A newish naturist location in SL is SoCal, which I assume refers to SOuthern CALifornia. I was over there a few weeks back, but I didn’t post about it immediately because I’m minded to -on discovery of a new place- not jump the gun, and see just how things develop.
Currently things haven’t developed at SoCal. And I say that as a good thing. I’ve previously spoken of how, in RL, the naturist experience is not always packed with ‘amenities’. It can be a simple walk down the beach, hand in hand with someone else, paddling in the water and feeling the experience of simply being alive. And SoCal does that very well. If it’s truly a ‘get away from it all’ naturist experience you want, wandering unpopulated beaches for ‘miles’ (it’s a circular island, you can make it miles if you so desire). Other than a few hammocks and a couple of beach huts, SoCal has a simple, uncluttered look.
Sure, diving in and doing things in SL is sometimes the way to go. At other times, a bit of space and blue sky is all we need, be it in RL or SL, and SoCal does that very well.
A simple, uncluttered look at SoCal may be regarded as one of its strengths. A place for peace and solitude, and well suited to naturist socialising.
I used to think ‘stress’ was a lazy-person’s get-out clause until this week. I’ve been feeling properly ill for some time now, and didn’t know what was causing it. Something the children brought home from play-school? Allergy to our new cat? (I promise I won’t turn into a cat-photo blogger!).
Some pussies hanging out of underwear…
Whoops, sorry! I don’t know what came over me there….but there we are…some people come to SLN for photos of pussies, so I thought I’d stick that one in… Anyway, I finally saw the doctor on Monday and it turns out I’m suffering from work-related stress. I’ll be off work for three weeks, minimum. I’ve to take lots of exercise, which won’t be hard, I love cycling and walking and swimming, and report back in three weeks to see if my stress-levels have diminished. I don’t feel great right now, all sorts of tight chest (I did think it was heart issues for a while), tight arms and anxiety. Having talked it over with Mr. Keng, we’ve more or less decided that I shall try to get the stress levels down over the next couple of weeks and then most likely quit the job I’m doing, and have only moved to in recent months. There’s a possibility this may well end up with more blogging, if there’s anything to blog about, and even if not, much more time in world (hooray!) without having my editor’s hat on. Let us see how things develop.
Away from real life, I think we’re going to constitute a little of a policy change with SLN, in that we shall, up to a point, feature more RL naturist photos where they’re relevant, and where I think we can justify them in terms of being SL associated. Previously I’ve shied away from these, unless they’ve been ‘vintage’ in the main, or certainly of a nature where the model is anonymous. Certainly nothing voyeuristic. While voyeur styled photos may be all over the net, and thus posting them here does little to further embarrass unwitting models, I’ve always said no to them on principle. But I’ve decided to change that policy largely at Barbara’s behest, because she’s seen some photos of RL naturists she’d like to use in an upcoming post, and makes the argument that the subjects are all looking directly at camera, so they’re ‘real life’ but certainly not of a voyeuristic nature.
The following is one of the photos she’ll be using on her post, but I’ve decided to pop it in here to give you a sense of what’s ‘acceptable’.
Yep! Mature ladies happy to indulge in RL naturism, pose for the camera, yet still not necessarily ‘reveal’ anything. I think we can live with that.
Finally, May’s calendar will be delayed until the weekend. I need to retrieve the photos from the back up drive from my old computer. Sorry for the delay on that front.
Delighted to read this story in London’s Independent newspaper recently. Naked Yoga! 🙂
Big, apparently, in the US and now heading our (Britain’s) way.
The Daily Mail and several bloggers have also covered this story recently. It’s not something I’ve done. Yoga, that is, although it’s one of those things that I think….’I should at least give it a go’, naked or not. Happily, it’s easier to hop straight into Naked Yoga within SL, so I sent Harry and a model over to Eden’s outdoor gym, where naked yoga is firmly part of their fitness regime.
It looks like a fun activity, and could be even more fun as a (naked) group activity.
“There is only one honest impulse at the bottom of Puritanism, and that is the impulse to punish the man with a superior capacity for happiness.”
Mencken is onto something here, we think. The sun is free. The sand on the beach is free. The waves in the sea are free. Perhaps governments feel the need to legislate against naturism, and the sense of freedom and fun it provides, simply because they can’t see anyone being happy, and can’t tax anything that are core parts of naturism. If they could tax it, they’d have a more benign view of naturism.
“And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
Indeed. We’re all born naked. Adam and Eve were created naked. And there was no shame in it. There still isn’t.
“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”
Throughout its history, naturism has met with strong (and even sometimes violent) opposition because the great spirits who forged the naturist way had to be challenged by the mediocrity of those in power, the politicians, the churches and the media, for whom a full sense of total freedom might be the instigation of more radical opposition to their need to maintain control over the masses.
If you’ve got any suitable quotes, contemporary or historical, that reflect the state of global naturism as it is right now, let us know and we’ll print them…and even try to take some photos that will reflect them.
