Updated February 24, 2013

Visionary Colleges

Whatif College
How About a Naturism Studies Major?
Naturist Studies Institute
Book and movie reviews
    The Harrad Experiment
    Co-ed Naked Philosophy
    Living in the State of Dreams (high school)

Whatif College
--Paul LeValley

    What if there was a small clothing-optional college--say 100 students and a faculty of 10?  What if nudity was possible at any time and in any place on campus?

    What if the centerpiece of the college was an ancient Greek gymnasium: a shady park-like area where physical self-development and philosophical discussion intermingled?  What if no modern clothing were allowed in the gymnasium--only the Greek chlamys thrown over the shoulders, or nothing at all?

    It’s time to think outside the box.  Colleges spend much of their maintenance budget heating and cooling buildings.  What if this college were located in a warm climate?  What if the school year ran from mid-March through mid-November?  There would be no need for heating.  And no need for air conditioning when people can simply remove clothing or take a quick jump in the pond between classes.  For that matter, buildings need be little more than roofed pavilions.  Students can sit on the floor or benches like they have for thousands of years.  And the schedule would free students for winter jobs in Christmas sales or at ski resorts.  This is not just a dream.  This is possible.

    What if the core curriculum were interdisciplinary and organized around the great civilizations, as well as the periods of Western culture?  The courses might even be paired so that students begin to understand where influences came from:
Term World  Western
1 Middle-eastern Medieval
2 Greece & Rome Renaissance
3 China & Japan Baroque & Enlightenment
4 American Indian Romanticism
5 Egypt Realism
6 India Existentialism

What if the courses were holistic, and students learned to understand Arab algebra and Greek geometry in the context of those cultures?  What if they learned music theory while studying the Enlightenment?  What if we revived the ancient goal of a well developed mind in a well developed body, and students participated for a term in Greek athletics or learned American Indian survival skills?  What if they developed ballet movement as a part of Romanticism?  Maybe they would practice yoga (or even Tantric sex) while studying India.  Life can be whole.

    Each of the core courses would be the equivalent of a four-credit class.  Students would be expected to take three big courses, and three little one-credit classes.  One-credit electives form an important part of the Whatif curriculum.  Teachers would be free to follow their interests in creating mini-courses of their choice.  How about a class on Emily Brontë?  Or birds in the arts?  Or genealogy?  Letting professors pursue their diverse interests is how we keep them willing to teach for fulfillment, rather than a competitive salary.

    Could such a full curriculum also provide students with the specific skills they need for careers or graduate study?  I’m not sure.  Perhaps Whatif College should be a two-year institution, with students picking up more traditional courses elsewhere.  But if so, which two years?  Should students move on to more specific study, or should they come in at the beginning of their Junior year with their basic science and language requirements behind them?  Squeezing the curriculum into two years would require a quarter--rather than semester--calendar.

    Or should Whatif College be spread over the traditional four years--then capped with a year-long Grand Tour of the world?

    Each of these ideas has been tried before, and each has worked very well.  But the best parts of each educational system have not yet been tried together.  Why shouldn’t we?

    Here’s another workable idea: the Indian guru system.  Each incoming student would pick (by mutual agreement) a professor he or she wants to work closely with.  Ten such students would live in five two-person cabins in a compound around the professor’s house.  These groups would prepare family-style meals in a community kitchen.  It would be necessary to locate in a county with relaxed building codes--where tiny cabins such as summer camp staffs live in would meet approval.  The cabins wouldn’t need plumbing--just electricity.

    Let’s talk money:  Except for the air-conditioned library and the professors’ houses, classroom pavilions and cabins could go up for less than $2,000 each.  And of course any building could be named after the donor who underwrote the cost.  Maybe house construction could be a credit course the first year--saving on labor costs.  Once the land and original buildings have been paid for, this college could run on tuition of $3,000 a year.  That’s $2,000 a year for the professors’ salaries, and the rest for library and upkeep. 

    Are there professors who would teach in a Garden of Eden for $20,000 a year plus free housing?  I think so.  These professors would divide up the administrative jobs; Each group of students would spend an hour or two each week maintaining the campus.  There is no need for administrative or janitorial staffs.

