First I was a Latin Americanist; then, a commentator on race, literature, and film. Now? Apparently I know something about nudists: here's the proof!
(Read to the end of the linked story for the punchline).
Update: December 16, 2012
As the Daily Aztec link is now broken--here is a plaintext version of their story:
Nearby beach is telling locals the naked truth http://media.www.thedailyaztec.com/media/storage/paper741/news/2008/09/09/TravelAdventure/Nearby.Beach.Is.Telling.Locals.The.Naked.Truth-3420553.shtml
Amy Ebersole, Staff Writer Issue date: 9/9/08 Black's Beach has it all: surf, clean sand, hang gliding and drum circles. But there is one thing it lacks - swimsuits. Located next to UC San Diego in La Jolla, Black's Beach is perhaps the largest nude beach in the United States. So - here is the skinny (dip?). It's not just the surf that's up Hard work pays off, right? On a normal day, Black's wave quality seduces committed surfers down a 300-foot twisting labyrinth, lugging boards, like fruit baskets, overhead. But what goes down must go up. So, save some energy. Or take a break before the climb. The clean black and white sand mixes as smooth as Jack Daniel's and Diet Coke, forming a blissful pillowed paradise that leaves surfers drunk on San Diego sun. Fly high Glider Port The Torrey Pines Glider Port sports hang gliders, paragliders and remote-controlled gliders. No equipment? Instruction, certification, tandem flights, equipment sales and adventure tours can be purchased for those who aren't starving students such as most of us at San Diego State. A local nightly hangout spot for UCSD students, Glider Port is a place to kick back, put the moves on a date or gaze out at the endless oceanic view that transforms like Clark Kent from light and clear by day to dark and mysterious by night. Moon me drum circles Traditionally, when the moon is full, the Rainbow Family full moon drum circles last through the night until the sun rises to kiss the sky the next day. Sadly, because of a stabbing in July and the increasing rave-like drug and alcohol atmosphere, the drum circle relocated. Last month, hundreds of faithful drummers showed up, only to find the street paved with cops who took time (out of their busy schedules) to "guarantee safety" by shutting the circles down. For drum enthusiasts, there are circles held on Sundays in Balboa Park from noon until dark. The naked truth Let's be honest - it isn't the hang gliding, drum circles, surf or sand that give Black's Beach its claim to fame. It's the nudity. There, I said it. The famous poet Walt Whitman once wrote, "I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked; I am mad for it to be in contact with me." Well, it may not be a wood, but if an ocean will suffice, Black's is a place to bare it all. Tired of hearing, "No shoes, no shirt, no service?" At Black's Beach, bodies are welcome to freely skinny-dip with nothing but smiles and non-gawking attitudes. The Black's Beach Bares, a local group affiliated with The Naturist Society, holds picnics and beach cleanups. Viewing nudity as a natural way of life and essential to body acceptance, the Bares advocate for tolerance and respect, rejecting capitalist exploitation of the body for commercial or sexual purposes. So wait - nudity but no sex? Yes! It's true, fellow Americans! It's possible to be platonically nude. Fancy that. "The taboo of nudity in America partially spawns from the Puritan Christian background and capitalistic system where the body becomes an object of shame," UCSD student and nudist studying gender theory Hayley Ebersole said. "When you go nude, there is nothing left to see, and so the body morphs into something whole rather than fetishized." Exploring the beaches of Barcelona and France, I was finally free to go topless and not get a ticket. My French friend and I tried tanning without tops in an unpopulated section of Pacific Beach last year, but were told by a patrolling lifeguard to, "Go to Black's; otherwise put on tops or get tickets." "But, I don't get it, they're just breasts," we answered. What are we so afraid of? Complaints by certain individuals who are uncomfortable with nudity cause park rangers to sweep Black's, and they make everyone put their clothes on. "There are just too many people scared of having genitals," professor and chair of English and comparative literature at SDSU William Nericcio said. "Admittedly, most people shouldn't be parading body parts about - but for those select few who sport handsome choice parts - why not?" Hmm. So, why not? -- Amy Ebersole is a comparative literature senior.