I was freshly divorced, therefore at risk for all kinds of errors of the heart. Whatever the reason, I wasn't thinking straight when I agreed to go to a nude beach with my new beau, who was also … my yoga teacher.
Please note: I'm shy stepping naked into a shower, much less onto pearly sands in my birthday suit in front of crowds.
Dan, on the other hand, couldn't wait to whip his clothes off and sprint into the sea with a giant whooping sound. Who was this guy, I thought, wrapped up tight in my one piece, under my summer wrap, under my wide-brimmed straw hat, under the beach umbrella, under the nude-seeking sun.
After a few brisk body surfs, Dan galloped back to the blanket and shook his head like a dog. He spent the next hour trying to convince me to strip.
"Look at those people over there, they're playing VOLLEYBALL," he said. "The least you can do is lie here and enjoy the body you were given." He flopped down on his back, a bronzed gift to the heavens.
I glanced over at the game. Things were flying every which way.
"It feels great," he said sleepily. "Just give it a chance."
I sighed. Young couples strolled along the beach. Entire naked families frolicked in the sand. A couple in their eighties wandered by wearing only matching straw hats, led over the dunes by a naked dachshund. There was even a naked douser, dousing for naked treasures.
OK, I thought, baby steps. Let's just do this. I got to my feet, took one strap down, then the other.
Dan was engrossed in his half spinal twist pose. "Come on, Erica, just do it, will you?"
Facing away and toward the dunes, I unrolled my top down to the waist. No one even glanced in my direction, especially not Dan, who had moved on to a vigorous sun salutation.
I stepped out of my suit and instantly body slammed face down on the blanket. Dan laughed and said, "Now that wasn't so bad, was it?"
Actually, it was. The sun beat down on me. I hadn't thought about sunblock, and the only way to put it on was to actually move. Dan could have put it on me but I didn't want to go there.
An older couple crested a dune, then made their way toward our blanket. There was something about the woman, a sort of side-to-side gait, that gave me pause. They were coming closer, right toward us. My stomach knotted up. Who WERE these people? I knew I knew them, but how?
"Dan," I hissed. "I KNOW these people."
"OK, so why don't you say hello to them?"
"Because I'm NAKED, OK? Because THEY'E NAKED."
He sat in the lotus position applying SPF 200. "So you're just going to ignore them?"
They were about twenty feet away, laughing and holding hands.
Ten feet away. Five.
They were my EX IN-LAWS. I wanted to DIE IMMEDIATELY. "Hi," I waved stiffly from my face-down-on-the-blanket position.
"How ARE you?" they said. Dan jumped to his feet and shook their hands.
"And this is your new …"
"Yoga teacher!" I yelped.
"Wonderful! We were looking for more bodies for the volleyball game. Erica, are you—"
"No, I'm kind of tired—"
But Dan was already on his feet, brushing the sand off him … self.
As I watched them walk away, I wondered why I had said yes to this event in the first place. I didn't even like the beach. And when I thought about it, yoga bored the crap out of me and, holy cobra, so did Dan.
I waited a moment, then reached back for my suit and put it on. Man, that felt good. I couldn't wait for a long walk on the beach—clothed, and alone.