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Neighbors make waves over hot tub. It was bound to happen!
Here’s an amusing exchange of letters to and from Dear Abby in June 2001 on the subject of nude or not nude hot tubbing. Funny thing is the topic continues to be of great interest today.
Dear Abby: We installed a hot tub several years ago. We are always naked when we use it. When we entertain guests, we let them know in advance that it is their choice whether to wear bathing suits or not. If they opt to wear suits, we ask if they care if we or other guests are naked. Most guests opt to soak in the nude; those who don’t have no problem with others being naked.
Recently we invited new neighbors to our house for a welcoming party with other neighbors. They informed us they would be uncomfortable if other guests were nude. We have no problem with this — after all, we have plenty of opportunity to enjoy our spa naked — but some of our neighbors felt put out after years of enjoying our hot tub in the buff.
This has created dissension in the neighborhood, and our efforts to be respectful of others is backfiring. Have you any suggestions on how we can resolve this? — Doin’ What Comes Naturally
Dear Doin’: Yes. Don’t let your straitlaced new neighbors throw cold water on your hot tub tradition. Entertain them separately so your less-inhibited neighbors can enjoy all the therapeutic benefits of soaking in their birthday suits without anyone pointing fingers. I’m sure everyone would prefer it.
Dear Abby readers were not so thrilled with her response. Two months later in August 2001, Dear Abby published a few of the letters she’d received regarding her response to Doin What Comes Naturally.
Here’s the headline: Dear Abby: “Fair warning of hot tub party prevents neighbors’ cry of foul.”
DEAR ABBY: While I don’t disagree with your response to “Doin’ What Comes Naturally,” whose new neighbors objected to group nudity in their hot tub, the hostess could have handled the situation with more sensitivity.
Reading between the lines, I suspect that the hot tub dress/undress issues were raised for the first time at the gathering, which put the newcomers on the spot. Good hosts should never do that to their guests.
When the invitation was extended the hostess should have said, “By the way …” and explained the situation. That way, the new neighbors could have expressed their discomfort privately, and the problem could have been avoided by keeping the hot tub covered on that occasion.
In my experience, people who are uncomfortable displaying their bodies in public are also uncomfortable with others being exposed. — BASHFUL IN ORADELL, N.J.
DEAR BASHFUL: You’re right. For some people, it’s a moral issue; with others, it’s simply insecurity about how they look. Also, a sizable number of people would rather leave to their imaginations that which they would prefer not to view in the light of harsh reality. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I was shocked and disappointed by your position regarding the “straight laced” hot tub neighbors who didn’t want to soak in the nude with the neighbors. What is this world coming to when a person of your stature condones nude hot tubbing with neighbors? Enjoying the “therapeutic benefits” of soaking together in the nude — unless it’s husband and wife alone — is a new low in moral behavior. — HORRIFIED IN HARRISBURG
DEAR HORRIFIED: It’s neither new nor necessarily low. I have never condemned nudity — as long as it’s on the up-and-up. And while I might hesitate to grin and bare it (all), scores of wholesome people from many cultures enjoy the naturalist way of life. 2001 UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE (EDITOR’S NOTE: Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips pictured above.)
Unsure what to do at your own hot tub party? Here’s what we’ve always said about suits or no suits:
Nude or not nude? Be sure to let your guests know what the rules of the “house” are. There is nothing more embarrassing than having your guests strip to the buff when you and your partner have opted for suits or vice versa! If you’ve opted for nudity, it is really important to tell your guests when you invite them so they have a chance to decline if nudity’s not their thing. As gracious hosts, you want your guests to be comfortable. A mix of suits and nudity doesn’t work for either group. Either way, do only what’s comfortable for you!
Thoughts on Abby’s advice? Share your comments below.
Don Riling is the President of Olympic Hot Tub and has been an active member of the hot tub industry for over 27 years. As the company’s owner since 2016, he has continued Olympic’s legacy of promoting health & wellness through water.