(May, 1999)

Nudist Flaker
from Roger D.

Ed: It was a treat to see my mail posted. Thanks. As for the t-shirts, I don't make any to sell, just for my own use. However, if anyone out there wants to "pirate" the material, I want them to feel free to do so. Anyone with a computer, a printer and some blank transfer paper can make them very easily. Craft paint also works well.

Now, on to the rest of the story. I really don't have any choice about being open about my condition. My wife and I are nudists. I had to be willing to be open or give up our preferred lifestyle. Oddly enough, I have had far fewer negative reactions from nudists than from non-nudists. I don't know if they are just better educated about matters of the skin or if they are simply that much more accepting. Either way, I have an easier time at nudist camps than at public pools or beaches. I have been told I'm not welcome at some pools, including those in two state parks.

As for children, I find they will come to me very directly and ask about my condition, while adults tend to whisper among themselves, stare and try to figure it out on their own, while keeping me at arm's length, or more. I much prefer the open approach of the children. Their main concern usually is if they can catch it. When assured they cannot get it from me, they very quickly forget the whole thing and go back to what they were doing before.

One of the best(?) comments I've had from a stranger was voiced by a teenage girl in a fast food restaurant. When I handed her my money, she saw the large lesion on my forearm and responded, "Oh now that looks great!"

Well, enough for now. I know you have more to do than read my rambling. -Roger D.

*****

Ed's Response: Every time I begin to think nothing more could surprise me, I am surprised. I was surprised to find the inventor of P Confession T-shirts is a nudist (see link at end). You are the first nudist-flaker I have known, Roger. Are you unique within your community, or are flakers common there?

I find your statement, "I have had far fewer negative reactions from nudists than from non-nudists," very interesting. Here (it seems to me) is a wonderful opportunity to study the psycho-social aspects of our disease. As a nudist, you are letting your P hang out there—something few of us are willing to do. In trying to put my semantic finger on what is at work here I keep coming around to the word "honesty." There is a brutal honesty in "nude psoriasis." Yet you experience "far fewer negative reactions." Of course we have yet to learn if this is something special to nudists. Could it be that there is something extra-accepting, extra-forgiving in the psyche of a nudist? I could certainly believe there is. I've been told by other nudists that acquaintances made between nudists are typically far richer than acquaintances made between clothed strangers because, from the onset, so much about the individual is unshrouded, non-secretive, factual and known rather than imagined but unknown. (I've no idea if this is true; it rather sounds like brochure copy, doesn't it?) One thing must certainly be true for the psoriatic nudist: When we are clothed people never see the extent of our deformity. We can lie about it to elicit sympathy, or pretend it doesn't exist at all beneath our clothes. Such deceits are less available to the nudist. What does that tell us if the nudist finds "I have had far fewer negative reactions from nudists than from non-nudists"?

Though I'm not quite ready to shed my clothes to prove a point, it sure presents something to ponder. Thanks, Roger! -Ed

T-shirts for Coping, from Roger D.

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