Raise your hand if you’ve been chastised for being nude on a non-nude beach?
Dagmar and I can now proudly raise our hands if asked that question.
This is that story.
We’re not nudists. I mean, we’re not naked every moment we possibly can be, which, in loose terms, I think, is what being a nudist means. I can’t be bothered to look up the definition of nudist because who cares how it’s defined, we don’t fit that description except …
Somewhere around 2007 my wife and I went to our first German water park. All German water park’s have a nudist area. These areas typically feature places to sunbath, saunas and swim. All of which is done in your birthday suit.
I’ve discussed the sauna parts before here on the blog, but I believe a brief refresher on the German sauna experience is in order.
Inside the German sauna everyone is naked. At certain times a clothed sauna “Meister” enters the packed, and I mean crowded-like-sardines packed, sauna, and closes the door. The Meister then fans a towel pushing waves of scorching wind that you have to feel to believe. He or she cracks a few jokes. Sometimes they pass out things like salt, honey or ice that you rub on your skin and then, after about five minutes, when you just can’t take another second, they open the door and let you out.
During that 2007 visit my fully clothed wife, with her typical “bull in a china
shop” sense of curiosity, plowed into the nude area of the waterpark we were visiting, dragging behind her a typically confused and embarrassed me. She strode up to the sauna just before the Meister was about to close the door and in broken German asked (I speak less German than I understand) what the fuck this was all about. I couldn’t understand a word that was being said as I stood there in my T-shirt, shorts and flip flops surrounded, literally surrounded, by naked people.
The conversation was short and quick and ended with my wife thrusting her hand from her throat down to her legs in a quick motion and asking, “Alles weg?” or in English, “all is gone?” She meant of course, “All your clothes?” The Meister chuckled and every naked German inside the sauna erupted into laughter.
So, in addition to being yelled at for being nude on a non-nude beach, I guess I also have “Getting laughed at by sauna full of nude Germans” going for me as well. I’m not sure if that belongs in the plus or minus column of life experiences, but it’s a moment I’ve never forgotten.
Needless to say, we were in the buff a short time later. I think I demanded a beer bracer before going Full Monty into German sauna land, but there was no stopping my wife.
Since then it’s just become a thing for us. If there is a nude beach nearby where we’re on vacation, we’re going. I don’t care. Really, I don’t care. Hell, I’ve learned to enjoy it. Forget your preconceived notions for a moment if you can. It’s not a sexual thing and it’s not sexy. Sure there are attractive people there, just like there are in any group. But it’s really, really not about that. When everyone is naked in a non-sexual manner, well — everyone is just naked. It becomes matter of fact. It ceases to be a thing.
Cut to the non-nude beach episode.
It was this past Memorial Day, it was hot out and there was a lake Dagmar knew of only 15 minutes away. She remembered it had a nude beach.
She knew this because while she TDY’d in this area of Germany years ago she and a few friends went there and walked around the lake. During the walk she and her friends ran into a naked man on the nude side and Dagmar, after muddling through in broken German, “Why are you naked?” – shook his penis. (That’s fucking funny! ~Fran)
That’s not a metaphor. She didn’t have any sort of sexual contact with him. She grasped his flaccid penis in her hand and moved her hand up and down twice like you would shake a person’s hand. She did this because she’s funnier than I am.
Dagmar, when asked to recall the story, started to describe the event with, “I think I had a few drinks when we …”
So there’s that.
So with Memorial Day at hand, we arrive at the lake to find it devoid of people. The person in charge of the snack bar is bored, there’s one old man reading the paper at a picnic table and one lone woman sunbathing in a bikini on the beach. That’s it.
We survey the lake and conclude that the nude beach is “that” way. We base this decision on the data point that it’s far away from the clothed beach, requires an effort to get to and really isn’t close to anything. Those facts, coupled with the fact that the entire opposite side of the lake is covered in reeds with no beach of note, led us to this conclusion. Nude beaches are always tucked away out of sight and they usually take a bit of effort to get to. “That” beach was the logical conclusion based on the aforementioned facts.
Loaded up like a pack mule with folding chairs, ice chest and a backpack, I followed my chipper wife carrying our towels for the 20-minute death hike to the beach. Once there, on the empty beach, we still selected the furthest end of the beach. You know, as a courtesy to others, or something.
Towels were laid down, chairs were set up, clothing came off and my wife quickly fell asleep while I read. While my wife slumbered I noticed, in the distance, on a ribbon-thin strip of sand among the reeds, another nude couple.
Why would they choose that place, so out of the way?
Perverts, I decided.
Why else would you go there to that shitty bit of beach when you could go here? They were obviously slipping into the reeds to commit awful sexual acts to destroy the simple serenity of the nude sunbathing experience.
Yet, they never seemed to move, you know, to commit those awful sexual acts.
Then a man happened upon our beach, and as Dagmar slept through this development as well, he picked a spot exactly opposite us on the other end the beach and stripped down to his … swimming trunks.
Stupid German, I thought.
I turned back to whatever shitty thing I was reading on my Kindle and sunk, in all my naked glory, back into the chair.
Hours passed. OK, it was only about an hour, but it still passed.
Then I heard a boat engine start up. This is a very small lake. The only boat on the lake, logic told me, is the one that the manager of the lake uses. The lake is too small for any other boats.
OK, fine the manager is doing something in his or her boat. Looking up from the Kindle I noted that the boat was slowly coming toward us.
I ignored it as long as I could, but when the boat stopped off shore 20 feet from me and an authoritative German woman spoke loudly and quickly at me, I could ignore it no more. I understood one word in 10 but I understood exactly what she was saying.
It boiled down to — we were naked in a place where we were not allowed to be naked and, although we were bugging no one, we could not be naked here.
Dagmar tried to pretend she was asleep, but when I beat her on the back with my Kindle enough times she was forced to acknowledge, along with me, that yes, there was a woman on a boat yelling at us. We could not be naked here.
Dagmar translated her words: “We could move into the reeds and be naked there, but we could not be naked here.” We could stay and Dagmar could be topless, but we had to put our bottoms on.
Feeling certain we understood we were naked in the wrong place, the German woman backed her boat out and left and I realized that I had just been yelled at by a German for being naked on a non-naked beach.
This might have been a federal offense in the U.S. In some U.S. states, if convicted of wagging your wiener in public you could be made to register as a sex offender. My mug shot would have plastered across the local evening news.
Not here in Germany though, here I just had to go into the reeds*.
* The area behind the reeds was actually very nice. You just would never have guessed that from the entrance to the lake.