One of the many aggravations of being a social nudist is seeing the stereotypes and just flat-out wrong portrayals of people who enjoy being unclothed in a social setting. I remember from my childhood an episode of “The Bob Newhart Show” in which his character, psychologist Bob Hartley, was booked to speak at a place called Ironwood. As the episode progressed he learned this was a nudist resort and he likely would be expected to be sans clothing, the same as his audience. Plus, he would not have a podium but rather just a thin microphone stand.
If you’re curious about how the episode addressed his self-inflicted conundrum you will have to watch it for yourself. I’m sure there were a handful of other sitcoms during this era that poked fun at nudists/naturists, probably portraying them as outright weird or just plain odd.
Moving into our current era, the Family Guy episode “From Method To Madness” initially doesn’t do nudism justice, either. The nudist family is depicted as being clothes-free all the time, in every situation. To be fair, as the episode continues, it does eventually show parents Peter and Lois willing to go nude themselves to make their unclothed guests feel more at home.
These are but a couple of examples of how people get distorted views of social nudism. It remains an uphill battle for individuals and organizations to change the public’s view of being clothes-free in a non-sexual, family-friendly setting.
An adage I heard many years ago but remains accurate is: “Nude when appropriate, clothed when practical.”
At Oakwood, this is not just said, but practiced. A great example took place this past summer. It’s no revelation that Mother Nature was not kind to Oakwood weekends during the summer of 2022. One weekend the calendar indicated there would be a wine event at the pool deck (box wine and plastic cups, of course—definitely don’t want any glass in that part of the property). When the activities committee did their scheduling I’m sure the intent was that people would pour whichever type of fermented grape beverage they preferred, then could either soak up the summer heat on the pool deck or go right into the pool and stand at the shallow end, sipping the vino.
However…the skies were cloudy and the temperature going into the early evening was, well, a bit chilly. While people could choose to go clothes-free, no one did. Instead, the scene was one that could take place almost anywhere. Adults in shirts and shorts (there were even some sweatshirts), sipping wine, and enjoying conversation.
To be sure, it’s expected that at Oakwood, if the thermometer is conducive, people are to go about clothes-free. (Why else would you be here?) Yet we are not so slavish to the “always be nude no matter what” type of mindset. After all, this is Minnesota and even in the summer the temps can be mild, and at Oakwood, we want to be known as reasonable, nonjudgmental individuals who won’t look down on people who might have less cold tolerance than others. Also, there is the understanding that visitors (especially if this is their first time going nude in a social setting) might need some time to get comfortable/adjusted to the nudist environment.
If you’re reading this and have never given social nudism a try, we encourage you to ignore the depictions in the media and just come on out and join us! Going clothes-free when the weather and temperature allow it is one of the most relaxing things you can do. Those of us who make up the Oakwood population are just like you! We hold jobs (or are retired), we have families, we enjoy Vikings games (most folks, anyway), and we deal with the same life struggles as everyone else.
And when have TV shows ever been realistic, anyway?
This post inspired me to search YouTube for the Bob Newhart episode that was mentioned. I didn’t find that yet, but I did find a Carol Burnett sketch called “Carol at a Nudist Colony”. Carol plays a very reluctant wife who visits a nudist “colony” at the request of her husband for a business reason. It’s over-the-top of course because it’s sketch comedy, but I don’t think it’s too harsh regarding nudism. It shows off Carol’s great talent – it’s pretty funny!
I have fond memories of that weekend! Yes it was too cold for being naked (but not for all),
but it was extra good for socializing, with all the good snacks and varieties of wine, and the number of members who participated.