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The textbook definition of a clique is "a small group of people, with shared interests or other features in common, who spend time together and do not readily allow others to join them."
They can be found anywhere; and social nudism is not exempt.
One the one hand, I can understand developing strong friendships in the nudist world and preferring to socialize with people you know and like. On the other hand, when it becomes exclusionary; then it becomes a "clique", which to me can be antithetic to an environment that supposedly promotes acceptance.
There is a clique at my resort; which my wife and I have aptly named "The Clique." They are two couples in their mid-thirties; sometimes accompanied by a third. They are regulars at the resort, so my wife and I are quite familiar with their presence there. They sit by themselves away from other people; and rarely socialize outside of their group. My wife has made several attempts to introduce herself to them; and was given a cold shoulder each time by the two women. They are not rude per se; they just clearly are not interested in forming new friendships. From the outside looking in, it appears to be snobbism and a refusal to socialize with "regular folks." But I also noticed that the two women tend to cover up when walking around the resort; so it could also be a lack of comfort being openly naked outside their "safe" circle. I might never know; and it actually doesn't matter so much.
I've mentioned in another post running into an old co-worker at our resort. After the initial "OMG...it's actually YOU!!", we got comfortable with being naked around each other, and "leveled up" from ex-co-workers to nudist friends. We now meet up and all hang out at the resort.
And my wife and I saw it coming from a mile away: we were going the "cliquish route."
My wife, who is sensitive to the "clique effect", has been insistent in not going that route, whilst embracing having nudist friends. So we've agreed to adequately split our time between hanging out with our friends, and being on our own and open to other people.
My personal philosophy of nudism, which I've expressed many times here, is acceptance and inclusion. As a nudist "oldy", I feel we should be friendly and approachable; particularly to newbies and people seeking to "connect" in the nudist world. It's ok to have a "primary social circle", but I think at the exclusion of other people sends a strong negative message.
Just a thought...
I was taught a simple way to be open to meeting others in a group (not, in this case, a naturist group). Don't stand (or sit) facing one another; leave one side of a triangle open for others to join in, and then switch the conversation to include the new arrival. If you are sitting at a table, make sure there is an empty chair so there is room for a newcomer. Then, of course, welcome them!
I pastored in small churches and cliques are a big issue in them as well when they should be trying to reach out to others.
So it’s not nude venues alone that have this trouble. In the churches they could use a big dose of repentance. And that might not hurt in nudist circles either.
Nudony, you're right about the cliques, but I may have a different perspective than you on this. My experience with cliques is not just two or three couples who come to a resort and keep to themselves—that would be okay with us—but with resorts where many and sometimes most of the people are friendly with each other but not newcomers. When it's two or three couples who are friendly to newcomers, rather than two or three couples who keep to themselves, it's not good. Many of those "nudist cliques" at resorts are older people who are not welcoming to younger people.
On the beach near our campus, there were certainly groups that stayed together. Some of the long-term locals were old enough to be our parents, or were even older and had been coming to the beach before we were born. Some were friendly to the "college kids" but I can't really blame them for not taking more time with us. From their perspective, why invest time in making friends with people who will be gone in a few years? I think it would be different if we graduated and stayed in the area and kept coming as young newlywed adults.
Even among college visitors, our student friendships affected how we related on the beach. When we were students, there was a group of morning joggers who loved running along the water's edge. We learned later some of them were varsity athletes and others were friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, and others who just loved to run, and learned to enjoy nude running followed by a nude swim to cool down, but weren't on teams. Nothing wrong with that, and we got to know some of them who started staying longer on the beach, or coming to the beach later in the morning and joining our group of students who preferred laying out to enjoy suntanning and nude swimming. Our interests were different, and because of their high-intensity running, they needed to eat meals that weren't available on the beach so many came down, ran, and left. Also due to temperature it was more comfortable for them to come down to the beach early in the day when it was cooler. Most of my friends wouldn't want to come right after sunrise because the ocean breezes would make it too chilly to be nude, but for runners, cool air is good, not bad.
I've written more but my husband has read it and worries I'll offend people. This website has a mostly older audience and I know that. Some of my college friends said, "The people down there on the nude beach are the sort of people you don't want to see nude." I have nothing against old white single guys coming to a nude beach, but if most people on a nude beach are old single guys, and most people at resorts are older couples, the way to attract younger people and especially younger women is for young people to invite other young people, which mostly means their friends. Then we risk getting blamed by long-term nude beach regulars, or the dues-paying regular members of nudist resorts (as opposed to the day visitors) for creating "cliques."
I really don't mean to sound like I'm blaming older people. They have a point when they say young people take nude beaches and resorts for granted and don't realize all the hard work people our parents' and grandparents' ages put in to build them, maintain the facilities, and even fight to make social nudity legal. As one "angry oldster" said years ago to one of my friends from campus, "You young freeloaders wouldn't be able to legally be on this beach at all if it weren't for us 'old people' you dislike so much." (My friend had been saying some unkind and even rude things, and saying them loud enough that he was overheard, and I can't blame the longtime beach regular who heard his comments for calling my friend out.)
