Sunday, July 29, 2007

More tales from the nude beach...

My post topless on the beach -- which I wrote nearly a year ago -- remains my #1 post, bringing in tons of hits from search engines every day.

I hadn't realized the subject of nude sunbathing was quite that interesting. At the time it was a post I tossed off practically as filler. But I'm starting to think that many of you out there in cyberspace have never been to a nude beach (or even a topless beach), and perhaps are curious. So in the interest of making sure my blog provides a valuable public service, today I'm going to try to remember more about the subject.

One question that comes up in a lot of search queries is about nude beaches for families. I personally didn't see many kids the few times I went to the nude beach in New Jersey, and the few I saw were very small. My impression is that bringing kids along for nudist activities is more a nude camping thing. I've never done that, but I've heard about it.

On the other hand, the beaches in France are full of kids, and partial nudity abounds. It's common for little kids to swim naked, and as I said in my earlier post, lots of the women go topless. I don't recall seeing that many moms going topless when they have kids with them, but I wasn't really looking out for that.

Another very common topic for search queries is people being shy about going topless on the beach for the first time. That seems like a pretty logical topic to wonder about since it must happen: A woman wants to go to the nude beach because all her friends are doing it, but she's shy about it. Really, that's kind of an erotic image. Unfortunately I don't have any anecdotes about that because I've never seen any obvious examples. All the people I've seen going nude or partially nude looked like they were either completely blasé about the whole thing or they were actually getting off on it. I know in my own case that was the whole draw: the thought of all these random strangers wanting to get a good look. So when the guy I was with would tell me about this or that guy taking an extra long look (apparently they wouldn't do it much when I was looking at them, but they were ignoring my companion), it was kind of amusing. For my inner anthropologist.

It's a good idea to go with a guy, though, because that way all of the random strangers keep their distance. Whenever we would get separated (if one of us would have to go get something) guys would come around and try to start a conversation with me. It's probably absurd of me to be annoyed by that, but I guess on some level I'd decided that the rules of the game should be "look, don't pester" and those guys were ruining it for everybody. Maybe other ladies feel differently, and in that case they're better off going to the nude beach with other women.

(Feminists will probably be annoyed that I'm taking it for granted that guys will assume that a group of women together are fair game for being hit on. But seriously, if you'd like to go hang out with a bunch of other women without having random guys hit on you, the straight area of the nude beach is the wrong choice.)

One funny thing that happened when I was at the nude beach was that I saw a guy get a citation for public urination. Apparently for some people the mere fact of being covered by pants is their primary inhibition from peeing -- not hygiene or social convention or stuff like that. As soon as the guy was done, a beach cop drove up in a beach buggy and chewed him out, pointing out the public toilets not far away.

That was the only time I've ever seen anyone get a ticket for public urination. I've certainly never seen anyone get in trouble for it here in France. Now that I think about it, I'm not sure it's even illegal here. After all, with all the dog crap in the streets, who's going to notice a little human urine here and there?

That's all I can think of for the moment. I wish I had more stories for you, but I didn't go that many times...

16 comments:

hm-uk said...

One of the best experiences I've ever had was to take a shower outdoors - a friend of mine had a beach house with an outdoor shower. I'm sure if I showered outdoors all the time it might lose it's appeal, but your post reminded me of that memory. Aside from that, there is a small naturist beach in front of our apartment in Brighton. The beach in Brighton is rocky and pebbley, which I always thought might be a bit more uncomfortable on naked bits...

Wayne said...

I have never been to a nude beach but I have been to clothing optional, new-agie, hot springs resort. The first thing I noticed was that when everyone around me was nude, nudity stopped being a novelty.

John Hamer said...

We spent 4 or 5 days at the nude beach in Toronto last month. Didn't see any people pestering anyone there --- probably Canadian politeness prevents that.

JulieAnn Henneman said...

My new goal in life is to go to a nude beach. First, I'm going back to the gym!

LOL

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Funny you should post about public urination...I did too last night.

Love this post. I think there are ingrained instincts in men that a woman alone is fair game. And that if there is another man present, they respect his "territory."

What do you think?

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Hm-Uk!!!

Showering outdoors does sound pleasant.

Hey Wayne!!!

Weird but true!!! It's funny how it stops being a big deal.

Hey John!!!

Those polite Canadians!!! ;^)

But seriously, it's the sort of thing that might occasionally be happening in various locations around the beach without your noticing if you're not actively on the lookout for it. Kind of like the adorably shy people whose cute hesitation might not be apparent if you're not looking for it... :^)

Hey Julie Ann!!!

