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  The Navigator: The Naked & the Web
By Linton Weeks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 6, 1998

WARNING: Today's Navigator contains links to Web sites that contain images of nude men and women. Please do not look at these sites if you think you might be offended by this material.
A wise woman named Rose once explained to me why winter is better than summer. When it's cold, she opined, you can throw on as much clothing as you need to stay warm. But when it gets really hot, you can't take off enough clothes to be comfortable – without getting arrested.

Unless, of course, you're hanging out in a nudist camp. If ever there was an argument for nakedness, it's August. Should you opt for a clothing-optional experience, the Web is buff with suggestions.

Cybernude is undergoing some reconstruction and, the cybernudists write, "we hope you'll bare with us ... " But if you're looking for a funny list of things you shouldn't do au naturel, this is the place. Beekeeping, chain sawing and stringing barbed wire, for example. At this spot you'll also find activist information, answers to frequently asked questions and a section on beach etiquette.

The Trade Association of Nude Recreation will point you to 10 different U.S. resorts-in-the-raw. In a photo illustrating Avalon in West Virginia, three folks dine formally on soup and white wine. The table is covered; the guests are not. At Hidden Valley Resort in Georgia, visitors are encouraged to "dress up" for Saturday night dances. Boots should be enough. Guests are discouraged, however, from wearing inappropriate body jewelry that is "not conducive to an image we wish to portray to guests and their children." Fig leaf brooches, perhaps?

"Be Nude Not Lewd" is one motto of the Commonwealth of Virginia Naturists. Others include "Be Nude, Be Natural, Be Happy," and "God Didn't Make Any Ugly Bodies." This is the spot where body-acceptance advocates get naked. During the cooler months, the group gathers for house parties and potluck dinners.

Another gang that eats food in the nude is the Buffateers of Tucson, Ariz. Members convene for mixers, trips to "landed" resorts (meaning nudist colonies that own their own property) and other social outings. Every week the group seeks out a fabulous smorgasbord at a Tucson restaurant. That, they claim, is how they got their name, "from the buffets we are known to frequent." Yeah, right.

As you might imagine, naked people come in all shapes and sizes and persuasions. Several sites extol the virtues of being a disrobed Christian.

At the home of the Christian Naturists of Reno, Nev., Pastor Mark L. Markeson writes that early Christians were baptized in the altogether. The page of personals is also enlightening. Here's a sample: "Mid-Michigan 46 yr old single white Christian male, physicist/engineer with 3 kids; Seeking anyone for correspondence about coming to terms with being a Spirit-filled naturist. I write limericks, do cross-country hiking/skiing, play chess, and pray. Best book: Romans; esp. Chapter 8."

On Greg's Christian Nudist/Naturist Web site, Greg Cook of Portsmouth, Va., explains that Christianity led him to nudity, but that his wife is not as comfortable with the leafless lifestyle. He says he won't go to a nude beach or resort until she decides to go with him. The site is one link in the Christian Naturist Web ring.

Many of the sites, religious and secular, emphasize that social nudity is not designed to be titillating. Cybernude, for instance, warns that "If you are looking for erotica, you will be very disappointed." After spending a lot of time among the online nudists, hearing their stories, seeing their pictures, you may be disappointed anyway. And you may understand why a little bit of cloth, strategically placed, can be a most blessed thing and why God gave us the silkworm.

Linton Weeks can be reached at

mouse CLICK: Lawn Mower Racing Gentlemen, start your mowers. Get the mow down on America's most ludicrous sport at the site of the U.S. Lawnmower Racing Association. With photos of grown men puttering around hairpin curves and a "T&A" (tips and advice) section, it's enough to make you actually look forward to summer's most arduous chore. – Dan Pacheco

Perturbations, pleasures and predicaments on the I-way

To Your Health
Nearly everyone has a hateful story they love to tell about the medical system, and a Bethesda-based healthcare advocate is using the Web to collect them. Robert B. Raible, director of communications for The American Federation of Home Health Agencies, has abstracted 200 horror stories about health maintenance organizations from news accounts and posted them at his site. For example, Raible quotes Smart Money in relating that a man with a severe pinched nerve was forced to wait an extra two weeks for surgery because the HMO said his condition had persisted only four weeks. This story, however, speaks only to the money of health care. In his annotated abstracts Raible recounts with sometimes graphic detail many personal physical tragedies that befall patients as their cases get lost in the efforts of HMO to contain health costs. One-sided as it is, Raible's site shows the Web's power to accumulate and tailor information in the pamphlets of a new age. – Robert Thomason

The King and Barbie, Together
It's the cosmic mating of two pop cultural icons. She, with her long, blonde hair and "perfect" body. He, with his dashing good looks and gold lame jacket. It's the Limited Edition "Barbie Loves Elvis" Gift Set, for $79.99.

This two-doll package is only one way the Elvis Web site is celebrating Elvis Presley Week '98, from Aug. 8-16.

Not to be overshadowed by The King, this year's Barbie Doll Convention will be held Aug. 6-9 in Atlanta. Barbie has some pretty impressive stats of her own. For example, she's also had more than 500 professional makeovers, including her latest, and "more contemporary," anatomically correct model. I wonder if she'll still like shopping with that new, thicker waist. – Kelly L. Pratt

Found something intriguing, improbable, insane or especially useful on the Net? Write it up and send it to Joel Garreau or Robert Thomason.
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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