Editor’s note: This post was kindly shared by Mica Lemiski, a writer for VICE and soon-to-be podcaster with Room Magazine. Follow Mica on Twitter to stay updated with her latest work and the launch of her podcast.
The other day I ventured to Wreck Beach, a place in Vancouver where signs deem clothing “optional.”
Many beach-goers at Wreck take this option to heart, as shown most obviously by the older male population, who tend to stroll around merrily, flaccid penises enjoying the sun. In an aesthetic sense, I did not find these men or their parts pleasing, but conceptually, there was something oddly comforting about an atmosphere in which everyone seemed to be saying, through nakedness: this is me, and I’m okay with it.
I did not, however, see any women partaking in full-on public nudity, though many had their tops off. It seems to me that it would be a huge statement for a woman to shed both her top and her bottom layer–but why does it have to be this way?
We laugh at the old, fat men who (I assume) undergo the shrinkage brought on in such an environment, but what would we think if an old woman strolled across the dark sands, wrinkled and hairy? Or for that matter, what if a young, attractive female were to walk the shoreline, nothing but sun touching her breasts and bottom? Would the men oggle? Would the women be contemptuous or envious or impervious?
I don’t know.
And what about me? Did I let my girls catch some rays? Well, to that I confess I was compelled by a mix of curiosity and vanity to bare my upper half. Curiosity because how could I deny myself this new and exciting experience? Vanity because I have a wedding coming up and tan lines just really aren’t an option.
Wreck Beach was calming and liberating and amusing. And what better way to express my feelings towards this experience than with a half-formed poem?
Inside, he said, things make more sense.
But I’d like to get a paddle board
speak French, become self actualized
I’d like to forget the difference between
my voice and the wind
your hands and my body
If I take time, sit down, write you a letter
will this translate to dedication or neediness?
I think I’ve forgotten your laugh, darling.
There are too many versions to remember
So here I am, afraid to shed my sports bra
this lycra skin
while the man in front of me has gone
soaping his ass in the tide
We’re just bodies