Everything was different. I mean everything. Maybe it was better that way; we were so out of our element that we couldn’t compare anything to our home life in suburban Arlington, Virginia. It’s a funny story how we got to a single day that rocked our world, but you can assume we did it on a lark and without a bit of planning. Good thing—we probably never would have come if we knew what we were in for, especially when we think of Isabella. God bless that woman, I do love her like crazy. But if she knew we were going to be having sex in public in a city of 65,000 naked people well, of course, she would have thought I was out of my mind.
Ok, so I guess I should tell you how we got to the nude city and the public sex. Isabella and I were on our summer vacation in France. It was our second time, and we just loved touring romantic, enchanting, love-affirming Paris and the countryside charm of Provence with its stately chateaus, tempting vineyards and rolling, flowered, painting-inspiring hillsides. This time, we went to the South of France, and we were a little bolder than then our first, itinerary-designed trip.
We rented a car and stopped wherever we liked, stayed where we could, and moved on. A little off the typical tourist-track of the chic French Riviera was a charming Mediterranean town, Bouchon—a city dating back to the Ancient Greeks from 500 BC. According to the brochures, Bouchon was one of the oldest towns in France. The village had ruins and forts and winding stone streets along a canal with movie-setting barges. And so it was in the tourist office—the regional government tourist office—where we learned about the “ciudad naturiste,” or the “nude city.”
According to the brochure, the French government designated the ciudad a nudist colony in 1973. The rather absurd irony that the government had founded the damn place and the pamphlet was on the rack between a vineyard tour and a boardwalk with kid rides made the idea of going there seem almost blasé. Isabella looked at me like I was her naughty little boy. “Go ahead,” she said, “ask them if we can visit it. I know you are dying to see some French boobies.” I didn’t bother to pretend that I wasn’t curious.
The matronly tourist office volunteer showed me where it was on the map but explained that we couldn't just go into the ciudad naturiste, one must have a special pass. But, she explained, if you are staying at a hotel in the village you automatically get admission. It just so happened that we didn’t have a place to stay that night. The lovely lady made a few phone calls for us. All the hotels were full including the Jardin de Hédonisme. I was kind of relieved because staying in a nude city at a place called The Garden of Hedonism might have pushed my sweet suburban-mom-wife from “maybe” to “no.” Turns out Hédonisme was perfectly named, but I’m getting ahead of myself. On a French version of Airbnb, we reserved a studio apartment in a building called Thebes—the original condo of the ciudad. The condition, though, was that we had to rent the apartment for a minimum of two days. We stayed five. By the time we left, we had reserved a week for the following summer.
At the community's gate was a sign that Isabella and Google translated to, “Welcome to Our Naturist Ciudad—Live Like Us—Undress Yourself.” Underneath was the seal of the French government. I took a picture of the sign even though there was a prohibitive image of a camera with a slash through it. That was the last time we took or even saw anyone take a photo in the Ciudad, but, believe me, there were about a billion times I wanted to.
The gate lifted; we drove in and passed a strip of shops. So far nothing unusual, a typical French town with a boulangerie with fresh baguettes piled high, a wine shop, a post office. A car passed, then a man on a bicycle wearing a swimsuit. We turned left at the Hotel Demi and there we saw our first nudists. I’m not sure if the car stopped or it drove by itself, but there was no way that I was in control.
Not an old, naked, balls-to-his-knees geezer, nor a saggy-boobed geriatric you fear seeing at a nudist colony. No. In front of us was a young woman, all-over bronze tan with nipple rings that were connected with a chain hanging between her bouncing breasts. Something jeweled dangled from her shaved genitals and, are you ready for this? Holding her hand was a young, maybe 6-year-old naked boy.
“Oh, my God,” Isabella said. “I mean what the hell?”
Fortunately, before I had a chance to respond, although of course there was nothing I could possibly have said, we drove around a traffic circle and passed a pedestrian pathway. There we saw a parade of every possible combination of naked and near-naked man, woman, child, grandparent, teen, and middle-aged nudist. Isabella's silence was deafening—mine was screaming.
We snapped back to reality as we approached another roundabout and saw our building, Thebes D. The gigantic, concrete, horseshoe-shaped building was a few football fields in diameter and must have been a super-futuristic design in the 1970s. Today, however, the architecture seemed kind of silly. Feeling way, way over-dressed, we unpacked the car and climbed the stairs to our second floor, bare like a college dorm, studio. There was a small balcony, and I went right to it. There was a view—I found my spot.
Below the apartment was a series of long open terraces each with some furniture and towels strewn about—not a bathing suit in sight. Beyond the balconies were pathways that led to the beach and the azure blue Mediterranean Sea, and the parade of people. Although a procession of nudists was a fantasy come true, I was momentarily distracted by the Mediterranean Sea, a lifelong fascination, almost fetish of mine. The sea that borders France, Spain, Italy and stretches to Turkey and North Africa—in total bordering 21 countries—held an adolescent allure for me almost as strong as women's bodies. And I chuckled to myself because I felt proud for having a thought that didn't involve sex.
Isabella took a shower while I unpacked and I have to admit her continued silence had me worried. Isabella was an adventurous woman but since the kids arrived her role as mom came first. She was still fun-loving and sexy, but when she went silent, I knew I had crossed a line.
The shower stopped, I pulled myself away from staring out the window and braced for her to let me have it. She opened the bathroom door with a towel wrapped like a turban on her head, stark naked, and announced, “Okay, I’m dressed. Let’s go out, I need a drink!”
I ran over and gave her a lift-off-the-ground hug, “You're amazing! Baby.”
Isabella settled on a bikini bottom but still topless, I went full Monty but kept my bathing suit in a bag along with our towels and some money. Later I would learn that the bag should have also had rubbers (for him and her—yeah, you read that right) but again, I am getting ahead of myself. When we reached the first floor a door opened, music and laughter were followed by a naked man, ridiculously tanned a deep brown, completely devoid of body hair and the longest uncircumcised penis I had ever seen (not that I had seen that many).
“Bonjour. Ça va?” he said in that smooth French way that makes the most innocent words sound seductive. “Très bien, et vous?” Isabella said, her eyes trying to stay on the ruggedly handsome man’s face. But as he turned to walk in front of us, I saw Isabella sneak a peek at his package, and her eyes followed as his small round bottom bobbed and led the way.
We were both silent as the man strolled in front of us. “Baby, your French is suddenly so good, you must be inspired. Any other French words come to mind?" The rakish god turned onto a pathway, his long pendulum undulating beside him. Isabella gave me a coy look and in a sultry tone said, “Oh là là…”
To be with Isabella as she walked topless in public was thrilling and erotic, and a little scary. Of course, I saw Isabella naked all the time, but to view her and having others see her exposed rocked my world. Isabella's nursed-a-baby breasts were still firm, and when her nipples were erect, the girls turned up. And erect they were. The problem was, I was starting to form an erection of my own. The warm Mediterranean breeze teased the boys. The sight of Isabella topless among naked bodies was all a bit much for me to maintain control. “Barbara Bush, Barbara Bush, Barbara Bush,” I chanted to myself and, sure enough, my impending boner began to subside.