Saturday, September 22, 2012

Nude Sunbathing, My Royal Dilemma

In the wake of this summer's sensational (not) Royal scandals resulting in nude photos of the future Queen of England and Prince Harry (on separate occasions) being readily available on the internet, I thought I'd share my experience of and feelings about nude bathing.

A few people I know went to the South of France this summer and reported back that everyone goes topless, it was no big deal. Some of them joined in, some didn't and some evaded the question. I once went to a nudist beach while on holiday in Greece (but I didn't inhale ;o)). It wasn't like an organised naturist resort with strict rules or anything like that. Rather it was a secluded bit of coastline that was known for sunbathers sans frontiers and you should just be aware if it's something that bothers you.

I went down to the nudist beach with a few friends I'd met on the holiday and we all took off our clothes and sat on our towels chatting and eating grapes, feta cheese, olives and freshly baked bread (as one does in Greece). One girl kept her bikini bottoms on. I only noticed this after a [long] while and remember thinking that I didn't know that was allowed. I wished I had instead of just following the crowd. On the other hand, I didn't feel uncomfortable sitting in a mixed group of six men and women, not strangers but not friends I would see again after I flew home, which happened to be the next day as this was the final day of my holiday.

Suddenly I noticed another tourist making his way down the snake path to the beach. It was an older gentleman with whom we had also connected and spent a few evenings eating and shooting the breeze over a few bottles of wine. I had a lot of respect for this man and, as he approached, I found myself reaching for my dress and pulling it over my head. I realised that I wasn't comfortable sitting in the nude in the presence of this man.

Why? I thought about it a lot afterwards and came to the conclusion that the five younger adults were like me, having fun, trying to find themselves, etc. But this older man was a proper person from the real world. I didn't conduct myself in the real world with no clothes on (other than in a relationship or a female changing room). All at once I felt inappropriately dressed, or undressed.

Later that evening we all went out to eat and there was a strange atmosphere (or possibly it was just me). It was as if we'd crossed a line between behaving properly and not. If we had already crossed the line what would happen next? The most relaxed one among us was the clever girl who'd kept her knickers on. Nothing eventful happened that night and the next day I went home. I had been planning to swap addresses and maybe keep in touch for a while but in the end I didn't bother.

So that's my experience of nude sunbathing. I wouldn't do it today. Hindsight and maturity have taught me that it's not for me. Back then, no one was stupid enough to take their camera out (they might have been lynched) but these days, it's much easier for someone to take out a phone, for which there are many legitimate reasons to look at it on the beach, and you've been photographed while the phone owner is still saying s/he only wanted to check the temperature/messages/stockmarket. I wouldn't risk it. Even sitting at my laptop late at night, I always make sure I'm covered adequately. One false Skype and a click and your boobs could be permantently out there somewhere in cyberspace, threatening to come back and embarrass you in the future.

Since then I have been skinny dipping at night (well not skinny exactly but without a cozzy) but underwater doesn't count, especially in the dark.

I live a pretty low-profile sort of life. Not many people would even notice if a nude picture of me appeared somewhere. If they did they probably wouldn't care and it certainly wouldn't make the newspapers. However, I'd be embarrassed and I would probably lose my job if gossip spread about it.

So if I know of the risks, why doesn't the heir to the throne who's grown up in the public eye and whose mother and aunt (Sarah) were caught out by photographers in very similar and equally private circumstances? It has also been pointed out that there were presumably security guards with them. Are William and Kate OK with her going topless in front of their bodyguards? And what is the point of wasting all that police time and French tax money trying to stop publication when all the photos are one click away on everyone's internet device?

You made a mistake guys and may this be the biggest one you ever make (that's a blessing btw). Get over it and move on. And perhaps think twice about undressing outside the house in future.

Credits: All pictures from Google Images

18 comments:

  1. think Kate has learned a lesson the hard way. I haven't gone topless for nearly 20 years ad my kids would be embarrassed if I did it now ;-)

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  2. I agree. But I do wonder about the bodyguards though.

