Rating of this post: somewhere between PG-13 and R, depending on which country you live in, what year you were born, if you are a direct descendant of Puritans, your Zodiac sign and personality traits.
Warning: If discussing the body makes you uncomfortable, you can find recipes under the category “Call Me Cook.”
Intro: If you read about my trip to Jamaica in April, then you might remember how surprised I was when I met a couple of nudists. After I posted “Birthday Plus Suit Equals ?, I comprised a list of my Top Ten Questions For Visitors To The “N” (as in Naked) Resort. The whole subject reminded me of one of the most embarrassing moments in my life. Friends, if you’ve already heard this anecdote, skip it!
Back story: In 1988, after graduating from college, a girlfriend (shout out to Ilene) and I backpacked across Europe. We wound our way to Nice in the south of France where we planned to sunbathe and relax. For the entire backpacking trip, we asked each other one question: “Should we or should we not go topless in Nice?” We spent much emotional energy discussing this topic.
You know the whole “When in Rome” argument? Well, a lot of French women don’t wear bathing suit tops and we wanted to be like them. Then again, our modesty combined with skin that had never seen the light of day weighed heavily on our minds. But, we were on an adventure (Writer friends, can you name which one of my characters is on an adventure? But, I digress.) and were young.
Scenario: Walking to the beach, we stopped at shops to browse.
Me: “Look at the baskets of bikinis!”
Friend: “There are only bottoms! That’s it. Let’s do it.”
Me: “Okay, but we’re wearing whole pieces.”
Friend: “Once we lay down, we’ll roll them down. At the same time! Anyway who are we going to see?”
Me: “You’re right. Who are we going to see?”
I interrupt this story to tell you that we had met up with some other students (pictured above) backpacking in Europe. The girls were having the same dilemma as us and we weren’t interested in the boys “like that.”
After we set up our beach towels…
Friend: “Tell me when you’re ready.”
Me: “One the count of three: one, two, three!” (Much giggling ensued!)
After awhile we got used to the exposure (pun intended) and sat up. Then from a bunch of beach blankets away…
Peter (former football player and biggest jock in my high school): “Naomi, is that you? Hi!”
I lookeded in his direction and half-waved, half-covered my now burnt-to-a-crisp upper body (applying sunscreen would have been doubly mortifying so, alas, we didn’t). I realized not only was Peter sitting a few blankets away, so were some other boys from Baltimore!
Two thoughts went through my mind:
1) “What are the chances boys from Baltimore are sitting on the same beach I am at the same time I decide to roll down my top?!?
2) The biggest jock from my high school, who I was never friends with, never had classes with and who I hadn’t seen since high school graduation, knew my name? Wow!
Friend: “You know him?”
Me: “I can’t believe it!!”
Peter: Waving and pointing me out to friends.
Me: “Cover me!”
Friend: Blocked view of me while I quickly rolled up my top.
Me: I stayed on my towel and waved back, but I did’t go over and say hi!
Friend and I decided it was best to be occupied. We ran to the water, grabbed a paddleboat and stayed out in the water for a long time.
That was the beginning and end of my “When in Rome” adventure!
Two more things happened after that:
1) Peter gave me a big hug when we ran into him in Monaco the next night. (OMG!)
2) My friend and I were in pain for a week.
Moral of the story: Don’t roll down your top if you’re too embarrassed to apply sunblock!
Do you have any embarrassing moments you’d like to share?
16 thoughts on “Beach Blanket Bingo (Embarrassed in France)”
Although it is a dated post, This is a GREAT story Naomi. Thanks for sharing and for following my blog!
great pictures. I loved the 1980’s sunglasses
Hilarious story! Loved it!
I have too many embarrassing stories to count… many of them travel-related too
Glad you liked it!
I’m not sure what makes me smile more: the memory of the moment or those photos with our big hair and ’80’s style bathing suits!
Thanks goodness you and your friend were okay! Do you know that at my high school reunion, when I ran into Peter, he remembered seeing me in Nice but didn’t remember the topless bit?!?
Wow. I wouldn’t know whether to be relieved or insulted that he didn’t remember.
Sooo funny–I felt a mix of both!
Oh. That’s hilarious!!! I would have died though, simply died.
I went with a college friend to Montego Bay, Jamaica. We allowed ourselves to be picked up by two guys, thinking we’d all wind up at the same disco. That was the plan. But we were separated and didn’t know where each other was since we rode in separate cars. So, it was both scary and embarrassing. We made it back to our hotel in one piece though.
Europe is well – ah – Europe. I remember taking my daughter to Sorrento. We were in a hotel looking over the Bay of Naples with lots of pools. While enjoying one of the pools my daughter pointed out “Gross” — sunbathers who were topless. We quickly hurried to find some gelato. Later we agreed, the ones taking it off had no movie star bodies. They would have looked better had they kept it on.
You know what struck me? How tan and natural everyone was, while we young Americans were so awkward in that situation. Thanks for commenting!
My college friend Lucia and I did the same in the south of France while studying abroad junior year, but the only guys we encountered were our friend from our program in Paris (he was gay and upon seeing us said only “Ooo la la!” in his mock American accent) and some hefty Germans who used hand signals to offer to apply suntan lotion (use your imagination). We declined the offer.
I love it! I just got a visual of the men offering to lotion you up! Glad to hear we were in good company with the whole “When in Rome” dilemma.
This is the best! Love seeing you and Ween ❤ So so so so funny! Love, Sue
Sent from my iPad
Thanks Sue. Good times! 🙂