. More specifically, my boobs are very heavy.
- Boobs float. I knew this from my rare skinny dipping experiences but it was really a nice thing, especially in consideration to the fact mentioned above.
- My boyfriend says that he’ll never look at a waitress apron the same. This MAY have to do with the cute, young waitress wearing ONLY that.
- There’s always “that guy” no matter where you are, whether you are wearing clothes or not. “That guy” talks about himself incessantly even if it’s clear people are only being polite and half-listening.
- You are required to bring and sit on a towel when in public areas. It’s like Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that way.
- On the weekday we were there, it was mostly older men. Very few women. Except for a bit of time when there was an attractive younger woman sunbathing, I was the youngest woman there.
- I was there with my hunky boyfriend. The day was hot, the water cool and clean, we were in love…and The Lady felt like a queen. A very naked queen.