Tuesday, November 24, 2009
People say that I'm negative in my naturist work, and that the only nudist stories that I've written are saturated with anger and frustration. This film contains many of those experiences.
But I wouldn't have stayed in the world of naturism (such as it is in Los Angeles) if I did not experience moments of true beauty. Moments that reveal the true nature of people, and what life could be like if we did not live under the metaphorical umbrella of guilt and shame.
So I present five stories of things I've seen in the nudist world that made me realize that nudity was something that is beautiful, and that it is a world to be cherished.
1. At Rawhide Ranch, (Laguna Del Sol) A little black girl in a swimming pool playing with a white Barbie doll. Her playmate was white, about the same age as her. Both were eight, I believe. Only the white girl was playing with a black Barbie doll. And the two of them would have the two Barbies swimming together. The girl's name was Sparkle. I didn't want to disturb them. That moment was too precious.
2. I was 18 when I first went to Lupin. The first nudist family I met had three or four children. It was the mom who told me a story about how her 11 year old would call Lupin Naturist Club, the "Naked Place." That's how I came up with the title. This moment happened when I first entered the hot tub to see, for the first time in my life, a pre-adolescent girl nude. And she actually had pubic hair. I was shocked at first until I realized that I had pubes at age 11. But I just never saw anyone else's, least of all a girls'. It embarrassed me that though I was an honors' student but didn't know this simple fact.
I'll never forget her eyes, behaving like a typical teenager checking out the boys. But in this case, surrounded by her family, she was in a safe environment, and those feelings were natural. And I remembered how she smiled at me, very likely because she probably never saw an Asian man in a nudist resort before. But I can still recall the changes in her body as she was on the cusp of womanhood. It made me realize how fragile such a change was. And it was then did I realize that such beauty should never be violated.
3. At Rawhide, I played pool with a teenager named Tiffany. We both kept our towels around our waist. After a while, I forgot we didn't have clothes on. We were simply two youths playing pool. It's not that a guy wouldn't notice a girl's bare breasts, but body parts become part of your costume, in a sense.
4. At the Hawaii Skinnydippers, I had the pleasure of welcoming our first young couple. The woman, Kim, had a gorgeous figure, and this was the only time I actually felt excited about seeing a nudist in the nude. I wasn't able to play volleyball because of some injury, I think, so I just watched the game. Seeing her body move was simply poetry in motion.
5. At the Hawaii Kai Nudist Party in the year 2000. I was pretty jaded by then, and the experience became the basis for my short film, "Kelly Deerdale." Well, there was a moment when "Kelly" (aged 12) was in the changing room, and a beautiful Asian woman disrobed. Kelly looked at her as though she had just seen a goddess. Her face lit up and she smiled. I assumed the only Asian American women in her life were her teachers or her neighbors, and I'm sure, as naturist children do, she wondered how these darker, golden hued women looked like in the nude. It's only natural. So here she was, in all her glory. And for me to see this through her eyes was, not to sound too corny, just magical.
I remember a poll I once read in a naturist magazine asking about one's attitudes regarding children and nudity.
One of the choices was "the human body is disgusting. Children shouldn't see it."
I actually laughed out loud when I read that. Little did I know that there were people who actually felt that way. But if anyone could see the look on Kelly's face, one would be convinced that nudity can be a positive effect on a child's well being. It's all in the context.
These are moments that have inspired poetry and my early screenplays, but will not be in my current work. I'm sure my readers will understand why. Like Sally Mann's work proved, childhood innocence no longer communicates.
It's sad but it's the state of the world, and probably always has been. But had it not been for moments like these, I wouldn't have stayed in the naturist world for as long as I have. Keep in mind, nudists are not artists. Most of the ones I've met have no concept of art. The current artists who photograph nudes today are not nudists themselves, though their subjects may be.
I hope this situation changes because we need more filmmakers like Jan Gay and less Russ Meyers. And admittedly all of my beautiful moments involve nude girls. I simply think they are more beautiful than us men. But I hope other women can share their beautiful experiences too.
I encourage readers of this blog to contribute their "Naked Memories." And before anyone asks, none of these stories are actually filmable, not even the Barbie story, so it will not appear in the Screening Room.