I have a weird fascination with nudist resorts. And by fascination, I mean horror. Actually, it is akin to horror films. For both, I’m very curious about what happens, but would never in a million years go to find out. The two of them live on in my mind as these outliers of human experience, ones that elicit dread and anxiety. I admit, it’s small of me to have such strong reactions to something I’ve never experienced. For that, call me judgmental. I won’t mind, because I’ll have clothes on.

Actually, I have seen a scary movie, so I’m not totally uninformed. My brother took me to see “The Exorcist” when I was 11. I have one question, where for the love of God were my parents? Roger had already seen the movie, loved it and wanted to share this piece of cinematic history. Taking me along for a second showing was nothing but generous in his eyes. I remember sitting in the darkened Bijou waiting as he extolled the virtues of the movie’s haunting theme “Tubular Bells.” A sound that to this day conjures head spinning. That movie scared the bejesus out of me! I once painted a room white and had to flee immediately as it was reminiscent of a scene in the film. I can’t even look at a picture of Linda Blair, let alone Reagan. Perhaps it was growing up Catholic that made the theme of “dark sinister unseen forces after your soul” seem realistic. I mean, church was a lot of hell and damnation; “The Exorcist” just added the imagery. 

That fright-fest launched my credo. No watching horror movies. Ever. I simply do not have the fortitude. Trust me, I’ve tested this. Once, as a teenager, I went along with my pack to see “The Amityville Horror” only to walk out within five minutes. In retrospect, a smart move as the movie’s catchphrase said, “For God’s sake get out!” 

Still, I’m morbidly intrigued by horror films. I often read the synopsis of the plots to quell my discomfort. Calms me down to know what happens. But nudist resorts? They’re trickier to get a handle on; there’s no IMDB for them. Like the one in Florida that hosts the Nudepalooza, a naked music festival. I don’t know about you, but I prefer ZZ Top with their bottoms on! 

The Nudepalooza is described as a great place for people to hang out. And they mean it. Oh, and a family friendly affair! Excuse me, but when did nudism become a family event? Top of the list of people I don’t want to see naked? My family. Closely followed by your family. Any family.

One of the “palooza” organizers is a third-generation nudist. Gee, we used to just hand down the china. He is reported as saying that after about 10 minutes, you’ll forget you’re naked. Really? That’s not something I generally forget! And if I do forget I’m naked, I have bigger problems. 

Nudists can be members of the American Association for Nude Recreation, the AANR. Not to be confused with the NRA. Granted, though, they both tout the right to bear arms. It only costs $58 to be an AANR card-carrying member, but just where are you supposed to put the card?

Forbes reports that “nakations” are on the rise. That there are hundreds of nudist resorts throughout North America. People, this gives traveling light a new meaning. 

You know, if one of these nudist resorts has a movie theatre, I could possibly conquer my dual fears at one time. But let’s face it, I’m as likely to do that as to visit a clown with a bunch of snakes. 

Perhaps, in the end, it all adds up to different strokes for different folks. And, when you get right down to it, I’m glad we all get to like different things, especially nudists. After all, when they watch a horror film, they don’t have to worry about it scaring their pants off.

Carole Vasta Folley is an award-winning Vermont playwright and columnist. Contact her at carolevf.com.

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