    The college should be kept small and intimate--being very selective in attracting only the brightest students.  Over the years, enrolment and faculty might double, but should not go much beyond that.

    Whatif College is not impossible.  Each of its main ideas has been tried successfully before.  The initial financial outlay is not entirely beyond our reach.  Who will do it?

Whatif College Discussion Continues
--Bruce Panuska

    Paul LeValley's proposal for Whatif College is quite intriguing.  However, a number of issues would have to be resolved to determine even preliminary feasibility.  I offer the following questions, comments, criticisms and suggestions as a means of focusing discussion on some specific points.

    Do we know for sure that students would be interested in attending a nude college?  Enough qualified people to fill the 100 student enrollment?  How would we recruit these students?

    How would accreditation be handled?   Would accreditation bodies even consider a nudist college?  Would you forego accreditation until the school is established?  If so, would students be willing to spend their money on a non-accredited school?  Would a degree (or 2 years of course work) from a non-accredited college "count" as education (e.g. could it qualify a student for law school)?

    Even a rudimentary level start-up would require well into the 5 figure range.  Are there any prospects of locating donors with deep enough pockets to support a social educational experiment? 

    Books are expensive.  Professors making their personal libraries available for student use would help.  But such resources are out of date nearly as soon as they are shelved.  Additionally, professors would have a difficult time maintaining a professional library on a salary of $20K.  Assuming Whatif is located close to a larger college, would it be possible to make arrangements for Whatif students to use the neighboring school's library?

    Offering either a major or minor concentration in a science is not feasible for at least a decade; laboratories, specialized equipment, etc. would be prohibitively expensive.    However, some science is usually required as part of the core education for most colleges.  A few introductory courses could be developed to satisfy general education considerations, without the need for costly gear. 

    Given the uncertainties perhaps some pilot projects, to get our feet wet, would be in order.  One-to-three-week short courses could be offered. 
    1. Could one of our colleagues be able to offer credit through their schools of employment?
    2. Possibly offer a course through or sponsored by the Naturist Society (NEF?) or AANR.  Students might be able to "sell this to parents" as a valid educational experience (which I believe it would be).  It might be possible for some students to petition their colleges for 1-3 credits. 
    3. Many/most public institutions would likely not want to open the nudist can of worms.  Private colleges might be more promising.  Some private schools have a 4-1-4 semester structure, with 4 courses in standard Fall/Spring terms, with a 1-month January pass/fail course, where students are encouraged to explore non-traditional or unconventional opportunities.  A college friend spent about 3 weeks living with an Amish family, to understand the community and life style.  I personally took a Jan plan entitled "Creative Writing in the Wilderness Experience" (one prof and 11 students canoed through the Everglades). 
    4. If living with the Amish or paddling through the Everglades has educational merit, visiting nudist clubs, beaches and families should be an equally valuable course of study.  Field trip courses seem to be fairly popular.  A variety of short courses might be developed such as nude art in Europe, visiting U.S. artists specializing in nudes, sociology of nudism, etc.  Perhaps several instructors could lead a Colorado River raft trip: nature and naturism. 

    Learning is not just for traditional college students anymore.  (A larger net could be cast to attract non-traditional students by targeting the Elderhostel crowd.)  We might even approach Elderhostel with a course such as, "Insights into Naturism and Social Nudism". 

Paul LeValley’s response:

    Though this is leading into a new topic, I like Bruce’s idea of supplemental three-week intensive inter-term courses.  January would be too cold for anywhere but the southernmost United States.  And January falls during those resorts’ high season, when they are already overcrowded and charging more expensive prices.  Three-week summer courses would be more practical in most of the country.  Students do travel around, picking up summer courses not offered at their own colleges; I have had a few such wandering scholars in my more specialized classes.

    The American Nudist Research Library or one of the new AANR regional libraries might make a respectable venue where an off-campus course could be offered through an accredited college offering transferable credit.  Classes would not necessarily have to meet in the library if there is a bigger hall available on the grounds.  The ANRL is on the grounds of Cypress Cove, where AANR has, in the last few summers, offered their week-long Nude U and Youth Ambassador programs.  We would certainly not want to detract from those successful programs.

