When you visit a resort like Ponderosa or Bare Oaks their clothing policies are fairly simple. Most if not all of the resorts are clothing NOT optional. With some allowances for newbies to test the waters so to speak, or weather, you go to a naturist resort to be natural, aka nude, in nature. My experiences at Ponderosa with this have been nothing less than wonderful.
My experience at Hanlan's Point, while still excellent, has not been the same. I've previously mentioned that a fair size minority, sometimes majority of those in the clothing optional part of the beach choose not to take the option. If you are genuinely there to see for yourself what its like before you try naturism/nudism and either decide its not for you, or chicken out as it were, so be it. My first time at Hanlan's I damn near turned around myself. When the company picnic was on Toronto Island last year, there were silly jokes by colleagues about checking it out, having a peak etc but no one actually went over (that I know of). This years picnic about a month ago was also on the Island, happened to at a site right next to both the clothing optional and clothing mandatory beaches and this time several colleagues did sneak off to walk the beach. Now had the group actually been brave enough to say they were going to try it out, I might have considered going along. These are not just colleagues but people I socialise with outside work as well. But it was clear they were going to peak at all the "nudies". Leaving the fact that I am a naturist out of it, I tried to speak up but it was of no use, they wanted to get their look.
Having written about my experiences with this before I was not going to again but then I saw the article by CBC Canada's nudists feeling overexposed by onlookers . It appears the problem is worse than even I noticed and some naturist/nudists have taken to posting signs implying nudity was mandatory and even confronting those "textiles" that don't go nude.
While I agree with the sentiment and would love to see a stop to the gawking, I disagree with these actions for a couple reasons.
- That person very may well be a bit nervous to take the step towards naturism and who are we to tell them what they can or cannot wear? Its that attitude that keeps naturism secluded to a few sparse resorts and two public clothing option beaches in Canada. If you choose to dip your toe in the water, or dive right in, that's your choice. If the naturism movement and culture is to grow, it has to be done in an open and inclusive way, not via confrontation.
- If you feel nudity should be mandatory, and I could get behind this very quickly, petition the city as in the past to remove the option on the naturist beach, or split the beach in three, one for textiles, one for clothing optional for those taking a first step, and one for nudity mandatory.
- There are alternatives like Ponderosa and Bare Oaks in the GTA. I have read of some private beaches (ie one near Port Burwell Provincial park). I've not been personally but have read in a few places online that Naturism is permitted at some locations and tend to be only frequented by non-textile types.
While I completely agree that the clothing optional beaches can get a bit crowded with those just checking out the sights. But it is a public beach and there for the use of all. I would no sooner ask someone to remove their clothes than I would want someone to tell me to put mine back on. I'd love to hear other opinions on this, its a long overdue discussion.