It has to be said. I’m a never-nude.
While my boyfriend takes almost every possible moment to whip his clothes off, I’m happy to keep it AbFab Saffy. He says I’m the only person he knows who dresses up to go to bed.
So the idea of a nudist beach outing isn’t a natural fit for me, my Irish Roman Catholic never-naked family upbringing means that nudity to me is best kept in the dark. But as I’ve always said, “don’t say no, till you give it go”. So on a trip to Australia, I relented to my nagging boyfriend, who had heard there was a gay nude beach somewhere on the shores of Sydney.
We were 9,445 miles away. No one I know would be there, and at 26 years old I was in my prime.
Early one morning, we took a ferry to the Taronga Zoo and walked for what seemed like hours. With every step, my protestations got louder and more pronounced. “Did we really need to do this”, “There’s a perfectly nice, findable beach in Manly”, “What’s so special about getting naked anyway?”
Finally, we found it. Opening up in front of us was a naked haven. It was less of a beach and more of a cove of smooth rocks, facing towards the sea. A bit like a penguin exhibit at a zoo. Numerous, well-placed, seemingly naturally occurring outcroppings of smoothish rocks, perfect for spreading out a towel and basking beneath the Aussie sun. It looked perfect. It looked secluded. At each end, there was a high wall of rocks and thick bush add to the seclusion. Perfect.
My boyfriend’s little eyes lit up like it was Christmas, Easter, Valentines, New Year’s and Wirral Appreciation Day (he’s from Wirral) all in one. He started removing items of clothes as we picked our way across the rocks to find somewhere to settle.
I started casually glancing around, more to make sure I had a good footing on the rocks, rather than goggling the naked men on show. There were penises everywhere.
Some were casually flopping over the owner’s knees, some were neatly nestled in a well-groomed nest of pubic hair. All attached to perfectly bronzed and toned bodies.
We had found a spot to make camp, my boyfriend literally ran off towards the ocean.
I was left to undress and sink lower into my own self-loathing.
I could feel expectant eyes around me. I was, still dressed, very much so. So I began to peel off an item of clothing one item at a time. It was like a very slow, very bizarre Victorian striptease. First flip-flop, second flip-flop and so on until it was just my underwear and nakedness. I was eking out every moment of clothed protection.
Finally, with my undies still on, I rooted around in my rucksack for my book. It was chunky. In what can only be described as pure magic, I whipped off my undies and firmly placed the book in front of the crown jewels in one swift, deft move. I was naked save for the book. I looked around to see if there had been any signs of approval from the expectant eyes, but they had long bored of my antics and were distracting themselves in other ways.
I pretended to thumb through my book. My boyfriend called for me to come down to the ocean.
Could I walk to the ocean… exposed? Between where I was sitting and the shore there must have been about ten meters of rocks.
Sod it. Do it. What’s the worst that could happen?
Beneath my book, I gave my little Mr a tug. It’s the tugging that all men give themselves when you need a little something more. You know, in the right circumstances, you add a couple of inches to a flaccid knob.
Finally, appeased by the length, I remove my book, stand up. I blind everyone. My pale never-nude body is so bright I’m sure it can be seen from space.
I feel eyes on me. “Turn it around Jake, turn it around”, I coo to myself. In my mind, Sade’s “Smooth Operator” is playing, as I slink towards the shoreline. Not wanting to rush, I make sure each step is sure and solid. My boyfriend is seven meters away from me. He’s waving at me, encouraging me to come to the water’s edge. He’s waist-deep in the water and he’s been playing catch with some others that are in the sea. It looks fun. I want to join them.
I continue to walk towards the sea. Why did we settle so far back from the shore? I’m five metres away now.
Four meters… and then, I hear voices. These aren’t the subdued mumbles of the cove’s current inhabitants. No, I can hear children’s laughter and a general hubbub. I can hear a tannoy announcement. I can hear the churning of water from a propeller. From the left side of the cove, a tourist boat’s bow begins to appear.
I’m three meters from the water now. More and more of the boat begins to show. It’s big. Actually, it’s massive. And there are lots of people on it. All of them with cameras pointed in the direction of the beach. The boat seems so close I’m sure I can hear the individual shutters of a hundred cameras firing.
Forgetting ‘Smooth Operator’ and my careful footing, I make a dash for the water. Gazelle like, I spring over the last few rocks and dive.
Into 3 inches of water.
My pasty ass isn’t even covered with water.
The tourist boat continues its slow-paced chugging, its slow speed is mocking me. The cameras are still clicking. Eventually, it disappears around the cove.
My boyfriend is almost drowning with laughter.
The expectant eyes, attached to waspy mouths are saying something… I think I can hear “oh look, a floating pomme”.