To nude, or not to nude, that is the question:
When sleep gave way to those first waking moments of the morning, I realized I had slept the entire night. Baby sleep. No earplugs. No bathroom interruptions. Just complete, restful, sustained, rejuvenating sleep. I couldn’t believe it. I literally didn’t wake up once. The peace, quiet and silence that exists in Cherry Grove is just what I’d been needing to reset my internal, stress-filled, City-rattled system.
To wake in a good mood encouraged infinite possibilities. The birds were chirping. Sunlight was shining brightly behind the white curtains that blocked the sliding glass door in my bedroom filling it with a soft, radiant glow. I was smiling. Really smiling. I was well rested and ready for the day. Who knew such a thing was even possible? It’s been a while.
I decided after returning from a trip into the town portion of Cherry Grove for coffee that I would take off my clothes - all of them. No one was here with me. What did it matter if I was nude? It was freeing. I threw open those white curtains that had blocked the sun earlier that morning and opened the sliding door. I went out on to the back deck and sat on one of the lounge chairs and enjoyed the sunshine on my whole body as I wrote and read and drank my coffee. It may seem silly to you, but the simple act of sitting outside and being comfortable in my own skin - all of it showing - was a big deal for me.
Our society places too much emphasis on covering up. I don’t want to be ashamed. I don’t want to be embarrassed. I just want to enjoy the body I have and be proud to show it off. Shame is a learned behavior and we are taught to be ashamed. Can you imagine what it was like for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when they didn’t know what naked was? What bliss that must have been. They could just look at one another without care or concern for what should be covered.
A little honesty here: I’m always afraid I’ll get an erection. I always say the wind can blow in the wrong direction and I’ll get an erection. An erection at an inappropriate time makes me blush with embarrassment just thinking about it. However, why should I be ashamed? It’s blood flow to a part of my body. Penises can have a mind of their own. Sometimes the erection happens just because the penis is exposed. I swear it knows.
Okay, let’s put this into context. I don’t want to get an erection while talking in front of a group of colleagues at a fiscal budget meeting or while auditioning for my next Broadway show. But in this writing, I’m in Cherry Grove on Fire Island and it’s one of the gayest, least pretentious places in the world I’ve been so far. So why should I worry about whether I’m erect or flaccid. Unless of course I should be erect and flaccid is all I can muster.
All that being said, it was a day of nudity for me. I made the decision to go to the beach, and I made the decision that I would enjoy said beach sans shorts.
I slathered my pale body with sunblock, threw on my swimming trunks and headed out the door. In my bag I carried a book, the bottle of sunblock, a bottle of water and a beach towel to sit on. If I was going to be nude I certainly didn’t want sand in the crack of my ass. Let’s be honest here.
I arrived at the beach and walked along the water’s edge while I searched for a place to park my nakedness. The place I wanted, leaning up against a large piece of driftwood, was taken. I found another piece of driftwood that I thought would work if I turned it and moved it. Just as I reached down to shift the small log I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye at the even larger log where I wanted to be. The sunbather was leaving - abandoning this prime spot of real estate. Freeing up the space for me to swoop in and take. I hemmed and hawed for a second to not seem like I was hovering on the peripheral ready to swoop in and take the sloppy seconds.
Towel spread on the sand and up the log, there was nothing left to do but remove my shorts.
The waves crashed on the shore. The sun was initially hidden behind a large cloud, but eventually it came out to shine as if showing me that even with the lights on I had nothing to fear or be ashamed of. I wasn’t the only nude person on the beach and nobody cared that my penis was exposed for all to see.
I sat there for two hours. I read. I people watched. I listened to the waves. I relaxed. I didn’t care that my body was on display. I didn’t care that people walked by and looked at me. I welcomed it. I smiled and said hello. They did the same in return. Nothing about sitting on the beach nude was sexual. It was just an expression of freedom. I made the choice to face my erection-when-the-wind-blows fear and just exist in my skin with nothing separating me from the sun’s warmth and the wind’s coolness.
Now, if I could only pee at a urinal when the bathroom is full. Focus. Breathe. Relax. It’s just a penis. Every man has one.