Nope, I never said this to my mum.
I’m not ashamed to sunbathe naked among naked people, nor to go on holiday in a nudist camping where people do the dishes (half-)naked, eat and sleep in their lot naked and pitch the tent naked (now, I never did it, but on someone’s priority list this comes long before the need to build a shelter to temporarily call home as soon as they pulled in).
However, I preferred to avoid interrogative eyes, impertinent questions and jokes which would have been handed down through generations by every degree relatives and not-so-close friends.
Yep, I love to wander around with no clothes on
and come back from holidays without 50 shades of white in different shapes and sizes on my skin. And this makes me a nudist. And my mum doesn’t know it.
My evolution from textile (alas, this is the way the Adam-and-Eve-style’s fans call people that care about keeping clothes on) to nudist dates back to two summers ago when, with my husband, I timidly landed in the French beach of Pampelonne and I left the bikini sliding on the sand, showing off my pale skin in its entirely.
After that small act of bravery, everything just became clear: the hard part wasn’t to let wind, sun and discreet eyes reaching body parts that had remained intimate until then. But rather to force ourselves wearing those minimum layers of clothes to get back to the camping (not nudist) and blend in with the other respectable tourists. Or to shoot those few pictures that could come in handy in case of a request (- go try to explain that the half-length shot wasn’t a photographic style and the t-shirt was the only cloth on).
Driven by this new feeling with our body, we decided to move to the next level: the naturist-only campsite.
Not all the campings cater exclusively for nudists, some of them are combined naturist and non-naturist, but at this point, the last choice seemed a middle way not brave enough. So we opted for the all-nude.
In our case, the nudism wasn’t just allowed, but also mandatory in some areas like the beach and the swimming pool, where clothing was banned.
I know that this sounds like a stretch, and it’s hard to associate a strict ban with the concepts of freedom and naturalness which naturism promotes. But when you decide to live your holiday in complete freedom around people who made the same choice, is hard to be taken by a sudden urge to cover your body with a bikini piece or to wander around in t-shirt to break the nudity. And also, the idea to find yourself suddenly surrounded by fully dressed people wouldn’t allow you to sunbathe peacefully.
I think that a lot of (textile) people are still picturing the naturist camping like a lost island of perdition and luxury where, to think well of it, indiscreet eyes scan the naked bodies through holes cut in the newspaper or, in the worst scenario, groups of strangers blending in perverse sexual practices worthy of porn Olympics.
Now, not that I want to spoil something and dispel myths, but our recent experience as newbie nudist campers could by summed up as follows:
• close encounters with third type elderly: over 50, 60, 70, in peace with themselves, mentally and physically relaxed on the beach chairs positioned in strategic points, functional of the full-body sun tan by day, and dressed in paillettes and Hawaiian patterns to train the joints to the melancholic strains of old country/rock hits by night;
• short conversations with regular families of exhausted parents craving for holidays and bringing up carefree children happy to not have to pay attention to the grass stains on the white trousers or slipping off swimsuits during bold diving;
• friendly exchanges of smiles with (dressed) animators committed to entertaining hyperactive kids and elderly with team games, line dancing and cautious gym exercises.
To complete the population, it was us: aware of having chosen the wrong camping (meeting relatively young people to share chats and a glass of wine with turned out to be a mirage) and happy to walk, swim, sleep and make love naked. Free and honest.
Further, the nudist campsite is nothing more than a clearly delimited flap of the world where people accept their imperfections peacefully and show themselves to others as they are, honestly and with full respect for nature. Where, together with the clothes, all the wild fantasies of butts in form-fitting leggings, boobs choked by reinforced push-up bras, and bellies flattened under layers of slimming black, go away. What’s left is just a hint of vanity, the one which makes you decide to tidy up the pubic hair before departure. But I prefer to call it body care, and another way to love yourself.
The reality is that, probably, for the majority of people the body acceptance and confidence are targets that can only be achieved after several years of complexes and a maturing path which takes time. Ergo is hard to find young people sharing the naturist philosophy and really easy end up being surrounded by people who are two or three times your age. Who, at the end, are those who have life all figured out, able to have fun no matter what.
If you’re planning to give the naturist camping a try for the first time, these are some (hopefully useful) advices:
- gather infos about the tourists’ average age before to book 😉
- pick between the most tried and tested locations
- choose an accessible space (many naturist ‘beaches’ are actually unfriendly small scraps of land cut in arduous spaces only reachable after a crash course in rock climbing)
- put a sarong in your travel bag: it’ll maintain the right distance between your glutes and the ones of another (na)turist when you’ll get a drink sitting in the coffee shop.