Tag Archives: clover spa

Clover Spa’s Ladies-and-Couples-only Weekend: Great Idea or “Discrimination”?

6 Nov

ImageThat there are significantly more male naturists than there are female is widely-acknowledged.  There are a huge number of different explanations as to why this might be the case, many of which have equal merit.  But regardless of cause, the fact is that sometimes, attending a naturist event can feel a little bit like going to a very progressive monastery – almost entirely male.  The few women attending are also almost always in the company of males – I know hardly any single female naturists myself, although I am sure they are out there.

Clover Spa, the naturist hotel and spa in Birmingham, England, have decided that they want to do something to redress this balance, and so are exploring how to encourage more women to attend their establishment.

I would reassure Clover Spa that I personally feel they are already doing a great job of encouraging women and couples to try naturism.  Their hotel and spa is new, modern, well-kept, nicely decorated and pleasant to visit.  The surroundings, friendly majority-female (clothed) staff and the fact that it is a spa (with water, steam, massage and connotations of healthy indulgence), all help to create an atmosphere where it feels safe and easy to take one’s clothes off and enjoy nude relaxation which is very welcoming to women.

Certainly, on our last visit, there were no shortage of female patrons, and my girlfriend (not a day-to-day naturist but more a “when I feel like” sort) very much enjoys visiting Clover Spa and using their hot tub in the nude, maybe more than any other naturist venue we have visited.

However Clover Spa obviously feels that they could do more to encourage women to attend, and have identified what they perceive as an issue for some female customers: namely, that they don’t feel comfortable taking off their clothes in an environment where the vast majority of people are male.  That may not be an issue for all women: I have known female naturists who run the gamut from thinking it would be nice if there were more girls, to those who don’t mind being in the minority as long as there is at least one other lady in attendance, and even girls who don’t mind being the only naked lass in an otherwise all male group.  Still, I can easily accept that for some women, it is definitely an issue.

Clover Spa’s solution is to dedicate a weekend of its use, at the end of November this year, to only couples and single females.  Single males, although reassured that they are welcome at any other time of the year, will not be given admittance on that weekend.  Essentially, if you want to use the spa or hotel on those dates, you must either be a woman or bring one with you.

It seems like a good idea.  Women are in the minority in naturism and that can make naturist venues potentially feel like oppressive environments to women.  Making an effort to remove that feeling by artificially lowering the number of males and raising the number of females in attendance makes a lot of sense, if only to help women unsure about nude recreation get over that initial obstacle of taking off their clothes in company.

However, the announcement made by Clover has led to some criticism from certain quarters that the spa is discriminating against people who aren’t female or in a couple by closing it’s doors to them over that weekend.

These are often the sort arguments which get made whenever a minority is seen to be given something “extra” or a helping hand in the name of equality.  For example, Black History Month is routinely characterised by a few sour-graped individuals complaining about the lack of a “White History Month”, and there are always some terrible people who complain that Gay Pride events should be counterpointed by having “Straight Pride” parades.

People making these arguments so catastrophically miss the point of both the reason behind these events, and the whole concept of equality, that it is seldom worth arguing with them.

In the case of Clover Spa, though, it is perhaps not too charitable to give some attention to the complaint that single males are being discriminated against by not being allowed attendance on that weekend.  After all, it must be sad and frustrating to be told you can’t visit somewhere because of your gender or relationship status.  Implicit in the idea of encouraging more women to become naturists by holding women-and-couples-only events is that for women to participate in naturism more, it is necessary for single males to participate in it less.

I do feel sympathy for any single male who had made plans to visit Clover Spa that weekend, only to be told sorry, no, ladies and couples only – especially as that comes on top of the fact that many naturist clubs take the same policy year-round in an effort to keep out perceived troublemakers.  While in the textile world the single male enjoys many advantages, in the naturist one he is much more maligned, sometimes unfairly so.

So while I applaud Clover Spa for making a real effort to create a female-friendly naturist space, I can also see the point of view of those male patrons who are unhappy with this tactic.  That doesn’t mean I feel for a second that Clover should reconsider having this weekend.  However I do see how single males could feel a bit disappointed that they are being excluded in the name of welcoming some hypothetical women who may or may not feel less likely to enjoy themselves if there are a lot of men present.

I think it is important that women are encouraged to be as represented in naturism as they are in the general population – naturism is for everybody, regardless of gender, sexuality or race.  But creating female-only environments to achieve that can be problematic for the organisers.  Segregating people along gender lines, prioritising one gender over another: these are tactics which invite more criticism than they do praise, as they may risk giving a message to men that the cost of increasing the numbers of female naturists appears to be their own freedom to engage in naturist activity.

Ultimately though, I think Clover Spa has the right idea and I am sure their weekend will be successful – I hope it will also encourage women to visit on more mixed-gender weekends.  And if there are single males who feel aggrieved about the fact they can’t attend on that particular weekend, they can at least be reassured that there are 51 other weekends in the year when the facilities are available for their use and their normal privileges are restored.

(As a footnote, it has also been raised that Clover Spa’s “no single males” weekend is discriminatory against gay men.  That is, I think, something that is almost certainly not deliberate on the part of Clover Spa, but it is nevertheless a side-effect of the terms of admission on that weekend – although it is also worth pointing out that they say they will admit “couples” – they don’t say whether this means male/female and female/female couples only, or whether male/male couples will also be allowed, and that does not make allowances for single gay males, who are still single males regardless of sexuality .  The single male/gay male dichotomy in admission policies for many naturist venues is something worth debating, but it will be a long debate and so I would prefer to leave it for a future article)

Clover Spa Alcohol Licence Objected To

12 Aug

Nudist hotel’s plans for alcohol licence ‘will attract troublemakers’

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(Picture Source)

According to the Metro Newspaper, the application by Clover Naturist Spa in Birmingham for a licence to sell alcohol has “sparked concerns from local residents” and a local councillor:

Councillor Robert Alden said he feared the licence would turn the Clover Spa and Hotel, in Erdington, Birmingham, into a strip club and that it would attract ‘local youths and troublemakers’.

Now if you’re reading my blog, you’re already going to know how ridiculous I think that is!

I’ve actually visited Clover Spa with my girlfriend and some friends.  It’s lovely – one of the nicest naturist venues I have ever been to.  I hope to go back before too long.

The idea that this peaceful, relaxed venue would become something like a “strip club” is laughable… as is the idea that local youths would be willing to pay £15-25 for a glimpse at the bodies of the average naturist spa user, just because alcohol is served.

I have been to naturist venues that have a licenced bar and believe me, they are hardly dens of iniquity!  More like Real Ale on tap and a glass of wine by the pool.

Councillor Robert Aldren would do well to go along and see what Clover Spa is before making silly snap judgements because the words ‘nude’ and ‘alcohol’ are used in the same sentence.  Or at least, learn to listen to the people who do go.