The concept of a nudist closet is actually a fairly amusing one–after all, what need has a nudist for clothes?
Of course, in the real world, nudists indeed do have closets, both physical and societal. Since we interact with others in a textile fashion, clothes are indeed necessary, so we have a physical need for storage of said clothing when we actually get to be naked (those without spouses always have the floor as an option, I suppose, but I digress…).
The societal closet is my topic overall for this post. Unless you live, work, and play exclusively in a clothing-optional complex, you must interact with a world that is filled with a spectrum of people including those who do not approve of your lifestyle. Indeed, there are those who are actively offended and shocked by a choice to not only live nude but also to allow oneself to be seen nude by anyone except a spouse. Therefore, you must decide to what level you will make your nude preferences known to others.
Who are these others, anyway? In broad concept, it seems that they would be in one of the following categories:
1) Other nudists that haven’t yet shared their nudist status with you. Their opinion of the nudists is likely to be enhanced by being aware of their lifestyle (since it is now a shared lifestyle).
2) Non-nudists who haven’t ever thought enough about nudism to have an opinion, and might fall into any other category after learning about it.
3) Non-nudists who aren’t opposed to nudism, have no interest in nudism themselves, but are completely comfortable being around nudists regardless of clothing. Their opinion of the nudists is unchanged by being aware of their lifestyle.
4) Non-nudists who aren’t necessarily opposed to people being nudists but have no interest in nudism themselves and are not comfortable being around the nudists if there is a possibility of nudity (for example, wouldn’t come to a clothing-optional party even if there was no pressure to be nude themselves). They may be either unaffected by being aware of the lifestyle or possibly be somewhat averse due to concern about inadvertent exposure to naked bodies.
5) Non-nudists who oppose nudism because of misconceptions about the lifestyle (misinformed, etc), and who may or may not be made averse to the nudists after knowing about their lifestyle depending on the nature of the misconception (usually sexual).
6) Non-nudists who oppose nudism because of deeply-held beliefs, usually religious or social, and who are made averse to the nudists after knowing about their lifestyle. They are definitely made averse to the nudists after knowing about their lifestyle.
So why might we care about other people knowing us to be nudists?
Well again, it depends.
A) Some people don’t care, or care to be outspoken advocates for nudism regardless of reactions. For them, nudism should not be hidden and they are not selective about letting their nudist status be known. I’ll metaphorically place this group as standing naked in the room, nowhere near the closet.
B) Some people care to be advocates but are less outspoken about it. The decision to tell others about ones being a nudist is affected strongly by our perception of their reaction to that knowledge. They are open about discussing nudism with interested parties, yet fear consequences from those who disapprove of our lifestyles. Rather than broadcast their nudism they instead look for opportunities to discuss it with people who are perceived to be less likely to oppose nudism in general. These folks are standing naked in the closet with the door wide open.
B-) Some people would like to be advocates but perceive significant risk in disclosing their nudist tendencies unless they are certain that there will not be adverse reactions and often prefer to just keep quiet. These folks are standing naked in the closet, peeking out from behind a nearly-closed door.
C) Some people are perfectly content to enjoy social nudity but have no desire for advocacy. If asked they will answer truthfully but may or may not volunteer the information even to someone who appears very likely to be at least tolerant of the lifestyle. These folks are standing naked in the closet, door closed, but not locked.
D) Some people enjoy social nudity but only away from home and completely separate from their “normal” lives. They will actively suppress any knowledge or suspicion that they are involved in such a lifestyle. These folks are standing naked in the closet, door closed and locked.
Well, why tell anyone in the first place? If there is a risk involved, why bother?
We like being socially nude. We’d like to be able to be nude, without making anyone uncomfortable, whenever possible and practical. We’d like to meet other people who will have fun with us while all are naked (category #1 above), or even if only some are naked (category #3, above) and for those who might be open to the idea, we’d like to tell them about it (some in category #2, and potentially some in category #5 above).
We DON’T like causing friction and frankly don’t want to cause rumors and/or misconceptions to circulate. Gossip is unfortunately not limited to middle and high-schoolers. So frankly, we’d rather the people in category 6 not know at all–what they know can’t hurt them or us.
Though the categories above are artificial, I wonder how the barriers to advocacy can be altered. It certainly would make things easier.