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I recently read a Substack post about the different types of people that you meet at naturist places. In his Naturist4life! blog, David identifies several broad personality types that are easily identified at some public area naturist spots. (links below)
The one type that David didn’t mention directly was the meerkat, although he did mention the preener and the voyeur, and meerkats may fall into these categories as well. Our local variant doesn’t appear to have any naturist traits besides their lack of clothing. The difference between the voyeurs in David’s blog and a meerkat, is that voyeurs are typically clothed, whereas meerkats are usually naked.
Close to where we live, there is a stretch of beach that runs from Mount Maunganui, a heavily tourist-centred spot, some 16km (10 miles) along the coast. There are plenty of places where it is not uncommon to see people naked sunning themselves. There is one section specifically frequented by naturists, and where for the most part, the public doesn’t bat an eye if you strip off and enjoy the sun. Access to this spot is usually a short stroll along a boardwalk that winds through an area of sand dunes or a longer walk along the beach itself.
At certain times of the year, the dunes adjacent to this beach spot become populated with meerkats.
The meerkat will skulk around in the dunes, pop up occasionally and look around, and then sink back down to remain hidden. Sometimes they will walk up and down and parade themselves, trying to attract the attention of others.
Within the meerkat community, there seem to be two distinct groups. One group are the timid ones who never really leave their chosen spot, and the second group are more adventurous, roaming the area looking for friends.
Meerkats are almost exclusively men, and I have never seen any of them at other naturist events. Their sole interest in naturism seems to be using it as a cover for their open-air sexual activities. If they get too close or too bold, then simply approaching them often scares them off. Otherwise, grabbing your phone and pretending to take their picture will result in them scampering away back to their hideaway.
Most of the naturists that I know categorise these meerkats as a nuisance and opportunists who seem to be there to engage in sexual activities under the guise of naturism. Of course, the general public makes no such distinction. To them, meerkats are nudists and just go to show how depraved the activity is.
Meerkats have the potential to do significant damage to the nudist community, or more importantly to the public perception of nudism. A naked man with an erection at a public beach is not the best advertisement for simple non-sexual nudity.
My understanding is that of the handful of complaints made each year by the public about the naturists on the beach, most relate to the behaviour of these meerkats and not those simply enjoying the sun naturally.
The law in New Zealand is that simple nudity in a public place is not illegal, however, behaviour that is obscene or offensive is. Some of the meerkats sail awfully close to the line with their antics.
I struggle to understand why these sexually motivated people don’t find their own stretch of secluded beach to hang out. I imagine that if any of them succeed in luring someone back to their spot in the dunes for a sexual liaison, it will be another meerkat rather than a naturist or a member of the general public who was suddenly overcome with uncontrollable urges at the sight of the meerkat waving at them with their love stick.
Why taint the profile of a non-sexual community with behaviour that gives the public ammunition to lobby authorities to shut down our access to public spaces?
As a straight man, I don’t understand the culture of gay men seeking sexual connections in public. Perhaps these meerkats are simply men that have swapped the traditional space of a public toilet for a less dingy location.
If hooking up with strangers is your thing, and I am not making judgements about that in itself, then why not own it and organise yourselves to engage in that pastime? There are websites and phone apps for that kind of activity so why do you need to bring naturism into disrepute? Is it because you are jealous? Do you envy the fact that a group of people can enjoy being naked outside? Or do you need the adrenaline of being seen naked in public? If it is the latter, then the news is not good. Naturists aren’t shocked or even impressed by your nudity.
To the meerkats of Papamoa Beach, I say to you, the beach is 16km long and you choose the one spot that naturists have used for decades. I know it’s a public space, and that naturists don’t have any more right to it than anyone else, but your behaviour risks access for everyone.
The only thing that can ruin a good day is people.
– Ernest Hemingway
Thank you for reading, have a comfortable day.