By Tim Whyte
After a fall filled with fires, car crashes, political strife, shootings and a general sense of dread and tragedy, this past week I got a press release that was just the ticket to lighten the mood as we head into the thick of the holiday season.
It came from the AANR: The American Association for Nudist Recreation. (You can visit them online at aanr.com for more info, if you’re so inclined…) The headline, predictably, was “The Naked Truth about Nudists.”
Drat, they didn’t send photos.
There wasn’t a local angle — at least, I didn’t think so — so I didn’t assign it to a reporter. We get a lot of press releases — hundreds per week, easily — and most of them head right into the digital equivalent of the round file. As a local newspaper, we pretty much stick to the local stuff, and considering the fact that, as far as I know, there are no Santa Clarita Valley nudist colonies or beaches, this one wasn’t making the cut for the pages of The Mighty Signal.
But, it did make me stop and look. Sort of like an actual nudist would, I guess.
The press release was datelined “Kissimmee, Florida,” because of course. That’s where you’d expect a nudist press release to come from.
It made note of some interesting facts about nudists, other than the fact that they pretty much do everything al fresco.
Did you know that nudists are mostly college-educated, and over age 45? That’s not the demographic you envision when you picture a nudie beach, is it?
They’re also more likely than the clothed public to have memberships at warehouse stores, which leads one to ask, since their clothing budgets are probably a fraction of yours and mine, what, exactly, are they buying at Sam’s Club?
A lot of paper towel, I suppose. And sunscreen. Giant tubs of sunscreen.
Nudists, according to the AANR news release, hold careers in “military, education, business, medicine, government, communications and entrepreneurial ventures.” They also tend to be politically active and live in suburban and rural areas. “Key political issues of concern are tax reform, terrorism and saving endangered species.”
Hey. That sounds like us. Is there a Santa Clarita nudist club hanging around that we don’t know about? Are any of our local political leaders nudists in their off time? (That would make us look at City Council and school board meetings a lot differently, wouldn’t it?)
The release goes on to say nudists “enjoy cooking, but mostly using crock pot and oven bake recipes (avoiding stove-top splatters).”
Yikes. Can you imagine? You’re making fish and chips on the stove top, and the second you drop that first beer-battered piece of cod (would that be a cod piece?) into the frying pan, zap! Your nether regions are scorched with hot peanut oil.
Nudists, the AANR release says, “read and watch news programming, and listen and contribute to public talk/classical radio.”
They are also nature lovers — no surprise there — are concerned for the environment and regularly participate in beach cleanups.
I wonder. When the nudists clean up a beach, do they wear rubber gloves?
Recreationally, the release says, nudists enjoy outdoor activities including bicycling (geez, a bike seat is uncomfortable enough when you’re wearing pants), trail hiking (uh, poison oak is one thing on an arm or a leg, never mind “down there”), canoeing, petanque (I looked it up, and that’s a lawn game involving, ahem, steel balls), tennis (fuzzy balls), skinny dipping (well, duh), and, last but not least, pickle ball.
Pickle ball. On a nude beach.
I’m just going to leave that one right there.
Tim Whyte is editor of The Signal. His column appears Sundays. On Twitter: @TimWhyte.