Even nudists dislike the word, naked. It’s a rather clumsy, harsh-sounding word that brings forth mental images of cold winter trees, forced bareness akin to rape, or sinful forbidden pleasure gained at another’s expense. “Nude” makes a warm-sounding purr come to mind when it calls you toward comfort, companionship, friends, and all the related words that bloom and form as leaves on that warm tree.

The textile-indoctrinated majority may wonder why this deserves consideration. Young nudists may find the topic strange, as many views have changed over the past ¾ of a century. I took my young family to a nudist camp, for another example, but learned I am a naturist at heart. Nowadays, it seems those two words get used as synonyms, and people argue when I try to explain the difference.

I label as “naturists” those informal people who enjoy doffing garments wherever they find an opportunity with minimal strictures, and reserve “nudists” for those who look for the safer, more organized environment found in a park. That’s how I learned to understand them, although I realize that people can seldom be so easily put in a category and expected to stay there.

Words and phrases don’t always mean what their components add up to. For instance, to say I have become a nonpracticing naturist might lead you to think I am bragging about how I have had all my lessons and learned all there is to know, so I no longer need to practice. That could not be farther from the truth.

Written entirely with OPEN OFFICE.



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