Uncomfortable Experience: nudist on a nude beach

Latest uncomfortable experience: being nude on a nude beach. A few years ago, I did the nude modeling experience which was nerve wracking, but being nude in broad daylight in public is another experience all together, which I now know. 

Start of Black’s Beach

Start of Black’s Beach

Oddly enough, nude beaches aren’t as accepted as one would think in California. Los Angeles county has zero, and there’s only one north of Sacramento. Several “indecent exposure” penal codes exist, particularly California Penal Code 314 PC. (I was curious so I researched this as I thought I could get arrested if I was on the wrong side of the very official cones on Black’s Beach which officially indicate where nudity is allowed.) Black’s Beach is one such beach that is absolutely stunning in San Diego. Along with nudists, surfers, joggers, and locals stroll this beach year round. 

The official cones

The official cones


Around 9am, I had reached the beach. (Black’s Beach is in front of a huge cliffside.) Despite how early and sheltered this beach is, it was already packed with several dozen surfers, walkers, tourists with those damn selfie sticks, and even families. “Oh shit,” I thought. “I can’t be jogging down the beach with some 4-year old pointing at me.” Here I thought I’d been a tad wimpy and easy on myself, going out relatively early to avoid gawkers and tourists. Apparently not. 


At first, I didn’t see anyone nude. I asked one surfer, “Isn’t this Black’s with the naked people?” He said, “oh yeah. But the nudists are up a bit more. But seriously, dude, it’s just a bunch of old men you probably don’t want to see naked.” I kept strolling for half a mile or so, and once I passed those official cones, you could see the beach spotted with a few bare bums. I strolled up to the first bare butt I saw. I was curious to know why he was out here, and I wanted to be near someone who was also stark naked as this was NOT the dominant going on at this beach. 


Let me tell you about this dear man, Eric. He was the color of an almond from head to butt cheek. Given the lack of tan lines and his perfectly swept long grey and white hair, I figured he had be out here often as a nudist. Indeed, he said he loved the freedom he felt being naked on the beach. You could feel the whole sun, the whole ocean on your body when you didn’t have clothes on, he said. He wished he still could feel that burst of freedom like he did so many years ago, but he was now more than 60 years old and has been out here many, many times. He also said that you have to watch yourself out here, which is a sad thing. Some people will come and just watch you, fully clothed, in a rather creepy way. He’d dealt with that before. He also said a lot of women have a bad experience because some guys “can’t handle it and act out.” Eric was kind and sincere, but I have to tell you, it was odd having a full conversation with a man who just turned over on his towel and was now fully nude right in front of my face, in full sunlight, right there in public. This was a great moment for me. My internal voice was saying, “ahhh! He’s naked right here! What is happening!” I laughed at this later. That’s our culture talking. “Naked is bad. Naked is indecent,” is what American culture teaches us. If you think otherwise, consider that crappy crepe garment you “put on” in the doctor’s office. 


I told Eric I was going to do it! I was going to run to the ocean, splash around, and walk back up the beach. Maybe I’d do a cartwheel. It happened to be low tide, which made the distance from the beach to the water line particularly long. “Go. Be free,” he insisted, and then he turned back on stomach to read his book. “See. Eric doesn’t care I’m about to be naked out here,” I thought. I looked up and down the beach. I even looked at the sky, as the hang glider port is located above the beach. Like someone is going to see me from the sky! I laughed at myself. This was so ridiculous which is the best part of being uncomfortable: you often get to a point where you find it outrageous that you’re all caught up in your silly discomfort. It’s so dumb. I had previously thought, “What do I care,” but then, you face the reality of your situation, which is where this practice of being uncomfortable gets interesting. 


I whipped off my shorts, top, and sports bra and started a dash to the water. Isn’t that funny? What the hell am I running for? Also, sports bras were made for a reason. Maybe I thought the water would hid me. But damn, that water was cold. Once I was over the shock of the coldness, I sloughed out of the waves back to the beach. I’d like to think I was like some mermaid emerging from the sea foam in some naked two legged glory of sorts, but please. I laughed but it was that delightful kind of laugh. Eric was right. It’s nice to feel ALL of sun on your skin. I strode back up to my spot, probably a hundred yards from the water. Nonchalantly, I put my clothes back on and eventually got back to my car. It was great to be naked. Highly recommend this one. Say hi to Eric out there. 

