This past weekend the weather here was perfect, and I took advantage of it by relaxing poolside at a quiet, sunny location.
A nudist resort, to be exact.
Not a colony, mind you - ants and lepers live in those. (And don't let the word "resort" fool you; the place is really nice, but the day rate is very affordable. I'm not made of money.)
The same place where Paris Hilton got a "job" as a maid for her reality TV show is a short drive from my front door. But unlike that episode, there were no smiley faces covering anyone's flesh during my visit.
This was not my first jaunt there, nor my second. Nor my last.
For the uninitiated, yes, it's weird at first. Then after a few minutes you just settle in and go with it. I have a theory that some latent primal sense kicks in, as we are born au naturel, and we haven't always been quite so modest as a race as we humans now tend to be.
What happens is the social paradigm suddenly flips to where you would actually feel awkward walking around clothed, as that's a sure way to stand out.
As I mentioned, this was a family destination. Nudity is more natural to kids than it is to adults; they don't know to be embarrassed about it until we tell them to be.
Nudist resorts are unapologetically biased against men, who often are not allowed in without a female companion. Women, on the other hand, may visit by themselves.
I know why they do this - to prevent gawkers - but I still disagree with the discriminatory policy. Come to think of it, though, if I ran such a place that's just how I'd want it, albeit for selfish reasons.
OK, the unisex locker room is kind of a peculiar experience. I attribute that vibe to the close quarters and to those many bad movies where guys go to great lengths to peek into the girls' showers. And here I am just walking right in the door!
There are apparently nudists of every age, though there seem to be fewer teens than any other age group. I imagine it could be awkward for them, as they're just getting used to their "new" bodies.
I note also with bafflement and slight amusement that people of every age and background have tattoos and/or piercings everywhere you can imagine. That straight-laced doctor of yours? Quite possibly. And your kids' teachers, too.
This one aspect did make me stand out somewhat among others. Alas, no body art - just really great hands, apparently. The rest of me ain't so bad, but naturally no cameras are permitted in the place. So, you just dodged a bullet.
I've been told by some questionable sources that I'm not too adventurous. Many of the same people who would chide me about not wanting to jump out of an airplane or into the abyss with a large rubber band attached to my ankle, however, would say "No way!" to my weekend diversion. Wimps!
As I said, it becomes normal very quickly to be nude in front of strangers. So much so that readjusting to the outside world later feels odd. You get comfortable, but by the end of the day must accept that you cannot simply go on your way in that state of undress.
Extremely shy or modest people may understandably never want to visit a nudist resort. I don't see a big market there for, say, Muslims. But those who believe it's "immoral" or "shady" are sadly quite ignorant. And they have no idea what they're missing!
Seriously, what's the ideal way to swim or get some sun - clothed? Nope.
A bit of advice for anyone who ever does decide to grin and bare it all: It rubs the lotion on its skin or it gets a really bad sunburn everywhere the sun don't normally shine. As you can imagine. Yowch!