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A Singular Life

By Melissa Lapier

www.barelymelissa.com

My mother’s worst nightmare has come true: I’m 36 years old and single.  Or maybe her worst nightmare is that I’ve brought her no grandchildren.  Either way, I’m not what she planned for. When I was a little girl, I always assumed that by the ripe old age of 36 I’d be married with a few kids and a dog.  Well, I have the dog and my life is the most perfect life of anyone I know.  Each day I wake up nude, go to a job I love (or work from home, if I so desire), talk or meet with dear friends, and enjoy numerous forms of recreation that I love.  In short, I guess the husband and kids aren’t needed for me to live the happiest life of anyone I know.  It wasn’t in my plans to be single but I’m finding that it’s worked out rather nicely.  Shirley MacLaine once said, “I don’t need a man to rectify my existence. The most profound relationship we’ll ever have is the one with ourselves.”  I think she’s right.

Being single is wonderful but being discriminated against for being single is not.  I consistently hear about discrimination against single men in nudism; they’re not welcome at many clubs, they’re suspected to be of worse moral character than couples, they should call ahead to ensure that they will be welcome at a club, etc.  Many of these single men have noted to me that I’m lucky to be a single woman because I’m welcome everywhere and treasured in all nudist environments.  I have news for these single men and for the couples who also believe it to be true: it just ain’t so.

Though life is good, I do notice that I, as a single woman, run in to some disadvantages within the nudist world.   These disadvantages are not evident outside of nudism, by the way.  There are clubs that I am not permitted to visit, extra costs for a nude cruise due to my single status, odd expectations that I’m a predator, other odd expectations that I need extra “protection” due to being a single woman, and the list goes on.

Experiencing nudism as a single woman is also downright humorous at times.  The assumption that I “should” be married off quickly because of the gender imbalance within the nudist community always makes me laugh.  Individuals who expect that I’m visiting an AANR club solely to meet “Mr. Perfect” also cracks me up; is that the only reason for a single woman to visit?  The ample help that’s available for me—you know, the help that I don’t need as an empowered woman—brings a smile to my face, too.   All of this because I’m a single woman.  (Note: I’ve heard that gay, lesbian, and bisexual nudists run into many of the same difficulties that singles do.)

The whole concept of different allowances and expectations due to my being a single woman is outrageous and a sign that nudism isn’t keeping up with the times.  According to CNN.com, 96 million people in America are single, which amounts to 43% of all adults over the age of 18.  If nudists are representative of Americans as a whole, that means 43% of all adults will be unwelcome in some AANR locations or have to pay excessive fees to participate in the nudist adventure of their choice simply because of their marital status.  More than half of these unmarried adults are women; there are reportedly 100 single women for every 88 single men.

Which begs the question: if being single is so common, why is it that single nudists—both male and female—are experiencing discrimination?  Why is it that we allow this discrimination?  What are we to do about it?  As AANR and each club within AANR look to the future, I believe these questions need to be answered and acted upon.  Only then can we truly serve our members and display the acceptance that is the hallmark of nudism.

This is the first article in a new monthly Bulletin column that will be Melissa’s way of discussing the wonderful yet weird world of a single nudist.

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