St. Louis Post Dispatch Friday, August 4, 2000 THE NAKED TRUTH ABOUT NUDIST RESORTS A REPORTER STRIPS AWAY THE RIBALD IMAGERY TO REVEAL WHAT MOTIVATES TODAY'S NUDISTS By Of The Post-Dispatch The Forty Acre Club will celebrate its 50th birthday with a big party Saturday night. All the guests will be appropriately dressed. That's right, they'll be wearing their birthday suits. As in nude, naked, skin to the wind. We're talking 150 to 200 people doing The Full Monty. The Forty Acre Club is a family nude resort. It's one of 230 nude clubs in North America that make up the American Association for Nude Recreation; about half of these clubs are resorts. Forty Acre, located in Franklin County, outside Lonedell, was started a half century ago by some St. Louisans who wanted to enjoy nature au naturel. Today, the club is run much like a condo association; it's owned and operated by its 250 members. But back to the nitty gritty later. As any veteran nudist will tell you, it takes a little while to get acclimated to the lifestyle. First exposure The press release doesn't look much different from others on my desk. But the first paragraph is eye-catching: "In recognition of National Nude Week, Forty Acre Club will host an Open House ... Come join us for this clothing optional event. Bring the entire family and enjoy an afternoon of our hometown charm in a relaxing park-like setting." I'll admit I'm curious. Very curious. For that matter, so is everyone else in the office who hears about it. But going to a nudist club when its members might be busy doesn't seem like the best time to visit for a story. I wait until a couple of weeks later and luck into a gorgeous, sunny Sunday. Great weather, I will be told many times that day, for being nude. The Friday before my visit, several colleagues ask whether I will partake in the buff. I laugh nervously. My nose twitches. I find creative ways to avoid answering. The ride from St. Louis to Forty Acre takes an hour. The last 10 minutes are clippity-cloppity along a bumpy, gravel road until I finally arrive at a driveway that leads to a gated fence. I had been instructed by the club's membership chairman, Arline, to ring the security bell three times.