OA_show('Wallpaper');
OA_show('Leaderboard - Xx90');
Choose your edition:

Search form

What do you really know about the men of Totally Naked Toronto?

What do you really know about the men of Totally Naked Toronto?

IMAGE 1 OF 7
TNT!MEN turns its attention to having fun and expanding its membership base
It’s an organization based on fun and camaraderie, but it has been a lightning rod for sexual prudes. Now seemingly free from persecution, the group turns its attention to having fun and expanding its membership base.

***

Totally Naked Toronto Men Enjoying Nudity (TNT!MEN) is, as the name implies, a social group for men who enjoy being nude together. Since its incorporation in 1997, it has held events like naked bowling, basketball and volleyball; naked book club, potluck dinners, yoga, massage exchanges and monthly naked dance parties.

TNT and the late Janko Naglic, legendary former owner of the Barn nightclub, won a court case legalizing nudist events in bars after the Barn faced charges in 2000 under the Liquor Licence Act. Naglic was charged with allowing disorderly conduct for permitting nudity at TNT!MEN’s private naked dance parties.

One of TNT’s early members, lawyer Peter Simm, was a key figure in the fight against Toronto City Council to get official clothing-optional designation for Hanlan’s Point in 1999. Hanlan’s Point has since become so successful that Tourism Ontario actively bills it as a vacation destination and Toronto attraction. From the beginning, the group’s goal was simply to host fun events for guys who like to be naked together; it wasn’t envisioned as a political or activist organization. But, partly thanks to TNT!MEN, Toronto has an enviable reputation as a sexually liberated city. As with all member clubs, the TNT!MEN membership is aging, so the group works hard to make overtures to the next generation of nudists.

I became a card-carrying member of TNT!MEN myself last year and am proud to be a part of this friendly organization of about 350 members and more than 2,000 non-member supporters.


BERT BIK: THE FOUNDING FATHER

Bert Bik, 58-year-old co-founder of TNT!MEN, has always been a nudist. He grew up in the Netherlands where the culture is very comfortable and open-minded. Bik’s family never discussed nudism — it was simply a fact of life. It was not until elementary school that he became aware of social constructs that make some people uncomfortable with nudity.

“In Grade 3 we had swimming lessons,” he says. “I went for the first time with the whole class, took all my clothes off and jumped in the pool. People were horrified.”

Bik “behaved” after that, going nude only in places like his home and at the public beach. When he moved to Canada in 1974, he had to go back in the closet with his nudism. He eventually moved to Vancouver and visited the famous clothing-optional Wreck Beach.

“It was an eye opener for me; finally I could be myself,” he says. When he moved back to Toronto, he had the opportunity to be involved in the formation of TNT!MEN, and he has been on the board of directors or involved with the group ever since.

NUDISM, NATURISM, EXHIBITIONISM:
THERE IS A DISTINCTION

  • A nudist is someone who will go naked when the opportunity allows it — at designated beaches, at home, at social events, etc.
  • A naturist is someone for whom being naked is a lifestyle — they will be naked wherever they can be. They are often environmentalists with a focus on healthy living. There are naturist communities with their own churches, their own schools and the usual facilities of a small town.
  • An exhibitionist gets naked for shock value or sexual gratification.
“I have no shame about my body or anybody else’s body,” he says. “We were all created beautifully, and that’s basically what it’s all about. Clothes have two purposes: to enhance what we already have and to give us warmth. That’s it. In most societies, kids are taught that they should cover up. It causes a lot of shame issues: You should be ashamed when you get your first pubic hair, when you get your first wet dream. But there’s nothing to be ashamed about because that’s how we were created. Our group has allowed people to see other people naked and to realize that there’s nothing wrong with it. There is a perception that if you are naked, there must always be a sexual element to it. But that’s not at all true. It’s like in any group: people want to be sexual, fine: go to a corner and have fun.”

Bik seems to want to downplay the politics, and it’s understandable.