    I have simply gotten too old to begin creating a whole new college.  But a single course is something I could handle.  Someday when I can afford to retire, I could see myself moving to Cypress Cove, becoming a librarian in my dotage, and once a year offering a course on the nude in art history.  Several of you have your own nudity-related specialties--and perhaps more immediate means of forging some academic connection.  This idea merits further exploration.

Bruce’s further response:

Paul, I think your summer suggestion might be a better way to offer short courses.  Students can also tent camp to save on lodging expenses; Cypress Cove has tent spaces by the lake.

How About a Naturism Studies Major?
--Will Forest

    The author of Co-Ed Naked Philosophy, has expanded our discussion of visionary colleges by posting the following (plus some great pictures) on his web site, http://nudescribe.blogspot.com/2013/01/exposed-to-learning.html.

    How about a Naturism Studies major?  (There are plenty of "Fill-in-the-Blank Studies" majors already, like Southeast Asian Studies or Women's and Gender Studies.)  The program could start with a core course that all majors would complete, something like The History and Philosophy of Naturism, and then beyond that the students could fill out the required number of total credits by choosing from a variety of course offerings including Life Drawing; Aesthetics of the Body; Ecotourism and Sustainability; Ecological History of the United States; Human Anatomy; Naturist Health, Nutrition and Well-being; Human Sexuality, etc.  Perhaps there could be a required number of credits in Physical Education, with selections such as Canuding; Nude Yoga; Gymnos Gymnastics; Co-ed Naked Volleyball; Gymnos Track and Field; No-Swimsuit Swimming, etc.

    The implementation of such a curriculum, let alone an entire school, would require not only willing professors but also willing students—as well as advocacy from naturist or nudist groups as well as professional education organizations.  Perhaps it could become a reality somewhere like Florida or California, where both climate and abundance of naturist and nudist groups, beaches, and resorts would be favorable factors.  Perhaps, in such a context, and given the viability of programs like Hotel and Restaurant Management, Naturism Studies could be considered an economically feasible major.

Naturist Studies Institute

--Christopher Winter

    The new Naturist Studies Institute hopes to seek accreditation with mostly online courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  Here are some abbreviated excerpts from the institute's web site http://www.naturiststudiesinstitute.org:

    The Naturist Studies Institute [believes that] naturism is a voluntary, sustainable approach to life with the intention of simplicity, conservation, social justice, and spiritual growth.  “Voluntary” does not mean passive acquiescence to laws that are enacted which would constrain naturism or make it more difficult.  “Voluntary” means citizens have sustainable options which must be preserved and protected by law whether these options are utilized or not, or whether some non-naturists find these options offensive or not.  Naturism does no mental  or physical harm, but does challenge people spiritually and to social change.  Naturism, then, is proactive through education, research, experiential projects, programs, lifestyle, and resistance to institutions, laws, and regulations which constrain liberty, body freedom, and distort human nature....

    Its approach to social ecology may draw from green, liberal, conservative, authoritarian, and libertarian ideas and values with the intention of public policies which promote and preserve  liberty, social justice, and quality of life for ordinary citizens....

    The Naturist Studies Institute offers a social ecology/sociology based certificate in naturist studies.  The purpose of the certificate is to give educators a theoretical background in naturism in order to develop credentialed courses in higher education or community education.  The certificate in naturist studies is a 40 quarter hour credit intensive study of theory, content, research methods, praxis, and seminar residency applied to  education, research, and social policy of naturism and  sustainability.  It can be completed in a minimum of  46 weeks....

    We believe that education in America should be relatively free.  Currently, the only cost for the program is books, transcript, and certificate fees....

Course Descriptions:

Social  Theory  of  Body
    Social theory applied to issues of the body and its freedom to include embodiment, nudity, abortion, eroticism,  play,  health, consumerism, and death....

Sociology  of  Leisure
    Social and social psychological theories applied to leisure attitudes and behaviors.   Specific theories relating to recreational naturism will be studied....

