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Nearby, a group tosses horseshoes while another plays shuffleboard. The pool, a few yards away, teems with swimmers and sunbathers. Golf carts are the preferred method of transportation around Forty Acre and several whiz by the table. Floyd, an older gentleman who wears nothing but hiking boots and a cap, jokes that eating nude cuts down on napkins: "You don't have to worry about getting your clothes dirty with food spills." Carol and Pat, both of whom are finishing their lunch, get beeped by Arline: Could one of them give a tour to visitors? There's been a steady stream arriving since 10 a.m. Already this season, 14 couples have become members (new members must be voted in by existing members). Carol picks up her towel, lays it on the seat of her cart and drives off waving. Meanwhile, Richard, the deep-thinker of the group, blatantly steers the conversation to the advantages of nudism. I know he's doing this for my benefit; earlier in the day, while he had given me a tour, I fired dozens of questions about why he and his wife, Barb, had chosen this lifestyle. Years ago, they had been to a nude beach and liked the freedom of going into the water and sunbathing "without a wet rag clinging to them," Richard explains. But it wasn't until their kids got a little older and more independent, that they actually thought about joining a nude resort. They also were living in California, where nudity tends to be more acceptable. Still, after moving to the St. Louis area last year, they investigated the possibilities of joining a new club. They found Forty Acre, checked it out and signed up because they liked its relatively small size (some clubs around the country have upwards of 2,000 members). They also liked the people. Members come from "all walks of life," according to Richard, but in the club's natural, soothing setting, what one does for a living matters much less than who one is. "Once you remove your clothes, you also remove the stigma," Richard says. "It doesn't matter if you're a lawyer who makes six figures or a construction worker. You can be a rabbi, a priest, a doctor, a ditch digger. Without your clothes, you're seen as a human being. People accept you for who you are, not what you do or what you wear." He smiles a bit coyly, then continues: "Hey, I'm not going to tell you that people don't look, because that's just human nature. But it's like for a nano-second." Agewise, Richard and Barb are typical of Forty Acre's clientele. The overwhelming majority are in their 40s and 50s. Richard's got a theory about this. "Basically, we're aging baby boomers who were ready for something different once our children grew up," he says. But then there are members like Saxon and Bridget, who joined 20-some years ago and whose four kids have grown up at the club. Their 13-year-old says she has friends who know about the nudist thing and friends who don't know. The ones who know also belong to the club. The ones who don't are kids she hangs with at school. She doesn't

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