The Sociable Bares Franchise!
If you live too far away to join the Bares then start your own group! We don't mind, anything that gets more people enjoying clothes free fun is OK by us. Here are a few essential steps and ideas towards creating your own circle of clothes free friends. These all worked well for us, but you may wish to do things differently. However you decide to go about it, first of all think your plans through carefully.
Create a vision
Sounds trite but you must be clear about what you want to achieve.
- to socialise clothes free regularly in any weather and in all seasons, not just at our naturist club, the beach or on holiday
- to widen our circle of friends by finding people near where we live who share our love of clothes freedom
- to create more opportunities of being clothes free at home and with our friends
- to leave the cares of life far behind regularly by devoting ourselves to silliness and fun in the company of like-minded friends
We didn't want...
- any of the petty bureaucracy associated with traditional organised naturist activities
- the tension created by an imbalance of the sexes
- a committee and all the squabbling that goes with it
- the hassle of membership, subscriptions or a formal organisation
Establish some principles
Originally we weren't going to have any rules at all, but realised that some are unavoidable. Keep rules clear, sensible and to an absolute minimum. Make sure they express the very essence of your vision. They should reflect your group's reasons for existence so closely that no-one would even think of breaking them. The Sociable Bares call them "Guiding Principles", and we only have four:
- we only invite male/female couples to be Sociable Bares
- we never wear any clothes when we meet, whatever we are doing
- we devote ourselves entirely to fun and relaxation and not taking anything else seriously
- we always treat each other with the highest personal respect and never cause embarrassment or harm to other Bares
However special circumstances will always arise, and the best way of dealing with these is to allow customs (not "unwritten rules"!!!) to develop around your principles without compromising them.
For example, one Bares couple have a lovely garden, unfortunately in full view of all their neighbours, but we do enjoy having barbecues there and so we keep t-shirts and shorts on until we go indoors after eating. Another example - the Sociable Bares are couples only, but a host couple may have other family member/s at their home, and it is perfectly OK for them to join in that particular Bares meet if they wish, provided they do so clothes free.
Go find people for your group
Your vision and your principles will determine who you are going to accept into the group. Before doing any recruiting decide who will be welcome and who would not. You need people who will be comfortable in each other's company and who will not cause friction, either through their personality or because of who or what they are. We are talking fun, relaxation and friendship here, not democracy or political correctness. Arrogant? Possibly. Necessary? Absolutely!
Start by asking existing naturist friends, and maybe broach the idea with non-naturist close friends. But to find new people you will want to advertise in both naturist and appropriate general publications available locally. This will cost, so you will have to be willing to spend some money to get the ball rolling.
Ensure all adverts are clear and unambiguous – state precisely what you are proposing! Give a phone number and if possible an e-mail contact, and wait for replies.
To vet or not to vet
If you are a "people person" yourself you will get a very good idea of whether someone will fit in at the first contact. Once again be sure to make it crystal clear what your group is about, and often just as important, what it is not about. A rapport will soon be established if the enquirer is on the same wavelength. If not, end of enquiry!
Hold a first meet to discuss your ideas and proposed principles with those who have expressed interest. This will probably be at your place, so no half-measures – clothes free from the word go, and try to give an impression of how future meets might go (food, a quiz, whatever makes for a good event). If all goes well you should have an instant group. Fix another meeting there and then, if you are very lucky someone will volunteer to host it, if not, you will end up doing so. Of course some may decide it's not for them and drop out. But that doesn't matter, however small the group, it's a start which can be built on.
As more people respond to your adverts you can choose to meet them first yourself, or with a small number of your group, or just invite them to a regular meet. This depends on them rather than on any need to vet – we have found that newcomers are often happier meeting just us the first time. Again, clothes free is the order of the day. Stick to your principles!
Other things to think about
Meeting places - if you intend to meet in each others homes try to encourage several people to host meets. Not everyone's circumstances will allow them to do so, and some will be wary of having a house full of naturists, but may volunteer to be hosts after they have enjoyed a few meets elsewhere. Small houses are just as much fun as large ones – let no one say their house is too small!
Be prepared to bankroll your idea. You will probably host or organise the first few meets, and you will certainly spend money on advertising, phone calls and postage, maybe a newsletter, keeping in contact. Don't have subscriptions – they need a treasurer – a treasurer leads to a committee – exit your "group of friends" basis! Instead, if you wish, ask people to donate some postage stamps, or to do some phoning around, etc. But the group will need a "driver" to keep it going, and that will be you!
To even out the cost of hosting events, try potluck suppers. Each person brings enough food for themselves, which is pooled and shared. In all cases Bares bring a bottle of wine to meets. Also, encourage people to tell the hosts beforehand that they will be attending – unfair to let someone cater for 12 when only 6 turn up.
Confidentiality must be implicit in all that your group does. You won't need telling that there are those who misunderstand our love of clothes-freedom. Everyone in your group must have complete mutual respect and trust. Remember the word "friends"! Friends don't breach confidences or cause problems for each other. For example, we Bares love taking photos of our silly antics, and all the photos are circulated to every Bares couple but nowhere else, so everyone is secure in this knowledge and no-one minds being photographed.
For continuity you should have regular meets, maybe on the first Saturday of every month or whatever is convenient to the majority, to give people something to remember and look forward to. It doesn't matter if everyone cannot get to each meeting. You can add more events to the calendar in between the fixed dates to suit diaries.
As your group becomes established, encourage popular events to be repeated and make the most of successful unplanned or impromptu things that happen. Your group will then begin to create its own folklore and traditions. Celebrate events out of season, invent your own games, and find new heights of silliness. Members will soon start to take particular events under their wing and will make fantastic efforts to put on a memorable "do". That's what happens with the Sociable Bares!
Always be willing to try anything – you will certainly have people with hobbies and skills that they can share, and doing them clothes free adds a new dimension and usually considerable hilarity to most pursuits. Grown adults sitting on the floor racing toy slot-cars, or playing carpet golf with sticks 3 inches long usually reduces everyone to helpless laughter in no time at all - just the thing after a bad week at the office.
There's nothing more enjoyable than being clothes free, except being clothes free in the company of good friends! Take it from us, starting up a group from scratch needs hard work (all on your part!) but gives you great satisfaction and is marvellous fun. In the words of a famous advertising slogan