I spent seventeen years in Catholic schools and that’s probably why you’ll never see me lolling about naked on a beach. I have no moral opposition to naturists, but like many others, I’ve observed firsthand that nudists tend to be a bit older, with many old enough to qualify for senior citizens discounts, and some aren’t exactly easy on the eyes. There’s something about the aging process that makes some people want to revert to their natural state as they grow older.
Men hear the words “nude beach” or “clothing optional beach” and their heart rates accelerate a few notches. But are you going to bump into Gisele Bundchen or Brooklyn Decker sunning themselves in the buff on a beach? Probably not.
In the Greek Isles, you can’t help but bump into people who are naked or nearly naked, even without seeking out nude or clothing optional beaches. A couple weeks ago, I saw a few portly, hardy souls, certainly from Northern Europe, looking burned like lobsters and naked as jaybirds on Tigaki Beach in Kos.
Then you also see men who have suits on, but they’re so skimpy they’re almost more of an assault on the eyes than if they were actually naked. I saw a man at the Livadi Geranou beach in Patmos last week that was actually wearing a thong bathing suit reminiscent of the one Borat used in his movie, save the shoulder straps. He appeared to be about 85 years old.The next day, a portly, middle-aged man tried to board a public bus we were on in Patmos with a tiny speedo half pulled down, exposing both pubes and half his ass. A group of Greek schoolchildren on the bus began to point at him and laugh hysterically, and he turned around and got off. (Perhaps the driver told him to get dressed, I’m not sure.)
Then on Saturday, my wife and two young boys and I found ourselves in the company of a whole host of naked people at the Psili Ammos Beach in Patmos, much to our surprise. The beach can only be reached via a boat ride or rigorous 30-minute hike, so it’s apparently an ideal place for naturists to hide out on a very religious island that frowns upon public nudity.
We noticed that a few of the nudists were actually camping on the beach, which isn’t technically legal, and I was curious about the practicalities. But how does one go about interviewing naked people on a beach? Surely approaching them naked, on their terms, would have been best, but I wasn’t going to do that.
I asked my wife, Jen, to accompany me, thinking that I might seem less like a horny stalker if I had a woman with me.
“I don’t know,” she said, clearly dreading the chore. “I feel like you need to give naked people on a beach a really wide berth.”
But she eventually agreed to accompany me on my quest to speak to naked campers. We approached a variety of naked people, feeling very awkward since we had suits on, and none admitted to being campers, though this might be because they thought I was some sort of undercover police officer.
The naturists were all friendly, and obviously not Americans. One older gentleman who we approached, sort of half rolled over when we addressed him and I accidentally caught sight of his junk – clearly a low point in our trip. It’s odd but when you’re speaking to naked people on a beach, you focus so hard on making eye contact that it’s almost ridiculous.
After a few hours on the clothing-optional beach, I told my wife I’d had enough and wanted to leave. And then just as the words left my mouth, a large group of attractive young people came hiking down the hill and plopped down right next to us on the beach. Well, not so fast, I thought. But alas, they turned out to be a wholesome group of Norwegians on a Bible study tour, and they definitely weren’t there to get naked.
For those who are interested in getting naked and camping for free on Greek beaches, check out the Captain Barefoot site, which appears to be a comprehensive guide to Greece for naturists. In some way, I kind of envy people who feel free enough to live naked and free on a remote beach in Greece, but I’m still keeping my suit on.
Read Part 2 of this story, A Prude Bares it All On a Nude Beach in Crete here.
(Photos by Dave Seminara, the second one needed blurring)