If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”
Naturists come in all shapes, sizes, colors, nationalities, ethnicities and languages — though for the time being we’ll stick to English here.. The Bare Voices series honors this through first person stories of naturists from all over the world sharing their own stories. And we celebrate the unity which will take the cause of naturism to wider acceptance.
In this second installment of Nudist Planet’s Bare Voices Roger Poladopoulos from the USA tells his story. Roger publishes the blog ReNude Pride. His insights are enlightening as well as entertaining. Check out his website, and I’m sure you’ll get hooked.
Bare Voices Roger
I currently live in Arlington, Virginia, USA. I grew up in Richmond, Virginia. In Arlington, the attitudes are generally fairly liberal and as long as public nudity occurs in a self-contained space (resort, private property, etc) most people rarely give it notice. Richmond, however, is more conservative and very judgmental. These attitudes have relatively minimal affect on me personally and how I live and/or practice my nudity.
I have an identical twin brother who is also a naturist/nudist. Growing up, just as soon as our parents put clothes on us, we were taking them off. We shared a bedroom in our family home and eventually our parents relented on forcing us to wear clothes at home and allowed us to be nude as long as we remained in our room. I guess we were socially nude all our lives or, at least, as far as permissible. Our parents and our other six brothers (three older, three younger) understood this and were cool with it.
Outside our home, we were in our early teenage years, either 13 or 14 years old, when we experienced social nudity for the first time. Our oldest brother is gay and had just come out to our family. He informed us that there was a specific area along the James River, near our home, where gay men sunbathed nude. He gave us the directions on how to get there using our bicycles. During our summer breaks, we started riding our bicycles there, stripping off our clothes once we arrived, swimming and sunbathing clothes-free almost every day until we graduated from secondary school.
We were almost always the youngest nudes there and were very happy to be around other nude men. It was a very liberating feeling being naked in an adult masculine environment and away from the watchful eyes of our parents and older brothers. It seemed as though our life-long dream (to be nude as often as we liked) had become real. We would wander and explore the area near the riverfront without having to put on our shorts. Thinking back on it now, the only thing we ever consistently wore those days were waterproof wristwatches.
Early nudist experiences
Outside of my immediate family, the first persons I saw nude were my peers at school. My twin and I attended a Deaf residential school and we had to shower and dress with our fellow students.
The first persons I ever consciously saw nude were the gay men along the James River in Richmond during our summer holidays. As this was a choice that I made to cycle there daily in order to be naked, comfort was not an issue, nor was modesty or shyness.
Like all young teens, we would have penile erections occasionally. As we had noticed other men with the same, our aroused penises, when they happened, never caused any discomfort or embarrassment. It was just something that was a normal part of being a male.
I do remember one guy who was in university at the time. He had the largest flaccid penis that I had ever seen. I often wondered who would ever have sex with him because of his size.
I self-identify in the “other” category preferring the term bare practitioner to nudist or naturist. It carries with it no judgmental stigma. Nudist is so overused and is often perceived as a derogatory or pejorative label. Naturist often confuses most Americans and they mistake it as something to do with organic foods. Bare means uncovered and that’s why I like to employ it when I have to describe myself.
The two obvious advantages to being a bare practitioner are not having to waste time doing endless amounts of laundry and not having to stress about what to wear for the next social function. I’m always amazed by the energy, effort and time some people expend on clothing, not to mention the actual cost of each item. It adds an entirely different dimension to the phrase “clothes-freedom.” Not only do we not have to wear clothes, we also are free from worrying about them.
Being a bare practitioner has given me a self-assurance to be myself, who I honestly am, without fear of what others may think. I think and act for myself rather than follow others just because it’s convenient. I know that I am responsible for me and no one else.
Being a naturist/nudist has enabled me to see beyond just the physical attributes of others. Instead of seeing the obvious, such as gender. race or ethnicity, ability, size, etc., I see first and foremost a human being. This has allowed me to move beyond making assumptions about others and get to know them as a person.
