BARE AND FREE
|Volume 22||Number 1, January 2010|
In this Issue
Days to Remember
Naturally FSU is now an officially recognized campus organization. Trevor has done all the work of filing the paperwork and dealing with the bureaucracy. Richard is the faculty sponsor. The new group lists 13 members.
Only two other campus nudist organizations in North America have ever achieved official recognition--at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Toronto in the 1990s. There have been half-a-dozen unofficial groups at places like the University of Texas. Unfortunately, the number of such organizations that have lasted more than four years is zero. They tend to die out when the founder graduates. But no earlier student group had the backing of a strong local club in the community. We are hoping that Tallahassee Naturally can provide some continuity whenever needed.
Naturally FSU plans to recruit students for our College Greek Athletic Meets and our Full-Moon Skinny-Dips. We tried to find a portable bulletin board for our students to use, but nobody has invented one yet. So Bruce made one for us. Besides visiting our lake, the group has already had one excursion to another site when our lake was not open.
We have been forced to form a group now because FSU has been growing more xenophobic each year. They no longer let anyone but campus organizations set up a display table, or post signs on the bulletin boards. The other two campuses in town are fine. We continue to attract TCC students, though we are getting fewer FAMU students than in the past.
We have already surpassed the total attendance of every year but one. And in some of those years, we had a lot more members. Only once in our history had we seen more than 200 people in a month. We completely blew that record away with over 250 in July--thanks to the Guinness World Record Skinny-Dip. (By the way, the national total on that day was a disappointing 13,648. The AANR people think they can do better next year. We are skeptical that the local news media will be interested so soon. We will see.)
A well-attended party at Don’s house in September also brought up our numbers. People enjoyed the pool, the hot tub, conversation--and of course the food. We had 29 participants at the October Full-Moon Skinny-Dip.
And despite a foggy, rainy, cool day, we had a good turnout (and several varieties of cranberries) at our Christmas Banquet. Wayne and Schell’s house proved a wonderful haven--with most people congregating around the fireplace or in the hot tub. The pool table got a workout too. At the brief membership meeting afterward, we elected Bob to fill a vacancy on the board.
Eleven people showed up for our annual sinkhole tour in August. And we had a great time. But there was one scare. We were hiking back from one of the sinkholes--some of us dressed and some not--when we looked up and saw a deputy sheriff. He was searching for us. Some busybody with a cell phone had called in to complain that one of our parked cars had one wheel on the pavement. So he was sent to investigate. It turned out that he had skinny-dipped in those same sinkholes all his life. We had a nice chat on our way back to the cars, and he wished us well as we continued on our tour of area sinkholes.
Kids young and old are having a grand time with the paddle boat donated by Frank and Jean. Richard donated a set of Bocce ball--a simple and enjoyable form of lawn bowling. The rules are on the box. Another lawn game, a croquet set, has appeared in the storage shed. Thanks to whoever brought it. We also have a new badminton net that can be strung between two trees whenever somebody feels in the mood for light exercise.
Thanks to Jack for the new chairs. Our wish list is getting smaller, but the need continues:
It’s still not too late to get a building named after you. We now know exactly what each new building cost: $1,034.95 for the pavilion, and $849.22 (plus a lot of work) for the storage shed. We will gladly name either building after any member who underwrites the cost. Where else can you get a building named after yourself for so little? Smaller donations are also welcome.
Paradise Lakes has decided there is more money in sex than in nudity, and has dropped out of the American Association for Nude Recreation. The club near Tampa has always raised a few eyebrows because of its risqué dances and lingerie parties. But when nearby Caliente dropped out of AANR earlier this year, you never heard such holier-than-thou talk from Paradise Lakes. Now they have gone the same way. People who own homes at both clubs have protested against the change, but it hasn’t done any good so far. This leaves Cypress Cove and Lake Como as the two largest genuine nudist resorts in Florida.
Farther south, business people in Key West have decided that a nude beach would be good for tourism. They had to replace a few county commissioners in the November election to get the OK, but plans are in motion. It is no longer a question of if, but of exactly where to locate the beach.
There is big trouble in California. Decades ago, when there was a popular push to legalize nude beaches, Russell Cahill, head of the California State Parks, side-stepped the demand by issuing a policy whereby rangers would not harass skinny-dippers and nude sunbathers, unless somebody had lodged a complaint. Then people would be told to dress or leave for the day. The next day, everything would be legal again until somebody else complained. The policy has worked well for years and years.
Then this summer, the State Parks announced they would begin ticketing anyone nude at San Onofre Beach. Their logic was that the area was growing more populated. (Haulover Beach near Miami has shown high demand for nude beaches in populated areas, but that is not how California officials were thinking.)