“Ever since the Supreme Court of Canada ruling in December 2005, allowing sex in clubs, the backrooms have re-opened, people are more relaxed,” he says. “We don’t have to police our own parties saying ‘Don’t do this, don’t do that.’ TNT!MEN is an organization focused on one thing: fun.”

***
 
NATHAN GREY: THE YOUTH CONTINGENT

At 27, Grey has been a TNT!MEN member for two years. He’s sat on the organization’s board of directors since October 2009.

“I started going after a couple friends of mine joined,” he says. “I had been going to the Alibi underwear parties, then a couple friends I met there told me about TNT!MEN. I like being naked. I’m a nudist. For me nudism is being comfortable in your own skin and not caring what people think.”

Grey has added a much-needed injection of youthful energy to the aging demographic of TNT!MEN.

“I joined because I wanted to bring in a younger audience to show that we are interested in some of the same things as the older crowd, that there is a young demographic for this,” he says. “I was on one of their posters. I’ve started a Facebook page, reaching out in ways that young people are more apt to follow. We’ve done postering at Ryerson and at U of T. We’ve changed up the music a bit; before it was very retro, now it’s a bit more modern. We even have reduced fees for students.”


TNT!MEN TIMELINE

1996: Naked Dance Parties are held periodically at the Barn nightclub by nudist group Toronto Canada Area Nudists (TCAN).

1997: Bert Bik and four others splinter from TCAN to form Totally Naked Toronto Men Enjoying Nudity Inc (TNT!MEN), a not-for-profit social men's club.

1997: TNT!MEN's Monthly Naked Dance launches at the Barn nightclub. The first party attracts 39 attendees. Within three months, the number swells to 100.

1998: Toronto Police harass the Barn for hosting TNT!MEN dances. A party is busted for liquor violations for allowing disorderly conduct. But there are no such problems, just a group of naked men. TNT!MEN lawyer and member Peter Simm meets with Barn owner Janko Naglic, Naglic's lawyer and Toronto Police superintendant Aidan Maher. They agree that TNT!MEN will sell tickets off-premise at Pegasus and Spa Excess, to create the atmosphere of a private club. The Barn is charged again, even after Maher is presented with a legal brief showing why the charges will not hold up in court.

1998-2000: While awaiting the outcome, TNT!MEN goes underground, hosting hotel parties, house parties and bowling.

May 12, 1999: Toronto City Council votes to restore the official clothing-optional designation at Hanlan's Point Beach, largely due to Simm's work. The story is picked up by Reuters, making international headlines. The TNT!MEN membership base grows from 150 to 350 people almost overnight.

Jun 2000: The Crown dismisses all charges against the Barn, setting the precedent that decriminalizes naked events in bars. After a brief party on the steps of the courthouse, Naked Dance is organized at the Barn in time for Pride 2000. Approximately 440 people attend.

Pride 2000: In what seems to be retaliation by police, seven men are arrested for marching nude in the Toronto Pride parade. The Crown dismisses all charges, saying they were not nude (they were wearing shoes) and that the men were in an environment in which people expect to see nudity.

2000-Oct 2004: TNT!MEN Naked Dances run monthly at the Barn without incident, even after Naglic's brutal murder. The Barn closes for renovations in January 2005; TNT!MEN moves to Slack Alice.

2005-2009: TNT!MEN events move from Slack Alice back to the Barn, then to George's Play, then Alibi, then Gladaman's Den.

Jun 2009: TNT!MEN moves to its new permanent home, Goodhandy's.
Grey’s efforts are paying off.

“When I first started going, it was just me and my friends,” he says. “The others would be older. Now, there are 20-somethings constantly.”

Bik says that before the party moved to its current location at Goodhandy’s, average attendance hovered around 110 people, but now it averages 160 people.

Grey is always trying to convert his friends. He tells them it’s just a regular party, just like hanging out at Woody’s, having a couple beers with your friends. “Except you’re naked.”

