Tuesday, June 28, 2011

inner prudish american alive and well

28/6.2011 - a day at the beach

it was a glorious afternoon on the beach. much better than legoland. no one was wearing any shoes at all. and sand feels gloriously wonderful on your feet. the only unpleasantness encountered was my own inner prudish american, who i was surprised to find was still there (after 12 years) and in apparent robust health. she was suitably shocked by the sight of a 60 (possibly 70)-something german woman with more than a slight mustache sunbathing topless on the beach.

i know, i know, i'm in europe, it's not unusual here. and really, after 12 years, shouldn't i stop being shocked by such things? on one hand, i really wanted to admire her and her body confidence and on the other, well, eww.... sometimes, as a member of a civil society, you have to participate in societal norms and being properly clothed in public is frankly one of those. especially if your bits are hanging down to your waist. real life is not an issue of national geographic.

but speaking of that, i do wish i'd dared to sneak a photo, if only to subject all of you to what i was subjected to...but i guess i'll have to leave it to your imagination. and honestly, we should all be thankful for that. the picture in my head is haunting enough.

am i just a prude, or is it a bit ew?


poet said...

It's funny how the conversation automatically turns to topless or naked bathing when the weather is beach-worthy - me and some colleagues were pondering the topic over lunch at the university canteen today! If the beach in question is a designated topless/naked bathing area, I think it's totally fine to be naked there, and whoever is bothered should just stay away or look away - if not, I guess you can expect people to be properly clothed, whatever that means. I don't think any kind of boobs deserve to be called "ew", no matter how droopy (probably from nursing a bunch of babies? which is far more "aw" than "ew"), and I also find it unfair that it's okay to be topless in public for men but not for women... but having been socialized to believe the contrary for the first 20-or-so years of my life, I understand how you feel. I encourage you to fight it, though! No body is "ew", and yet every body is, if you think about it enough :) - so it all evens out. I would also hope that National Geographic does, to some extent, depict "real life" - primarily in other cultures, perhaps, but maybe some of them have a more body-positive attitude that we here in the still-considerably-prudish West, including slightly-less-prudish Europe, could learn from!

nic said...

I am German and rest asured-only a fraction of us wander around naked or "just" topless, the rest very much prefers to be dressed.

Numinosity said...

I can't tell you how absolutely svelte I felt (clothed) on a nude beach in the Canary Islands dominated by primarily Northern Europeans over 60. More power to them I say but I am similarly unaccustomed to public nudity and less than comfortable with my own nudity or anyone else's being a New England girl and Alaskan. I flinch when I see the sunburns in those areas...that can't be good for you! I do have no problem with coed sauna's however, so dark and enclosed.
xoxo Kim

Anonymous said...

LOL, I'd say a bit of both! Eww to be sure (especially the mustache which leaves more hair to be imagined than is pleasant!)...oh the visions we have in our minds eye are probably just as good if not better than the real thing so let us laugh at the picture you've created and shared with us. Being a bit prudish (ahem, having a bit if discretion?) isn't a bad thing!

celkalee said...

So glad your day at the beach was a good one. I accidentally ended up on a nude beach in the Carribean. I was uncomfortable (clothed) so I left. It says that I am modest not prudish. If you are OK with all that and it is legal in that location. OK. About the boobies, some are really not so ready for prime time and probably should wait for a commercial.

missing moments said...

I'm with you ...ew. Have to have age limits for that at the beach! The photo above, though, is great!

Anonymous said...

Another german here and I never sunbathe topless and I wouldn't dream of going to a nude beach. I believe some private things should remain private ;)
I'm with celkalee in believing that's modest, not prudish :)

julochka said...

poet - i had a conversation in my head very similar to your comment. and yes, there were old men on the beach who looked MUCH worse than this woman.

the woman had every right to be topless on the beach, it wasn't, for me, a question of legality, it was more a question of...exposure. and she was the only topless woman i saw this day. and i guess that in a way, i wanted her to cover up for her own sake - i may have been most bothered by the visible ravages of age than by the act per se. i felt a bit like sally from coupling in that episode where she attend's jane's aunt's funeral and she gets all freaked out by an old lady that she meets. i think what i was confronting is my own aging (and sagging). :-)

nic - i meant no offense by saying she was german - and i only knew that because well, everyone on the beach was german (apparently your country(wo)men like danish beaches) and she was sitting on a beach chair right beside her car, which had german plates on it. i don't think the nudity had to do with nationality per se, as it could easily have been a dane.

kim - my reaction is most decidedly a lack of comfort with my own nudity, let alone that of others. tho' i get you on the sauna thing.

heather - i was a bit mad at myself for not taking her picture...when you put yourself um, out there, in public in a public place, it's actually not wrong for someone to photograph you - but it wasn't a fight i was prepared to take.

corinne - these boobies were definitely past their prime time.

reena - tho' i'm not sure i'd want to go there on the politics of age limits on beaches (getting old myself), there should be a mental age limit for when you stop exposing your breasts in public! ha!

julochka said...

hi tidytipsy - i think we commented simultaneously. :-) i'm glad you agree, as i wasn't trying to point at germans especially on this one, it was just a descriptive fact on the story and not a generalization about a whole nationality! :-)

nic said...

No offence taken.I think my country wo/men like any beach and I thank my lucky stars that I live near beaches that are too cold to encounter any of them in the buff.

heckle said...

Some of the worst beach bodies -ever - can be found at Great Lakes beaches (Lake Michigan, etc.) in early spring/summer.

Sitting in pubs all winter long, then peeling of layers of clothes and exposing rippling layers of fat that's as pink-white as possible.

Do these people swim? Oh, no .. they just lay there like beached whales turn shades of pink-red. And, wearing bathing suits makes no difference. Shutter.

That's the stuff of nightmares.

Unknown said...

darn. I commented earlier but it's gone! Basically, I agreed with your comment. Not very deep of me soz!

Joanna Jenkins said...

That would have been a deal breaker for me. I yiyi. what a sight.

Karen thisoldhouse2.com said...

There definitely comes a time in everyone's life if we're lucky to live long enough, where nudity is unattractive. If it's legal, then the woman had a right, ofcourse. I personally believe in a bit of modesty and a level of respect for other people in a public place.