Nice, France, 1988, I’m on the right in the black whole piece. Ilene is wearing a white t-shirt. The blonde guy in the Speedo was someone we met that day. The other three people are other student backpackers. Peter is not pictured in any of these photos.
Sunbathers in summer of 1988. Nice, France
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?
My friend and I went paddleboating after the embarrassing incident. We stayed out in the water a long time!
Sexy sand sculpture!