Peer pressure (Agde Memories No.2)

One thing I’ve learned over the years with regards naturism or, indeed, any form of collective public nudity is how much peer pressure plays in getting someone to disrobe. From the Roskilde fun run, to coy, collective topless ‘hand bra’ shots on holiday, to the WNBRs, to Tunick shoots or even first time on a naturist beach, peer pressure often plays a role.

Last week I wrote about my first summer job in a naturist cafe in Cap D’Agde (consider this post to be ‘Agde Memories No.1), and how our day off at the end (strictly speaking, a Monday, the beginning of the week) allowed my cousin Sylvia and I to immerse ourselves in naturism.

Sylvia had previous experience of the lifestyle, I had none, so on our first day off we headed to the pool at the Heliopolis complex. It’s the large semi circular building(s) you see in many Agde photos.

The following photo isn’t me (we’re essentially in the pre-digital, pre-mobile phone days, so photography didn’t feature the entire holiday, and rather sadly, no photographic evidence of us exists on that holiday) but it’s the very pool where I would make my nude debut.

Back then, Agde hadn’t lost its innocence, it was a strictly naturist location, and the following photos capture images that would be in line with my memories of the place. Innocent naturism. No silicone, no genital piercings, no tattoos, no genital shaving. Possibly my outlook on naturism remains coloured by that first experience of the lifestyle.

 

Which brings us back to peer pressure.

There was a fair bit of communal nudity within the confines of our tatty apartment. No air con, hot nights, having worked ourselves into a lather during the clean up and wash down at closing time meant we’d come back, strip off and flop onto our respective camp beds. I’d always been an enthusiastic swimmer, so a bit of communal nudity in a changing room never bothered me, and didn’t bother me when it was Sylvia and myself in our apartment. The idea of public nudity was something else again, though.

Our first day off saw us striding towards the pool area, Sylvia nude, me clad in the bikini I’d specially bought for this working holiday.

Sylvia swam. Sylvia sunbathed. I sat on the sun lounger. And then I sunbathed in my bikini. Eventually I got as daring as I was going to dare to be, and undid the clasp of my bikini to let my back feel the full benefit of the sun.

And all the while Sylvia was gently reminding me that it was a naturist place. Some gentle pressure was being applied. The day was getting hotter, I was beginning to break out in a sweat and that pool did look inviting! And so…with a great big lump in my throat, I managed to slide off the bikini briefs while remaining seated on the pool lounger.

It’s fine, I would tell myself. It’s only my bottom now on display in public. No biggie! Stay calm Ella and enjoy your book!

I was positioning myself such that even though men and women were walking up and down next to my sun lounger, nothing important was on display. And I was bare in public, I’d remind myself. I was exceptionally brave, I told myself. But that sun was damned hot and I needed to cool down quickly. Eventually it got too much.

A dash to the pool side, everyone, the whole world, watching me as I attempted to reach the water with as much of me hidden as I could possibly achieve, like these ladies below. Everyone was staring!!!!!!!

 

Actually, no one gave two hoots for me, but that wasn’t how I saw it at the time. The water was terrific, though and I stayed in for ages, quite contentedly swimming around and innocently oblivious to the fact that anyone wearing a pair of swim goggles could see all of me anyway.

The run back to the lounger was equally half-covered, red-faced with embarrassment,  and sure the eyes of the world (in reality, no one) was looking at me. Again, refer to the gallery above…

But I was now a naturist! Not a very confident one, admittedly, but small steps and all that…

To a small degree, I felt cajoled into it, gentle peer pressure from Sylvia. And I guess that’s the same for many people in Tunick shoots, WNBRs or even mad (perhaps a little drunken) midnight skinny dips on holiday. ‘Hey, let’s all get naked and hit the…. (Tunick shoot/WNBR/sea at midnight/delete as necessary)’. Great idea, says someone else, and the next thing you know you’re willingly or reluctantly signed up for some form of public nudity. And you don’t want to be the shrinking violet, the one who baulks at the idea and seems afraid. You go along with it. Sometimes that’s the way into public nudity in a naturist sense. There’s strength in numbers.

