The Real Nude Beach Project: Introducing Bruce
The Real Nude Beach Body Positive Photography Project: Interview with Bruce
Meet Bruce, the 8th participant of my series, The Real Nude Beach Photography Project, which took place at Gunnison Beach in 2017. Bruce has been visiting Gunnison for many years. He’s also become an outspoken and enthusiastic advocate for nudism, telling everyone he can about the beach. In this interview Bruce explains why the beach is not a catwalk, how to be respectful with photos and how to be a “live and let live” nudist. Read more in our full interview below!
Name: Bruce* (or “Bruce the Masseuse” as he’s known at the beach)
Age: 48 years old
Lives in Morris County, NJ
What do you do for a living?
I work at a landscape company mostly driving trucks. I am also a licensed massage therapist.
How often do you visit Gunnison Beach?
As often as possible.
Why do you visit the nude beach?
Filled with happy, less-stressed people, free of the cares of clothes!
What made you decide to visit the beach for the first time? How would you describe your first experience?
So rare to find a legally clothing optional beach!!! An ABSOLUTE MUST to visit. My first visit was so long ago that details fail me, but I do remember a social atmosphere and it’s easy to start or leave conversations there more than other beaches, still today!
What do you like about Gunnison?
It’s like going to a backyard party where you’re ALL FRIENDS, even if you haven’t met yet! Great level of acceptance there, just for showing up! Like you’re a welcomed member of a club you didn’t know you already belonged to. 😀 And there’s plenty of room to find your own preferred place and space / comfort zone.
Do you identify as a nudist or naturist? Why or why not?
Nudist. I’ve no qualms about who sees me, not an issue for me. I just LOVE the freedom of not being judged by my skin or gender but by my behavior. The more the better! Well-mannered public nudity makes the whole world a better place!
Has visiting the nude beach changed the way you feel about yourself and / or your body?
Yes, I feel part of a larger group that’s extremely benevolent and empowering, also legally as well. We’re asserting our legal rights.
In regards to my body, no impact. I’ve always adopted the “we all have the same parts” type of mentality.
Has visiting the nude beach changed the way you perceive and interact with others?
Yes, I’m more accepting of others, too. I’m not into major tattoos or body adornment / jewelry but I see every BODY behaving in “Live & Let Live” 99.9% of the time.
Has visiting the nude beach had an impact on your life in any significant way?
I find strength to be an outspoken advocate for respectful public nudity, everyone knows it or probably will! Because I know how wonderful it is and how everyone says “I wish I did this a long time ago!”
Also a co-worker once used the fact that I’m a nudist to have me falsely accused and fired from a job. This was to cover up / distract from her medical negligence that I reported. AANR was great help! Oh well, the universe works in mysterious ways. : )
What would you say to people who claim that the only people who visit the nude beach are the ones you “don’t want to see naked”?
I hear this ALL the time. : ) I just say “We’re all there to relax better than y’all can at your beach. We’re not walking a catwalk to get there. We’re all just regular people and don’t judge. There’s all types and we’re all wearing naked smiles!!” I don’t emphasize the athletic / model types or the other stereotypical opposites. At private nudist clubs I see even more people with parts missing and scars, etc. I wish for ALL people to experience this joy! Unfortunately some are just too stuck in the media-perpetuated judgmental stereotypes. If you want to break out of the cycle – go nude!
Do you ever worry about gawkers or people being at the beach for the wrong reasons?
No. They stand out by their actions and behaviors. I’ve helped people find their way out. I’ve never seen anyone fight for being pervy. I do carry my cell phone in ways that I’m obviously covering my camera lens. I’m learning to watch for others and don’t favor online photos that seem to have been taken stealthily, even though some are downright beautiful. I’ve learned to look at the context of it possibly being non-consensual photos. I certainly never repost any like that!
Do you think your gender affects your experience of the beach?
It’s unfortunate but there’s certainly never a loss of legitimate reasons to be wary of predator types – most usually male. It’s a bit more difficult to be perceived as just another human vs male human and strike up an innocent conversation, even at a nude beach. But private family-oriented clubs are the best places to find a population of proper men. I’ve escorted people out of these settings too, but they stand out instantly so it’s much easier and faster to spot them. It’s a damn shame, and it’s very personally insulting to me being a staunch feminist, but I’ve learned to adjust because it still isn’t ANYTHING compared to what is being perpetrated.
Do your friends / family know you go to Gunnison? Who do you visit the beach with?
Oh yeah, everyone that knows me knows I’m a nudist! Anybody who’ll listen. I advocate ALL the time, though I try to watch carefully for discomfort. I’ll take anyone to the clothing optional beach who wants to go. 😃 They don’t know what they’re missing, so I try to comfortably show them or tell them.
Why do you think nudity is so controversial in America?
Puritanical origins. Ironically, the hypocrisy of the second large group of people to “colonize” North America searching for religious freedom… They actually carried out massive religious persecution that we still have woven deeply into the fabric of our society today. Too much judgment over “I’m right and you’re wrong” baloney. That thread of self-aggrandizing hypocritical religious moral superiority that came off that boat the Mayflower is still unbroken and thoroughly embedded in American society. If you’re not in it or part of it, you’re still surrounded by it unfortunately. Society is way too uptight, and way too many people are making way too much money over perpetuating this hypocrisy.
Why do you think nude beaches are frequently being taken away?
Unfortunately enough people get selfish and don’t contain their sexual impulses at or near nude beaches or hideaways etc. They carelessly cause a spectacle of themselves or leave behind proof of their activities. Their irresponsible behavior casts a bad shadow on genuinely caring and socially responsible nudists. (Ed note: Sometimes park officials or local government will use and overstate incidents of criminal activity when looking for an excuse to shut down a nude beach. Even if such occurrences are few and far between, or comparable to large textile beaches. Bottom line: Any overt sexual behavior will risk a nude beach getting closed down.)
*This participant chose to provide a pseudonym for this interview.
This interview for the Real Nude Beach Body-Positive Photography Project was published by Felicity’s Blog.