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.
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.
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.