But I don't think like my mother. My husband doesn't think like his father. We enjoy different things and live different lives. People we invite to a nude beach or nude resort won't have much in common with people their parents' ages, and if there aren't people closer to our age (perhaps the adult sons and daughters of the "long-timers?") to welcome people my age and my friends, many of my friends won't want to come back.
That points to another problem: Keeping the second generation in social nudity. It's a problem and I don't have an answer.
"I could tell they appreciated feeling included. I think this exemplifies what CalgaryMark was talking about".
You got it and acted the way we were 'taught' in the other group I wrote about. And also what I experienced on a beach in Spain where some were obviously old acquaintances, and the people who spoke to me (a nervous newbie, that day!) were more 'outgoing' - there are none more outgoing than naked people on a beach ;-)
At the lakefront cottage I passed around Nudony's comment about "cliques" and had lots of responses.
The weather is great, hot enough so people want to wear less clothing and spend more time in the water, but not so hot they stay inside with air conditioning to avoid overheating and sunburns. More people than usual at the cottage, including first-timers I don't know brought by friends. In addition to helping newbies through the usual struggles, we had great discussions with friends about their time at other nudist locations, beaches, resorts, private pools, nonlanded swim clubs that rent public pools, skinnydipping in isolated rivers and springs, etc.
Nudony's two posts about "running into an old co-worker at our resort" drew quite a few comments since several regulars at the cottage know each other from work. Men inviting a female co-worker to a nudist place, or a supervisor inviting someone under his (or even her) authority is viewed differently by the HR department than a woman inviting a female co-worker. Are the employees friends outside of work? How long? Were they friends before they started working at the company? No biggie if all goes well, but what if it doesn't, and the invited co-worker files a complaint?
One semi-regular at the lakefront cottage is a petite Hispanic woman who, as a college senior, started dating a tall and athletic American sophomore she met in an on-campus job where she was his supervisor. They're married now, both have graduated, but I remember them as a dating couple undressing for their first time ever at the cottage with all the bashfulness and modesty expected from two college students in love who very much enjoyed seeing each other nude but also both felt very guilty about enjoying their nudity. The woman's supervisor told her when their dating became known, "This had better work out for the two of you, because if it doesn't, our campus HR people will assume the worst about a female supervisor going after a younger male employee."
I've been called a "nudist influencer" or even a "nudist evangelist." I don't see myself that way, but it's true some fellow students who found out I went to the nude beach near our campus asked me what it was like. Most didn't plan to come and just had questions. I did try to invite people who knew my boyfriend and went there. Some accepted who I never expected would try social nudity. You never know unless you ask.
Some chats went like this. "Is it true all the guys are old and fat? Not true? Hmm. So there really are some students at our school besides you and your boyfriend who go there? Like who? Oh... Can I ask, what does _____ look like? Yeah, I know the swimsuit doesn't hide much, but, well, what about when it comes off? And... um... I dunno how to ask this, but what's it like to take off your own swimsuit when _____ is there with you? Oh, so you often just wear a long t-shirt and sandals with nothing underneath, or sometimes only shorts underneath, when you walk down to the nude beach? I guess that makes sense, you don't need a swimsuit at THAT beach. But still... uh... what's it like to watch ____ pull down his shorts and have him watch you pull off your T-shirt?"
To experienced nudists those seem like silly questions but they are very real to many people who are trying to put themselves into the shoes (or sandals) of a friend who is a real live nudist.
For me, inviting people to beaches isn't new. Back in high school, long before I was introduced as a college freshman to the nude beach, I regularly invited friends to come with me to pools and beaches. Of course we never dreamed of not wearing swimsuits, but cute girls in high school rarely get turned down by friends, whether male or female, when we invite them swimming. I did the same at textile beaches near our campus and the campus pool starting almost my first week of classes, and kept inviting friends to both textile beaches and the nude beach, and during winter to the campus pool.
Less often, a fellow student who didn't know either of us well sought us out because he, or sometimes she, was interested in going to the nude beach, had asked around, and heard we were regulars there. Those people rarely required convincing. They just wanted to make sure they weren't getting into something bad, and we assured them we loved it, so coming with us was an easy next step.
For those hesitant or even opposed to nude beaches (often reluctant girlfriends being talked into a nude beach visit by a boyfriend), our most successful efforts were with those who, in Nudony's words, were people "with shared interests or other features in common, who spend time together" with us already as fellow students in class, living in the dorm, members of social organizations, etc.
Does that mean my friends who came to a nude beach with me were the beginnings of a "nudist clique on the beach?" I guess you could say that. But isn't that better than not going at all?