As a clothes-free enthusiast, I don’t allow the superficial trappings of status (such as jewelry, designer clothing, etc.) to influence my interactions. The best-dressed person may be the rudest just as the person wearing only a loincloth may be the nicest. Money doesn’t automatically equate decency and thoughtfulness.
I like to think of myself as an equal opportunity bare practitioner, enjoying clothes-freedom whenever and wherever it’s legally possible and, using discretion, where it’s illegal. Without discriminating as to a particular location, I strip off my kit (clothing) because I enjoy being nude.
I’m open about myself to those who matter, not only about my nudity but my sexuality as well. If that makes others uncomfortable, they can either accept me or else remain uncomfortable. I don’t ask others to conform to my standards and I won’t change because someone dislikes who I am.
My first two boyfriends were not nudists. After those failed relationships, I decided that I would only date fellow naturists/nudists.
The challenges presented in being involved with textile-only partners centered around the nudity issue. They both viewed nudity as being an open invitation for sexual promiscuity and resented my participation in any socially nude activity. The underlying problem being jealousy and mistrust. Once the trust is compromised, most relationships crumble as the individuals begin to drift apart.
I met my spouse at a bare social in 2010. We combined our households within 6 months and were married on August 15, 2015. It’s hard work but we’re both bare and happy.
My spouse (Aaron) and I are always bare at home, whether we have guests or not. We both enjoy the experience of being naked and honestly have no reason to wear them when we’re in our condominium. Any other activity that can be done wearing clothes can just as easily be done without them.
We live in a secure building with 6 apartment units and ours is on the top floor. In order for anyone to enter the building, they have to be met at the door by a resident or have their own key. Both Aaron and I keep terry cloth spa wraps on hooks beside our apartment door so if anyone presses our doorbell, we can “wrap-up” if necessary. Because I am Deaf, our doorbell is adapted so that our lights flash to alert me if anyone is at the door. When answering the door, we use the peep-hole to see who’s there. If it’s one of our clothes-free friends, we open the door while completely bare. If it’s someone else, we use the wraps.
During winter, I always keep the heat turned up high so that I can be both nude and comfortable. When it’s cold outside, I already bundle myself in so many layers of clothing that when I come inside, I’m stripping off endless layer upon layer of clothes for what seems like an eternity. Fortunately, I married a man who has an equal aversion to the cold. We never have to argue over the thermostat setting.
Most of our mutual friends are also bare practitioners, so when we socialize, more than likely, it is in a socially naked situation. When we are on a nakation (naked + vacation), it is usually a destination that has, at least, a clothing-optional beach nearby.
I did not grow up in a nudist family, although my brother and I shared a room that was our own “nude” zone within a clothing (textile) household. Yet, all of my immediate family (parents, brothers) know that Aaron and I are active bare practitioners. As to my extended family, I have several cousins that are naturists/nudists and we’ve been naked together. Aaron’s siblings know us as being nudists, but his parents do not. It is his decision to tell them or not.
The only way that Aaron, and I will ever have children is through adoption. We have discussed this and whether we raise our child(ren) as a bare practitioner depends on the age of the child that we adopt. An older child is more than likely to have preconceived attitudes towards nudity that potentially may pose problems in introducing them into a clothes-free environment. The situation dictates our response in this matter.
Sharing the love of naturism
My spouse and I are currently members of The Bare Circle. It’s a very informal group of deaf nudists in our local area. We were among their first members. Twin and I were both members of Gay Naturists International (GNI), International Men Enjoying Naturism (IMEN), and World Recreation Association of the Deaf (WRAD). I’ve allowed my memberships to lapse and Twin remains a member of IMEN. We first joined them while undergraduates at university.
I’ve joined numerous gay social nudist clubs in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area: Lambda Soleil, Fig-Leafless Legion, Sons du Soleil, DMV Starkers. Most of them are currently inactive except for DMV Starkers. The reasons and benefits for joining a nudist group are to cultivate friendships with similar-minded people and for the social nudity opportunities. Humans, for the most part, are social creatures regardless of their clothing preference.
My colleagues who absolutely need to know about my private life are aware that I’m a practicing nudist. I do have a nude themed T-shirt hanging on the wall in my office. If anyone asks, I reply truthfully and then change the subject.
