For GoNaked Magazine
By Mark-Eugene Garcia
The sun is beating down on my back. The sweat is seeping down my forehead. The salty breeze is blowing against my butt. There is a soft sound of the surf slamming the sand. My pen is in my hand. I am naked, laying alone on a nude beach at 11 AM on a Tuesday and life is perfect.
Looking back, it wasn’t a matter of if I would get naked, but when. I was 22 when my best friend dared me to go to the nude beach with him. It was a passing dare, but I wouldn’t let it go. I brought it up every chance I got. Nude beach. Nude Beach! NUDE BEACH!
This is how we found ourselves calling in sick to work, driving for an hour, searching out the rumored beach, paying for parking, and hiking down the park to nakedness. Yes, there were some fears and questions.
Do I pack a lunch? Will I be able to eat naked while sucking in my gut? What if someone talks to me? What if I get aroused? My heart was beating a mile a minute with anxiety and anticipation.
Now, I could take some time and go into the story of hazardous hike on the California cliffs. I could spend a second on my stalling in my swim trunks. I could even delve into learning about sun tan lotion and dick etiquette on that ﬁrst daring day. I won’t delve into that. I will say that the day was wonderful.
The spark was lit. The fears I had faded, and the ﬁery urge to be naked as often as possible began to burn very brightly.
I’m going to skip ahead, though, to the point at which I started going alone. Weekly. Every Tuesday. Sometimes Tues AND Thurs. I bought a season parking pass. Suddenly, I was a nude beach season ticket holder. I didn’t tell my best friend. I didn’t tell ANY of my friends. It wasn’t a sense of shame; it was a sense of ownership. This was a place that was mine.
I discovered something about myself. Aside from being naked, I loved to write naked. Along with the freedom of being one with nature, along with the somewhat sexual charge in the atmosphere, there is a sense of daring… not being afraid to make a strong choice. Plots move faster. Stakes end up higher. Characters say things I don’t expect them to. They were bare and honest. It was wonderful. Plus when I needed a break, I would just roll over and work on my tan.
It was a fascinating experience. I would write. I would swim. I made friends. I even made “friends.” It was a bonus. It wasn’t what I why I went there.
But time would pass and I decided to move to New York to pursue writing. A couple of days before I moved, I stopped by my old beach and had my last day. At the end of the day, as the sun set, I put away my note pad and found myself not wanting to leave. What if I never found another place like this? How would I create? Where would I ﬁnd the honesty?
Twelve years would pass. I continued to write. I would ﬁnd other ways to get my plots moving faster, get my stakes higher, and help my characters ﬁnd their truths. New York became home. I grew accustomed to seasons. I grew a bit more jaded. I found my edge. It was a new honesty. And aside from the occasional gym shower, my clothes stayed on in the public setting.
Then one day, through the theatre that I left the beach to be a part of, I would meet a friend who told me he hosted naked parties. The idea of all of these naked people having holiday potlucks, Oscar Parties, movie nights, and video game days confused me. All at once, all of those questions from my past came thundering back. Would I be able to eat pot luck in a naked setting? Even while sucking in my gut? Where does one sit? How does one sit? What if someone talks to me? What if I get aroused?
My heart was beating a mile a minute as I walked to the apartment. I hesitated. I knocked. A man in a towel answered and ushered me in. I was instructed where my shoes went and where to get undressed.
Then I was introduced around in a whirlwind of skin, wine, holiday music, and appetizers. I found myself holding a plate of vegetables and hummus, speaking with other writers, other artists, all who had similar encounters to me and my writing beach. I found myself meeting others who understood the honesty behind them all. As I spoke, all of my fears once again faded away.
I felt included. I found others who understood. I told them of the special connection I had with my old beach and how it had taught me and guided me…and how I missed it.
Then one of them said it…
“Mark,” the writer said. “Once it gets warmer, we all head to the nude beach in Jersey.”
“There’s a nude beach?”
The sun is beating down on my back. The sweat is seeping down my forehead. The salty breeze is blowing against my butt. There is a soft sound of the surf slamming the sand. My pen is in my hand. I am naked, laying on a nude beach at 11 AM on a Sunday and life is perfect.
Some photos by © PhotoFreedom Photography.
That one guy from ENCORE! on ABC. NYC based Writer/Actor/Storyteller. Theatre Maker. Husband. Bad Hombre. Cat Taunter.