***

TODD KLINCK: EXHIBITIONIST

I had heard of TNT!MEN for most of the time I've lived in Toronto, but it never really registered on my radar as an organization I wanted to be involved with. Maybe it was because I didn't go out during the afternoon (when their monthly dances have always been held), or maybe it was a subconscious belief that the group was only for older guys. I had also heard rumors (false) that the group was anti-sex — something that I have since seen much evidence to the contrary!

But when they contacted me in early 2009 to ask if they could use my club Goodhandy's for their Mr TNT!MEN contest, I didn't hesitate to say yes. I love any organization that pushes the boundaries of social norms and for that reason alone, I was thrilled that they were coming to my home.

TNT!MEN, like many long-running organizations, has moved their monthly Naked Dance from venue to venue for various reasons. The unfortunate murder of Janko Naglic at the Barn caused them to move to Alibi. Alibi closing down caused them to move to George's Play temporarily, and then to Gladaman's Den. When they told me they were interested in moving permanently to Goodhandy's, I knew it was time to go to one of their events.

I was nervous. That might sound strange, coming from someone who has done porn and been in the sex trade, but getting naked in the afternoon with a bunch of strangers was oddly disconcerting. I have never considered myself a nudist. I sleep fully clothed, I rarely walk around the apartment nude, and my trips to Hanlan's Point (the clothing optional beach) were quite honestly more motivated by a desire to cruise the bushes than a desire to bond naked with nature or be free with my body in front of others.

I had a couple shots of vodka to get my courage, and I took a cab to the party. Once I had checked my clothes and started walking around, I immediately felt comfortable. I've gained weight over the years, so my own body image issues were a concern — but the vibe was so mellow, the guys were of all shapes and sizes, and there was no judgement.

I started to get an erection at one point, and because it was at a venue where there was no sex area, I hid under a table. I realize now that of the three categories of nudism, I am an exhibitionist. I have always had a difficult time keeping my dick down when nude in public settings, like in the shower at the gym. I now know that I get off sexually on being naked. Many nudist organizations will frown upon exhibitionists like myself, but TNT!MEN makes it clear on their website that it's OK to get hard.

Now that TNT!MEN has made Goodhandy's its permanent home, it's my favorite monthly party. And unlike my staff, I go naked (except for shoes) and have a really good time. I bus the tables, I plunge the toilets, I pause to grope a couple of cocks here or there, and I genuinely enjoy being nude. Being a voyeur as well as an exhibitionist, it's also a bonus to get a chance to see 150 different cocks all in one place. It was a bit awkward at first, getting used to the idea of being naked in front of my staff, but I told them all that they had to just accept it and it worked out just fine.

I never knew about this side to my sexuality. I knew that I liked sex, I knew that I liked showing off, but I didn't know that I would ever enjoy being naked with 150 strangers.

