Too Many Dicks on the Beach
“It’s a cock, girls,” Frank announced with glee.
Grace and I exchanged eye-rolls – we’ve seen our share of penises; we knew what it was. To be fair though, this one was plastic and hanging from a string around a 70-year-old man’s beefy neck.
With oily fingers, Frank gave the nob of the penis a squeeze. Sunscreen oozed over his bald, septuagenarian chest.
“Want to have a go?” he offered. His dentures were dazzling.
“No thanks,” we chimed in unison, smiles frozen like Melania Trump at one of her husband’s public appearances.
In a move not uncommon to his gender, Frank ignored our standoffish vibes and launched into a sordid and highly detailed story about a sex party he’d once attended somewhere in Sydney. Stuck between a rock and a hard place (no literally – we were wedged between a cliff wall and Frank’s waving semi), we tried in vain to end the conversation, but it took a good 10 minutes or so before we managed to send Frank on his way.
When Grace and I had set out for Little Congwong Beach that morning, we’d envisioned a glorious and uninterrupted few hours of naked snorkelling, naked reading and naked sunbathing in each other’s company. Though not officially a nudist beach, Little Congwong is set in front of luscious bushland and is far from any main roads, so has become a haven for those who like to frolic in the sea with their bits out. Signs adorn the entrance warning against nudity, but the 30 or so gleaming bodies that greeted us when we arrived at the crystalline stretch assured us that being naked here was the norm.
“If there are any men there, they’ll be gay, so no threat,” we reasoned, assuming straight men would avoid nudist beaches on the basis that seeing other men naked is gay, and gayness is only okay when it’s lesbian porn.
But within moments of kicking off our underwear, up Frank and his cock necklace had strode, and we’d been forced to roll from our backs onto our bellies to protect ourselves from his perving eyes.
“What the actual fuck,” Grace whispered to me when, at last, Frank returned to his beach lounge and began to absent-mindedly stroke his penis in the sun. A family of four reached the sand from the bush pathway, delight etched on their face as they spied the sparkling ocean. But then the parents caught sight of Frank, and hastily turned everyone around.
Inspecting the other patrons on the beach, we noticed Frank wasn’t the only one peacocking his junk. Several men were now uncomfortably close to Grace and I, and some were standing with their hands on their hips, genitals thrust in our direction. There were only four other woman: one in her fifties accompanied by a male partner, and three Spanish-speaking girls our age in a gaggle at the beginning of the beach.
Determined to ignore the men in our vicinity, Grace and I returned to our novels.
“Oh fuck, cops!” came a voice from our right.
We glanced up. Sure enough, three uniformed policemen had just stepped onto the sand about 100 metres from us – all of them male. Grace and I made a lunge for our bathers, dragged them on and sprinted to the edge of the sea. We swum far out enough to be able to pretend to not hear the police if they shouted at us, and bobbed in the ocean, watching the scene in front of us unfold.
The first victims of the men in blue were the three girls, who were standing cowered in an attempt to hide their breasts and vaginas from the smirking police as they scribbled on a notepad. One or two men also copped a lecture, but by that time, everyone on the beach was clothed and trying to look as nonchalant and casual as possible.
It was a good 10 minutes after the police had left that we swam back in.
For the crime of “obscene exposure”, the girls and the few men had received a fine of $550 each. Frank had escaped unscathed, and was now in a fluorescent pair of DTs, continuing to soak his lizard body in the sun.
“Let’s just leave our bathers on,” I muttered. Grace agreed – the beach was too gorgeous and the day too lovely to leave just yet.
Within minutes of stretching back out on our towels, another man popped over to chat. A cowboy hat was perched on his skull, and his legs were swathed in a too-short, too-tight set of board shorts.
“You girls okay?” he asked.
“Yeah, we’re fine,” we smiled, feeling much better about engaging in conversation with another beachgoer now that we were all dressed.
“We don’t really care about nudist beaches. It’s just really nice here and everyone else is naked, so we figured we’d get an even tan,” Grace offered.
“Don’t get too freaked out – the police hardly ever come to this beach,” the man replied. “It’s bloody Frank. I saw him harassing you both before. We always tell him to stop sitting there stroking his dick, because families come down and call the police. And that’s exactly what happened.”
For a few minutes, we discussed the importance of respect and privacy in an environment like a nudist beach, and told the man how inappropriate we considered Frank’s behaviour.
“We couldn’t get him to leave!” moaned Grace with a giggle. “Every time I said, ‘Okay well have a nice day!’ he launched into another story.”
I felt stupid for not having handled the interaction with Frank more assertively. Sure, we could have just told him to fuck off, but when you’re in a situation like that – in heavenly sunshine and in public surrounded by other people – it can sometimes feel less awkward to inconvenience yourself and put up with whatever it is that is making you feel uncomfortable, rather than be rude.
Plus, I felt partially responsible for Frank having approached us – after all, he’d been innocently strolling along the water’s edge when I’d dug Grace in the ribs and raised my eyebrows to her at his ludicrous necklace. He’d seen my gesture, and had taken it as an invitation to come over.
“Frank’s an idiot. I mean, he even knows I used to be a policeman and he still does it,” said our cowboy-hatted friend shaking his head.
“You used to be a policeman?” I asked.
“Well, a coast guard.”
We nodded, feeling assured by the man’s professionalism.
“Anyway girls,” he continued, “I actually came over to tell you that I’ve been watching you since you first got down here. You’ve both got the most amazing bodies.”
He paused to gesture with his hands, cupping imaginary breasts.
“Seriously, you’re both gorgeous. I’m going to be waiting just around the corner there,” – here he pointed at the cluster of rocks nearest to us – “if you’d like to come and have a play, if you know what I mean.”
He winked. Our mouths fell open. Without waiting for a reply, he turned on his heels.
“Nup. Let’s go,” said Grace.
As we gathered up our things, the man from the towel over called out to us.
“Well and truly,” I replied. “Well and truly.”
Cover by Dafy Hagai
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Gemma Clarke is the editor-in-chief of Global Hobo. She spends her time contracting tinea in foreign countries, taking afternoon naps in her van and drinking red wine through a (bamboo) straw.