I’ll subsequently pick this up in another of my postings that recall Cap D’Agde, and my discovery of naturism, next week.

 

Ella

 

 

 

Naturist groceries and the sarong

It’s hard to say how genuinely naturist the photo above is, but I’m going to say that it is naturist, rather than some sort of voyeur/exhibitionist photo. Why? Supermarkets in holiday locations often frown upon customers in swimwear, let alone just wrapped in a pareo/sarong (which are often diaphanous and show almost everything anyway). At some naturist locations, shopping nude is acceptable, but some naturists still put on something for shopping.

 

I confess that, like the lady in the very first photo, I do throw something on in a naturist supermarket. Mainly because the building is often air-conditioned, so a little cover up helps with the chill that might otherwise be experienced.

I love my sarongs! So practical in so many ways! They also look great on guys! While conventional wisdom suggests they’re for the younger, rugged, handsome male, I actually think they look fabulous on more mature guys as well As the next small gallery shows, there’s lots of ways to wear one as well.

 

 

We’re a naturist blog, of course, so ‘clothes’ aren’t uppermost in my thoughts when blogging, most of the time. I will make an exception for sarongs and pares, though. Whenever I see one on any of the SL blogs, I have to have it! My RL naturist suitcase usually has about 4 of these that go on holiday with me and, even so, I’ll often come home with a couple more.

Ella says that a sarong or pareo can also look terrific on SL & RL males, regardless of age

Back to where this post began, with supermarket shopping in the nude. While supermarkets aren’t two a penny in SL, there’s a couple of them around, and they make for a great backdrop to capture an essence of your SL naturist holidaying experience.

Ella

The naturist cafe

The post on ‘aqua gym’ got me thinking of how well organised French Naturism is. It may be ‘camping’, in a sense, but it’s very luxurious camping. Even when we used to drive to sites in a car and with little more than a two person tent and a gas camping stove, we were amazed how inclusive it all was. We weren’t made to feel like ‘poor relations’ by those in motorhomes (RV’s, for those of you in north America) or extensive, superbly appointed tents.

Campsite facilities are second to none, and all of the facilities one might find in a typical French village are generally in place, from a shop selling beautiful fresh fruit and veg, to a patisserie selling freshly baked croissants in the morning and warm bread for your meals later in the day. Many also have terrific on-site restaurants.

In another of those happy coincidences that grab SLN from time to time, Harry has been out doing a photoshoot with model Esme, in a patisserie!

We do use Bitcacora Viajera’s website to locate some fabulously photogenic sims for photoshoots, and it was from there that Harry discovered the Indigo Patisserie sim. In keeping with the remit of this blog, Esme modelled as she might at a French naturist campsite. Truthfully, she might have had a few more clothes on than she does in this terrific set of photos! The food on display is exactly the sort of fare you might reasonably expect to find in any French patisserie, textile or naturist.

This got me thinking that while I’ve talked about my own entry into naturism, I have never actually done one of our stock-in-trade themes, that of replicating it in Second Life.

And so…I rounded up Harry, who rounded up the same male model, Guillaume, as he used in the Esme shoot…and off I went to the patisserie to re-enact my first foray into naturism 22(!) years ago now.

For those who don’t know, my cousin and I secured waitressing jobs for a summer in Cap D’Agde, a naturist resort in France. Then, it was the future of naturism, an entire naturist town with shops, accommodation, pools, recreational facilities, its own police station. Now, its reputation has diminished, or advanced, depending on your point of view. Today it’s a magnet for freaks, libertines, exhibitionists, wife-swappers and such like, and has no real place being regarded as ‘genuinely naturist’. Oh, there are pockets of it where, particularly by day, it can still be a family, naturist location, but at night, and even by day in certain parts, it is apparently possible to witness public sex involving multiple people, oral sex, penetrative sex, all taking place in the dunes in daylight, while after dark it just resembles a human zoo.

Back then, aged 18, bookish and never having had a boyfriend (sad but true!) it was an eye-opener to turn up, dressed, for work serving in a cafe full of naturists. On the upside, my French was pretty good and despite long, 12 hour days, one day off per week, the work not too taxing. Exhausting, but not taxing. Tips were good, but Sylvia, my cousin, and I would walk out at night like zombies after a full day on our feet, and collapse into our beds in a a small, barely furnished apartment.