Sociology of Conservation and Public Lands
    History of  the enclosure movement, culture of privacy, modernization, and  globalization.    Emphasis is on wilderness and naturism as both a  recapture of the past  and obstacle to hierarchy, domination, and privatization.  The sociologies of classical socio-environmental writers such as Aldo Leopold,  Edward Abbey, Wendell Berry, and Joseph Sax will be studied....

Social Ecology of  Naturism
    Social theory applied to the study of  naturism and sustainability. From a social ecology perspective, the emancipation of  naturism, its environmental and sustainability implications, are viewed as a social problem....

Social Research Methods in Naturist Studies
    A critical review of  literature pertaining to the body and nudity, critique of literature, study of  research design, methods,  and proposal development.... Graduate students are required to design an original survey based on literature which captures dimensions of naturism not normally reported in the scientific literature....

Social Movements and Praxis
    Theory of  social movements and collective action. An examination of allied groups with naturism such as environmentalists, gays, women, minorities, and alternative families & lifestyles seeking emancipation are examined.  Nudity as a form of protest is evaluated....

Teaching Body and Environment
    Principles of  learning, curriculum development, and distance learning applied to issues of body freedom and the environment for higher education and community education....

Residency Colloquia
    Colloquia in naturist studies. Two week  residency to be held during the summer in the Pacific Northwest.  All students are required to attend, participate, discuss and network with other educators and researchers....

    The work of the Naturist Studies Institute, at its core, will always be naturism as a sustainability option.  We do, however, have a dream.  The dream is for the Naturist Studies Institute to evolve into a social sciences university....  Courses would be absolutely free for graduate students. Graduate students would run the university in all areas of operations including the undergraduate program.  A dedicated cadre of social scientists in  sociology, social ecology, social work, philosophy, political science, history, geography, health, public policy analysis, sustainable systems design, community planning, and naturist studies  would mentor and teach the graduate students.  The campus would be an open campus where academic freedom flourishes and body freedom is accepted but always social capital and a common set of  moral values guide individual behavior and choices....

Book and Movie Review: The Harrad Experiment
--Paul LeValley

Robert H. Rimmer.  The Harrad Experiment.  Los Angeles: Sherbourne Press, 1966.  25th Anniversary Edition.  Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1990.

Ted Post, director.  The Harrad Experiment.  Los Angeles: Cinema Arts Productions, 1973.  Reissued on Classic 70s Movies.  Richmond Hill, Ontario: American Home Treasures, 2002.  Also reissued on Boy in the Plastic Bubble / Harrad experiment.  Marble Falls, TX: Marengo Films, 2004.

    It is customary to write a book review before the book becomes forty years old.  But The Harrad Experiment is such a classic that no exploration of visionary colleges would be complete without it.  And recent re-issues of the movie version require an up-to-date guide.

    Covering the years 1960 to 1964, when nearly every college had separate men’s and women’s dormitories with strict curfews and visitation hours, fictional Harrad College assigns students to roommates of the opposite sex.  Physical education courses are coeducational, required--and nude.

    The book is more about sexual relations than nudity, and more about stable loving partnerships than sex.  The seemingly mismatched six lead characters eventually find their way into a group marriage.  And they each grow in their understanding.

    The movie was made without the author’s consent, and is generally less satisfying.  It covers only the first semester of the experiment, adding characters and incidents not in the book.  But it does let us see the nude yoga class, nude use of the swimming pool, and a bit of ordinary dorm room nudity.

    Well, it does if you choose the right version.  The better choice, Classic 70s Movies, lumps it with two other dreadful films.  (Warning: Do not click Scene 1, or you will miss the first several minutes of the movie.)  This collection omits one role-playing episode, but the nude scenes remain intact.

    The pairing with Boy in The Plastic Bubble was accidentally released in a censored-for-television version with all of the nude scenes cut out or zoomed in on some safer detail.  When buyers started complaining, the company agreed to replace any censored disc with the full version.  Package labeling remains the same.  There are still censored copies out there waiting to be sold, but they can reportedly be exchanged for the real thing.

    Despite all this, the mind-opening Harrad Experiment–whether in book or movie form--remains a classic.

Co-ed Naked Philosophy--Three Reviews

Will Forest.  Co-ed Naked Philosophy.  Lexington: no publisher listed.  2011.  322 p. paperback.  $14.99.

