Nudity, Nudism and our Society – Part 4

 

by Mel Kanner

Number 4 in a series of articles examining the changes that I have observed to the practice of nudism over the years and our society’s view of nudity.
 
Archive: #1#2#3
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More about beaches:
 
Ten years ago my wife and I worked as volunteer counselors, essentially chaperones, for one of the AANR nude youth summer camps, held at DeAnza Resort near San Diego.  The youth camps program was started in the 90’s in Florida, and was designed for children of nudists from age 11 to 19. Like other summer camps, it is an opportunity for fun events, leadership training, and to gain knowledge about nudism. It is a very successful program. I will give more details about the program in a later article.
 
One of the scheduled events for the kids was an outing, a trip to Blacks Beach. The event was hosted by the Blacks Beach Bares.  The BBB’s do a lot of volunteer work on the beach: keeping it clean, enhancing and maintaining the difficult trail down the cliff, and general policing.
 
It was a nice day, but being the middle of the week, there were not many people on the beach. A few adults, but no other kids.  But, from time to time, we saw middle aged single men, not nude, planting themselves in positions where they could watch others. And some had cameras, with fancy lenses. This was a time prior to the sophisticated cameras we all carry in our cell phones now. Serious photography required some heavy equipment.
 
Most of these people are commonly referred to as “looky-loos”s, but some are serious pedophiles looking for opportunities to add to their collections of photographs of children. The kids were aware of these people. Part of the training at the summer camps is to learn how to recognize, from behaviors, the looky-loos (s), and how to respond — bring it to the attention of an adult in authority. They referred to them as COG’s (creepy old guys).
 
The BBB’s were also aware of interlopers like these and had developed very interesting techniques to counteract them without confrontation. One technique was to plant open beach umbrellas between the LL and their targets, essentially cutting off their view. Another is to form a line of people (men) with their backs to the LL, again cutting off their view. The LL’s eventually get the hint and leave.
 
Everyone enjoyed the hospitality of the BBB’s. Other than having to deal with the couple of LL’s that intruded, it was a successful outing.
 
There have always been LL’s at Blacks since I started going there in the 70’s. More than at other nude beaches I have visited. Oregon has two major nude beaches in the Portland area — Rooster Rock and Sauvie Island. Both are considered official nude beaches and the Oregon Park rangers have worked with AANR-NW to maintain, clean and make the beaches a safe environment for nudists. Appropriate signage is maintained, and “nudist behavior etiquette” instructions are given to visitors to the beach. LL’s do not seem to be a significant problem.
 
I am not much of a beach goer, but aside from Blacks and the Oregon beaches, I have been to two other major nude beaches, one in France (Cap d’Agde), and one in the Caribbean (Orient Beach on St. Martin). Cap d’Agde beach, on the Mediterranean, was about two miles long, and was always packed with people. Lots of families, lots of kids. No LL’s that I could see.
 
Orient Beach was also a beautiful beach, about a mile long, and when we first started going there, it was possible to  walk the whole beach nude even though the nude section was limited with signage to a short strip in front of the Club Orient resort. Later with more development of other resorts on the beach, the police started to enforce restricting the nudists to the nudist section.
 
There were very few kids. Many Europeans, and a large number of Americans, many who never participated in nudist activities in the U.S. There were few resident LL’s, but there were a significant number of “lookers” from the cruise ships. There were day excursions for the cruise ship visitors to Orient Beach specifically so they could see the nudes. We, the nudes on the beach, had a great time observing them as they paraded past us. I wouldn’t call them LL’s, as they were primarily there out of curiosity.
 
One of our nudist group would interact with the “lookers” by asking them for the time. And they had great difficulty responding because they were dealing with a normal person, rather than the characterization that they had of nudists.
 
In a subsequent piece I will discuss the problem with LLs on beaches and some other problems we have with nude beaches.
 
If you have any comments about any of these opinion pieces that I have written please email me rights-chair@aanr-nw.org