If you ever check out vintage naturist photos, you’ll maybe be taken by the ‘shaved’ ladies featuring in them. Look closer! They aren’t actually shaved, thus pre-dating genital grooming by 50 years, they’ve been airbrushed!
Pubic hair was deemed…obscene? (not unlike 2014 in some quarters!)…and thus it was airbrushed from the photos. If not, the models were posed in such a manner that the genital area wasn’t on display, for males and females alike.
And thus we have a naturist trope of the semi-ubiquitous beach ball, or some other ‘prop’ used to hide the genital area.
I thought it was time for an ‘update’ on this photographic style, and thus I asked Diane to do some vintage-styled photos in which the model’s nether regions were hidden.
I think she’s done a very good job of capturing 1950s/60s styled naturist or ‘nudie mags’ shots.
Better than that, while the sepia tinting gives one sense of retro photography, the original colour versions also have a sense of vibrant colour -usually red- that dominates in vintage naturist photos. What is it about red? Is it that it sets off skin tone best in the thinking of the times?
A beach ball typically appears in many vintage naturist photographs.
It looks like airbrushing has been applied to both him and her, with strategically placed text completing the job on her, a strategically placed guitar on him.
An obvious example of airbrushing
More vintage airbrushing
Abbey House Gardens, in England, is home to Ian and Barbara Pollard, famously known as ‘The Naked Gardeners’ because they garden….naked.
They also open up their home to ‘clothing optional days’ so that naturists can enjoy the splendour of the gardens. Their garden is very well known, not for the fact that they’re nude, but because it’s…a wonderful garden. Several UK TV programmes have featured Abbey House, including this short piece from BBC’s ‘Countryfile’ programme (dedicated to all things rural). Another piece from BBC’s ‘The One Show’ can be found here.
Being a naturist in nature are things that seem to fit together perfectly, it seems.
The best way to garden?
The Dutch are famously fond of gardening and flowers, and I caught up with Dutch avatar Johannes recently to discuss naturism and gardening.
Barbara: Why are the Dutch so fond of flowers and gardening?
Johannes: I don’t know. It’s just something in our culture. There’s a pleasure in growing things. You know, we have to grow a lot in Holland, including land! There’s not much space around, so we feel a need to maximise it and even window boxes fulfil that need.
Barbara: You’re a real life naturist?
Johannes: A little bit. On holidays, for sure. It’s natural. At home there is not so much chance for this on a daily or weekly basis.
Barbara: Would you like the opportunity to combine both on a full time basis?
Johannes: Maybe, when I retire. For now, a little bit of gardening and a little bit of naturism are good.
Barbara interviews Johannes at the greenhouse
Barbara met and chatted with Johannes at The Greenhouse sim, a beautifully laid-out gardening sim, which is open to the public.
Even our editor dresses sometimes to hop around the sims…
Yeah, we all know her as our esteemed editor, and we all have some inkling of what makes her tick, due to her capacity to let little chinks of RL light shine on the blog, but how well do we really know Ella? I decided that it was time to profile, in a sense, Ella, and interview her.
The following was conducted over the last couple of months, via email and IM.
Pookes: Thanks for agreeing to this. I thought the readers might want an insight into who you really are. We gather new readers all the time, so I thought it might be interesting for you to give us a potted history of Ella, both the RL and the SL versions.
Ella: I’m married, have two children, have a career in RL, and I do this -the blog- for fun and relaxation. I’m also, hehehe, a naturist….
Pookes: Yeah, how did you get into naturism?
Ella: I’m sure I’ve told this story numerous times on the blog. I have Dutch cousins, on account of my Brit uncle marrying a Dutch woman. So my cousin got a job for the summer via an acquaintance of my uncle, in a cafe in Cap D’Agde. And I got an invite! I knew we were waitressing…that was it! And we waitressed, long hours under a hot sun. I knew it was naturist….but the extent of it…the whole essential ‘naked city’ aspect I had no idea about. I only agreed to go because we’d be dressed for work. The cafe owner decided it was more hygienic, he was probably right, that when dealing with food you were dressed….
Pookes: ….no pubes or sweat in the salads!
Ella: Trust you to nail it in that way, haha! But yes! That was the thinking. So we served food and sometimes helped prepare it. Long hours. 9 in the morning until 11 at night. We basically worked or slept, got paid, got free accommodation and one day a week off. So the first day off we got my cousin was heading down to the pool, bare as you like, and me in a bikini behind her. The bikini lasted a couple of hours until I reasoned that I was getting odd looks for being dressed, so off it came. And that was how I became a naturist…by accident, really.
Pookes: A nervous debut?
Ella: Of course! You felt every pair of eyes at the pool were turned towards you. In reality, no one probably looked at all. But I liked the sense of freedom without the bikini. I felt swimming nude was a wonderful experience. I was kind of converted immediately…well, after that first couple of appalling ‘should I or shouldn’t I’ hours.
Pookes: You were….what? 18? 19?
Ella: 18. This was in 1995. I’d just finished exams and was heading off to university the following September.
Pookes: Was your husband naturist when you met him?
