There is something intrinsically ridiculous about nudism which can't help but make us laugh, as this Nicholson cartoon illustrates
This Aussie guy doesn't get naturism at all.
Where does one look when all is laid bare?
SRING has sprung, and the perennial summer debate has riz ... should we have legal nude beaches in Queensland?We are the only state without any, despite the fact that we are the Sunshine State, although we have any number of unofficial nude beaches. But now the Burnett Shire council, down near Bundaberg, is preparing to take a proposal to the State Government to have the first legal nude beach in Queensland. They're obviously hoping to make a splash with it, but I dunno.
I don't particularly care one way or another whether people have clothes on or not, but aesthetically it has to be said that most people who are not Elle McPherson or Hoff actually present a more attractive sight with at least a few clothes on.
FOR those of us with slightly less than perfect bodies - only slightly less, you understand - a bit of concealment can go a long way. A bit of coverage of the flabby bits, a bit of a hoist here and a bit of compression there can make a world of difference.
And have you noticed that those who patronise Queensland's (unofficial) nudist beaches never seem to be the beautiful people? You never see an Elle lookalike strolling naked along the sand ... all the girls who look like that are clothed in simple little designer sundresses on the flybridges of million dollar yachts. Or strutting the catwalks of Paris, New York and Milan without ever having a single frisson of desire to prematurely age their perfect skin by stripping off in the harsh tropical sun.
ON the (unofficial) nudist beach there are dozens of people who have obviously been sunbaking naked for far too long despite the illegality of it. Most of them look like nothing more than very dark, wrinkled walnuts stumping around assertively, dangly bits swinging around in the breeze, and they glare fiercely at those of us daring to be on the beach with togs on.
Sometimes they even bail you up, demanding to know why it is that you are daring to be clothed instead of baring your all to the sun's health-giving rays.
SUCH an attack is usually the start of a long lecture on naturism, which is the polite name for those who prefer to go unclad, and all its myriad benefits and the shortsightedness of the Queensland Government for not allowing such a beneficial pursuit to be followed on its beaches. The problem with listening to this long lecture, with its accompanying swinging of arms and bravura gesturing for emphasis is exactly where to look. All the gesturing creates a lot of movement of parts which you are not normally accustomed to seeing and it's difficult not to stare. You end up either determinedly keeping your eyes firmly fixed on the walnut's face, which is disconcerting in itself, or lower them like a blushing 18th century maiden to the tips of your toes, sneaking a brief glance up through your eyelashes like Princess Diana in her younger days.
THE only way to stop the tirade ends up being to apologise and take your unacceptably clad body and your inhibitions away to some other, more tolerant and less disconcerting part of the beach.
But, sometimes, it works the other way. A couple of years ago I was down on the beach at Rocky Bay on Magnetic Island, a beach with a long and illustrious history of being used by those who like to sunbathe nude. On this day, despite the perfect weather, my friend and I, both in our togs, were the only people there, as often is the case on Magnetic Island beaches. Then, down through the bush path from the road came another person, fully clothed, with a beach bag.
WE watched him climbing down and noticed he was an extremely short man, of Mediterranean appearance, who seemed to be having trouble with the descent.
We withdrew to the other end of the beach, but it was impossible to ignore him as he went about his preparations.
From his capacious bag he produced a large straw mat and a folding backrest which he meticulously laid out, then a thermos, several pieces of fruit and a fruit knife were placed attractively on a towel. With a flourish he removed his shirt, then his shoes and socks, then all the rest of his clothes, revealing that his small, but perfectly formed, person was completely covered in thick black hair.
AFTER a few bends and stretches, he produced a bottle of suntan oil from his bag and began to smooth it all over himself, flattening his pelt into a glistening mass. When he was greased to his satisfaction, he put the oil back in the bag and jogged the length of the beach and back (a very short distance) ignoring our poorly muffled hysteria from the rocks at one end. A few more stretches and he laid himself ceremonially on the straw mat, picked up an apple and began to peel it.
At that moment, a raucous shrieking was heard from up the hill and much crashing in the undergrowth. Rocketing out of the bushes came about 40 eight-year-olds, the whole of Grade 3, Magnetic Island State School, on an excursion. Shouting with glee, they surrounded our Adonis, pointing and laughing and making ribald remarks.
It was kind of sad, after all that preparation, to see him scrambling into his clothes and taking off up the hill with the laughter of children echoing in his ears.