Several of Aaron’s co-workers know that he’s a nudist. He’s a nursing shift supervisor in the trauma department of a large urban hospital. He doesn’t have the time for social interactions while on the job.
I have many stories of nude adventures, but the risqué stories I’ll keep for myself and chuckle over privately. However, I will share one. For my undergraduate graduation from university, I gave myself the gift of a week-long beach trip to Florida, to enjoy the naked splendor of Haulover Beach. As the end of the week arrived, I was so acclimated to being clothes-free at both the beach and my hotel room (and other non-legal sites) that I walked out of my hotel room and down the hallway completely bare, and without my room access-card.
Once I realized my predicament, after encountering two gentlemen in the hallway, I had no idea what to do next. I knew that communication would be a major obstacle as few, if any, of the hotel staff understood American Sign Language.
Fortunately, the next person I saw in the hallway worked for the hotel delivering meals to guests in their rooms. He saw me naked and grinned. He ushered me to a storage closet and retrieved a sheet for me to wrap in, toga-style. Conveniently, he also had a pen and paper. I scribbled out my situation and he gave me the thumbs-up signal and disappeared.
He returned with another room access-card and a Polaroid-style camera. He unlocked my door, noting that he needed to see a photo identification card. After viewing my driver’s license, he took a picture of me wearing an improvised toga. On impulse, I dropped the toga and struck a pose for him, once again gloriously nude. He laughed, offered me another thumbs-up gesture and took another photo and passed it over to me.
The moral of this incident is “don’t get too comfortable being bare!”
If I could be nude any place anywhere in the world, it would have to be a tropical island. In the tropics because I detest the cold and an island because I don’t want anyone appearing uninvited. Somewhere in Polynesia in the Pacific, any of the Caribbean islands or the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean.
This could happen if I suddenly became independently wealthy. I would collect all my bare practicing friends from all over the world and we’d all hang out nude together on a deserted island in the south Pacific Ocean. We would enjoy each others company, relax and be ourselves. The reason being that we’re already friends who enjoy being clothes-free so there’s no residual shame in being naked among other guys.
However, that is unlikely to ever occur so I have to be content with my dream and save my money so that I am able to someday visit these destinations.
In an ideal fantasy situation, I’d like to hang out nude with Shaquille O’Neil. He’s a super basketball player and has a wicked sense of humor – he could always keep me entertained. He already likes being bare on the beach so there’s no issue with modesty or guilt about nudity. Again, any island in the south Pacific is fine and we’d enjoy the company of one another, the scenery and just the freedom of being our regular naked selves.
I would like to see the textile (clothes-wearing) culture and the clothes-free (nude) culture each become tolerant and understanding of the other. We all have to share this planet so let’s at least make an honest effort to try to live in harmony. We may not approve of each other’s clothing preference but at least we can respect the individual’s freedom to choose.
Within the naturist/nudist world, I would like to see us move beyond the issue of self-identification. It doesn’t make sense that we have to repeatedly argue about being “naturist” or “nudist.” At the beginning and the end of each day, we’re all the same: clothes-free. Let’s agree that we all have the right to self-identify whichever way we are comfortable. Life is too short, let’s all just be naked and live.
When Twin and I first encountered social nudity, we learned through experience and most importantly by making mistakes. No one individual set us down and offered a lecture or advice on what was acceptable and what wasn’t. We arrived, we stripped off our clothes and we observed others. Like small toddlers, we imitated and followed the lead of others who were older and more experienced.
My advice to someone who has never tried social nudity is to go, get naked and just be yourself. Act as you would if you were wearing clothes. You’ll soon forget the fact that you and those around you are all clothes-free. Every unknown or unfamiliar social situation causes a certain amount of anxiety.
Keeping eye contact with those around you helps to alleviate the stress of being in your first socially nude situation. Take a deep breath, meet new people and enjoy social nudity!
Tell your story
Each of us has a story to tell. An outlook on the world and on naturism that can be beneficial to others. Share yours here by contacting Kenn. I’ll send you a list of questions to get you started.