Standard Deviations: 'Nakationing' — naked vacationing — is a thing?

Sunday , April 15, 2018 - 5:00 AM3 comments

They’re calling it “one of the fastest growing trends in both travel and recreation.” Me? I call it just plain awkward.

Apparently, the “nakation” is a thing now.

At least, that’s what the American Association for Nude Recreation would have us believe.

You’ve heard of the “staycation”? The “mancation”? Even the “praycation”? Well, get ready for the nakation, a trademarked combination of “naked” and “vacation.”

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I know about the nakation because awhile back a friend forwarded to me an email from the aforementioned AANR — based in Kissimmee, Florida — announcing that the group has designated the second Saturday in July as International Skinny Dip Day. This raises two troubling questions, in my mind:

1. Isn’t it a tad presumptuous for a group calling itself the American Association for Nude Recreation to assume it has the authority to declare an International Skinny Dip Day? I mean, you’d think they’d at least get input from naked people in other countries before making such a bold proclamation.

2. Why would anyone send an email about skinny dipping to me, the guy about which there’s absolutely nothing that could even remotely be considered “skinny”?

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The email points out that for 86 years, the American Association for Nude Recreation has been “the leading authority in North America on protecting the freedoms and rights of those who participate in wholesome, family-style nude recreation.”

Leading authority? You mean there are enough authorities out there on “wholesome, family-style nude recreation” that we would have both authorities and leading authorities?

This is so much bigger than I thought.

As I write this, International Skinny Dip Day — or ISDD, according to those in the know — is exactly three months away. It will be observed July 14, 2018 and will serve as the “culminating event” of an even more disturbing 43-year-old tradition: National Nude Recreation Week.

That week, AANR will be encouraging individuals and families to visit clothing-optional clubs affiliated with either their organization or The Naturist Society, in order to “experience firsthand one of the fastest growing trends in both travel and recreation — the Nakation.”

These clubs will be offering activities and events throughout the week, including open houses, dance parties, chili cook-offs, sports tournaments, health screenings, art shows, and something called a “bare buns fun run.”

Of course, if you’re too shy to visit one of these clothing-optional clubs, AANR suggests combining your nakation with a staycation. Ideas from the association include remaining in the privacy of your own home or backyard to do housekeeping, gardening, exercise and even telecommuting in the buff.

“Working from home, in the nude, is increasing in popularity,” the AANR claims.

At this point in our discussion, allow me to put your minds at rest. Although I do some of my writing from home, I can assure you that during no part of the telecommuting writing process am I ever anything but relatively fully clothed. (Underwear counts, right?)

Look, it’s not that I find the human form “dirty” or “disgusting.” And I do applaud the group’s efforts to wage the battle against our squeamishness about our own body image — I realize the world would be a much better place if we were all just a little more comfortable in our own skins.

But the naked truth of the matter is this: A guy like me can either be a member of the American Association for Nude Recreation, or a member of the Fast-Food Meal of the Month Club. Not both.

And frankly, I choose burgers and fries.

Indeed, if people who enjoy the freedom of nudity call themselves “naturists,” then I suppose I would label myself a dyed-in-the-wool “textile-ophile.” I simply adore clothing and feel absolutely naked whenever I’m, well, naked.

Even at the pool, I wear a swim shirt. And not just for my own comfort, but for everyone else’s as well.

Locally, there’s a group called Wasatch Naturists — “WasNat,” for short — based in Salt Lake City. Their webpage, at wasatchnaturists.com, explains the group’s purpose is learning to be comfortable with one’s own body and be more accepting of others.

And for those members of Utah’s predominant faith, there’s even something called the LDS Skinny Dippers Forum, at ldssdf.org. It features various discussion threads with interesting titles like “Mormon Cultural Issues and Nudity,” “Official LDS Church Position on Nudity” (There isn’t one, website administrators say), and “Can Mormons Be Nudists?”

The site also ranks members based on their number of posts to the site, beginning with a “Textile Member” and advancing through “Telestial Member,” “Terrestrial Member,” “Celestial Member” and, finally “Millennial Member.”

Personally? If I were a member of the LDS Skinny Dippers Forum, I’d prefer to be ranked as a “Stripling Warrior.”

Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, or msaal@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Friend him on Facebook at facebook.com/MarkSaal.

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