Another significant milestone was passed today.
We are currently on a short holiday in Barcelona, our first. For a long time, my Bandree has flirted with the attraction of Naturist (nudist) beaches. A quick Google search revealed that Spain, and Catalonia (lets be politically correct) has quite a liberal view of such activities. Little did I realise what "liberal" means in this context.
I did the real difficult bit (working out which Metro stop, where to change trains) whilst Bandree did the piss-easy stuff (approaching elderly gentleman walking dog on seafront foot path and asking "Hay una playa naturistica aqui?"). Much handwaving indicated about 1km along said footpath at the far end of the second beach. This was just as well since Bandree's always-right travel planner had reckoned it was about 1km in the other direction and was mortified at the idea of stopping and asking a local.
Approaching the indicated area yes, there were some obviously naked elderly gentlemen. As we summoned our courage, took a deep breath, and approached the stretch of beach, we realised that it was MIXED! No, as it happened Bandree was the only female, but there were people WEARING CLOTHES ("Textiles" as they are known in this particular field) both lying on the sand and walking past, and there were no warning signs.
However, we were as they say, "committed" at this stage and, given what Bandree has done for me, I wasn't backing out, or forwarding out, as in "not sure which bits to hide from whom in any backing out situation".
So we did it. We stripped off and lay on the sand, and went down to the water's edge, and went swimming and bought beer from the passing vendors and declined the multiple (perfectly wholesome) offers of massage from the passing Chinese girls, and IT FELT GREAT. Never mind the one or two dubious guys who passed by more than twice or lingered a bit slowly on the adjacent public path. Fine mate, I've got a prick and two balls, just like you and I've a gaggle of kids to prove it all works and a fine woman beside me so I've nothing left to be uptight about. And actually, when it comes down to it, there are only two types of people you will see on a naturist beach 50% of us are one and 50% are the other.
Being a little more serious. Despite discussing this with Bandree ages back, I probably couldn't have done this a year ago. The people I have met through these blogs, through Nimhneach, through BDSM munches, have so grown me up. I have gained a confidence I never knew I had. Watching the Chinese massage girls really brought it home. As we were leaving, one of them who, remember, was working her way up and down all the "vanilla" beaches, this just being one 300 m stretch in the middle, approached a man who had just arrived beside us. I could not overhear, but it was obvious they were discussing her offers and prices. They agreed and he then undressed completely and lay on his stomach. Whilst he undressed, she smiled and exchanged pleasantries before starting her massage.
You must understand, there was nothing sleazy. It was three in the afternoon and a naked mother and young daughter were playing 50 metres away. It was just a beach masseuse rubbing another back. But I found it very thought provoking. If you are a beach masseuse, presumably most of your clients are wearing some minimal cover but, the process is so physically intimate, that the bikini or shorts are almost irrelevant. That's why that girl could get ready to massage a strange man whilst he stripped naked in front of her and neither of them had to get all shy and silly.
I've learned the same thing from my short contact with this scene. We are often like the pair on the beach. What we do is physically intimate, startlingly so when the other person is an almost stranger and their real identity, quite likely, unknown. I think we are being less than honest if we claim that there is no erotic component whatsoever. But, play can be offered in a straightforward "I know you like this and I like this" context without there needing to be any implied "I'm hoping to get to know and date you" overtones. Some of my most refreshing experiences have come from the changing rooms at Nimhneach, the request from an unknown girl to help lace her into a corset or whatever. I am so much more at home in my body and my psyche since I met the good friends I have made here that I will happily return to that beach with Bandree tomorrow, provided it isn't raining. Thanks to the lot of you.