Dipping the toe – an Irish story

Maspalomas nudist sign


Naturism for me continues to be a voyage of self discovery and the way that I have viewed and indeed interpreted it has evolved with time. As I understood it, there was no “right way” to do it the first time in a very public setting and I can recall vividly that first time that I was going to “go for it “, the excitement of reaching for a goal and the nerves of actually following through on something that I had only imagined up to that time.

It was on a beach in the beautiful Canary islands many years ago. Yes, I had walked the beaches and moved from the textile to the nude beaches and tried not to let my head come off its shoulders, never having seen so many naked relaxed chilled people in one place before. I was struck by the normality of it, given that the lad from Ireland had been reared to believe that was completely unacceptable and the famous Father Ted quote “Down with that sort of thing ” was drilled into the ultra conservative Irish. Interestingly, the trip to the Canaries offered some form of perceived protection or anonymity but ironically there may well have been as many Irish tourists on the beach that day as there were in Brittas Bay in Wicklow.
But back to my own experience. I was not familiar with the etiquette involved. I knew there were textile and nude areas but where they started and ended seemed to be unclear. I was not as fortunate as some to wander without knowing into a nude beach. As I look back now, having gone to the trouble of trying to find it showed a certain level of ambition to get out there and get involved. I had also figured out there were gay concentrations and couples concentrated in particular areas, but there was no “how to” manual and no way to know except trial and error and the risks of getting it wrong were potentially catastrophic or so it seemed back then. Now I giggle to myself at the insignificance of what made my heart race like it did.
After pacing the beach up and back down again I was more adamant than ever that I wanted to be part of this magical celebration of the ultimate in relaxation. Relaxation of the body but also of the mind and something that has stayed with me. Nudity now is an expression for me of shedding my trials and tribulations, stresses and worries as I let it all hang out in the emotional and physical sense.
But how was I going to take the leap? I decided to hedge my bets and pitch my towel on the beach but backing up to the dunes a little to give me some psychological shielding. I had picked a spot that was non aligned. Not committed to any particular camp or faction. This too is something that has followed me all these years. Whereas I am not necessarily an anti-social nudist, I do not crave the attention, acceptance or company of others. This is interesting in the context that I do actually seek out areas that are public to other like minded individuals.

Site located, pacing over, towel placed, dunes as a shield and I was ready. Or was I? 30 minutes of careful application of factor 50 clearly indicated that I wasn’t. It was a pleasure-pain experience and eventually I had a conversation to myself and asked myself was this what I actually wanted to do. Of course it was. So what was stopping me? It was the fear of being identified. But more than identified. It was the fear that it would lead to a judgement and castigation. The moment of truth truly was upon me and I decided to go for it.

30 seconds later and I genuinely had no idea what I had managed to get myself so worked up over. The weight had lifted. The sense of achievement was strong but more than anything it felt natural and perfectly acceptable. In no way was it out of the ordinary. The clich√© of “the rest is history” certainly holds true but everyone has to start somewhere. It was surprising to me how quickly it all was normalised.

The very real challenge of ensuring that not a postage stamp size of milk bottle white skin was exposed became the next task. This too is something that has stayed with me and I would implore people to make sure they take adequate sun screen protection with them. Trust me when I say it makes you no less of a dedicated nudist and the real way to spot the newbie nudist is watch for the lobster red body laid out on the beach.

Hopefully there is at least one but wannabe nudist that will read this article and realise that if a now confirmed and dedicated nudist can do it, then so can they. The mind is a wonderful supercomputer but sometimes it overprocesses information and overcomplicates things. Sometimes one really needs to just do it. Now I am delighted to say that there is no reason a first experience should be in the Canary islands given the wealth of Irish locations that are accepting of the nudist tradition. There are support networks out there to guide and better shape experiences, and society is changing for the better to accept what nudists know is perfectly normal.

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