Ella: No. He liked the idea, obviously. I met him after uni. By then I’d taken several naturist holidays and was a convert to the lifestyle. Despite liking the concept, he was more reluctant, shall we say, to strip off.
Pookes: So how did you convert him?
Ella: Oh, we went to the Vera Playa Club Hotel for a week. He’d never been publicly naked before. We’d been going out a while, and I’d taken a naturist holiday without him -booked before I knew him- and I think he had it in his head I’d be sleeping with every fit looking fella I’d meet! The reality was that myself and a pal went to France, to a naturist campsite, and pretty much had a really ordinary seaside holiday that you could have in England, but without clothes. Boys weren’t really part of the agenda at all. It was all swims and meals out and evening entertainment. Anyway, we went to Vera Playa because it was the most direct, easiest naturist place we could get to, and….he was converted in a couple of days.
Pookes: And you still go there?
Ella: Yeah. It’s ‘our’ place, and it suits us for flight convenience from England, and the fact that it’s family friendly suits our children. Some day we’ll get back to long drives and French campsites. For now, Vera Playa suits us best.
Pookes: Let’s turn our attention to SL. When did you get into that?
Ella: Seven years ago, I think. I read about it in a paper, thought it sounded interesting, and joined with the assumption that there might be a naturist community who’d be swapping stories about great naturist destinations and local cafes. And yes, that can be part of the deal, but generally it isn’t. There is, as we both know, a thriving virtual naturist community in SL.
Pookes: And when did blogging begin?
Ella: I’m of a view that you need some purpose to your Second Life. In essence, I wandered the nudist sims and it wasn’t quite how I expected. I’d got a bit bored with it, I have to say, and was thinking of quitting when my friend Emmanuelle offered me a writing position on her blog, which dealt not just with naturism but the more sexual side of SL. I did a couple of articles, they went down OK, and then another friend offered me the editorship of a new blogging venture he was starting up. Three years on, and we’re still here!
Pookes: Were you surprised by the success of SLN?
Ella: I’m constantly surprised by our outreach. Apart from China and a few bits of central Africa, I think we’ve been read in every nation on earth! So clearly there’s a global, naturist -even of the virtual variety- audience for it. By the way, Pooksie, SLN 12 is going to feature a ‘tables turned’ interview with you, hahaha!
Pookes: Bring it on! So where do you see the naturist community in SL right now?
Ella: At a relatively low ebb, oddly enough. Sure, we have some very vibrant and exceptionally strong performers in the field, but there’s less people willing to take a chance on a sim right now. It does cost money, real money, and the economic downturn we experienced a few years back in the real world means people don’t have the means to simply throw money at a pastime. That’s not just related to the naturist community. I’d say most areas of SL endeavour have seen the same. I know I’ve witnessed a lot of clothes shops shut up shop, places I’d visit on a monthly basis. Sure, some people decide they’ve outgrown SL, or got bored with it. Others simply can’t afford the outlay. I’d guess there are now only a few places who turn a profit. Some of the hair salons might. Some of the clothes places. But I’d imagine few are even breaking even for their owners. Fortunately there are die-hards who’ve been here longer than I have!
Pookes: You once said to me that SL had shrunk in terms of cultural breadth.
Ella: Yes. You used to wander African sims….space sims….alien world sims…there was a lot to explore. Nowadays if you build an African sim it’s clearly not for money, right from the start. You can sell a few ethnic clothes and that’s it. So you’re pouring money down the drain in a sense. Few people can sustain that. So yes, in terms of cultural breadth, SL is shrinking.
Pookes: Would you say you retain hope for the game?
Ella: If it doesn’t survive as SL, it will survive as something else. So in that respect, yes. But I think Linden Labs could be more pro-active in their approach. Pricing tiers for north America and Europe’s disposable income is one thing, but that’s not the entire world. Brazil…Russia…India…maybe not China….but three of the four BRIC economies, coming powerhouses, could be targeted according to a lower GDP disposable income. Make the tiers cheaper. Everyone can afford homes, afford to run shops…it would invigorate SL’s economy.
Pookes: And with it SL’s naturist community?
Ella: Almost certainly.
Pookes: What are the big changes you’ve seen in seven years?
Ella: In naturist terms, a more genuine naturist community in naturist sims. We used to suffer from newbies with permanently erect penises griefing all the time. That’s mostly gone now. In avatar terms, flex hair, mesh, better looking skins. It has changed out of recognition. I’m excited about what the next seven years will unfold for us.
Pookes: Will SLN be here?
Ella: Who knows? If there’s enough to write about, maybe. I’d like to see more niche blogs related to lifestyle other than clothes blogs. Maybe a new naturist blog will come along and steal our audience. If they do, great! But if SL’s here in seven years I guess I’ll still be in world.
Just as we were putting the magazine to bed, and I’d got the from cover sorted, with the various banners of what’s ‘inside’, Barbara sent me some covers from recent copies of British naturist magazine Health & Efficiency.
Judging by their banner headlines (and I’d not seen the mag or its covers recently) it appears that SLN (covering stories of mastectomies, Vera Playa and so on) is mirroring H&E’s coverage of naturist and related stories!