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The State You're In: These Florida nudists just want their mail

Florida has its share of nude retreats. At the Lake Como Family Nudist Resort in Lutz, there's even a nature trail. [Times files (2014)]
Published Mar. 13, 2018

The other day some folks at a Florida nudist resort in Pasco County made headlines because, they said, their letter carrier refused to bring their mail inside the front gate. They blamed discrimination.

About 150 people live at the clothing-optional Eden RV Resort in Hudson, according to one of the owners, who said his name was Dan — just Dan. (Apparently Eden is also last-name-optional.)

Most mail for Eden residents goes to a row of boxes by the gate, Dan said. But if there's a package, then the letter carrier is supposed to schlep it inside the gate and deliver it to the recipient's door.

One letter carrier refused to deliver packages in Eden, apparently because she didn't like seeing the residents dressed like the original residents of Eden, Adam and Eve. The U.S. Postal Service's famous "neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet" credo doesn't cover "seeing things that would require pouring bleach into the carrier's eyeballs."

In a five-minute interview, Dan said four times that the resort itself has no problem with the postal service. Just a couple of residents had complaints, he said, but "they were legitimate."

The postal service better watch out. Florida's nudist resorts could be a politically powerful force if they wanted to be. According to the American Association for Nude Recreation, Florida has more nudist resorts than any other state — 29 registered clubs, well ahead of second place California's 14.

We've got every kind of nudist resort you could ask for. We've got high-end, expensive ones — although how you can tell that they're expensive if nobody's wearing clothes, I do not know. We've also got, at the other end, a resort run by a group called "the Bare Buns Biker Club," which sounds like a really bad idea. The word "chafing" comes to mind.

They can be public-spirited folks, albeit ones in need of more sunscreen than the average Floridian. As Hurricane Irma bore down on us, one Florida nudist resort offered to take in evacuees. And none of them would have had to pack any clothes, either.

Florida has so many nudist resorts that the American Association of Nude Recreation is headquartered in Kissimmee. Also located in Kissimmee: the American Nudist Research Library, in case you want to go read about the history of nudism while you're naked. (Be sure you bring a towel so you don't stick to the chairs.)

The Florida nudist resort that's been around the longest is the Lake Como Family Nudist Resort, originally chartered in 1941 as the "Florida Athletic and Health Association." Among its amenities is a bar called "The Butt Hut" (I assume that means smoking is allowed). It's in Pasco County, which has its own claim to naked fame.

"Pasco Country has several large communities … and is considered the 'nudist capital of the U.S.," said Mark Haskell Smith, the author of Naked at Lunch: A Reluctant Nudist's Adventures in the Clothing-Optional World.

Pasco has so many nudist resorts that a Realtor discovered she could specialize in selling to nudists and make big bucks. She even landed her own reality TV show, which deserved a special Emmy just for its artful editing.

Smith said he's never before heard of nudist resort residents complaining of discrimination because someone who's clothed didn't want to enter their gates.

"The complaints are usually the other way around," he said, citing as an example concerns about nudists showing up not at a resort but at a public beach.

I'm hopeful the Eden folks and the postal service can work this out. When you strip the situation down to its bare essentials, this whole brouhaha isn't such a serious disagreement after all. It's only skin deep.

Contact Craig Pittman at craig@tampabay.com. Follow @craigtimes.

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