My father once told me about one of his squadron-mates in the Navy, who was the sort to be known as having a girl in every port. He said to me, “Son, he got more rejections from women than I’d ever even considered asking out. But, he scored with more women than almost anyone else in the squadron, too.”

Well, I never had the guts to proposition that many women. So I possibly missed out on some amazingly intense short-term relationships (of course, I may have missed out on some pretty intense consequences, too). But the lesson stuck around—you can’t win unless you try. But trying is sometimes risky…

And yet, here I am, talking to more and more people about nudism. Most of whom listen politely, then decline. I don’t talk with obvious bigots or small-minded people who are simply looking for leverage. Still, my success rate is low—maybe 10-20% who actually try an event and then stay in the lifestyle. Depending on how you look at it, it could be either encouraging or discouraging.

The hard part is the personal vulnerability. At what point am I comfortable with the risk of social stigma? How well do I need to know someone to approach them about nudism? What potential backlash if I offend someone? I’m an academic physician, which both gives more protection (academic freedoms associated with faculty status) and at the same time more risk (TITLE IX, which includes sexual harassment).

At the end of the day, I just have to realize that nudism is one of my true passions, just as patient-centered medical care is. Having that status, it naturally engenders advocacy within me. So, here I am, a nudist ambassador. Who would have thought it…

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