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  3. I agree. They have to be stupid not to know there are cameras everywhere. And good point about the bodyguards!

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    1. I sometimes catch myself wondering if there are hidden cameras if I'm in someone's house and I need to e.g. adjust my underwear in a quiet corner but not necessarily in the bathroom. I would have made a perfect Princess don't you think?

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  4. Wonderful post! I enjoyed your tales and they were very interesting points that you made in relation to the nude bathing. We went to a nude beach, my friend and I , years ago but also kept our bottoms on. And I remember we went topless on another beach, we always went topless. No bother at all. But then 2 guys we'd met the night before and were to meet later that night came along we flipped over on our tummies. They stayed to chat. For ages and ages! We stayed on our tummies the whole time!! It was ok to go topless in front of strangers. But not in front of guys we barely knew...and not in front of bodyguards ;-)

    xx Jazzy

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    1. It's interesting, isn't it, how we think we feel one way and then our reactions betray how we really feel.

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  5. I'm such a prude I change behind a towel in swimming pool changing rooms. My only experience of nude bathing was by myself on an empty Greek beach when the sudden urge to swim overcame my lack of a costume. But while I was bobbing about a couple arrived and say down near my clothes. Hours I spent treading water, waiting for them to scarper!

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    1. LOL - I probably would have done the same thing. I've got over communal changing rooms though I don't know how I would feel if I were the vicar's wife (or the Rabbi's wife in may case).

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  6. it's a different world now. I have been wondering if it's a bodyguard who tipped them off?

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    1. True about it being a different world and interesting idea about the tip-off.

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  7. I really love the Hello coverage of their tour. Puts this incident in perspective. I did a post on it with a video of the lovely pages of Hello - she wore STUNNING outfits which sadly this overshadowed.

    I love the fact that you told your personal story in this post. Great read.

    Liska x

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  8. Thanks Liska, and I agree that she did look stunning. I love her style but I'm about 4 stone and 4 inches away from pulling it off myself.

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  9. A very interesting post about personal boundary, and one we test out when we are younger (and still do as we age). Given technology and powerful camera lenses, boundaries are increasingly blurred - which is sad because everyone is entitled to privacy - even Kate Windsor. There are things we just can't away with anymore - like you say, all it takes is one click of an Iphone etc. Reading the comments above it is possible one of the body guards could have tipped someone off ... who knows ...

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  10. Interesting point that even as standards change over time the boundaries may be kept in check by modern technology.

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  11. I'm sorry my friend, but I disagree with you here. First of all, I'm delighted that William and Kate enjoy a healthy enough relationship that she would like to be topless with her husband. No "lie back and think of England" going on here, even if he is the future King. Good for them - I applaud and encourage them to have fun together. They deserve it after the personal sacrifice they do and will make in their demanding roles as Royals. Second - it's one thing to go to a public place where it is known that there will be others who might be voyeurs and/or photographers. It is another thing to be in a place that one has every reason to believe is completely private and secure. This photographer used unreasonable, intrusive methods to spy on them. They may be public figures on the job, but they have the right to a reasonable expectation of privacy on holiday and to be left alone. And, why all the finger pointing at the bodyguards? I bet most of them were as mortified as William and Kate that this took place on their watch. Anyway, I think that overall our future King and Queen are doing a splendid job and that they work extremely hard on our behalf...my heart goes out to them that their lives have to be lived inside boundaries to which we as normal citizens don't have to be confined. It' hate to have to live my life that way.....Finally, please tell me that when you quick Skyped me a couple of weeks ago that my boobs weren't hanging out!! :~)

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  12. All good points Nicola, fair enough. I think the bodyguard thing is just a possible theory, I wouldn't accuse them myself. And no, I missed the opportunity to shoot your boobs and sell them to the papers - damn!

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    1. Phew....not that you would get much money for them! :~)

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