Sylvia, a year older, more worldly-wise and with a little experience of naturism at home in the Netherlands, kept on all that first week about how on our day off, we could spend the day lying naked under the sun and recharge our batteries. I had no intention of doing such a thing!

At work we were, as I say, dressed, mostly because the proprietor was rightly keen on food hygiene. The food prep area would see is in hair nets to ensure no stray hair in food, and in the heat of Agde to ensure no one was dripping sweat in the food either. Shorts and a singlet vest were the order of the day, and an apron (see photo above).

Ella doesn’t know where to look!

It was strange, very strange, to be taking coffees out onto the terrace to a variety of singles, couples and families, all of whom would be nude! I didn’t know where to look, but by the end of the first couple of days I think I’d seen all there was to see! Back then, of course, pubic hair was still in fashion, genital piercings just coming into fashion, so shaved genitals (on either sex) and a variety of piercings (on either sex) weren’t common in the way they are even in mainstream naturism now.

One or two of the girls who worked with us would go topless while serving, but the proprietor insisted that shorts and apron stayed on.

Below, I’ve added a small gallery of the sort of naturist dining locations typically found at naturist campsites and locations…

Several of the above certainly evoke memories of my time in Agde.

It’s also important to give a sense of the more wholesome nature of Agde naturism as it was back then, and the next small gallery is intended to illustrate that…

Everything looks very typically mainstream naturist, doesn’t it?

Let’s reflect on the sort of zoo Agde has become. Below, a gallery which shows the more exhibitionist side of Agde, the sort of circus freak show that comes to town as the sun goes down. Remember, these are tame photos. It’s a relatively easy task to find photos of all manner of wild, public, sexual encounters from Agde on the net. Not the remit of this blog, nor something of which I approve, so none of those types of photos are included.

Neither have I included photos of the likes of leather-clad males leading leather-clad females around on leashes. While the behaviour may be ‘consensual’, it has nothing -absolutely nothing- to do with genuine naturism and nothing to do with creating the mind-set for society wherein females and males are equal. Submission and domination has no place in naturism either.

Contemporary Agde style clothing is also wholly possible in Second Life

In a subsequent companion piece to this blog entry, I’ll try to do an SL replication of what happened when, at the end of a long week, we did get our day off and my first experience of naturism finally happened.

Ella

 

 

Aquagym

French naturist campsites are exceptionally well organised for sporting activities, none more so than in and around the pool, where you can find aqua gym exercise classes going on most days. And if memory serves me correctly, in the years BC (before children) when we used these sites they were very popular.

Some French campsites are also fitted out with superb pool facilities, including water slides, and land-based yoga classes will always feature strongly too.

Some yoga will be organised, while others prefer a ‘free range’ approach.

 

Within SL, many of the same activities are possible. Below, our models relax after some aquarobics, do some free-range yoga on the beach, and indulge in an organised yoga class within SL.

Ella

edited to add some more aquagym/yoga photos…

World Naked Gardening Day (a preview)

 

World Naked Gardening Day is just three weeks away, on Saturday May 6th.

There are dozens of exceptionally photogenic gardens scattered around SL, so there’s never been a better time to celebrate naked gardening than by taking your avatar out onto the grid and capturing a few photos, even if they’re only for your own album.

Remember the date! Well be doing an extensive post featuring RL and SL naked gardening scenes.

 

Ella

Happy Easter

Not really our usual type of  photo, and little to do with naturism, per se, but the photo above made me laugh.

I know several clubs and resorts will be opening up their shops and cafes this weekend, as the naturist season is well and truly declared ‘open’. Like you, I hope for another excellent summer’s naturist activities in and out of SL. It finally feels as though the long winter is behind us!

Ella

Nude dance

Back in January we did a post about naked opera, a posting only just recently discovered by ‘Helene’, (not her real name) still a dancer with a contemporary ballet troupe…somewhere in France, I shall say, lest we make her too readily identifiable.

As well as dancing in all manner of costumes, from a tutu to freshly designed fantasy outfits, Helene wrote to me about her naked experiences in dance, both onstage and backstage.