Comments

Continued from before
TNT!MEN is a group of wonderful guys who happen to enjoy each other in many different settings and ways. The major difference is that we happen to do all things mostly being naked, while the nudity becomes the equalizer. There is no room for impressing someone else with your wallet, your appearance, your possessions, or whatever other monetary stuff, but rather the amazing personalities you will encounter, while in return your own personality will blossom and will surely come shining through. Nudism is for everyone, if only you dare to take that first step, you will find a wealth of wonderful people from All Walks Of Life, who have been waiting for you for far too long. Even income or having sufficient funds does not stop anyone from enjoying our wealth of activities or experiences; volunteers party for free, while we even buy volunteers a drink in gratitude for helping us. After three volunteer shifts, we will even give you a free membership year, allowing you to enjoy all the privileges of full membership. The benefits are numerous, including free access to Spa Excess every Friday night from eight pm onward; Global discounts when travelling to nudist resorts through our affiliation of the Federation of Canadian Naturists (FCN); ten percent discount on in-store shopping in the Toronto Priape store on non-sales merchandise; highly reduced entrance fees to all TNT!MEN events, while three times a year we invite all of our current members to a free event. These events range from Dances, swims, to naked drawing classes, yoga, and lets not forget the amazing camping trips we do in the summer. But all this can only be enjoyed if you make that first step. Still reluctant, why not chat with me personally in a coffee shop or just chat by phone. You can reach me at contactus@tntmen.org and don’t forget to check out our website at www.tntmen.org
Continued from before
Returning to today. I have always kept the ability to see something beautiful in all people and yes I have been hurt many a time over the many years, but even in those cases I have always looked at the glass as being half full, rather than being half empty. From experience I can honestly tell you that the greatest gift you can give yourself is to put your personal fears aside and try everything this life has to offer. If you don’t like it, just don’t do it again, but if you do, hang on to it and enjoy it for all it is worth. Nudism is the most liberating experience of anyone’s life. Suddenly you will become aware that no matter what type of body you might have, there are simply no logos to hide behind, while the inner person comes shining through, giving you a chance to explore many facets of your life without fear or hang-ups, and most of all giving yourself the chance to meet hundreds of wonderful people/guys. Most guys never need to be approached, as others will simply approach you without any kind of hidden agenda, simply because you are a nice guy and someone to chat with. What you see is what you get and no matter what shape you’re in, there is a lid for every jar, and in my humble opinion, preferably many. Life is far too short to allow internalized fears to dictate what you can or should do. The hardest part of going to a nudist event for the first time is entering that door and you will quickly realize that all your previous fears and hang-ups were absolutely unfounded, while you missed out on a great deal of fun with the best friends you could possibly want, had you only overcome your internal fears sooner. But its never too late to start. I usually advice guys to come and help out as a volunteer the first few times. Once you have overcome your own initial shock of true freedom, you too will agree that the world is filled with wonderful people. Most are simply friends you have yet to meet. And yes there are some you may want to avoid like you would in
Continued from before
Speaking strictly about yourself, I would love to have a dialogue with you, since you are obviously very intelligent, kind and a caring person. Most of all I find your comments insightful and having the ability to look behind your own back yard is a beautiful trait. In TNT!MEN we do not judge anyone, while we understand how very difficult it can be to make that first step into the nudist world. It's like that first time I went into a gay pub, The Quest (yes I am aging myself 58). I must have thought about going in for many months. This was followed by walking by the place many more times, amazed about those who already had the courage of going in.. Finally I gained the courage myself and went in, sitting on a barstool in the furthest corner of the bar, scared out of my wits for being approached, yet seeing all the activities around me. I was mesmerized and suddenly awoke to the thought that I was just human, and there were many like me, while I no longer was alone. Every face around me was more beautiful than the next, while their physical attributes were rather irrelevant. It was the bartender, Janko Naglic who very kindly chatted with me while serving me my first drink, who I befriended ever since until his early demise through that horrible murder, when he had become the owner of various establishments over the years to finally become the owner of The Barn. Janko truly was a very special person, who I will miss as a friend until my own last breath.
Right on