Uncomfortable Experience: being with bees

Latest uncomfortable experience: being with bees. I’ve never been stung by a bee, and the thought of  touching a whole hive full of them was a tad disturbing to me. Hell, I didn’t even know if I’d have an allergic reaction if I were stung, so that was another consideration of this uncomfortable experience. Long story short of this post: I get stung, I’m fine, and bees are incredible. 

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I found an adorable bee keeping business in National City, Girl Next Store Beekeeping, that helped me with this experience. Hilary, the owner, removes bees from properties, teaches classes, harvests honey, and promotes the magic of bees to anyone who will listen. She also has several hives in her backyard that literally buzz with the sound of tens of thousands of bees bustling about in the coffers of the honeycomb. We did a tour of her hives and checked the status of the queen bees which are often marked with a colored dot on their bodies. (Like cattle or dogs, there are queen bee breeders who tag/mark their prized animals.) 

Hilary pointing out a hive

Hilary pointing out a hive

I told Hilary I didn’t want to get stung per say (physical harm on purpose is not the objective of practicing uncomfortable experiences, at least in how I practice) but in order for this to be uncomfortable, I’m going to need some real exposure. Just a little. She did say I was the only one who has requested this, ha. We suited up in the bee keeper suits and zipped, Velcroed, and padded ourselves in from head to toe. Hilary said she gets stung often enough, particularly if she’s removing or transporting hives. Bees can get fairly agitated and scared-even waving your hand swiftly across a palate of honeycomb makes many of them jolt a bit. Similar to a school of fish or flock of birds, bees can move as a mass unit, connected by communication humans can’t even fathom. They typically get feisty when threatened and sense a source of danger, and a few female bees will buzz aggressively around the source of agitation, resorting to stinging if all else fails. Hilary and I had a brief philosophical conversation around this: do bees know they’ll die if they sting? Or is this just programed biology? Bees only live 42 days with the exception of the queens that can live 2 to 7 years so perhaps some of those bee fighters just figure a Kamikaze mission doesn’t matter, minus a couple days of life. 

Me glove free with a new comb and worker bees

Me glove free with a new comb and worker bees

Once we looked at the palates for a bit, I took off my gloves. Stupidly, I thought I’d notice a bee buzzing by my hand if there was an issue at all, particularly if we were being calm and gentle. I could easily hold and even pet the bees on the honeycomb palates, for instance. Those bees are so busy building, they don’t mind a human pinkie poking around. The bees on the honeycomb are oddly calming. Although I knew all of them could sting (these combs didn’t have any of the male “drones” which lack stingers), I didn’t get a sense any of them wanted to attack me though my first couple of minutes, I was dripping with dread inside kinda like the honey on the combs I was looking at. It wasn’t the happy worker bees that got me, though. At one hive while standing next to Hilary, I felt the immediate puncture of a push pin in my thumb and knew it had happened. Hilary had warned me it was possible with the swarm that had stirred to life with our sudden presence at their doorstep, so this was completely my fault. She took the stinger right out within three seconds of me flailing and cussing about (I was surprised!) and then we just continued our review of the honey combs. The sting hurt. like. Hell. I now have a good appreciation for the power of a little sword from a bee’s butt. 

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Hilary told me a ton about bees, and there’s so much I could write here. Honey is completely sterile; it’s the only food that doesn’t go bad; it takes 12 bees an entire working life to get a single teaspoon of honey. One must-do, if you get the chance, is to smell the insides of a hive. It’s an odd aroma of warm bread and ripe banana with a hint of, say, yeast. We tasted a bunch of honey after getting out of our suits, and I told Hilary honey tasting could easily be the new wine tasting. There is so much variety to the color and taste of honey depending on the pollen bees collect. In Southern California, for instance, there’s an essence of eucalyptus in many varieties. 

Overall, I’m rather glad I got stung. It was uncomfortable enough having my hands on honeycomb crawling with bees, and I got the freebie of a relatively harmless sting to reinforce who’s house I was intruding on. Good reminder for life overall.