Sunday, March 30, 2008
For my last day in Cairns, I had something special planned. I took the Cairns bus as far north as I could get (Palm Cove), then walked to Buchans Point. The websites claim that it is "by far the most popular unofficial clothes optional beach in the area." So, this is my first trip to a large nude beach!
It was certainly more popular than the other beaches. The beach is in a large L shape after the symbolic rock. (See the website above for a pic with the rock and the L shape.) I was looking for a spot that was free of tree ants, shady, and somewhat away from other people, and finally found one towards the far end of the beach. I counted about 35 men and 3 women on the way. I dug out the towel from my backpack, stripped, and enjoyed the ocean breeze.
I noticed several guys walk past and eye me up -- but I figured it was only fair because I was looking at people on my way too, just not quite as long. (This happened occasionally through the whole evening.) One dirty-looking guy in shorts and a tshirt stopped, and asked "are you gay?" "Sorry, but no" I replied. I thought the conversation was over, but he continued on: "Neither am I -- I have a wife and kids at home, but I still f--k around with men anyway. By the way, you have a great bod!" ...and he continued his way down the beach.
Great -- it seems that I'm 'hot stuff' on this beach.
I call this the 'hot girl at the party' syndrome. In any group of people, the most attractive women get hit on and full attention from every man in the place, especially the creepy ones. I know from a past relationship that the non-outgoing women have a serious problem with this, because they are deeply disturbed by every creepy guy that approaches them. Normally, this syndrome is limited to only the attractive women -- but being surrounded by older gay men, I was the hot woman at this party! This is not good, and it put me in defensive mode.
I should point out that I am very strong-minded, and I almost always know what's going on around me. I've studied psychology, sociology, and have an interest in body language. I can read in to people's minds somewhat and can usually predict their intent. I can also detect a lie or a half-truth -- a handy skill to have! This gives me some confidence when dealing with people, and I'm good at making decisions on what I should and shouldn't say to direct the conversation. Being a 'hot bod' around a bunch of gay people didn't scare me, but it certainly made me alert. It was a new and unique situation to be in, and I needed to conquer it instead of run away. C'mon, this was a beautiful beach and a perfect day to be naked on it -- I was planning to stay until the sun went down!
Before too long, a trim early 30's guy stopped to chat with me. He seemed very nice -- like he actually wanted to chat instead of just pick me up. We talked for quite a while, mostly because our jobs were similar but at opposite ends. As I said in my first post, I do engineering work in critical systems. He has an interesting job that uses these same systems. Other than job talk, I asked him questions about the area and the beach, and he asked me questions to get to know me a bit better. (I knew better than to answer anything too specific, so I didn't.)
We talked for too long. The shady spot that I was in had turned to sun, and I didn't apply any sunblock. Honestly, I hate the feeling of sunblock; I much prefer simple shade. He walked to the back of the beach to pee, and I took the opportunity to dig out my Aussie hat from the backpack. It's like having SPF 50 for my head, neck, and shoulders, so I figured it's ideal for being in the sun. I was sitting up and changing position enough to give parts a break from the sun. When he got back, he said "oh...that's nice!" I guess the hat also doubled my attractiveness. Oh well, I'm not taking it off.
Soon enough, he was offering me a ride back to Cairns. No thanks, I don't mind the walk! It was obvious that he was trying to pick me up now. "What's the difference between a gay person and a straight person?" "A couple of beers." I passively fought off his advances, so that he knew he didn't have a chance. I was very appreciative of all the info he gave me, and it was a nice chat, but he decided to go further down the beach and let me be.
During the conversation, he informed me that the straight side of the beach was towards the symbolic rock. I lost my shade anyway, and was starting to turn red on my legs. (Little did I know, my legs got a pretty bad burn. On my way back to Palm Beach later that evening, I noticed the sign pictured above. 6 minute burn time? I was well past that...)
After a few minutes of collecting my stuff, I put on my backpack and hiked to a spot on the straight side of the beach. (I could feel eyes watching me during this journey.) I found a nice shady spot that didn't appear to have any tree ants. Two of the three women on the beach were in the section to the left of me, and the third was in the section to the right of me, so I figured I was safe here.
I figured wrong....
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