Thanks Rich for your comments. I appreciated your comments a great deal and this is exactly why TNT!MEN exists. Many people have body issues as you would soon see if you ever were to have the courage in coming to any TNT!MEN event. The person who constantly writes about our scandalous behaviour is a great example; spouting out venom without having the courage to use their own name. It's people like this that causes the enormous mental issues in our society. You on the other hand are honest, upfront and most of all without judgement regardless whether the issue is about you. I am always stunned to find people who judge others without having a shred of self dignity, while their opinions often are a mere reflection of their own tunnel vision and internalized fears, usually spoon-fed in youth, giving them blinders for the rest of their life. They often entirely miss the truly important life issues about unconditional love for any and all that surrounds us, the gifts of mother earth. Most of all they have little or no understanding what loving their neighbours is all about. Regretfully many of those never experienced a true love for anyone and anything in their surroundings, so never mind themselves. Luckily it takes all kinds to make this world a glorious place and if nothing else, might they be nameless or faceless, what they spout out allows us to form our own opinion , while clearly seeing the difference. For instance a.k.a. Dames Jubro give us all a chance to realize that our own opinions are right on, while as long as there are people like her/them/whomever, TNT!MEN still has lots to do in this world.
mistaken identity
I just got around to reading this article, it was one i saw and thought I'd come back to later but never did for some reason, today I came back to it because I thought I saw James Dubro had commented on it and I was interested in what he had to say since I think he usually has insightful comments plus to finally get around to reading it. Of course it wasn't James who had commented like I originally thought underlining the importance of everyone using an unique name if not their own, it seems underhand and sneaky to use someone else's name only switching a couple letters. Anyways I don't think I'm up to joining TNTMEN though I appreciate they're out there and their message, I do enjoy being as lightly clothed as possible in my home, usually just my under wear if its warm enough but that's just for comfort to minimize excessive swinging which I don't enjoy, it feels liberating in a way but I have body image issues that I think would make being among others naked too difficult for me. Maybe someday who knows, but I am glad there is such an organization out there to keep us thinking about these issues even if we don't belong to the group, your message is being heard, by some at least.
Matts Mill! Stop it!
Matt says "The idea is to promote dialogue and to empower readers to effect positive change for gay and lesbian people." How about when you excoriated former Attorney General Marion Boyd, a friend of the community and the best hope inside the Rae government? What was gained from that except to make readers cynical about every politician going, including those on our side? There was nothing constructive about your mean-minded character assassination of her, when you ought to have been going after Bob Rae and Lyn McLeod. But you were too busy eating our young, a disgusting character defect of this community. And yet, so preachy and self-righteous when it comes to others!
Ed's note
Dames, "Xtra has happily sandpapered the scrota and vulvae of many individuals, organizations over the years." Tee hee, you're a cunningliguist. To be fair, we don't hold feet to fire happily; we do it carefully in the hopes of describing to readers what's really going on. The idea is to promote dialogue and to empower readers to effect positive change for gay and lesbian people. It wouldn't occur to us to publish critical analysis on an individual or group anonymously, or without providing the subjects every chance to respond. We also eat crow and change course when things evolve, or if it turns out that we got something wrong.
How wonderful that you responded!
No matter whether the comments are possitive or negative, each creates food for thoughts about the issues, and giving us reasons to accept or reject, but at least you thought about it. Spending a day at Hanlan's Point clothing optional beach, likely will change most negative thoughts and you don't even need to be naked to enjoy nature is it was meant to be. The most important issue to remember is that we were all born naked. If we were intended to be dressed, surely we would have been born fully dressed. Some might be ashamed for their natural gifts, but surely once you have been in a nudist/naturist environment each of us would recognize that none of us are created equal. Nudism is all about Fun and feeling comfortable in your own skin. Looking forward to a splendid summer with lots of nude or naked FUN.
Blame the West, yet again
Joe R crows that "Western society vilifies nudity" actually, it is more vilified in Islam (burqas? niqabs? veils? long pants on men?) than in "the West" but hey, it being the chosen bete noir of the day, go with it, Joe R. Rather than whining that we don't "understand" you, you might be more sensitive the fact that covering up one's genitalia in public is in fact an almost universal behaviour, and not reducible to prudery or 'body issues.' Your arrogance and tunnel-vision is galling. And Matt - constructive? Please. Xtra has happily sandpapered the scrota and vulvae of many individuals, organizations over the years. I would run out of characters before I could get started on a list. So please, just don't. And if we had to be original, we'd lose 50% of our drag queens and 80% of our porn titles.
Not going to attract younger...
I doubt this group will ever attract a younger crowd. Pretending that individuals like Nathan who are 'young' are into this is a bit deceiving. He's in a relationship with an older guy according to facebook and seems quite comfortable in that environment. Many of us younger guys may enjoy being naked, but aren't about to do so around a bunch of guys who are at least 2-3 decades older. It's a comfort thing... Also, who are they kidding? It's not about radicalism, it's a bunch of horny dudes hanging out w/ their junk out. Want to be radical? Do some activism, update your website out of the 90s, and do more than just naked pool swimming and dances.

Pages

Sign in or Register to post comments