Nudes are the most marginalized group in the world today. They’re barred from schools, bars, clinics, grocery stores, banks, parks, Parliament – the list goes on. With the possible exception of art gallery performances, Pride celebrations and late-inning baseball games, if you can name it, nudes are locked out of it.
Thankfully we can at least call ourselves enlightened enough not to make them wait around for the odd shoot or rainy, drunken night just for a chance to leave the house. In this dark age of intolerance, nudes can look only to one reliable place in which they’re free from persecution (other than their own painfully familiar abode): the nude beach.
Of course, if you live in a climate with winter, this pro-skin sanctuary is horrifically seasonal. And so, as a gesture to nudes everywhere, I offer eight key aspects of this coveted safe zone.
8. The Atmosphere
It feels like Europe. You’re sophisticated, civilized, waltzing garment-free along sun-drenched stretches of slate-flat sand, miles from the unrelenting indelicacies of people who wrap themselves in cloth. What vulgarity, what shame, you begin to imagine, lies at the heart of those who would hide themselves in rags. And you immediately become far too advanced for all those skin-hiders.
But, all of a sudden, a group of swinging golden chains emerge in your vision from a dense shrubbing of chest hair, sweat slips from balding men like seaweed off a log, a fleshy nose hooks out of faded sunglasses, nodding at your newfound nakedness, and you notice with sadness that your tiramisu has melted.
7. Going With Family
It is possible to go with family, but it is a delicate manoeuvre that has its tricky sides. The con here is the choice between splitting up, stripping, and meeting later fully clothed, or else exposing yourselves in front of each other and risking a relationship built on the separation of church and state. The upside is that either choice will result in a new bond between you and your kin.
6. Fellow Beachers
You may get the endearing opportunity to borrow sunscreen from a reclining stranger, who may or may not happen to comment casually on how she in turn stole it from her brother. The point is that casual conversation with strangers is infinitely more casual when you’re both naked.
Of course, below you towards the water a man may be lying flat on his stomach pointing his big black iPhone at you, making like he’s flipping through a text convo and you’re unsure whether you’ll surface on a yearly voyeur calendar or rot on his desktop in a folder marked “Beach Beauts”.
5. Sun Bathing
Pro: The nude beach offers a long afternoon of full-body tanning, free from the bleached men hording veins and Oakley’s who patrol salons and encourage pre-beach browning. Con: That which stays shaded crisps easily in the sun.
Many people are turned off the idea of the nude beach because they think it a retreat filled with only one type of person – namely, old men. This is an unfair assessment. While it’s not uncommon to encounter flocks of flapping skin smacking lazily against sagging thighs, neither is it uncommon to find young couples frolicking like spring robins in shallow waters.
It is desirable for a skin strand to contain a variety of body types so as not to appal any potential beachers and to make the place inviting for everybody. One may indeed find a beach stagnating in only one type of nude, and the con here is discovering one which offers nothing to satisfy your taste in Good Naked.
3. The Idea
For many, the experience of the nude beach opens up a whole new world of intrigue. New ways of life are discovered, free from body-shamers and cover-uppers and all their moral reasonings on indecency and propriety. The social code is different, interactions gain new qualities, casual glances and idle conversations are zapped through with the electrifying openness of strangers and the air is abuzz with excitement just for lack of a pair of trousers.
But the idea of the nude beach has its problems. One can become intoxicated by it and turn, forever, into a nude – locked out of public and private institutions, treated like a degenerate and ultimately confined to one’s house, shying away from windows and coming out only on very special skin-friendly occasions like naked rugby, mud-wrestling and naked roller coaster riding.
2. Running Into People You Know
I think we can all imagine how this could go either way.
Most of us know the aggravation of getting sand in your shoes, sand in your shirt and sand in your pants. But nude beaching offers extravagant new opportunities for finding sand on one’s person. Thankfully, sand is nice. If you do not find sand nice, then of course there’s water. If you find neither sand nor water nice, well then, there are nudes.