Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Naked Truth

The first nude beach I ever visited was in Nice, France. I hadn't realized it was a nude beach until I looked around. Nothing gets by me. I shucked my new lavender French string bikini, which really made very little difference, anyway.

Everyone was gorgeous, and since I was very young, too, I just assumed that people looked like that without their clothes. This thought kept me going for a very long time.

I nearly drowned in the Mediterranean. As I was going down for the second time, I noticed Mr. Clean sans swimsuit standing about 50 feet away, near the shore. I yelled for help, but he merely stared at me in fascination.

Finally, I yelled "Au secours," literally "to the rescue." High school French. It was the best I could do. He immediately sprang into action and cut through the water like a barracuda, grabbing me as I went down a third time. He hauled me back to shore, where a couple of nude Frenchmen took turns performing artificial respiration on me until I coughed up enough seawater to influence the tides.

A few years later, I went for a 10-mile walk on Fire Island, NY, and suddenly noticed that everyone was naked in one of the areas I passed through. I stripped off my bikini and continued on my way, putting it on again when I reached the boundary of the nude beach.

I recently took a stroll with my camera along the beach that borders San Francisco Bay, looking for new vantage points from which to shoot the Golden Gate Bridge. I noticed a pink person walking toward me in a flesh-colored bathing suit. As he got closer, I distinctly saw something swinging back and forth below his waist. It dawned on me that there were naked people all over the beach, walking, running, making out, and just sunning themselves on blankets. (I hope they were using sunscreen on those formerly-sheltered body parts.) The only other discernible women were playing frisbee with each other, pendulous shriveled breasts bouncing painfully at about the level of their pouched bellies.

It was fairly shocking. I am not a prude, and would like to believe that the human form is beautiful. But in most cases, it really isn't. Michelangelo would have us think so. But then, he could choose his models. Our fascination with nudity has been conditioned by Hollywood babes and hunks, buffed, toned and liposuctioned. The fact is, most people do not have beautiful bodies and exhibiting them in public is a really bad idea.

Sorry, folks, but this is not negotiable.

Fat and flab and love handles and jiggling boobs and scrotums are not thrilling to behold. They should not be played with outside. They just shouldn't.

This is a beautiful city. We should all strive to keep it that way.


Flip said...

Beauty is the eye of the beholder, and without ugliness, there can be no beauty. So the uglier the person next to me, the better I look. Let's hear it for those cross-eyed, pigeon-toed, slack-jawed, mule-faced, knock-kneed, shag nasty suckers. I love you all.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Um. Anybody we know? You're scaring me.

odat w/the Peace said...

omg..looks like we both had asses on our minds
I too have been at my share of nude beaches..(in my it's been described to me that it's the freedom of it all, not the, err beauty or lack thereof of it....however, i have to agree with you, once you become a certain looks better covered!! lmao....

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Odat w/the Rainbow Peace Sign,

Letting it all hang out should be directly proportional to how much you HAVE hanging out. Dig it?

katrice said...


You are braver than I am. I still don't want my husband to see me, let alone the viewing public. And we've been together 14 years.

~Macarena~ said...

I like how you kept "going down."

I'm surprised at you: Fat and flab and love handles and jiggling boobs [...] are not thrilling to behold. They should not be played with outside. They just shouldn't.

Mine are, and should. And if I ever have a man, his scrotum will be thrilling to behold.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


You're a goddess. Deal with it.


Why do you think he saved me?

heartinsanfrancisco said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
heartinsanfrancisco said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
~Macarena~ said...

Because you clearly requested it in his mother tongue?

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I was responding to your pithy comment about me 'going down." Not that it's possible (or advisable) while drowning. Unless you're Really Kinky, that is.

mist1 said...

Last summer, I found the most amazing bikini. When I put it on and stood back in the mirror, I noticed that it was too close to my skin color. All I could imagine was the reaction of people at the beach..."Dear G*d, that woman has no nipples!"

urban-urchin said...

nekkid people aren't porn stars. shocking no? We pretty much avoided Baker Beach after our kids were born. Naked men with bits a-wobblin' frolicing together are not something I want to explain to my daughter- nope.

Dan said...

The guy told me to make the first right after Taco Bell. Where the hell am I?

heartinsanfrancisco said...


You could have painted them on the bra, like bullseyes.


One of the large frisbee women had a little boy with her. He looked about 8 and was also naked, of course.

I think he'll have large therapy bills when he grows up.


No, no, NO! You were supposed to turn LEFT.

Lex said...

Very funny post.

But I don't think the porn stars and anorexics of this decade get to set the standard for beauty. It comes in all shapes and sizes, and to a degree, it's a matter of the heart.

That said...I sure as hell am not taking MY bathing suit off on a public beach!

But that's just me.

Keep it at home people. Keep it at home.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I agree that love determines real beauty. Popular standards are shallow and unforgiving, and cause a great deal of suffering.

Just don't force me to see Other Peoples' love objects naked in public.

nmj said...

That is a great photo, it's like a fan of bodies, I just found your blog recently, I will come back, I used to live in San Francisco early nineties . . . Is Cafe Flore still there, was my favourite place?

Lee said...

I tried laying out topless at South Beach, FL once. I gotta say, I just felt kinda silly.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Cafe Flore in the Castro is still there. It's a fun place!

Thank you for stopping by. Please do come back.


Since I stopped tanning, it seems pointless.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Cafe Flore in the Castro is still there. It's a fun place!

Thank you for stopping by. Please do come back.


Since I stopped tanning, it seems pointless.

nmj said...

Am so happy Cafe Flore is still there, I lived on Alpine and Duboce, was very nearby . . . I love your city, haven't been back to visit since 1999, I used to go to a beach near GG Bridge to have fights with my (then) boyfriend!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


That would probably be the beach at Krissy Field. I go there all the time as I live in the Marina.

I loved the excerpt from your book and tried several times to leave a comment, but Blogger is a bit indisposed today.

The closest I've been to Scotland so far was a day I spent in Foyles Bookstore in London with a Scottish lad who told me ghost stories about castles in his country. I would love to visit them all.

Old Scrote said...

Can't disagree with you. More and more parts of me seem gravitally overwhelmed. I also notice that most parts of my body now move independently of my will or wishes. [sigh] Still with enough covered, the lighting just right and some good wine in the glass, we can all maintain some kind of illusion.
Two old codgers in an old people's home were standing in the corridor when one of the inmates sped by, stark naked. "What was thst?" said one. "I don't know," said the other, "but it needs ironing."

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Hi Jake,

Yes, linen is like that. But I hear rumpled is in, so have another glass and don't worry. :)

Anonymous said...

I want to know what's up with the guy in the bottom left corner of the picture who seems to be wearing COVERALLS.

Michael C said...

That should be a political platform. Amen!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I don't know. Body paint?


Depends on what kind of party you're talking about, political or whoopeeee.

nmj said...

hey again, i think it was baker beach, can you see the bridge from there? or is that same as krissy field, was so long ago, hard to remember!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


You can see the bridge from both. From Krissy, it's on your left as you face the bay, and from Baker, on your right as you face the ocean. As you know, the GG Bridge divides bay from ocean.

Baker is the nude beach, (part of it,) while Krissy has families and dogs.

You should come back and renew your acquaintance with SF soon.

Pickled Olives said...

I love when other people are so free and body unconscience. It lessens their flaws.

I on the other hand can not expose ANYTHING unless I'd been drinking.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I, too, greatly admire the freedom. Just not the view.