Nudes and No-No’s

It’s quite common practice, in Australia, that when one female is enjoying the summer sunshine by the ocean, she will conservatively be wearing a two piece swim suit, covering both boobies and below. More exotic and daring it is, to have sacrificed the top piece in order to encourage that highly esteemed all-over tan. Customary practice, however, is it for this to take place further along the lapping waters where innocent families won’t be exposed to such promiscuity (yes, you know what I’m referencing close friends and family!).

Among us Australians, it’s common knowledge that European beaches do not support the same ethos. Along the mix of pebble and sandy shores in the south west of France, women of all ages, shapes and sizes surrender their bikini top to support that special  areola tan. Perfectly fine if you ask me. In fact, I encourage and promote it, for the de-sensationalising effect it has on BOOBS. Boys and girls of all ages are exposed to breasts of all dimensions, perhaps thus helping growing minds become accustomed to difference and normality. Anyway. I say go ahead! Brown your nipples! Stripping down is what we do at the beach and generally also when the warm weather enforces it. At home in Australia, I have very little washing to do in the summertime because we trot around at home in our cozzies, trying to keep cool. This is not a rule just for women, either. Don your speedos and euro trunks, men! Nobody likes a board shorts tan, and being bronzed is the sun’s gift to everybody.

With this practice occurring everywhere at any moment, nobody on the coastline bats an eyelid – except for me, when I see breasts the colour of mahogany, which just looks not quite right, in my opinion. What does elicit a bizarre look from the locals, however, is when it comes time to depart the seaside. Yes! You are basically naked on the beach,

BUT DO NOT THINK TWICE ABOUT LEAVING THE BEACH WITHOUT YOUR CLOTHES BACK ON.

Second glances and scowls await you, conveying a judging eye if you so much as take on the sidewalk with naught but a towel covering up such immorality. Ten metres away, people are all but naked! But apparently, it is not common practice to leave the beach with only a swimsuit on. Mostly, one is still wet from swimming, one is quite sandy AND one has a lot of things to carry. Clothes back on is the last thing I personally want to do. I usually don’t bother with “shoes” either; I can’t think of anybody ever enjoying that wet, sandy-feet-on-rubber feeling. But apparently, European beach goers have time for that. One time I saw a woman put JEANS back on before packing her things away, and you rarely see people straying from the sand without having replaced their footwear.

Alas, we butt heads again with French customs. But we must agree to disagree on this unspoken subject. I shall not re-dress to leave the beach if it doesn’t suit me!

NB: Photo courtesy of some very daring young women on a secluded beach in Australia, somewhere.

Culture Travel

Gabrielle Gassin View All →

This blog is a compilation of some of my thoughts and dreams that have marinated for long enough that I can form sentences with them.

I am the mother of one toddler and one pregnant belly, the wife to one man, a friend to many, a sister to two and a daughter. Recently returned from eight months in Europe, having fulfilled a long anticipated dream of living in France.

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