Sunday, 9 August 2015

Nudist beach

I've never put sun cream on my bits before. Funnily enough I've never known the need to. That was until a few days ago and once I'd done it, I knew there was no backing out of my plan now. Otherwise it would have been a completely pointless exercise and one I would only have to do all over again tomorrow - which I'd rather not do, it's a bit too sticky and sweaty to want to do again - because I had made my mind up that I was definitely going to do this.

In Croatia - continental Europe in general - people seem to be a lot more comfortable with their bodies and with showing them off (at least that's how it seems?). Let me give you an example of what I mean. I went on a boat trip to see some caves and the female tourists painted an interesting image. Firstly, I saw a group of young (what I believed to be) Croatian girls who were all dressed in and only in what were best described as (nearly) thong bikinis. Then there was a group of (what I believed to be) Japanese tourists, who were all in long sleeves. Some wore cardigans, some wind breakers and one woman wore just the sleeves which were elasticated at the top where they met her t-shirt, like a pair of long socks meeting a knee length skirt. Now I'm now sure why they wore long sleeves - in 30+ heat - and I think it probably had more to do with protection from the sun and wind than modesty? But either way, I think it helps to explain what I'm trying to say. Croatian people in general don't seem shy to show off their bodies.

In principle I totally agree! Why should they be? I mean, lots of them have very nice bodies - they seem to be quite a fit and active nation as a whole - and all the girls seem to have impossibly long, slim, flawless legs. But even if they didn't. It's only a body right! We all have one. Some more aesthetically pleasing than others but we all have the same parts in pretty much the same places. So what's there to be embarrassed about?

But that's only how I feel in theory. In practice I feel completely different. Like most of the people I know, I don't like my body. I won't go into the ins and outs of what I do and don't like about it but let's just say that I like my eyebrows and I have a fondness for the mole at the back of my left calf haha. But seriously, I'm not very comfortable with being naked in front of people, at least anyone who isn't my girlfriend. It's also ok in the changing room where I work as a swimming teacher because that's everyday and so somehow seems normal.

I don't know why being naked in front of other people naked makes me feel so uncomfortable. Maybe it's because I'm British, or something to do with my family, my upbringing, my personality or... I've run out of options, I think it must be one of those haha. So I'm not sure why it is but I've always been shy about stripping down. As a child and even now as an adult, I feel awkward about taking my top off. Part of that is because I don't exactly have pecks and a six pack, but even if I did, I highly doubt I'd be one of those guys walking round without a shirt on a hot day. Not least because I'm fair skinned and therefore burn very easily haha. But mostly because I just wouldn't feel comfortable.

Therefore going to a nudist beach:

definitely represents something of a challenge for me. It was definitely going to be something that would take me out of my comfort zone.

So much so, even though I knew that there were a number of nudist beaches on Vis - some very close to the apartment I was staying at - it took me until day 4 of my week long stay on Vis, for me to build up the nerve required for this simple, yet very daunting challenge.

For those of you who are worried that you're about to see naked pictures of me, don't panic the liberation wasn't that drastic haha. Instead here's a picture of my clothes, which doesn't really prove anything but I promise those were the ones that I was wearing haha. I even went as far as taking off my sunglasses, watch and the bracket thing I wear - I seem to be having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that I wear jewellery haha - in order to be completely at one with nature:

And for those few of you who might have been hoping to see naked pictures of me, thank you, (arrogantly assuming that there might be one or two) I'm flattered but I'm afraid that's not going to happen. However, here's a (rather awful) no filter, no makeup selfie taken on the nudist beach which hints at me at least being shirtless haha:

So no photographic evidence but I did it! I got naked on a beach. It was really weird. Luckily there weren't many people around. I don't know how well I would have coped if it had been a big busy beach. Instead it was basically a group of rocks by the waters edge. You could practically pick your own secluded little spot. I only saw two other people while I was there. Or maybe that should be, only two other people saw me while I was there.

To sum up my experience, I would simply use the word: awkward! I've no doubt that a lot of people find the experience liberating and freeing. I can understand that but that's not how I felt! The actual act of being naked outdoors, of feeling the breeze on my balls haha was a nice feeling. And I think that the world would probably be a lot nicer place if we were all a bit more at ease with our bodies and with being naked in front of each other. But we're not - at least the majority of us don't seem to be? - and I'm certainly not. Therefore the thought that people would see me naked - even if they were strangers who I would never see again and who were also naked - made me feel very uncomfortable.

So I only stayed at the nudist beach for all of about fifteen minutes before putting my shorts back on and heading off to complete another challenge for the Year31project. Swim to an Island. Which I will be posting about soon. But I did it! I visited a nudist beach and got naked in front of other people. OK so the place was basically deserted and I didn't stay very long. But it was quite difficult for me and I did it. I got naked on a beach. Yay for me... I think?

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