Dressing for the Beach. Or Not.


I have no idea who these guys are, or what they were up to. They are not appropriately dressed for the beach, that’s for sure. Now let’s consider a whole different direction for beach attire.
Did I mention that nudity on the beach in Zipolite is okay? In fact, as is pointed out on some websites, nudity is one of the things that this beach is known for. No shirt, no shoes, no pants; no problem. (But you can leave your hat on.). So everyday, sunrise to sunset, there are a fair share of beach-goers who are just letting it all hang out. Nudity is certainly not required, nor do the majority of the people doff their duds, but it is pretty constant. As in, at any given moment there is probably someone in your field of vision who is naked as a plucked jay bird.
I have always prided myself in being very open-minded, pretty liberated (especially when it comes to other people’s behaviors), and non-judgmental. Yet I find myself pondering this situation, and trying to figure out how I feel about it. And how I feel, in a word is — conflicted.
It bothers me that I tend to think I would like for most of these free spirits to wear a sarong, or at least a thong. Perhaps some “private parts” need to stay private. Somehow full-frontal nudity walking in my direction feels just a bit confrontational.
Since I am fairly self-centered, the first thought I have is, “Would I do that?” The answer is definitely, “No”. But I’m not sure if it is because of modesty or vanity. I’m sure part of the “no” is motivated by a desire not to be checked out. The reason I think l would be checked out is because I check other people out. I look at the nude ones with a much more critical eye than I use on the ones in attire. And, in the course of analyzing how I feel about the situation, a lot of what I’m analyzing is my own thoughts. I am, in fact, viewing others through critical and judgmental eyes. I don’t think that’s very nice. I would much rather look at beautiful bodies that out-of-shape, sloppy ones. That, too, makes me feel kind of hard-hearted.
However, one of the first things you realize is that most of the people who take part in the nudity do not look fabulous without their Speedos. They are male and female (although probably 70% are male), all types and all ages, but only a small minority could dance for tips. I think that the ones who could really pull off pulling it all off usually don’t and the ones who might want to rethink the whole thing are the ones who do. I certainly wouldn’t want to rain on their parade or cramp their style, and I appreciate their lack of self-consciousness. I really do. But then, I ask myself how anyone could possibly not be self-conscious while walking up and down the beach naked. Keep in mind I am not talking about just discreet sunbathing ( which I wouldn’t give a thought to). I’m talking about walking up and down the beach, or finding a very prominent spot to do your morning yoga, or your afternoon tai chi. Some days I think I have landed in the middle of an exhibitionist convention. Of course, all this is very dependent on the weather, and it is hot here. And, nudity only happens here on the beach. No one is trucking around on the main street without at least a bikini. In fact, on the website of the place where we are staying they respectfully request that residents don’t go nude on the pathways. No worries about the Ellis bunch messing up on that one.
It doesn’t really bother me, it simply puzzles me on a number of levels. In questioning how I feel about it, I have to question how I feel about the freedoms of others and where lines should be drawn. The real truth is, I find it a little bit entertaining, and that kind of bothers me, too.

One thought on “Dressing for the Beach. Or Not.

  1. Margaret, love this. As Ben, our 21 year old son, at the time, says about the nude beaches in Monaco, those that should don’t, and the ones that should not, do. So goes life. Home from Cozumel. Now with retirement, looking to stay longer. Somewhere in Mexico. Home a few days, came down with airplane crud. Now in Destin, for a couple of weeks. Rainy and 60’s. But, any day at the beach, is a good day.

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