As the Autumn draws in and the beach/carpark is much less crowded I find myself being much less stealthy about getting changed in and out of the wetsuit. The air temperature is getting much colder and I can’t be faffed with the additional time of battling with a towel or putting on an additional garment in order to conceal all the bits and pieces.
Only once have I ever had a conflict in this situation where my entire arse was exposed as a family of four drove passed, while I tried to re-manipulate my undies. ‘My family don’t want to see your arse mate’…’Granted’ I replied, ‘but you’ve still stopped your car, which is a bit of silly thing to do given your initial declaration and my current predicament’. ‘Fuck off you twat’ was his witty retort to which I enquired as to whether his family would like to see him wrestle a naked man. What fun.
As I recounted this experience it got me thinking two things; a) this was a good few years ago, prior to me having children of my own, so I was doing a lot exercise and surfing loads so my arse was likely on point and he was probably just well jealous of my pert butt-cheeks and b) what lesson is that to his children. Did they not have arses? Did they have such a big issue with body image that a stray arse (my) deserved such negative attention.
Issues with body image can lead to isolation, loneliness, eating problems and obsessive behaviours. All these are really shit things. Particularly when you boil it down to the simplistics of anatomy.
HOW MANY WILLIES, BUMS, BOOBS AND TWINKLES HAVE YOU SEEN?
One of the wonderful things about being on the planet more than most is that you have seen more things than most. The volume of nudey bits seen likey resembles the high scores demo of an old arcade machine. Some may be different sizes, colours, prominent features etc but on the whole (oo-er we need to be careful to avoid deliberate innuendo) there isn’t a lot that set them apart. What makes anyone’s more special than anyone else’s? 50.42% (ish) of people have penises, 49.58% (ish) of people have vaginas. There, it’s out there now, everybody knows what everyone has.
WHY IS THERE SUCH A BIG COMPLEX?
It’s hard-coded in society, at a guess. It’s what stops us just turning up somewhere public in the summer months in just our birthday suits. That and of course there are laws. Decency is one thing, and very arguably fair enough. It’s highly unlikely people want to see me flouncing nude around Asda, knocking things off the shelves as I spin around when someone grabs my attention (ahahahahahahahahahaha…#nobgags).
However, the more direct influence is something that has been widely publicised and written about more recently, media. Media have dictated trends for hundreds of years and this influence is completely against what a normal body looks like. Brands are bastards for it too, just look at some of the major surf brands, some of the stuff they push out is enough to definitely give you a sand rash. Some of the best surfers we know are barrel shaped, flat-chested, big knorked, tall and lanky, moobed etc etc. These are normal human shapes, the one shape fits all body-type to aspire to is utter bullshit.
SURFERS AND BODY IMAGE
We believe that there may also be a bit of bias for positive body image perspective around surfers. As eluded to earlier, in the intro, we are a tribe who regularly get our kit off. Sometimes in very public locations. The regular routine of this is bound to build up a resistance of any fear or anxieties over time.
GIVING YOURSELF A BREAK
If you have negativity towards your body image, we appreciate that we are unlikely to fix it with mere words. But please don’t try to compare yourself with others, that is not healthy. Particularly if you see someone online or in a magazine, remember these are more often than not a digitally enhanced version of the real image. Instead OWN the stuff you do like about your body and hang out with people who lift you and are wholly more positive.
It may have already happened (if you’re like us, a lot). Eventually a rogue nip/bum/boob/nob/pubes ‘slip’ is bound to happen. The freak gust of wind or a fall as you balance one leg in your undies perhaps. When this happens, always remember this; if anyone saw, they saw for a quarter of a second before your reflexes kicked in (unless you got a fit of the giggles and were then unable to put yourself back together…been there too). Within 30 mins of a person seeing they would only be able to recreate a representation in their mind…their mind does not then store your bits and pieces.
SO WHAT ARE YOU GETTING AT?
Oh yeah. We best summarise this somehow. Ok, here goes; You’re a legend. Don’t buy into a brand and media narrative about what’s ‘sexy’. It’s all fabricated, you are sexy, you have so many sexy features, and you’re a proper laugh. If you are getting changed, get changed, do it quickly, it’s bloody cold when the air temperature plummets. If that means dropping it all and quickly throwing on the clothes, so be it. Everybody knows what ‘bits and pieces’ look like anyway, unless you’re compelled to skip around in the buff shortly after nobody in their right mind is going to make a fuss. ‘Oh but what about the pervs’ – stuff them, you either make someones day or they would never tell anyone anyhow for fear of being outed as a perv.
If you are a perv, stop it you perv. And if you do get in any kind of conflict whilst changing, just remember nobody likes the threat of wrestling a naked stranger. But if you must follow through with your threat don’t think twice, drop the towel, look them straight in the eye, let out a warcry and charge.