Q1 I am a single man and cannot get accepted for membership into a Naturist club Why is this?
Reply: I’m sorry to hear of your difficulty in securing membership. There are several reasons why this might happen but I think the main one tends to be that most clubs wish to maintain a balance of gender and singles to couples, to create a comfortable mix. Clubs can easily get inundated with applications from single males and some will get through whilst others might be placed on a waiting list. However there could be a completely different reason for the club turning you down and they are allowed to decline if they regard you as unsuitable. In my 10 years experience there have been very few we’ve had to refuse. If they seem reluctant to be naked despite several visits in suitable temperatures then we suggest Naturism is not for them. Likewise if they are seeking “adult parties” or they seem to be looking for cheap thrills, then the club is not for them either. When applying to a club do try to come across as genuine and friendly and try not to get defensive from the start. I am not going against the rules of Equality; ALL applicants should be open and honest. I would hope that all clubs respond in a professional and polite manner too.
Q2 Do clubs view me, a single man, to be a threat, a nuisance, a pervert, what? I find even the possibility of them thinking that, to be offensive and unfair when they don’t know me nor give me a chance to prove myself.
Reply: Please do not take it personally; there could be various reasons you are refused and they need not be any of your suggestions. It could simply be that they have their quota for the policy they run for their club. A good club will explain their system and reasoning and keep your details on record for when they DO have a vacancy; so do ask for an explanation.
Q3 Do single females get treated the same?
Reply: Well, I have to admit single females seem to be received more readily but then there are generally very few that apply, so when they do, they could be useful to address the balance if the club already has single males. On the whole it seems to be the male that instigates being Naturist and the female is often the apprehensive one, unsure they wish to do so and lacking the confidence to give it a try. If only they would make that initial visit with their man, they would soon see the rest of us women are all pretty average and of all shapes and sizes! Few of us think we are perfect and even the ones we envy often have their own body hang ups. On the whole it’s about body confidence rather than body beautiful and whilst we all have plans to lose weight and so forth, we just get on with accepting ourselves as we are and make the most of it!
Q4 Surely with Equality laws they HAVE to treat the genders the same?
Reply: Well, yes and no: Gender IS a protected characteristic of the Equality Act 2010 but clubs ARE allowed to, for example, advertise specifically for females if they can show they are under represented by them compared to their male membership figures. This is “positive action”. Clubs would have to have figures ready to back them up and be seen to be actively attempting to attract single females hence the suggestion I made last year for clubs to hold open days for ladies, to encourage them to visit and try it out. However, Singles and Couples are not protected characteristics so it is within the law to promote or refuse people on those grounds as we are not meaning single as in a relationship status compared to a married couple: we are talking of an application for membership by a person on their own or of two people applying together.
Q5 But why won’t clubs take on virtually everyone that wants to join, don’t they need the money?
Reply: Commercially run clubs, owned by someone making their living from it might well take in almost anyone who pays their way but many Naturist clubs are like Blackthorns and own the land and the club outright and manage it for themselves, so no one is creaming huge profits from the income. They run it at rates to cover the bills and maintenance and have sufficient money for improvements. We all want the same thing: a pleasant atmosphere with facilities, at a price we can afford. We also want it to be a safe environment so everyone is there for the right reason; that way we can relax and enjoy the lifestyle. Private Members Clubs used to be able to make their own rules and whilst members needed to be selected and elected at Board level, and still are, they now have to follow the rules of Equality & Diversity, with few exceptions.
Q6 But what have they got against any number of single males becoming members? Why would it matter?
Reply: Even the single male members tell me they don’t wish it to be over-run, for want of a better word, with single men: they too enjoy the mix of ages, genders, couples, families and singles but yes, some people do have a fear, that if they let everyone in, they will be outnumbered by single men.
Q7 So why is there an imagined threat by single males, who might not even be single?
Reply: Good question, as being single doesn’t make that person any different in ways that could affect any of us. If they are a nice person it makes no difference to us that they are in a relationship, married, divorced or widowed; they are still that nice person. Many of the men that hold single membership actually have a partner who does not wish to be Naturist. I always suggest they accompany them on at least one visit, just to see what we are like and hopefully realise the reason their partner wants to join.
Another thing that goes against single males is that the typical “meerkats” found on Naturist beaches, usually bobbing up and down in the dunes, seemingly getting turned on by the sight of nudity are, I think, always male. However if you read national newspapers you’ll see that it isn’t always men that get into trouble on sex related offences. No, those who could be a threat to us and our children come in all guises; single, married, parents and of either sex. We do need to be vigilant but not paranoid.
Q8 So what should a single male do to get to be part of the Naturist community? I don’t want to become a lone male on a beach and be viewed with suspicion.
Reply: First of all, try contacting the clubs and swims and explain your circumstances; give your contact details and be open and honest. The men that contact me yet show reluctance to supplying personal information are the ones I tend to distrust and I would feel the same if it were a woman. Join BN, The Suntreckers or the Singles Outdoor Club. Attend BN events: the beach days, Abbey House Gardens open days, Alton Towers weekends, AGMs and Regional Meetings. Get involved in sports. You will become known to people. Prove yourself to be a decent person so that when clubs DO have vacancies they’ll remember you. People would rather take someone who comes recommended. If you get the opportunity to visit clubs, do so: show you want to socialise and be part of their community. It’s funny but when I ask women why they are anxious at the thought of more single males joining their clubs they almost always say it’s because they don’t know them. They tend to forget they didn’t know ANY of their friends BEFORE they had opportunity to get to know them, male or female, singles or couples!
NB. Any reference to the Equality Act 2010 is as I personally understand it to mean. Before taking any action with your club or business please refer to https://www.gov.uk/guidance/equality-act-2010-guidance-guidance for information on Equality & Diversity. The protected characteristics are: Age, Disability, Gender Reassignment, Pregnancy & Maternity, Race, Religion & Belief, Sex, Sexual Orientation and Marriage & Civil Partnership.Their “Quick start guide to positive action in recruitment & promotion” explains it in detail with reference to “positive action” with regards to a protected characteristic being under represented.