Nudist Beaches

We’d trudged half an hour through a Menorcan pine forest when we spottedthe azure sea through the trees.
‘What a great view!’ I shouted.
‘Clay!’ My wife exclaimed. Too late.
It was a naughty joke on a Brighton postcard.
A few yards away, on her back, lay a nude woman. A naked, protective bronze companion glowered at us from her side. We’d stumbled on, almost tripped over, a strip of nudists, if that’s the collective.
One of the things I adore about my wife is how she calls a spade a spade. A few weeks after we first met, to curb my rather over zealous interest in the way the male sex performs, she announced. “I don’t know why you go on about it. Every man’s got one.’
It wasn’t until we reached that beach that the blatant sense behind her observation finally dawned on me.
Every man certainly did have one.
It wasn’t the women on the beach I found my eyes straying towards – well it was a bit – but the men.
Is it because the male inhabits a more closet world than the female whose naked images constantly bombard us?
Most, any way on that beach, were olives, mushrooms wrinkled from the sea. Apart from one man who constantly climbed onto his favourite perch, a rock several feet up at the apex of the beach. There brown as a berry, legs astride, hands on hips often glancing down, presumably to admire himself, or just keep check, no acorn this, he swayed back and forth like some demented orang-utan.
At the end of the day in a Ciutadellan bar we discussed the day’s activities over a bottle of wine.
‘What do you think femininity is?’ my wife said.
I launched into a description of soft curves and gentleness. All the usual stuff and asked her the same question about masculinity.
She looked at me with a degree of pity.
‘Did the women today preen and disport their bodies like the men?’ she asked.
She shook her head. ‘They behaved naturally, confident in their own nakedness. The men, that one on the rock for example, were doing nothing more than what you do at home. You know when you throw open the curtains first thing in the morning in what you think is your glory and announce, ‘Hello girls.’

I tried to interrupt.
‘No. Uncertainty, that’s what masculinity is. Women have risen to take their rightful half share of the world. You lot have fallen back. To your own private parts, justifying existence. Heaven help us if there were more nudist beaches.’
That was a couple of years ago. We’ve not been to a nudist beach since and I certainly never open the curtains in the morning. If you, a man, find yourself on such a beach and are tempted to take your swimming shorts off. Don’t. You can’t be sure how your partner will react. Ignorance is bliss. More to the point – visible is risible.

C Iles

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