    The author, a professor in this SIG, explains the book like this:

    Co-ed Naked Philosophy is my novel about taking off clothes to take on social conventions.  The main character, Christopher Ross, is a college philosophy professor at Gulf Coast University who learns about naturism around the same time that he meets a colleague, Angela Saucedo, who is researching nude pedagogy.  Ross, arrested for trespassing and public nudity at an unofficial nude beach, endangers his position at the university (tenure).  Between brash and desperate, Ross enlists the help of students and colleagues to teach a nude seminar.  After initial shock, the course proves so popular that the number of philosophy majors greatly increases, thereby saving the philosophy department from imminent demise according to a state-mandated viability metric.  The students create their own body-positive, nudist student group, the Corporal Rights Movement.  Key figures in the campus administration and the local media support the group.  But a confused student alleges sexual harassment, and Ross's new-found allegiances are challenged.  At the novel's end, the aftermath of a hurricane brings new possibilities for a revolution in body attitudes beyond the campus to the community at large.

   The spark that started me writing was a former student's invitation to perform a striptease for her bachelorette party!  I did not accept the invitation, but early in the novel the main character does accept a similar offer, and the consequences of his decision form part of his learning about contexts for nudity.  The novel engages sexuality as a part of cultural assumptions about nudity.  In the second part of the novel the main character tells his class, "Accepting nudity does not mean tolerating flagrant sexuality.  Accepting nudity does mean welcoming inherent sexuality."

    I certainly wrote the novel with a naturist readership in mind, and had some feedback along the way from naturists.  But I also modified the novel in a general fiction-writing workshop, and queried many literary agents before deciding to self-publish.

    Three members of this SIG have reviewed the book, though their conclusions varied widely.  You may have to read the book yourself to decide which reviewer came closest to describing your experience.

Tom Pine's review
Reprinted from The Naked Truth Naturists Nudesletter, February 2012.

    I met Will Forest (a pseudonym) through the TNTN Nudesletter and he sent me a draft of this very book, telling me he wanted to publish it.  Now, it’s a reality.

    They (who are the ubiquitous “they” anyway?) say no author writes in a vacuum and that applies to novelists.  One of the things I like about novels is that, if you pay attention, you’ll find novelists like to teach.  What do I mean by this?  Well, if a novelist goes on at length about something, you can put even money on the fact he learned it somewhere and thought it would be cool to put it in his writing.  In author Forest’s case, he culls what he’s learned as a professor, who happens to be a naturist, and informs his writing through it.

    Let me make this clear: Co-ed Naked Philosophy is not your usual, poorly written naturist ramble.  As the title suggests, this is a (well-written) book, with a lot of philosophy discussed in its entertaining pages.  The plot centers on a group of college students who use nudity as a form of protest.  While certainly not a new event, or idea, the kick here is that the professor mentors them, turning what could have been a random, fractious event—to raise the ire of the faculty more than anything else—into a cognitive, rationale argument for nudity, public, or otherwise.  Along the way, we have brushes with authority—faculty, police and others—personal conflict and relationships, from budding to long-term.  Author Forest also throws in a hurricane for good measure!

    Co-ed Naked Philosophy also deals with sexuality, frankly and honestly.  In too many instances, naturist publications tend to gloss over the fact of our sexual natures, as if we actually resemble the genderless people in those old, fifties nudist mags, with their genitals airbrushed out.  Yet, he handles such scenes competently, not falling on either side of the line—one side being pornographic, the other ludicrous—keeping the descriptions from going over the top.  Personally, I like to see the natural progression of the various characters’ sexual relationships done like this.  Who says naturist stories have to be sexless?

    Having said all of the above—though Co-ed Naked Philosophy is a pleasure for a naturist to read—the story deals more with the philosophy of naturism than life at a nude beach or some tropical vacation mecca.  Author Forest also adds enough excitement and tension to keep the reader involved with the story.  When you arrive at the last page, you want to say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” and you feel as if social nudity, were it the law of the land, would teach us so much about ourselves and our perceptions.