Absolutely do it -- it's loads of fun!!!

Also, I wouldn't waste too much time stressing out about whether you're perfectly toned before going. One of the cool things about the nude beach is the fact that the people are so real. Before going, you might have this image in your mind of these airbrushed supermodels wandering around, but it's not like that at all. If you have an exhibitionist streak and you appreciate being appreciated, you won't be disappointed. :D

Hey SML!!!

I think you're right about males respecting each other's territory. Feminists naturally prefer men not to think of women as possessions, but the trick is to try to convince the men of that...

Paul said...

Like Wayne, I've never been to a nude beach but have hung out at clothing optional springs. The thing that strikes me most about them was the simple acceptance and respect people showed for each other. For instance, I've never seen anyone ogling someone at a hot springs. I'm sure it happens, but it might be rarer there than it is on city streets.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Paul!!!

Yeah, it's funny how nude experiences aren't quite what you expect. More people should try it with an open mind and see what they learn...

celerman said...

I've been to a nudist beach, but I was 19 and fit as. I'm 37 now and have nightmares about turning up for work naked

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Celerman!!!

True, as the years go by the call of the nude beach becomes less enticing. But it's nice to have the fond memories. :D

Maximus said...

I have never been a nudist since my childhood.
As a child, my parents let me in my birth suit for sunbath on beach.
Every summer, day by day, during the 10 days vacation on seashore - up to my 8 anniversary. It was only non-nudist beaches.
Twenty years ago, in Est Europe (where I from), kids nudity on non-nudist beaches was socially acceptable. It was very common to see naked kids between 0 to 8-9 years.
For me, wasn't. Since I graduated first grade, I was ashamed for my nakedness. But my parents don't. Because it was normal for they, and they are normal people.
Today, I am very shy, and i don't think about to be naked in public - even on a nudist beach! :-)

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Maximus!!!

Kids going naked on regular beaches is fairly common here in France too. It's too bad your parents made you go naked though if you didn't want to -- some kids don't mind, but as you point out others are shy even as little kids...

Nick said...

I'm a 23 year old recent college grad and I spent last summer in Europe, mainly in France, Germany and Switzerland. I really liked their pools/sauna places, but one thing was very different than the US. Many of the changing rooms are co-ed, and offered no privacy. And even in the ones that had private cubicles to change, quite a few times a girl or group of girls would just get undressed right out in the open in the changing room. Not just little 8 or 9 years old girls, but also junior high and high school age girls.

I wasn't sure if it was more appropriate for me to turn away, or the girls would think I was acting as if their nudity was offensive. So I just kind of looked and nodded and said "Guten Tag" but without staring. I was very surprised the first time that happened, and even though I eventually got somewhat used to it, it never seemed completely normal to be in a changing room with nude adolescent girls. I kept feeling like I was going to get in trouble.

The oddest time was in Germany in a swimming pool changing room. I was halfway undressed when a mom came in with her 3 daughters who I guess were about 16, 13 and 10 years old. All 4 started stripping like it was no big deal I was there. The mom saw me just standing there like an idiot in my underwear and socks, said something in German and when she realized I spoke English, told me in surprising good English "You can get undressed too, it's not a problem."

How in the world are kids over there so OK with nudity? Do you think that was inappropriate to get undressed in front of that lady's daughters? Or should I told her no way I'm going to wait?

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Nick!!!

Great stories. You have a good "when in Rome..." instinct: don't stare, just act like everything is normal as you're trying to figure out the social norms. As for your question, I'd say if the mom is right there and specifically told you to go ahead and change, then that means it's okay. Logically she would know what her own daughters are used to and can handle.

People's comfort level with nudity really varies -- not just from culture to culture, but even from person to person within a given culture. I went to lunch yesterday with a lady from Turkey, and she was telling us about how she used to hate going to the Turkish baths with her mother when she was an adolescent. She's not at all unattractive, and the Turkish baths are segregated by gender, but she was still embarrassed by all the nudity and by going around naked herself. And throughout her story, all I could think was "Wow, that sounds like fun!" lol

Anonymous said...

I am 22 now, but when I visited Germany 6 years ago with my parents and siblings (younger sister & older brother) I used the sauna in the nude with my family. After the first bout of awkwardness, I very soon got used to it and I now regularly visit Hanlon's Beach in Florida with my boy-friend.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Anonymous!!!

That's cool. It's surprising how quickly it becomes ordinary.