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23- Naked people

“You are going to St. Maarten?  I love St. Maarten.  You have to go to Orient beach.  It is the best beach in the Caribbean, it is more like beaches in the Med and the French side is much nicer than the Dutch.”

This is advice I got before I left and it seemed to be reasonable.  I had never been before and this person had.  I knew that Orient beach is noted not just for being a nice beach but for having a section that is clothing optional.  Fine enough.  I have been to St Maarten now a good handful of times and I have stayed on the Dutch side every time.  The beach is close, you can get two beach chairs an umbrella and a bucket of beer for $15 if you want it.  The water is nice, lots of shopping, why pay for a taxi to go to the other side?

Because someone else suggests it I guess and they did– so I did.  Here is the thing about it. 

1.  You have to get a cab and by cab I mean minibus where they cram as many people in as possible and you pay $6.  The ride is hot and I have never wished for 40ft seas more than when I was in the back of that bus.  I don’t get motion sick easily, but was green until I got off that thing.

2.  The French side is Euro denominated, so your $$ were worthless and you end up paying 17 of them for a cheese burger.  Now I have to  say that it was a good burger and came with a ton of fries, but it wasn’t $17 good.

3.  They speak French.  This shouldn’t have come as a surprise, it is after all the French side, but I have never heard Dutch on the Dutch side, so I guess I was a little surprised to hear French on the French side.  But I only heard it being spoken, like, between waiters.  Everyone seemed to speak perfect English.  Which now that I think about it seems very French.

4.  The beach is lovely, but they want $20 for chairs and umbrella and, yes, you could get a deal in other places, but I brought a towel and was OK with the sand. 

5.  Oh, and- breasts.  We weren’t even on the naked part of the beach and there were smatterings of toplessness.  It was a younger crowd at this part of the beach, I would bet the average age was in the late 40s to 50s and some of the topless women made my eyes wander just a bit.  It was that thing where you want to look, but you don’t because it would be rude if your were caught looking. 

6.  The naked people.  We wandered down to the clothing optional part of the beach.  Frankly, I was doing recon.  I have been telling people that during the last time we are in St Maarten I am going to go get naked.  I am going to cast off the shackles of my American Protestant shame (there Brian.. see how I didn’ t malign the Puritans like you would expect) cast it right off with my swim suit and join the league of people who are free and can exist in this world shamelessly, like they were two years old.  I would go on, probably at length- but that is another story, about how being naked outdoors reflects a rejection of an artificial and pointless value system and my rhetoric even got a couple of people saying they would come along and get naked with me.  Ya man, fight the power……. of, you know.. clothes.

And now I have to come up with a reasonable explanation that ties in all the things I just said about values etc and leads to not going back to the naked beach… really ever.

 I don’t know what I thought I would be like.  Maybe this is where Playboy models vacation or maybe there was going to be a naked NCAA cheerleading camp there.  Maybe there would even be a redeux of the time the entertainers spent the day naked at runaway bay and had vodka fueled beach wrestling.   (I wasn’t there, but saw the pictures) Really I don’t think I thought about it in anything but the abstract, but the reality is… well… ewww.

Look!  I’m OK with naked bodies.  I have my hands all over people’s asses every day, all shapes and sizes and ages. (can’t put a needle in the belly of the piriformis without being witness to some butt crack) but honestly something about that beach was… well OK here is one thing, and for the visual thinkers out there you might want to look away.  Grandpa waxes downstairs.  For that matter so does Grandma, so try to get this eye-worm out of your head, Wilfred Brimley going in for a back, sack and crack wax.  How good is aesthetician school looking to you now girls?  Also, breasts aren’t supposed to… look, we’ve all seen National Geographic.  You know what I am talking about and maybe there is something noble about long sagging breasts on tribeswomen from New Guinea, but Grandma’s double G’s that have never seen a bra in 70 years and are hovering right about her belt line with a scaly burnt orange sun-kissed glow lack the same…. the same.. Oh for the love of God tuck those milk monsters back up in some spandex woman. 

The whole beach looked like a senior center outing and one of the things the surprised me is that I wouldn’t have thought that circumcision was a recent invention because here is another eye-worm for you, grandpa has foreskin, orange scaly sun-kissed foreskin which 100 meters in the other direction would have, at least notionally, been concealed by grandpa’s buggie smugger of a swim suit.  I can’t ever think of a time when I wished that someone, at least, was wearing a speedo, but there I was wishing it.

On the other side of the beach with the marginally attractive women who still had on bottoms, you know, that side?  Marginally attractive, by the way has, by comparison, been elevated to supermodel.  On that side, you look away from what you want to see, on the nude side you stare at stuff you don’t want to see. 

It would seem that the price of throwing off the shackles of shame would be a cab ride and expensive burger and that for what you would get in return, that would be cheap.  But the cost is much greater.  You can’t unsee granny on her beach chair slipping into her seabreeze induced beach nap and as she starts to snore, her boob slips off her belly and falls, like it has a mind of its own, down to the sand.. thud.  You have to carry that around for the rest of your life.


February 3, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Oh, that’s a good one! You have written some wonderful and very amusing posts, but this one takes the cake. I’ll be chuckling all the way to my American Protestant neck-to-toe night-gown tonight!

    Comment by Susan K. Morrow | February 3, 2011 | Reply

  2. i just threw up a little in my mouth.

    Comment by bill | February 3, 2011 | Reply

  3. I was giggling but you really got me at the thud.

    Comment by Jenny | February 3, 2011 | Reply

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