    Co-ed Naked Philosophy, when all is said and done, is a novel—a good novel—for anyone to enjoy.  If you’re not a naturist, you’ll find in its pages an engaging story that makes you think about the role of social nudity in our society.  If you are a naturist, this book is a MUST for your personal library!

    This book earns a hearty, well-earned four-and-a-half (out of five) “bums up!”

Paul Rapoport's review
Reprinted from Going Natural, summer 2012.

    If only.

    If only people weren't so ashamed of their bodies.  If only they accepted their own and others'.  If only there were a society where you didn't have to wear clothes...

    This book moves to implement those wishes, familiar to nearly all naturists.  Despite its title, Co-ed Naked Philosophy is a novel, not a tract, even if there's plenty of tract-like thought in it.  The basic idea is that a philosophy professor who imagines the clothesfree life just might be able to make it a reality, at least at his university, which happens to be in the American south.

    At the story's outset, our hero finds himself on a clothing-optional beach, manages to shed his clothes for the first time in public, and takes it from there.  His ideal is what he calls the Palace of Fine Arts, a naturist learning environment which he goes about trying to create.  Even though he causes trouble for his textile environment, his university doesn't want to get rid of him, because he's a great teacher and researcher and keeps the student enrolment up in his department.

    Here's his justification for the naturist Palace:

    "Nudity is truth.  Nudity is sincerity.  It allows us to see beyond social class and pretension, of which clothing is always an indicator.  Paradoxically, nudity helps us see past gender, of which, again, clothing is always an indicator and even an exaggerator.  And nudity encourages us not only to express ourselves unabashedly, but also to openly receive and understand the honest expressions of others."

    You may tell straight away that the professor knows whereof he speaks.  This is indeed a naturist novel written by a naturist, with no misunderstandings of what it's all about.

    Does the professor succeed in his quest?  Why yes, he does.  Is the quest exciting, do he and his supporters overcome massive opposition?  Do they evince acts of thrilling cleverness, in a story you just can't put down?  Unfortunately the answers are no, no, no, and no.

    Some self-published books are very fine.  This one has not reached such heights.  Aside from needing copy editing in several spots, for mistakes, inconsistencies, and similar annoyances, its story proceeds in a way that's unsatisfying.  Although the professor and his supporters repeatedly get into naked difficulties, these just evaporate.  Right when you expect a conflict to draw you in, it falls away.  Every time.  If only there were more depth...

    There's a little tension or drama, but not enough.  Much that happens is so unlikely that it calls into question the book's basis.  I mean: if a naturist paradise gradually emerges by having the potential conflicts simply dissipate, where does that leave the narrative?  This problem makes the disagreements between characters ineffectual, because it nullifies the original clashes between naturist and textile thoughts and ways that are meant to drive the plot.

    Here's an example.  A faculty member stands nude giving a speech about naturism to a clothing-optional gathering outside the Humanities Building (yeah, right).  Religious protesters assemble and drown out the speaker.  Then one of their members throws a stick at her.

    If only that led to a really engaging scene.  What happens?  The speaker suggests that the religious stick-thrower take off his clothes.  He does, and literally embraces the naturists.  Just like that.  The protesters leave.  Scene over.

    More of that sort of thing happens as the philosophy professor meets with his department chair and higher administrators.  Each doesn't so much cave as simply ignore his or her own objections to nudity.  Those objections are well stated but have no significant consequence, The nudity, by the way, progresses to classes held by the professor and by his love interest, the speaker at the aforementioned outdoor gathering.

    In amongst the book's events and meanderings is some worthy dialogue with notable lines about naturism.  There are a few episodes involving sexual expression that work, and others focusing on erections and other body bits that don't.  But even in the latter group are points that naturists need to consider.

    Much is certainly thought provoking in this book, even if the characters all seem mere variants of one another.  The basic idea, setting, and a few characters are compelling enough, ripe for development.  It all just needs a different way.

    If only!

Paul LeValley's review
Reprinted from Naturally, no. 82 (Spring 2012).

    This book is a philosophy of nakedness, dressed up as a novel.  All of the naturist talking points are here.  The author believes in free beaches and a free-body culture, but doesn't think much of resorts where you have to pay to get in.  He offers a bold experiment.

