Sunday, April 08, 2012

The Naked Truth

Italians are really confusing. I can walk down any street in Rome looking my worst and get more attention than in Canada when looking my best. Men chase, play with your hair, wink, make suggestive gestures, honk their horns, and catcall a woman as if he were a New York construction worker. It's flattering for the first couple days here, but after that, its just annoying, rude, and disrespectful. 
However...This behaviour does not exist when at the beach. Ahhh, the beach... In Rome, it's that time of year where all the tourists break out their flip flops and sunscreen. It's still not hot enough to don a pair of short 
So much better than having tan lines, am I right?
shorts and a tank top combo, but its still hot, nonetheless. So how exactly am I celebrating this warm beginning-of-April weather? By hanging out on my rooftop, of course!
Last week I went onto my rooftop for the very first time. All you have to do is climb to the art loft on the fifth floor of the house, and at the very end of the studio is a door that leads to the balcony. Its a big, sunny private pad that I've been spending all my time at ever since I discovered it (although this week is kind of grey and not as hot as last week). I've been laying in the sun, reading books, eating lunch, and writing my blog posts up there. Its my own personal little heaven, and last week I invited a friend up there with me. The two of us shared a picnic of grapes, cheese and fresh bread. Then the two of us caught up and bathed in the sun for a while.
It led to an interested topic once we started peeling off our jeans and shirts because, although I just bought that to-die-for bikini from Yamamay, I decided not to wear it. Well, at least not half of it. Before you raise your eyebrows, drop your jaw and judge me, let me explain something.
Be confident.
In Italy, its perfectly acceptable for a woman to wear nothing at all when tanning or spending a day at the beach. Why? Because we were born this way, damn it. We were born naked, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be free and let the sun kiss your body all over. I am a huge supporter of being naked in the sun. It feels good, and you don't get tan lines. Maybe it's just me, but there is no feeling in the world that's more liberating. I enjoyed every minute of sharing the company with a good friend with whom I ate delicious food with and then tanned with senza vestiti. Why not? We're in Italy. There isn't a beach on any seaside in the country where at least one woman isn't tanning naked. And I'm not ashamed of my body. I'm comfortable enough with myself that I can do this, and you should be, too.
Unfortunately, this behaviour of mine won't be repeated in Canada. The men are far too immature and giddy about the female body that I couldn't lay on my creamiscle coloured towel
without an idiot in board shorts whistling or taking a photo of me. And the women are far too conservative and judgemental, and part taking in this European act would definitely give me a bad reputation, which I'm not willing to have. I don't know if there will ever be a time in my country where this will ever be accepted. The female body has been oversexualised for so long, and I know that I would feel awkward with everyone's eyes staring at my bare chest on the beach because, "Oh my God, look! That girl's naked!
I have to admit that I do understand the concern. I'm not suggesting that every Canadian woman should roam around the streets naked, but I'm also not suggesting that there's anything wrong with that, either. However, when I am at the beach and want to get an even tan, feel the sun all over my body and just be, I will not apologize for doing so. And the Italians aren't asking me to.

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