As we set off down the path to the beach, “hugging the dunes,” as the directions had instructed us, I noticed kids heading down to their beach with their families. I was weirded out for a second.
“Wait, what, there’s kids? At the nude beach?”
Sweetie, bless her heart, said “So?”
“So…they’ll never learn to be ashamed of their bodies? They won’t end up having to learn to love themselves at 37? I hate them.”
We laughed and that was the end of being weirded out.
I found Sweetie a perfect peach-colored shell as soon as our feet hit the sand. The dunes were roped off to protect piping plover nests as well as a few other endangered species. As we got to the end of the path, We saw a sign that said “Attention: Beyond this point you may encounter nude sunbathers.” We looked around for the spot where the poly meetup was happening, but no one had set up yet. Plus we were in wifie mode, so we made our own space down closer to the water.
It had rained on the way in, we weren’t sure if the clouds would lift, but as we settled into our blanket, the sun started to peek through and the air warmed up. As we were slathering on sunscreen, I felt momentarily hesitant to take my top off, but then I figured it made no sense having to sunscreen twice. I wiggled out of my pink flowery bathing suit top and there I was. Unfortunately, it was that time of the month and I didn’t feel right about showing off a string-tail, so my bottoms would have to stay on this time. (Except, because I wouldn’t be able to resist the temptation, in the water…)
Sweetie is not a showoff like me, but she likes showing me off. She seemed very happy to be looking up at naked sunny me and spraying SPF 70 on my nipples every so often. As we sat reading our books, I saw some members of the poly contingency stroll past us to the water. They were beautiful, but I wasn’t ready to say hi just yet. This was a day that I felt every inch of my half-introversion. I watched them walk into the water and get such big smiles on their faces. As with all lovey-dovey people who are comfortable with themselves, I admired them and wasn’t sure I could aspire to belong with them. A guy I’d snuggled with at my first snuggle party was there, as was the Lady of the House from the Cuddle Party back in June. Later, I’d get up the courage to go over and say hello, but just seeing them was a joy for now.
Sweetie and I got into the water a little ways down the beach from them. The waves were little more than swells, but the current pulled strongly to the (I think) north. The water was cool and smoothly, clearly green. As we eased our way in, a friendly man came to encourage us: “You’ve just got to take the plunge, just dive in, after that you’ll feel fabulous.”
He was so nice but as he stood there encouraging us, I was inching away. I knew that my nipples would get really hard from the chilly water and I wasn’t quite ready for a stranger to see that up close, first thing in the morning. He was in his fifties, bald, with a big cheery grin, and his penis was cute and shrunken from the water, bigger than an outie belly button, but just as pink and charming. Oh penises, how I’ve missed you, my new friends.
Once the man swam off, I propelled myself into Sweetie’s arms. This feeling was a complete revelation, something I didn’t know I was longing for. Ever since I was a kid, I’d watch couples in the surf and hope that I could someday find a love to hold me in the waves. It was such a gift, to hold her and be held in the water and not worry that we might be disturbing someone, that we might be disturbed by some homophobic comment. It was deeply gratifying.
I slipped away from her (not too far, though the current pulled me) and pulled off my bathing suit bottoms. The cool water moving up between the lips of my vagina was difficult to describe to her—she couldn’t understand how it was any different from being in the water with a bathing suit on. It was a cool, fresh, opening up, like the other day with the thigh ropes but more refreshing. As the water filled up that little space, I felt delighted and loved, elemental, at home. I picked up my feet, put my arms out, and floated on the swells, eyes closed, boobs and hoo-ha to the sky. I felt reborn, perfect, like every real worry was just a silly memory. I felt the way that I was born to be.
Next: Happy to be around so many penises.