    The hero, Christopher Ross, teaches at a public university in Alabama—in a philosophy department that is in danger of going under for lack of enough students.  When he discovers a clothing-optional beach, he embarks with the enthusiasm of a newbie to convert everybody.  He offers a course on philosophy of the body—then startles everyone by walking into class naked.  After a few students leave to complain, he invites the others to strip down also.  Word spreads around campus, and they have to move the class to a bigger room to accommodate all the new enrollees.  Administrators all the way up the bureaucracy wince, but recognize that this outrageous professor just might be able to save the department.  And so the experiment is allowed to continue.

    Christopher meets a female nudist teaching in the education department, and a love subplot develops.  Most of the characters remain one-dimensional.  However, the author uses an interesting technique.  We meet new characters, but only several pages, or perhaps several chapters later, does he happen to mention that the person is black, Mexican, or Chinese.  That's nice—a people-first approach that moves beyond superficial judgements of skin color, even when all the skin is showing.  It's naturism at its best.

    Yet I must admit that the author lost me back on page 33.  I cannot imagine any circumstances under which a male professor, in a face-to-face serious discussion with his female department head, would bring up the subject of her breasts.  I still can't get my head around that idea.

    The author proceeds on the supposition that, except for a few religious nuts, everybody in society secretly longs to throw off his or her clothes, and is only waiting for someone to legitimize it.  Public opinion polls show that about 25% of Americans admit to skinny-dipping once in their lives.  Real politicians find it hard to believe that the number could be higher than 1%.  Yet the author's world is equally unrealistic.  I have twice faced down campus policemen who objected to very discrete nudity on bulletin boards at naturist recruiting tables.  Where are the campus police in the story when students break into a large classroom building and spend several days painting a nude mural on its walls?  Where are all the politicians when there are headlines to be grabbed?  What state legislature does not try to meddle in its public universities?  And since the class is offered during the winter semester, where in Alabama does the weather never get too cold for outdoor nudity?

    This is, of course, fiction.  I do not expect to see many clothing-optional classes at public universities in my lifetime.  Nor do I expect the movement to begin in Alabama.

    Still, naturists will love this book because it reinforces many convictions dear to their hearts.  It is not likely to convince many of the unconverted.  So, buy it and enjoy.  It should become a cult classic.  I can hardly wait for the movie version.

A High School Fantasy: Living in the State of Dreams
book review by Paul LeValley

M. Millswan.  Living in the State of Dreams.  New York: Blue Moon Books, 2007.  330 p. paperback.  $13.95.

    It was bound to happen.  First came The Harrad Experiment (both book and movie) in which freshmen at a small residential college experimented in nude living.  Then came the movie, Educating Julie, which sent a college student to visit nudist resorts.  I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone brought the idea of a month-long experiment in nude living to a high school.

    The participants are just two dozen eighteen-year-old seniors at a large southwestern high school, where everybody else remains clothed.  In a nice switch, the police stand ready to protect the nudists--yet they are more of a problem than a help.  The high school scenes and dialogue ring true--though I would have expected some students to think nudity is cool, rather than all react with leering or horror.  The odd ratio of seventeen girls to seven boys signals the first clue that something is wrong with this story. 

    The book had been out for more than three years.  I wondered why no book reviewer for a naturist magazine had noticed it.  Now I know.  This is not a naturist book.  The last two-thirds of the volume deteriorates into a middle-aged male fantasy about the sexual desires of teenage girls.  Neither the author nor any of the characters move much beyond equating nudity with sex.  Maybe that's because most of the action takes place indoors.  No appreciation of the sun or the wind or the rain on the skin.  Naturists are not even mentioned.  People become nudists for a hundred reasons; this book deals with just one of them.

    The great American novel about high school nudity has yet to be written.

    Note to the publisher: Spell check is not an adequate substitute for a live proofreader.

    If you want to read for yourself, be aware that the book sold so poorly that dealers are offering it on the Internet for a penny, plus handling and shipping.  No library had it--until I donated mine to the Ameircan Nudist Research Library.  (How's that for an enthusiastic recommendation?)

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