Word had already spread before we even left the island. I guess it’s OK to talk about it since the cat is already out of the bag — so to speak. I admit it. I participated.
The Travel Channel’s World’s Best program describes Little Beach as “Maui’s unofficial clothing-optional beach” and rates it as Number 10 of the world’s best nude beaches. One of my goals was to eventually visit a nude beach, but I didn’t really expect to participate. Having my wife there helped (she did not participate!), not helping the way you might think, but in terms of an anchor of familiarity, a point of focus. I doubt I would have summoned up the nerve if I’d been alone.
I was nervous at first, not knowing the rules precisely. Oh, sure, I knew not to stare, take pictures, etc. But I didn’t know the more important stuff. Is there an etiquette used in getting undressed outdoors? What happens if… well… you know… things… happen? My mind filled with various and sundry questions.
Photo © Richard D. LeCour
I took a deep breath and looked around. First off, I was surprised that the “clientèle” were more varied than originally imagined. Sure, there were a few body types and ages you’d expect and then fervently wish you hadn’t seen. But the number of attractive people in their 20s and 30s was a welcome departure from what I had anticipated. Of course, it took several re-attempts to reeducate myself that after inadvertently making eye contact, with either eyes or soft, squishy female parts, that further down was not the best direction to look when attempting to avert one’s eyes!
After acclimatizing, off came the shirt, the shorts, the really shorts, and then I semi-self-consciously strolled down the short beach to the water in my all-together. Seconds later, I wondered what the problem had been. It was no big deal. Although it was kind of weird to be (1) naked within 50 feet of a few naked and not unattractive women (2) in front of my knowing and supportive wife and (3) not having her beating me senseless with whatever logs of wood or large rocks that were within her reach for what in any other situation would be a serious marital infraction!
About 15 minutes later, when I’d had enough, I realized that I had a different degree of the same problem of self-consciousness: I had to go back up that same short stretch of beach, this time facing the “audience”. Over and over, I reminded myself that they truly were not an audience and that they didn’t care at all. Somewhere around the fifteenth time repeating that in my head, I summoned up the courage to head back up to our towel, quickly dried off, and re-dressed. Of course, no one even noticed.
A few times, I asked myself what people would say when they knew. I figured my friends wouldn’t care. When I discussed it with her afterward, one friend, Heather, said she’d do the same thing if she knew she was in a place that she knew no one. I guess that’s what finally pushed me over the top, too. I couldn’t have participated had anyone I knew (wife excepted!) been present. Not a chance!
I doubt my family would care, either, although my 14-year-old daughter might look askance at me. To her, I would say that nudity or naturalism in that situation is not about sex or sexuality, instead it’s about freedom, feeling good about yourself, self-confidence, and it’s all just a bit of fun. Any overt or untoward sexual activity on a clothing-optional or nude beach will get your åss booted in a heartbeat. It’s far safer to be nude in a crowd on a nude beach than it is to go fully clothed to a college party in the dorms. How sad is that?!
This adventure simultaneously satisfied both my goals to “go skinny dipping at a secluded beach” and to “go to a nude beach.” Under the right circumstance, I think I could do it again — as long as I’m a thousand miles away from anyone I know!
In the process of doing research on Little Beach after our visit, I noticed several mentions of a certain Dr. Leisure (Dr. George R. Harker) noted as an “expert” on nude beaches around the world. I remembered and recognized “Dr. Leisure” and his truck camper from the Little Beach parking lot.