Greetings From the Naked Place

Updated: Oct 4, 2018

by Darcy Liddell:

Happy sweltering summer everybody. It's so far been an exciting time here in France.

On the heels of celebrating Bastille Day, the entire country caused a seismic tremor as the national soccer team scooped up the World Cup in Russia with great style and athletic grace. Allez Les Bleus! It's been an incredibly festive, pride-filled time across the land, as you can imagine.

On a personal note, the summer gifts keep giving. My husband has informed me we would not be taking our annual trip to the beach, something we have been doing for 22 years. You can't see me, but right now I am doing a little victory dance. Yay! No trip to the beach! This is like the best summer ever.

This may seem odd to you. I mean, outside of gingers and snowmen, who doesn't love the beach? Well, I blew the dust off a piece I wrote regarding this very subject, exactly 16 years ago. Upon reading it you will discover it sheds more than light on my anti-beach stance. I hope you are all enjoying your vacations as much as I am mine.


I just showered with three elderly German men. Never thought I'd string those particular words together to form a sentence, let alone mean it. Oh, perhaps I could see wheedling it into conversation as the droll punchline to some esoteric Euro-politico joke, but my humor runs more along the lines of "a priest, a cowboy, and a duck walk into a bar," so no, not even in jest did I ever imagine I would one day say, "I just showered with three elderly German men." And yet, I have. And yes, I did.

It's day four of our two-week vacation here at the Naked Place, and I'm so upset that it has finally stopped raining. I had made a promise to myself and my badgering better-half that once it let up I'd go take a damned shower. I'd been maintaining a borderline level of hygiene since our arrival, but the cabin's solar-powered amenities can only do so much and with temperatures on the rise I'll soon be forced to shed the sweat suits and bulky sweaters I've been cowering in up to now. Never thought I'd curse the sunshine either. I was indeed ripening almost beyond repair so it was time to suck it up and march myself over to the public bathing facilities for a good hose down. (And to think, my pre-marriage summer getaways consisted of yacht-hopping in St. Tropez and general debauchery on the island of Ibiza. Oh yes, I've come a long way, baby.) In a tiff, I threw needed items into a toiletry bag, wrapped up in an armor-like robe and morosely plodded off to the shower house, muttering all the while something about good for nothing frogs . . . and the War.

This was not my idea. Cedric, my French husband, was the brains behind Operation: Drop Your Drawers. It's a tradition I married into actually, so it was a, "Like it or get over it already" situation I found myself in. His family has had a cabin in Europe's largest nudist colony for some sixty years now (that's five generations of buck-naked in-laws I have to contend with, merci beaucoup) and Ced, much to my chagrin, loves this place. Well, I love him too, so here we are on the Silver Coast in the Medoc region of southwestern France and isn't it a hoot. 'Montalivet' (as in "oy-vei! What have I got myself into?) isn't just a nudist beach but a whole frigging naked town. People do EVERYTHING in their birthday suits here, which, to my New World way of thinking, is wrong in the absolute. But to deny my husband this much-cherished annual event would be like him suddenly informing me that peanut butter was strictly off-limits. There are some things so intricately woven into our pasts that they become almost sacred. He'll never truly grasp the concept of a buttery substance made from peanuts, and I will remain forever in the dark on the wonders of the Naked Place. Tit for tat, so to speak.

Now I know what you're asking yourself because I asked it too. "Egads! Who would do such a thing?" He told me about this place when we first started dating and my initial reaction was, "Oh my god! Your grandparents are swingers!" But it turns out they're just European. Seems they aren't shackled by the deeply ingrained taboos we Yanks are and so see nothing at all wrong with: riding bikes, playing tennis, cleaning roof gutters or dining out 'tout nu'. For theirs is a far more sophisticated god than ours and this is clearly His Divinely Minimalist Plan. I wouldn't be at all surprised if this Holy Host has a Heavenly Mistress tucked away on some plush cloud, to boot. C'est natural.