Naked and Unafraid

The first thing everybody at Lake Como Nudist Resort seems to want to tell me is they're not like those creeps over at Caliente, the resort up the street. "They're not even nudists," says a nurse in her late 40s, with a red sarong around her waist and grand breasts that rest just short of it, as she drinks a beer at the Butt Hutt, the resort bar. "They're swingers," she hisses softly.

Her man friend nods in agreement. His bare member bounces up and down on a towel-wrapped barstool as he nervously watches the Rays' closer blow a tight game on the bar TV; her sarong ripples as she antsily awaits the conclusion so they can move along to the hot tub, plastic cups in hand.

Just because they're naked and living easy doesn't mean they're libertines at Lake Como. Don't be fooled by the starkers biker types tossing darts (soft-tipped), or by the way this duo slips off into the cloudy night to get stoned before sauntering back to finish beer pitcher No. 3. There are many different ways to be unclothed here in Pasco County, Florida, a semi-rural stretch outside Tampa that has acquired a reputation over the last half-century as "the nudist capital of the world." Bare-assedness comes in distinct social categories.

"This is a nice place," the nurse says. Those people in Caliente—with their "MILFs and Mesh" club parties—are at one end of the spectrum. Lake Como is a "family" resort. Minors are welcome with a parent or guardian. There's tennis and shuffleboard, and a keyboard-playing Jimmy Buffett sound-alike on the pool deck on Saturdays.

I realize she's emphasizing the niceness because I'm an outlier, the only person under 40 unaccompanied by a partner. I'm the naked guy upsetting the naked balance, with tan lines announcing my recent disrobing. It doesn't help that I'm wearing my wedding ring.

I try to reassure them. I just got here, see, for the Christian nudist festival. I am on a sincere spiritual journey with 20 or so new friends.

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