This is supposed to be a year of trying new things, expanding horizons. So, in that spirit, I agree (Tim’s idea) to go to a family nudist RV park.
I check around on the internet. One place seems promising, but I’m not quite clear what they’re about. I call and ask if they are clothing optional.
“No,” the lady unequivocally answers.
“Oh. I’m sorry. I must have the wrong information,” I apologize, hoping she doesn't think I'm some weirdo. But, something in her voice makes me query further.
“So, people don’t walk around naked?” I try to confirm.
“Oh, yes, they do.” She answers. Is this place English optional, perhaps?
“Okay… but you’re not clothing optional.” I offer slowly, with impeccable pronunciation.
“No, we’re nudist.” She snaps. Well, excuuuuse, me.
“I’m not sure I know the difference,” I concede. She explains that when inside the park, one is required to be naked. Now I get it. It was the optional, not the clothing, that was the problem in the whole clothing optional thing. Who knew? Fine, I decide to play along and proceed with what I think is a perfectly reasonable question.
“Can I wear shoes?” She laughs and muzzles the phone to call out to some other nuditity requiring linguaphile.
“She wants to know if she can wear shoes.”
For those of you as clueless as me, the answer is yes. Which means, then, that the correct expression should be partially nudist or perhaps shod optional.
Just think if the entire world were nudist, what expressions would we never have had the pleasure of using: butt crack (nothing to crack it with), get your shorts in a wad (nothing to wad up with) and picking lint out of one's navel (nothing to lintify with) and… ????? Anyone????