Being an ardent nudist as I am today, I sometimes find it difficult to believe that just less than two decades ago, I would have been frightened about going naked in public. And looking back at it, I guess I owe it all to an opportune incident that involved my first girlfriend.
I was living and studying in Canada back then, and one sunny day, we decided to go for a walk around UBC’s campus, arguably one of the best campuses in North America. As soon as we got off the bus at a stop right in the middle of nowhere, we decided to go off the beaten track and head right into the bushes of what looked like the woods. Because the weather was really beautiful, we strolled around and saw a descending paved path that seemed to lead to the coast (after all, UBC is located on the tip of a peninsula extending into the Pacific), and we both agreed to go for it. No more than a few minutes later, we got to the end of the path, which apparently was part of a beach.
While we were still trying to catch our breath from the walk on the bumpy and crooked path, my girlfriend tapped me on the shoulder saying “Is that a naked man over there?” I, of course, tried to look as closely—and nonchalantly—as possible, and yes, it was apparently someone walking around on the beach in the nude.
She immediately suggested that we walk in the opposite direction assuming that there would be no more naked people that way. However, to our surprise, wherever and however we tried to “hide” ourselves, there would be someone—man or woman—in the buff coming our way. At that moment, I did not know what to do or say, as I found it kind of awkward, especially when I was with a woman. Then, out of the blue, my girlfriend said to me:
“Say, Pierre, got an idea. Since there is clearly no escaping now, why not just join in?”
I have to admit that I was kind of taken aback by this remark of hers, and showing both reluctance and excitement in my response, I tried to formulate an answer…stutteringly…”Well, I am not sure…are you sure you want to…huh…remove your clothes in full view of the whole world…”
She responded with a smile, or a grin even: “Of course I am sure…I have only heard of it in the news and the last time I tried it was probably when I was very little…in kindergarten…with my parents in the pool in my backyard."
It was then that I figured I had no choice but to give in, and, while I was trying to come up with a “legitimate” excuse for it, she was already undoing her T-shirt moving quickly to her next piece of garment. “Come on,” she said with a little impatience, “since there is already no turning back, we might as well enjoy it…”
In the end, I did take off all my clothes but the two of us just stayed behind a huge rock on what was supposed to be the best naturist beach in all of North America (Wreck Beach to be exact) for most of the afternoon, watching curiously what nudists (well, neither one of us ever even heard of the word naturism at that moment) were doing. Well, turns out, no one was doing anything that would surprise anyone, but what we did for ourselves was remarkable in that it made a milestone for me, and ever since that day, I would go for a swim or a stroll on a nude beach whenever one was available (and weather permitting of course).
The rest, as they say, was history, but I will never forget my first encounter with Wreck Beach. This was, I guess, what my girlfriend must have meant when she said there was no “turning back”…