As so often happens, AANR was willing to surrender the beach, on the promise that the State Parks wouldn’t do it again elsewhere. The Naturist Action Committee of The Naturist Society instead sought a court injunction because the policy change had not gone through the required public hearings. They won. But the state appealed the decision on the grounds that the Cahill Policy had never gone through public hearings either. The state won that time. The California Supreme Court has refused to take an interest in the situation, so the appellate decision stands. That means the Cahill Policy is now illegal, and nobody nude is safe on any public beach in California. AANR people are saying “We told you so.” It remains to be seen whether the State Park promise to AANR was worth anything. So far, no one has been ticketed at San Onofre or any other beach.
Then The Orange County Register did some investigative reporting. It turns out that park officials can produce only two written complaints about nudity. They claim there were other verbal complaints that nobody thought important enough to write down. When the newspaper reported that the state had spent $40,000 in court (and presumably the naturists did too), 94% of readers responded that budget-strapped California should not have spent that money fighting nudists.
But getting certain beaches designated for nude use now would probably be much more difficult than many years ago. The reason? Many people across the state wrote in to their newspapers applauding the end of nude sunbathers because too many of those beautiful flower people of the sixties have grown old and fat, and are no longer pleasant eye candy.
The Naturist Education Foundation followed up with a new scientific poll. It turns out that 40% of Californians admit to going skinny-dipping at some point in their lives. That compares with 25% nationally. The parks had argued that most people would be offended by nude bathers. Only 37% of those polled said they would be bothered. Specific to the point, 62% of people said the California State Parks should now designate some clothing-optional beaches. So far, the park people have not let facts get in the way of their decisions.
The poll asked one new question: 68% of Californians believe they have a right to be nude in their own homes--even if occasionally visible to others.
This year’s Mid-Winter Naturist Festival is scheduled for February 11-16 at Sunsport Gardens near Loxahatchee. This will be the 22nd year, and we have missed only once during that time. As usual, Paul will be conducting workshops on our Family Values booklet, how to attract college students, the Professors & Researchers Special Interest Group, and a slide show on Aphrodite and Artemis in art.
There’s something for everyone. You can meet with representatives from other Florida clubs to find out where the skinny-dipping spots are, or to plan strategy for the next legislative session. Or you can attend workshops on everything from photography to massage to yoga to a singles meet-and-greet. And the entertainment Friday and Saturday nights is top-rate.
A special feature this year is a Monday night reading of Tom Cushing’s 1931 play, Barely Proper. The play about a shy young man who wants to marry into a nudist family is rarely performed, because all of the actors must be nude. From the mid-seventies to the mid-eighties, Seminole Health Club near Miami used to perform it for several weekends each summer--with sell-out crowds every night.
There have always been activities for the kids, but this year they are calling it a youth mini-camp--based on the successful week-long camp Sunsport has been hosting each summer.
We have brochures with all the details for anyone who is interested. Ask Paul for one.
Rob is home and recovering nicely from his arm surgery. We learned that he was in the hospital in Gainesville when Grant was at the other end of the state. With a quick phone call, we arranged for Grant to stop by the hospital with a plant from the club. We look after our members. Joyce has also been having some health problems since she retired, but she seemed her usual cheerful self at Don’s party.
Two of our members are now in Afghanistan. Todd is doing computer work for the army. Jim is involved in a civilian project. Both expect to be gone for a year or two.
A local cloudburst at the lake early this fall raised the water by a foot-and-a-half. Unfortunately, the water felt slimy for two weeks, and was discolored for a month. Water clarity is back to normal now.
Paul has articles in two of the current nudist magazines. Nude & Natural is publishing his report on the infamous black notebook used to pass the Weldon Amendment several years ago. (Paul is the only non-government person ever to see inside it.) And though he closed out his art history column in Naturally, Paul has found enough new material for an additional chapter on the Nazis and Nudes.
In addition to The American Association for Nude Recreation and The Naturist Society, who both promote family naturism, there is a network of gay nudist groups in Florida. In times of crisis, they have been very helpful in fund raising. They also maintain a set of links to all Florida club newsletters. That list has recently moved to http://www.floridanaturists.info, where you can read what’s happening at any Florida club. Or you can if the club has kept its newsletter postings current. We notice that a lot of clubs have not, and suspect that they are communicating by twitters or some other temporary means. Our club may issue our newsletters on a random schedule (about 5 times a year, whenever there is news), but we recognize the importance of maintaining a written record where it can be found.
Our tentative calendar for 2010 is now posted. A rich text format calendar is available so you can print it out on one page and have it to view year long.