Tits. Boobs. Bazongas, bazookas, mams, sweater puppies, fun bags, knockers, Tim-Tams. So, I went to a nude beach this weekend…

Wreck Beach is a rather infamous beach around these parts (I’d link their website, but it’s NSFW – obviously – and since I’m at work right now, I’m going to give that Google search a pass), and I’d never actually been there before. Being a woman with body issues (read: being a woman, period), I didn’t have any desire whatsoever to walk into the middle of a crowd and drop trou. I wasn’t super keen on surrounding myself within a sea of bronzed, sexy people who were laying about in the sun talking about how amazing they looked. I cringed at the thought of the ol’ ‘point-and-laugh’ that would be directed my way, so I stuck to the regular beaches, and kept my bikini top and boy shorts on. While laying under a towel. Inside a tent. Wrapped in bark.

However, in 2009, things in my ‘fly them beach boobies free!’ world shifted when I went to Greece. Those of you who have been to beaches in Greece (or most other European beaches, for that matter) will know where I’m going with this. I’m fairly certain that European bathing suit stores don’t actually sell bikini tops. They’re not a moneymaker. Bottoms, yes. Black, XL one pieces, you bet. But if you want to cover up the tip top in Europe, you’d be better served by going beachcombing for some appropriately-sized sea shells, and a few bits of discarded fishing line.

In Greece, it doesn’t matter one single bit what you look like, or who you are; you’re going to the beach, you’re going topless. Old, young, beautiful, ridiculously beautiful, humble, conceited – doesn’t matter. Boobs are just boobs over there. Boobs are free to enjoy the sun (and, oh dear god, the sunscreen). Those funky Euros don’t have the creepy hangups that we Western dorks have. Hell, women over here can barely breast feed in public without the media getting involved. Free the boobies!!

Anyway, after a couple of days of laying on the beach in Zakynthos, my friend (Greek and free-boobed) finally convinced me that it was ok if I took my top off. It was also ok to drink beer on the beach, but that’s a whole other blog, man. So… I did it. I unlaced the bikini bra and *flimp* out they flopped (I’m not endowed well enough for a *floomp*, or a *fwump*). I was now sitting half-naked in front of a few hundred strangers. And, contrary to what I’d been taught to expect at home, not one person gave me a second glance. I wasn’t pointed out as a heathen, or shamed, or swarmed by women who were kicking sand at me while shouting that I was the cause of wars and famine, and MY GOD, THINK OF THE CHILDREN!! No one looked. Or if they did, I didn’t notice, and it soon got to the point where I didn’t care if they did. These people have the internet. I’m not showing anyone what they haven’t already seen a bazgillion* times before. I was ok with it.

And so, with that confidence firmly in my back pocket (or breast pocket maybe), I packed up some snacks and headed for Wreck Beach this past Saturday. Yep, there were a hell of a lot of naked people there. Naked people playing guitar, naked people playing frisbee (ouch?), naked people selling empanadas, naked people skim boarding. You name it, they were naked doin’ it. It wasn’t creepy, or gross, or shameful. It was a beach. Just a beach full of people with no tan lines.

I will certainly admit that I felt a little awkward for the first few minutes, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that no one cared about me and/or my boobs. Were people looking at me? Sure they were, but just as much as I was looking at them. There was no oogling, no eye-bulging, no tongue lolling ‘AH-OOOOOOGA!’s. No one cared. It’s not about exhibitionism, it’s about… well, nothing. Wearing nothing, worrying about nothing, experiencing nothing. (There’s also a wonderous abundance of kid-nothing! No screaming children, no parents yelling at Sammy and Susie to GET BACK HERE AND PUT ON SUNSCREEN AND FINISH YOUR HOT DOG BEFORE YOU GO SWIMMING, AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, TAKE THAT ROCK OUT OF YOUR MOUTH AND STOP HITTING YOUR SISTER OR WE’LL GO HOME RIGHT NOW!!)

Here’s the thing: if you have body issues, if you absolutely hate the way you look, and are embarrassed when you look in the mirror, just go to a nude/ clothing optional beach. Just whip it all out, slap on some 45 SPF sunscreen, lay on a towel and look around. Don’t be a lecher or anything, just let yourself honestly look. Every type of body exists there, and it’s important that you see them all. You’ll see bodies you never thought you’d see. And here’s the very best part: it’s not like the movies. There are very few Elle MacPhersons, very few Matthew McConaugheys. But there’s a hell of a lot of me and yous. There is also the occasional gawker who obviously came to the beach just to stare at naked bodies (they are usually given away by the fact that they’re wearing jeans, a long sleeved shirt, and intensely dark sunglasses). But you know what? That’s their problem, not mine. That person is going to go home and think about the sea of boobs and wangs he or she saw, and not the one pair of bazongas that you wield. And you? You’ll go home and think, ‘you know what? I’m glad I did that’.

And all will be well with the world.

Happy Monday, everyone.


*Bazgillion may or may not be a real number