Semi Prude

Several years ago I attended a retreat at some nearby hot springs.

I signed up for the retreat AS I WAS DRIVING THERE, so I never got a chance to read the emailed instructions they sent me detailing what the weekend was about.

We make it through ALL OF FRIDAY NIGHT, sleep in community, and then get up for Saturday’s activities.

Somewhere around noon, the instructors mention that it’s “Clothing Optional” time and everyone starts to strip.

They ask, “Did anyone NOT know this retreat was clothing optional?”

I raise my hand.

I mean, I knew that the hot tubs were clothing optional, but the WHOLE RETREAT?!

This I did not know.


Yes, I did.

When in Rome, you know.

And as it turned out, it wasn’t that bad.

We, as Americans, have far too prudish an attitude about nudity than other countries.

I made it through my naked weekend just fine.

But it’s been years since I did a naked retreat and I must admit, the idea of doing it again kinda scares me.

Why am I bringing this up?

Because I’m going to a party which is clothing optional and I will of course be invited to socialize in the nude.

In some way, being naked is wonderful because it removes all the barriers we put up to keep people at a distance from us.

There’s lots of connection when you see the vulnerable side of people.

But in other ways, being naked is awful because it removes all the barriers we put up to keep people at a distance.

And that provides safety.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do, but if I had to guess, I say I’ll go in the hot tub naked but I will socialize with my clothes on.

This American is only SEMI-PRUDISH!

Juplaya Day 2: The playa and Soldier Meadows Hot Springs

God, was I hung over on Saturday morning. I thought my head would split wide open. Tejas fed me Advil and Tylenol to settle my pounding noggin and we went on our way.

After breakfast, we joined up with Twisty Doer of Things, his girlfriend Manea, and Lucky Linda.  Our first venture was out to Frog Pond to check out the happenings there. And there was a lot of people camping out at Frog Pond. In fact, the two closest ponds could be referred to as “Burner Stew” there were so many people inside.

Soak in grey water? No thanks. I took pictures though:

IMG_6869 IMG_6870
IMG_6871 IMG_6875

I discovered at Frog Pond how fricking hot it is out there as my head went up in flames. Thankfully Tejas had a hat he let me borrow so I strolled around for a bit checking out the naked and not naked people partaking of the Frog Pond waters.

IMG_6877Then we went out onto the playa and drove around for a bit checking out encampments, trying to find friends and make new friends.

We really enjoyed hanging with the burners over at Bromance camp and listened to their stories about getting engaged on the playa.

They were the Shangri-La of the playa – they had clean port-o-potties which they shared. Love you guys!

IMG_6890They also had a cool black geodesic dome which provided shade for us to sit under while we ate lunch. Tons of fun to relax in there with the Bromance crew.

IMG_6888 IMG_6887

We found Spanky’s Bar on the playa and marked it in our GPS to find later but never went back (because of the storm on Saturday night).

IMG_6894Off then to Soldier Meadows Hot Springs which was AMAZING!  Of course first we had to outrun the HUGE WALL OF DUST which threatened to engulf us (photo credit:  Illiana).

IMG_6932Look at this pool. I could not resist a little dip inside. Too bad I though everyone was going in to the water wearing suits. By the time I realized it was clothing optional, I was knee deep on 102 degree water. Still it was very nice and refreshing and I enjoyed myself thoroughly.  I got reprimanded for wearing a suit though.  Sorry, hot springs virgin here.


All in all, the six of us had a great time on the playa and at the hot springs. I am grateful that Illiana and Tejas took me around and showed me the environment that I’ll be facing during Burning Man. Considering I was sweating buckets when it was a mere 80 some degrees out, I can only imagine what 100+ feels like.

Someone is going to fry her ass off!