I was NAKED in PUBLIC. That’s right, NO CLOTHES!
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– By Diane Kawasaki
I’ll admit it, I like to dress up like a skanky whorebag for Halloween. I love taking stupid photos with complete strangers in West Hollywood—it’s like a tradition. However, Halloween 2011 was different. Instead of dolling up in the trashiest outfit I could find, I ditched clothes altogether and spent Halloween weekend at a nudist resort.
I’ve always been happy as a “textile”. In fact, I’ve spent a small fortune indulging this lifestyle and never had any complaints. I’m not sure what brings most people to the nudist resort, but I ultimately made the decision to bare it all because I was so of afraid of nudity. Secondly, I liked the idea of being in a setting where it was socially acceptable not to wear pants. I hate wearing pants. Pants: the ultimate reminder that I have a big ass. Thanks pants, you bastard!
One of my best buddies is a nudist. Throughout our friendship, he’s shared bits and pieces of life as a nudist. I gave my buddy a lot of props for being so secure in his skin to hang out naked in front of complete strangers. I thought it was awesome and said my usual line, “that’s cool, we should try that someday” (I didn’t mean it AT ALL).
While the thought of overcoming those insecurities was indeed “cool”, I had never actually planned to seriously do it. That would involve me being naked… in front of strangers AND my friend—my MALE friend (i.e. I’d have to see his… you know… ahhh!).
A few days before Halloween weekend, my friend invited me to a costume party at Olive Dell—a lovely nudist resort in Colten, CA. I received his text right before bed and felt particularly adventurous at the time. For some reason, when I’m bundled in my blankets about to fall asleep, I feel invincible and oddly optimistic.
The next morning I woke up in horror. I looked through my texts and immediately regretted my decision. A part of me was still intrigued while every other part was completely terrified. I hopped out of bed, jumped in the shower and thought of every possible excuse to bail on the nudist resort weekend. At the time, my friend Nicole had caught a cold. I was so worked up over my fears and even thought about intentionally catching her cold.
I eventually accepted that I was going to spend my weekend at a nudist resort NAKED. From experience, the things I feared most usually turn out to be really awesome, life-changing moments. I knew that my friend was really stoked to have his first “textile friend” to “cross-over” into nudism and I didn’t want to let him down. I made the decision it was going to be great and that was it.
I told Nicole that I was planning to go to a nudist resort. She jokingly asked, “is that like an orgy? Are you going to bang strangers?”
In response, I told her: “Uh, NO. Well, I don’t really know what’s going to happen. We’ll see.” She was horrified.
I really didn’t know what to expect. While my nudist friend filled me in on some details, I felt inundated by the unknown. What was it going to be like? Would everyone have perfect, statuesque bodies? Will people stare at me more than usual?
I’ve always been neurotic and it didn’t surprise me that I had all sorts of irrational fears surface as the weekend drew near. The greatest of all fears was the possibility of someone taking a photo of me without my permission. What if there are perverts lurking around? What if they take photos of me and I end up on some douchebag’s wall under the caption: “Little Person Gone Wild”?
The truth is that I am very uncomfortable with my body. While I enjoy (& prefer) being naked around my apartment, I never felt comfortable with others seeing me naked. In addition, I was also concerned with my own reaction to the nudity. Would I be my usual awkward self and look unnecessarily disgruntled throughout the weekend? Likely.
As soon as I got out of the car, I encountered the first naked stranger. I couldn’t help but stare at his penis. I just couldn’t look away. It’s not that I’ve never seen one before, but I’ve definitely never seen one attached to a body I wasn’t dating. It was definitely different. It was right there at eye level. I kept reminding myself: “look up, look up, dammit look up!”.
Everyone else was totally cool and they were just kicking back on a beautiful sunny day. There I was, still fully clothed and walking as if I was on a tightrope focusing on not looking down. My awkwardness also caused a neck ache from trying so hard to maintain eye contact AT ALL TIMES.
My friend was so sweet and never pressured me to get naked. He told me that everyone was very cool and wouldn’t make a big deal if I chose not to get naked. I figured it was pointless to be part of this experience and not actually face my fear. I watched as all sorts of people—all shapes and sizes—walked around securely in their bodies. It was beautiful and I felt envious of the freedom they carried so boldly.
I went to the bathroom and took off all my clothes. I sat on the toilet inside of the stall and clenched my folded sundress and underwear as I prepared to walk out. I must’ve sat there for 15 minutes before I actually got the nerve to walk out of the stall. A lady came inside the bathroom and I promptly ran back into the stall.
A few minutes later, I wrapped my towel tightly around me and walked out of the bathroom. My towel kept slipping off, as if it was an indication that the towel was just holding me back. I finally pulled off my towel and stood there naked. I expected a reaction from other people and prepared myself. However, I didn’t get much of a reaction at all. Everyone just treated me as a… person. No one was baffled by the fact I was smaller or that I had a crooked spine. No one stared at my massive ass or even glanced at the long scar on my back from my spinal surgery. It was nice. No one cared about my physicality. They all just wanted to have a nice weekend and enjoy the hot tub.
Prior to visiting the nudist resort, my friend educated me that most people have the misconception that nudism is a very sexually explicit lifestyle. The truth of the matter is that nudists are very respectful of the human body. Since being naked is part of his or her lifestyle, it isn’t something to be fawned over when someone gets naked. There is no shame in being naked. Once shame is removed, fear and lust dissolve.
As I surveyed the resort, everyone was having a great time. No one was looking at each other inappropriately and I didn’t even see one erection the entire weekend. Trust me, if anyone was going to spot out a boner, it was going to be me. Everyone was so respectful and there was even a sign indicating that people were not allowed to take photos without permission. All my fears dissipated and I soon realized that I was just creating problems that didn’t exist.
Later that night, I saw a really attractive man with a very beautiful penis. It was just perfect. I never saw anything quite like it before. It was just amazing. I couldn’t help but stare at it and soon realized I had found that pervert I had been afraid of: ME! I abruptly shifted my focus and resumed eye contact. If you fear perverts, but don’t manage to find one, odds are you’re the pervert. Look up, dammit, look up!
I’m so thankful to my friend for sharing this part of his life with me. I’m glad I went to Olive Dell and got to meet some incredible people. I also got to know myself quite a bit. While I won’t be ditching the textiles on a regular basis, I feel this experience will forever leave a lasting impression on the importance of living in the moment and embracing fear as part of growth.