Stop me if you heard this before: A nudist walks into a bar. Instead of getting a cocktail, he orders water and waits for everyone else to get naked, while wondering what in the world he is thinking. That was me on June 22, 2023, in an undisclosed barstillery–a term I’ve just made up for a distillery/bar–on the west side of Chicago. The Chicago Fun Club is hosting a “prohibition night” here, and I’ve decided to attend a nudist event for the first time. I’m out of work and have little to do, so meeting new people will help me. I hope. I didn’t drive to the bar. Oh, I moved into the city earlier this month (at the time of writing) with a former co-worker. I took a Lyft from the apartment building to here, which allowed me to listen to a Chicago Blackhawks podcast gushing about Connor Bedard. I walked in and saw that the bar was already occupied, and some of the guests were my age. I’m relieved a little bit. I sit down, order a water and plan my escape in case I’m too nervous or mortified to stick around. Problem is, I’ve already spent a lot on a half-hour Lyft ride. I’m staying as long as I can. The time for the event approaches, and the guys in charge start putting up dark paper screens to protect everyone’s privacy. To my dismay, some of the younger clientele have left. My worst fear is about to come true; I’m going to be the youngest person there. I tell a nudist community on Discord I’m scared you-know-what-less, but I get some encouragement. I order some liquid encouragement too. However, as it turns out, I don’t like brandy. Too strong for me. As everyone starts getting nekkid, I pinch the bridge of my nose and shut my eyes because I can’t believe I’m about to do this. Finally, one of the club’s admins approaches me. She was nice and I feel a teensy bit better about the event. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring a towel nor a bag, but she gives me hers. She also tells me it’s like tearing a band-aid off, so I go into the next room where I take my clothes off. Okay, the band-aid is off, but I had to go to the bathroom. And the bathroom is in a part of the building where I have to wear clothes. Yeah, it’s inconvenient. But it’s necessary. So I come back and take my clothes off again. I sit down at a table and just get myself settled in. I bought a beer before or after sitting down… No, wait. I think there’s some memory issues. Someone at a table across from me invited me over, while someone else came up and greeted me. I talked to him, and the group’s founder, mentioning that I’m probably the youngest person there. They mention that some other events attract younger members, which makes me feel easier, and I can anticipate the future. But since I’m a newbie, introverted and shy, I don’t know what to talk about. I get back from the bathroom, drink some beer and join the group that had invited me to their table. I listen, and introduce myself. They’re talking about the World Naked Bike Ride, which is coming up, among other topics. I manage to find some ways to talk to people, mentioning that I plan to go to a resort over a week from then. Looks like I’ll miss a big event the week after my visit, because I’m going to a baseball game with my dad that weekend (speaking of my dad, he tried to call me on Facetime while I was there. I had to ignore his calls and tell him that I was at a bar. Which is true, I just didn’t say what was going on). I spent more time hanging out with this group. Or more specifically, hovering around them, listening to conversations, but unable to really contribute. Around 9:00 local time, I know it’s time to leave because everyone’s getting dressed again. But by then, I’m a little disappointed and underwhelmed. Like many other social events, some are more fun than others. This one was not as fun. But it’s good to get your feet wet when you’re a newbie nudist. Some of you might have better experiences than me. I just jumped in the pool and found this particular pool’s water temp to be unsatisfactory. I’m sure the other guests had a good time, though. Nice people, too. But I left feeling both disappointed and buzzed. Three beers was enough for me. I look forward to doing more nude events, and hopefully I’ll have more fun next time.