Sunday, October 12, 2014

San Francisco 3

My California roommates and I went to Baker Beach in San Francisco because it was just on the other side of the Presidio. There is a larger coastal beach on the far end of the city, but it is much farther away and, something only 2 of my roommates knew about at the time, Baker is a nude beach.

I’m not sure why people are always trying to get me to go to nude beaches, but this time it was more of a case of the 2 Canadians wanting to get naked. It had nothing to do with me. The other American and I were only along for the ride.

What none of us knew at the time is that the north end of Baker Beach is the nude part while the southern end is just like any other beach. The bus to get there stops at the southern end, and when we walked to the beach, the Canadians were disappointed to see that no one was naked. There were plenty of people on the beach. It was a great day to be there. The sun was out and it wasn’t too hot or too cold. Summer was pretty much over, but it lasts longer in San Francisco.

People think that Mark Twain said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was the summer I spent in San Francisco”. He never said that, but people always mention it because San Francisco summers are much cooler than summer in other American cities. People who don’t know anything about Minnesota think it’s an ice box, but Minneapolis summers get 20 degrees hotter than San Francisco. Mark Twain lived in Connecticut and New York. He obviously saw winters that were much colder than any summer in San Francisco.

San Francisco is not exactly a frozen wasteland. Their summers may not be very hot, but their winters are not very cold either. It rarely dips below 40 degrees. So while the rest of the country is complaining that summer is too hot, it’s actually very nice in San Francisco, and when people complain that winter is too cold, it’s very mild in San Francisco. For people who like a relatively steady temperature, San Francisco might be the perfect city. I’d go crazy because I like different seasons, but I’m sure plenty of people love it.

One of the reasons Baker Beach is so popular is the view of the Golden Gate Bridge. You have to climb on some rocks to see the whole bridge, but it’s nothing challenging. You don’t have to be a serious climber to get there. Even if you only stay on the beach, you’re going to see the bridge. You can’t miss it.

To get to the best views of the bridge, you have to go to the north end of the beach. That’s where all the naked people are. The Canadians were happy about that and took off their bathing suits as soon as they saw other naked people. The fact that almost all the other naked people were older men didn’t bother them at all. I think they wanted to be seen more than they wanted to be naked, so older men are actually a good thing. Younger men might be too friendly. Older men will mostly keep their distance and just stare at you. That might be creepy to most of us, but for the Canadians, that was perfect.

My very limited experience with nudists told me that they are not exhibitionists or voyeurs. Most of them simply want the freedom to get naked at places like a beautiful beach on a nice sunny day. The 2 Canadians I was with were not nudists. They wanted to be seen. They were not complete attention whores. They did nothing outrageous to be the center of attention. They simply got naked. They would have been the center of attention on the clothed end of the beach, but on the nude end, very few people even noticed. That was their biggest disappointment of the day.

None of us could understand why these 2 attractive – and very naked – young women were not more popular on this beach. There were a few other naked women, but they were all older and not exactly the kind of women most men lust after. Most of the naked men were older, but that does not mean they were all attracted to older women. Older men are not generally repulsed by naked young women.

We only found out later that the north end of Baker Beach is also the gay end of the beach. Apparently Californians like to segregate themselves on the beach by sexual orientation. I had never heard of such a thing, but the more people I talked to, the more I learned that any nude beach in California will have a gay side and a straight side. This makes no sense to me since the point of a nude beach is supposed to be for people to relax and enjoy the sun and water without clothes getting in the way. It should never matter what gender they sleep with since sex on any beach is illegal. For some reason, it matters in California.

We never saw anyone having sex on Baker Beach. The way the beach is set up, it would be impossible to do without an audience. It is a straight beach without any coves or hiding places. You would have to climb the rocks on the north end, and that has to be a terribly uncomfortable place to have sex. It is also not very private since people go there all the time to take pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge.

It occurred to me while we were there that this was the first time I had ever been to a nude beach with different types of naked people. My first nude beach was just Ryan and me. No one else ever showed up. My second beach was Lily, me and a bunch of lesbians. No men ever showed up. This time there were men, women and children on the clothed side. All genders, ages and races were on this beach. That’s the way it should be. It was nothing like Hong Kong. This was the American way.

1 comment:

  1. Ah Baker beach, that's a place I've been to! So many years ago, such fond memories... ;)

    That's true that it's odd how gay scenes are separated. It's not about having sex in a public place, I suppose it's about community and subcultures. Is what it is.

    You are right, Mark Twain never said that oft-repeated quote.

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