I Went to the Ponderosa Sun Club

I wanna be a nudist
And live by the sea *


Photo courtesy of Free Images

I am not a nudist. But I’ve been on three nude beach adventures, twice at resorts in Jamaica and once at Haulover Beach in Miami. For me to be nude in public there must be

a beach or pool
total strangers
no clothed people
no bowling

But this summer we decided to try out something a little closer to home.

The Ponderosa Sun Club (sort of not safe for work) in Roselawn, Indiana, sounds innocuous enough until you find out they’re famous for their “Nudes-a-Poppin” (definitely not safe for work) pageants.

But when the nudes aren’t a-poppin’, the club is a family-friendly resort for naturalists of all kinds. As I said, my husband and I don’t consider ourselves naturalists, but we do love a good nude swim. And I know it’s sort of cancer-y, but I love getting an all-over tan. It may be an optical illusion, but I’m pretty sure my stomach looks flatter when it’s tan.

We pulled into Ponderosa’s driveway past the sign that, instead of reading “Abandon Clothes, All Ye Who Enter Here,” simply had the club’s name and the silhouette of a presumably naked couple against a sun. We checked in at the front desk, paid our $35 day visit fee, and looked at the brochure.

“Bare in mind, you are not at a show, you are here to be a nudist.” I hoped “Bare” was on purpose (a bad pun is always more acceptable than a spelling error), but you never know. We also learned that you can get kicked out for gawking (good thing I brought my mirror sunglasses!) or driving around in your car.

As we drove around, gawking, we passed some naked tennis players (Guys? Naked except for a baggy T-shirt? Not a good look), a naked woman fishing, a naked volleyball game. All naked, all tan. Dave asked plaintively, “Are we always going to be the whitest?” “Well, they’ve been doing this for a while.” “Yeah, but doesn’t anyone just . . . start?” He was quickly distracted by a naked couple tooling past in a golf cart.

The Ponderosa is on 88 acres of really pretty woods, with campers, cottages, tennis courts, and other recreational buildings surrounding the large pool area. The pool looked great, but the water was freezing. A very large woman noted, “It’ll feel better after I’ve stood around and sweated.” Um, yeah, maybe.
On the Ponderosa’s Web site, they repeat that “NO clothing is permitted in the swimming pool area” and “Clothing is NOT optional” about 100 times. This turned out to be a big lie. Not only were a few of the pool loungers fully or partially clothed, there were several burly college-age guys—clothed!—removing the platforms and other stuff from the previous weekend’s Nudes-a-Poppin show. VERY uncomfortable. At one point, I was sitting on the edge of the pool, and from behind me I heard a male voice: “The water can’t be too cold if you’re sittin’ there.” I turned around, and . . . Fully Clothed Guy! Arrrgggh.But this was just a taste of the horrifying discomfort to come.While the overall experience was fun, relaxing, and people were friendly and respectful, I do have to warn any prospective guests about the snack bar.

At the end of the pool area sits a trailer, and inside that trailer is the snack bar. Now, most of you have in your minds an image of the typical pool-beach-resort type snack bar: you walk up to a window after perusing a menu board (hot dogs, chips, ice cream bars, etc.), and tell the nice man behind the window what you want. Well, get that image out of your minds.

We walked into the stuffy trailer only to find ourselves in someone’s home. Like, a normal trailer home with a living area and a kitchen. In the kitchen, a woman was busily preparing something for a customer, and at the other end, two CLOTHED men were sitting at a table.

We were naked.

It was dead quiet.

There was no menu.

We shifted around uneasily, shooting each other looks that said, “This is sooo uncomfortable, but we’ll be laughing about it for the rest of our lives.” The guy in front of us was getting a meatball sandwich and it took FORever. When it was our turn, we asked what was available. Lots of stuff, it turns out, but we opted for hot dogs, figuring they’d be fast. They weren’t. The nice woman took one hot dog and put it in the microwave (Put them both in together! I screamed in my mind). Meanwhile the guys at the table behind us said nothing. My butt never felt so big. The microwave ticked away. We looked at the ceiling, at our feet, at the door in desperation . . . we were never getting out of there.

After what seemed like several days, we got our hot dogs and ran. I vowed never to return. To the snack bar, that is. A tan stomach is too much of a temptation.

If you want to visit the “PSC” (as we nudists call it):
  • Bring your own chair and a towel. And for God’s sake, bring your own food. There’s a Subway not far from the club.
  • Men, erections are not tolerated.
  • Ladies, go ahead and bring a sarong, cover-up, or a pair of shorts into the pool area. THEY CAN’T MAKE YOU BE NAKED!

* Today’s lyrics are courtesy of, erm, Regurgitator!