The women surrounding us on the beach had one thing in common: they were missing their swimmer tops. And not the least bit shy about walking, running, jumping in the rolling waves of the Mediterranean without being covered.
Going topless on a European beach.
It’s on my bucket list. But, could I really take off my top on a beach loaded with gorgeous bodies? I wasn’t sure.
True, I had come a long way from locking myself in a bathroom in Budapest to change into my swimmers, but taking off my top in public? The thought alone made my heart race and my insecurities about my body swim to the top of my mind.
I knew on the train from Alicante to Barcelona to meet my friends that the moments were counting down until I would be on that beach with those half-naked people.
And, then suddenly, it was the next day and Tina, and her two girlfriends, (Gemma and Jen) and I were walking from the hostel to the beach in Barcelona, meandering through the colorful and tasty market on our way.
D, my mind toyed with me, are you sure you are ready for what you are about to do?? Do you really want to go half-naked in public?
We got to the beach. I dreaded sitting down.
Bucket list … bucket list … bucket list …
The four of us planted ourselves on towels, and to avoid taking my top off, I quickly went into the water to kill time.
Eventually, I had to get out of the water … had to face my fears.
“Let’s do it,” Tina had said, taking off her top.
Then, Gemma did the same.
They were still alive.
Suddenly, it was my turn. I untied the string around my neck and then …
I sat there.
Staring out at the vast sea of people. Most of them only wearing bottoms.
Boobs of all sizes. Bodies of all types.
I remained frozen, hands gripping the bottom of my top in a permanent state of almost-removal.
Inside, I had a fight raging … brain against insecurities.
D, who cares? Look around … no one is judging. No one is even looking. Well, that guy is, but who cares?
I tightened my hold on the bottom of my top.
It’s now or never. Damn, I could sure use a drink. Any other excuses to not take off my top? Nope.
I closed my eyes and pulled my black tankini over my head.
Then, it was off.
The earth didn’t stop moving. A crowd of people didn’t gather around me to point and look at my naked upper-half. Life kept on going and no one even noticed.
I looked down. Yup, there were my boobs … in full view of, oh, everyone. And, it didn’t matter. Instinctively, I went to cover the girls with my arms, but then decided not to.
If I was going to do this, I was going to do this. No cheating.
I lathered some sunscreen on me because the last thing I wanted was sun-burnt bits and laid down.
I closed my eyes.
You know what? It felt absolutely great. Freeing. Liberating. In America, breasts are meant to be covered. Americans by nature are so much more conservative than our European counterparts … but I wasn’t in America. I was in Spain … my favorite place … the place I wanted to make my home … so topless is a part of the culture. And, in order to live somewhere, you have to embrace the culture.
That day, on the beach, I embraced it.
I even got bold and marched myself into the sea to feel the water wash over me in a completely different way.
I emerged a different person, more in touch with myself, more secure of my body, more empowered. It felt great.
I had that smile on my face that I love to have on my face.
I could do this again.
Next time, there will be no hesitation.
In fact, maybe next time will be a nude beach.
In fact, I have every intention of doing it again. And, the next time, I won’t hesitate.
25 thoughts on “To be, or not to be … topless”
Ay Dios mio, I LOVED this post! Bravo dear girl for facing your fears and crossing something off your bucket list. I hope you celebrated with a couple of drinks afterwards!!!
Ha! I meant to celebrate, but went to sleep instead. Of course, I missed a massive night out!! Thank you, Andi! 🙂
I just found out your website and I can say I already love your posts Diana.
Thank you Marcella!! 🙂
Chills from reading this! I am petrified of crossing this one off my list, too. Congratulations!
“I lathered some sunscreen on me because the last thing I wanted was sun-burnt bits and laid down.”
Noted. This will be #1 on my to-do list for topless sunbathing day 🙂
Haha. Thank you honey!! Once you do it, it isn’t SO bad. Only a little. 🙂 I haven’t done it since … but plan on doing it again in Croatia. 🙂
I was hoping the link from my email would take me to a topless photo. Sounds like you are having a blast! Miss you!
Hahaha!! I keep this baby PG13. 😉 Miss you too! See you in October!
I love liberating times in travel 🙂 Good for you!
Sadly, I have not done it since. BUT, planning a return trip to Spain. Hopefully this time it will be easier!
I once found a private spot at our local swimming hole and removed both tops and bottoms and found it to be one of the most liberating things ever. The sun just feels different and everything seems to change. Now… to convince myself to do it in a more public place lol!
It is SO freeing!!
I have no problem with the nakedness part, it’s the sun burning on the most important bits part 🙂
Ha. Yes. Slathering sunscreen is a necessity.
Being from Spain I am fully aware that going topless is nothing extraordinary as most females do it at some point, though I can understand hesitation.In any case, I always wonder why don’t most females embrace this as it must feel sooo much better than having to wear fabric on your chest! Don’t you think? 🙂
Ha. Yes. But it is so engrained in American culture that going topless at a beach is tabu …
LOL – great post. Though I must say, on most nude beaches I have been on…. no need to worry about LOTS of hot bodies. Mostly a lot of people that shouldn’t be nude… anywhere 😉
A lovely post! Thank you for sharing!
Love your site! I have been thinking of picking up and leaving as well so your site is perfect for me at this time of my life.
I, as well, had to face the dilemma of going topless while in Ibiza. It was extremely scary but I am glad that I finally did it. As silly as it may sound, it was extremely liberating! I have always been self concious of my size because I was not very blessed in that area. But going topless literally took off those punds of self conciousness that had been hoovering over me for YEARS! Great experience.
Hi Stephanie, thank you so much for taking the time to comment! I am a huge advocate of just picking up and leaving! Where are you located? Have you heard of Meet, Plan, Go? As for going topless, it is incredibly liberating!! And somewhat petrifying! But mostly liberating! I would do it again!!
I love this! Love the way you wrote it… your thoughts. Incredible. I hope that one day I can be secure enough with myself to follow suit 🙂
Oh, thank you so much! Maybe grab a drink before?? 😉