By Mark Time (from an article courtesy of http://www.telegraph.co.uk
Reaching my 40’s I’m proud to have recently chalked off two highly important items from my bucket list:
Buy a chainsaw
Go nude sunbathing
(I’ve noted to keep both activities separate._
If nudism was good enough for the Royal Marines and the Spartans, it’s surely good enough for me – even if my once toned stomach now looks like 3kg bag of Nadine potatoes.
Such self-consciousness forced me to dabble in nudism in a land not of my own. I chose Croatia, where both naturism and nudism (there is a difference) are common and the weather is warmer. Both are important to a dilettante.
The island of Lokrum lies off the coast of Dubrovnik. Famed for being the place where Richard The Lionheart was shipwrecked and its nudist beach, I chose it as the perfect place to get my kit off for the very first time and an unlikely spot to run into my old English teacher, Mrs Berry.
I watch people board the island’s ferry to highlight any potential fellow nudists. None are distinct – but then I suppose that’s the whole point. Nudity peels away society’s labels. It’s a great leveller against the deference of class, wealth, and occupation. Even the destitute can afford to be naked.
Upon landing I follow a forlorn sign, but it heralds only a maze of paths and an absence of further signs. I chance my arm at the next limestone beach. Surely the nakedness of its inhabitants will signify its use? It’s deserted. What if I strip and it isn’t a nudist beach? What if it’s a designated area of special scientific interest where schoolkids come to learn about the limestone crops I now stand frozen upon?
I find a spot, brazenly near the showers but timidly out of sight for anyone peering from the walkway. I scan for voyeurs. I throw off my footwear and before I can back out of this exercise in self-doubt, in one swift movement remove my shorts. I am now naked. In public.
The caress of air upon unfamiliar regions is strangely pleasing and any embarrassment I fear is noticeable in its absence. I feel liberated and at one with my surroundings. Perhaps I’m a natural at naturism?
Alone as the king of my own private world, my normal luck prevails when a tourist boat chugs by. Apparently I’m far more interesting than what can be viewed through the glass bottom. A crew of voyeurs hoot and holler like football fans as I stand proudly with my meat and two veg in plain view. It’s strange but I feel a kind of headmaster’s scorn for their childish behaviour. Nor do I feel self-conscious hidden behind my sunglasses, I’m more worried of breaking nudist etiquette by wearing them.
I stand boldly on the limestone cliff, contemplating an ageless world over the azure sea. I feel primordial. I’m a caveman with a smart phone.
My confidence soon withers upon hearing people approach. Stay calm, don’t cover up, but don’t stand like a super hero either. I lie on my front and try to relax while reading Bukowski. I say hello to a group of ladies as coolly as I can while my scrotum is squashed on a rapidly heating patch of limestone.
“Nudity peels away society’s labels. It’s a great leveller against the deference of class, wealth, and occupation”
They disrobe adjacent to where I sit. A whole beach awaits, yet one woman lies with her legs spread so close to me that I could be mistaken for her midwife. Where do I look? While I veer uncomfortably from my natural gaze, will my natural voyeurism, borne from people watching in the name of literature, and a crooked neck, cause me to peer longingly at her overt genitalia?
I’m trying to be adult about my unwanted predicament. Claiming naturism enhances sexual titillation is a natural misconception and I feel no arousal for those around me. No matter how attractive the naked woman sitting five metres away is, she cannot look sexy while eating an egg sandwich. So if there is nothing sexual about this, why, when I stand up, do I suck in my belly – is it the naked equivalent of straightening my tie?
One of the ladies motions to me by holding out a plum. It may seem a comical metaphor; it is a polite invitation to join them. We don’t discuss jobs, nor families; we are satisfyingly bereft of identity. We chat, we share food, and we are naked. I feel totally at ease and why shouldn’t I? It’s the most natural thing in the world.
Mark Time is an adventurer and the author of the ‘Bootneck Threesome’ series
Article courtesy http://www.telegraph.co.uk
Photos credit Alamy