Billy Keane

Tuesday 29 July 2014

There's nothing wrong with naked, but this country is too small and too cold for nudity

Billy Keane

Published 26/05/2014|02:30

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A scene from the comedy ‘EuroTrip’, but Irish weather means that nude beaches are no laughing matter.
A scene from the comedy ‘EuroTrip’, but Irish weather means that nude beaches are no laughing matter.

I had a couple of drinks last night and the duvet is on lengthways on the bed which means I can see my toes. So naturally, and I think this is pretty obvious, I got to thinking as to why there aren't any nude beaches in Ireland.

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The weather has a lot to with it but not in the way you might think. Here's a warning now: if against words like penis and vagina, give up reading and don't be writing letters to my boss telling him I'm a pervert and there's no place in a family newspaper for penises and vaginas.

Read on then my friends but only if you're able for it.

You might say the weather is against the nude beaches. The weather doesn't stop us going to the beaches fully clothed but our climate does have a major influence on us men keeping on our swimming trunks.

Here's why, and you'd nearly have to be a man to understand this. The male member is prone to shrinkage when exposed to the cold.

The sea is not warm at this time of the year and so if a man goes in to the water naked, and comes out naked, well then his manhood will have shrivelled, thereby causing him embarrassment and loss of face.

So there you'd be after coming out of the cold water with your manhood downsized by the cold and you meet the woman from next door, who tells all the neighbours you're a pathetic figure of a man and then every time you take a walk down the street, or go for the paper, and someone gets a fit of laughing, you think they're laughing at you, when they could in fact be laughing at something else altogether.

The unfairness of it is that the post-swim replica doesn't give a true representation of the actual size. It's like buying one of those souvenir statues of the Eiffel Tower.

A few years back, there was an attempt made to turn The Nuns' Strand in Ballybunion into a nude beach. The council were against it and that was that. The Nuns' Strand is at the bottom of a steep cliff, just down from the convent. In the old days, the beach was exclusively for the nuns. You could be excommunicated if you went anywhere near the place when the nuns were bathing.

My friend Maurice Stack will be 97 soon enough and he told me the nuns were dressed from head to toe in layered, black swimsuits.

Four score years ago and more, Maurice and his pals crabbed down along a steep cliff and hid behind a mound covered by the few hardy summer flowers that survive on the cliff face.

They had a good view of the nuns. There was no shortage of nuns back then and about 50 of the sisters walked gingerly out in to the waves. They held hands as a precaution against being swept away. The human daisy chain waded out to just above the knee and then they stopped on the instructions of the Reverend Mother who was supervising from the beach.

The rogue wave hit the 50 nuns simultaneously around the middle parts and all 50 shrieked at the same time. The Reverend Mother ordered the nuns to come back in immediately.

We've come a long way but Irish people have never embraced nudity like, say, the Germans, who are mad for going naked in mixed saunas.

Maybe the influence of the cruel old church that kept the poor nuns in purdah in some way conditions our behaviour today, but probably not. Most of us wouldn't be that bothered by what some mad oul' cardinal would have to say about our morality. Most of our priests are even more liberal than their parishioners. I think the real reasons are the cold and the fact that everyone here in Ireland knows each other. Ireland is too small for secret nudity.

But we'll chance it alright when we go out foreign. There's a big, long nude beach in Masapalomas in Gran Canaria and I met this naked couple from home there a few years back.

She folded her arms and crossed her legs. There I was in my Listowel Emmets' football togs on a nude beach and I could read her thoughts like as if they were written above her head on one of those signs they use for showing the scores in golf.

"Isn't it hard luck all the same to meet that bollix here and he'll surely put it in the paper." And I did, but we'll keep the names out of it. Not that there's anything to be ashamed of. Her husband saved the day. He looked up at the cloudless sky and said, "I wonder will we get a drop of rain." And off we went in opposite directions.

If we were Swedes or Germans, we'd have gone for an ice-cream.

There's nothing wrong with naked. We should not be ashamed of our own bodies and countless people have suffered from low self-esteem, leading to terrible conditions such as bulimia and anorexia.

It's time we Irish took off our clothes in public to show solidarity with those who are suffering so much. The message is our bodies are one of works of art created by a divine sculptor who broke the mould every time he carved one of us humans, so ensuring an endless variety of body shapes.

I hate that beach in Masapalomas, though. It's full of pervy oul' lads admiring themselves; shaded peeping Toms wearing caps with frontal flaps; and hirsute women from countries where there must be a tax on waxing.

Then there's all these little fish swimming around in schools. I'd be afraid they'd take a nibble like their carnivorous cousins that spend their days in pedicure fishtanks gnawing away at corns and carbuncles.

Irish Independent

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