‘The culture of a dance company is that there is a lot of casual nudity involved backstage. It was quite a shock to me when I first joined the company but it feels normal within a day or two. [similar to how I often describe the initial feeling of naturism – Ella]

‘We would go in in the morning and change and that would be a first exposure to a mass, casual nakedness. You will have seen everyone nude within the first day or two. I used to turn away to change into my leotard and feel embarrassed. Despite there theoretically being male and female changing areas with showers, people essentially used either. The protocol was that the female changing rooms were closer to our rehearsal floor, so people would file in and use it first, and it was only if you arrived a little bit later would people use the male changing area. Showers were pretty much communal, and I was really embarrassed after my first rehearsal, going into a shower area nude and finding 2-3 men in there!

‘Within a week I might have found myself vastly outnumbered by men in a shower but I had already grown so used to it by then that I would stand and talk about everyday stuff, oblivious to the fact they were all nude too.

‘I had been with the company for a couple of years before the whole idea of performing nude, collectively, arose for me. Many of the company had danced nude before, but while I was comfortable with the backstage nudity being normal, the idea of going naked onstage was frightening! For just a moment or two, anyway.

‘Despite us doing a contemporary dance in the nude, and nudity being a regular thing backstage, we rehearsed for that production in our usual clothes. Leotards and leggings. It was only when we got to the first dress rehearsal, an undress rehearsal, that we actually went naked.

‘Once you go out onstage you forget that you are nude. The concentration is on getting the performance right.

With cheap or free ballet leggings, leotards, leg warmers and ballet pumps aplenty on the Marketplace, it’s simple to kit out a ballet styled avatar.

Our models finally take their contemporary nude dance to the stage…

Ella

Loincloth

 

A couple of my SL naturist friends utilise ‘alts’ for their role-play characters at Amazon River, a vast series of sims replicating the Brazilian rainforest, complete with tribes, explorers, shamen and all other manner of ‘tribal’ role-play. Indeed, it’s much more common to find them online ‘in character’ at Amazon than it is being simply ‘naturist’.

I had spotted the loincloths featured above at the Fab Free blog, but my inbox indicated that so, too, had my ‘native’ friends, and the photos were already awaiting for me when I checked my mail.

Tamiron Forge are offering the loincloths as their current group gift (L$0 for the gift, L$10 join fee).

Ella

‘New’ pool at Lupe’s

Lupe’s Magical Forest (a strictly naturist sim, hooray!) has installed a ‘new’ (new to us, anyway) pool area at its entrance. I love the wild ambience of Lupe’s, the streams and photogenic trees, but this formal pool is a welcome addition as it allows avatars to chill in a nicely designed area and chat while lounging around, rather than maybe just talking on a one-to-one basis. Hopefully it will create a more sociable area at this excellent, top-rate naturist sim for those who may wish to socialise.

 

Ella

Pioneers

I once read an article on the internet about an enlightened young gay man berating his contemporaries. Some young gays, he argued, look at older gay men and think ‘ewww! Disgusting! An old, fat hairy bear!’.

The enlightened author was making the point that without those older gay men, and the battles they fought for equal rights, there would be no LGBT culture as we know and accept it today. So much of what we rightly accept as gay rights might well still be in the closet without the challenges faced by an older generation of gay men (and women).

I would argue that much of the same attitudes displayed by younger gays is also prevalent in naturism, and I’ve read comments about how people of a certain age or weight shouldn’t be going naked. That naked is only the preserve of the younger, and attractive generation. ‘Put your old saggy boobs away, along with the rolls of fat around your stomach’ is a common view.

I’m sorry, but if that’s your view, you’re wrong. As with gay rights, an older generation of naturists fought battles so that you could have a nearby naturist beach or swimming pool facility. In the 60s and 70s, they were pushing at the envelope to ensure you could enjoy a naturist beach. They were forming and building naturist clubs. They were lobbying. They were the vanguard of post-war naturism. They are the reason you enjoy the naturist facilities you enjoy today.

Perhaps, rather than moaning about the older generation of naturists, the time has come to say thanks to them for what they did, what they achieved.

Barbara