Funnily enough, I never thought of myself as a prude.
My Park Buddy and I went down to the beach today. (Just to lord it over those of you from snowy climes, it’s gorgeous in San Francisco right now.) We were on the beach for about two hours. One family was there when we got there and still there when we left, and they had a little girl with them who was completely nude the entire time. The girl wasn’t yet three, but was quite tall and astonishingly verbal — both my friend and I guessed that she was four or five.
So a few thoughts crossed my mind about this:
- Good: The Sand. I think naked is probably a pretty comfortable way for a baby to enjoy a beach. The little girl got sandy, rinsed, got sandy, rinsed, but never had the discomfort of a soaked swim diaper or wet clothes or sand in the elastic of her pants.
- Bad: The Sun. I keep Boo covered most of the time because of sun protection; this little pale girl probably had sunscreen on, but it’s so easy to miss a spot. (They didn’t have an umbrella and there are no trees at that particular beach.)
- Ugly: The Freaks. OK, hate to say it, but we live in a weird, weird world. Were there any weirdos out today? I dunno, but I don’t know that we would have noticed. The beach has a path along it that tourists are always on, taking pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge and so on. Were any of them taking pictures of this little girl? I don’t know, but I sure wouldn’t want to be checking all around me all the time. What would you say, anyway? As I read on a photo blog recently, it’s almost always completely legal in the U.S. to take pictures in public, even of children.
So, am I crazy? Sure, I hate that we live in a world where we have to think like this, and it would be wonderful if all children could be naked whenever they were more comfortable that way (in other words, most of the time).
But we don’t live in that world, we live in this one. It’s horrible that a 3-year old would be subject to such things, but when the solution is as simple as some swim trunks, it just seems like a reasonable compromise.