In my eternal quest to find exciting things to do things that make me look stupid, I stumbled across a whopper – no, not a Burger King meal, but an event taking place in my home town of Perth that I couldn’t possibly resist:
The World’s Biggest Skinny Dip!
Well, an attempt at least; there would be Guinness World Record people in attendance, official sarongs as prizes and the chance to contribute to a worthy cause about positive body image… blah blah blah.
Hell, it was a chance to get NAKED IN PUBLIC! Without BEING ARRESTED!
As some of you may know, I like being naked. I’m naked right now if fact, which is why I’m using a lap-desk so my Macbook doesn’t burn my willy. Besides, I quite fancy the idea of setting a World Record. I’m never going to achieve one on my own (unless they count Star Wars Trivial Pursuit), so joining in with a group effort was the only way forward.
A few years back I joined in an attempt to set the world record for ‘Most People Twisting On The Beach’. It was an effort doomed to failure, for a variety of reasons. Firstly, it was held in my parent’s home town of Burnham-on-Sea; a retirement hotspot, where the population has an average age of 70. Burnham was actually featured in the book ’50 Worst Places To Live In The UK’ – but not until no.47. Possibly the biggest mistake though, was holding the event in the middle of winter.
The existing record holder was a tourist town in southern Spain, famed for its golden sand and party atmosphere. Whereas Burham-on-Sea is famed for its extensive mud flats and having the shortest pier in the UK. I’ve been on it; it’s crap.
The local radio station parked a bus on the beach, and my parents and I showed up ready to twist.
It rained. Unsurprisingly.
We twisted anyway, but with less than fifty people on the beach, most of them well over retirement age, there was real danger that if we kept it up much longer someone was going to break a hip. Or die of hypothermia. So the attempt was officially abandoned, and we slunk away in shame.
But this would be different – if for no other reason than it was being held in Perth, city of infinite sunshine and home to over one-and-a-half-million fun-loving souls.
The day dawned cold and grey, which was a bit of a shock. I stood in my back garden and held my hand out – it was raining! Absolute BASTARDS! It hasn’t rained in Perth since November – five completely dry months – and then this.
As Roo dropped me off at the station, the sky looked dark and threatening.
“Won’t you be cold?” she asked.
“Nah. I’m from England! This is midsummer as far as I’m concerned.”
(In Northern England a man is not allowed to admit to being cold unless his testicles have actually frozen solid to something. This happens more often that you’d think.)
“Okay…” Roo didn’t sound convinced. “Would you like to borrow my jumper?”
I looked at her. She was wearing this:
“No thanks,” I said, “because your jumper is bright yellow and made of string. I’d be better insulated if I stapled a paper napkin to my chest.”
So she left me to it. Alone on the platform.
Travelling through Perth at 7am on a Sunday was a relaxing affair; I think I saw about fifteen people in almost two hours of train and bus travel.
I found my way to the event and queued up to check in. Three cute chicks joined the line immediately behind me, one of them wondering aloud if we’d be going in all at once, or in groups.
“If we do it by group by group, I’d pity the bugger that went in first,” I said.
They laughed. With the ice broken I thought about asking if I could hang out (no pun intended) with them; being on my own was going to be the toughest part of this gig. But then my brain went into paranoia overdrive: “Are they too pretty? Will they think I’m trying to hit on them? Will they look at me with disgust? Will it destroy my confidence, so I’ll spent the rest of the day alone, lurking on the fringes, naked and friendless…”
No. Much easier to find someone ugly, and try to make friends with them.
It didn’t happen that way, of course. The girls ended up getting changed next to me, as none of us could be bothered waiting for the tiny cubicle-tents to become available. And then another bloke joined them, and suddenly it all seemed very above-board again. I wandered over.
“Do you mind me hanging out with you guys? My wife didn’t want to come with me, and I don’t have any friends here.” I probably could have phrased that better, but I was desperately trying not to sound desperate. And I was still failing.
Luckily, Aussie women are a strong, yet friendly breed. They gave me the typical Aussie answer to everything, from borrowing a sausage to (apparently) getting naked together: “Yeah, no worries!”
“So, you’re new to Perth?” one of the girls asked. “How long have you been here?”
“Ah… on and off… about six years…”
We were called to the beach in our pre-assigned groups – I was a ‘Sweet Strawberry’, and my new friends were ‘Precious Plums’.
We milled around on the beach a bit, trying to keep warm, and eyed up the gigantic waves crashing against the shore.
“Looks really rough,” someone commented, and they were right; the iron-grey sea was foaming in anger. A call went out for the more confident swimmers to move to the front. That was me!
And then the sarongs came off, and everyone was sprinting into the surf.
Bare ass and boobies bounced before me as I raced headlong into the water. I dived, came up swimming strongly, and made my way out to the furthest edge of the area, where lifeguards were patrolling in canoes. The ball-shrivelling cold faded quickly, as my body adjusted to the temperature. Then my legs went numb.
The waves were gigantic, battering the participants and slamming us into each other. I was loving it – the sea reared up, throwing me around like a rollercoaster, and each new wave was greeted with shrieks of awe and fear from the surrounding swimmers. It was extreme-nude-swimming, a sport which, if it doesn’t already exist, certainly should. Hell, I might go and found it right now!
I was enjoying myself immensely. But then I noticed two of the girls I’d met being brought in on the lifeguard’s surfboard. A glance at shore showed that a good hundred or so naked people were still on the beach, too intimidated by the waves to risk entering the water.
Then a horn went off, and the event marshals began beckoning us back to shore. The attempt was over.
As I reached the shallows and put my feet down, a cry went out from the beach. I turned just as the mother of all waves crashed down on me, tumbling me head over heels and depositing me on the sand a good way up the beach.
I opened my eyes to see a crowd of people looking down at me with concern in their eyes. Naked people.
Was this heaven?
Probably not, I thought, as I vomited up a lung full of sea water.
Later, fully clothed once more, I called Roo to give her the news. On the upside, I’d had an amazing time, met some really cool people, and got to run around with my cock out like… well, like me at every party I’ve ever attended.
On the downside, no records had been broken; 671 people had shown up and stripped off, just 73 short of the previous record. Damn it!
They’d called off the attempt halfway through due to the dangerous conditions, and at least one bloke had been brought in by the lifeguards, strapped to a board with a suspected spinal injury. So, it hadn’t all been fun and games.
Roo answered the phone. She’d taken advantage of my absence to go shopping with her sister.
“I won’t be able to pick you up from the train station for a while, I’m afraid,” she explained.
“No worries! I’ll go into the city and celebrate with a pint.”
“Oh, that’s good then. Only…”
“Well, will you be okay? You won’t be embarrassed, you know, going for a drink on your own?”
I had to smile at that.
“Honestly, after what I’ve just done… I think I’ll manage.”
So, the word flying around on the internet is that we were SO close – and that the weather is to blame. Who’d have thought it? Especially seeing as the sun came out mere minutes after we left the beach, and I got so sunburnt walking through town to get my pint that I now have a permanent t-shirt tan.
Maybe God really does hate naked people?
Ah well. The naked citizens of Perth are unbowed. Hell, they’re trying again next year…
I’m going. How about you?