22 July 2002

Beach Blanket Freaks

Next time we're leaving earlier.

Sunday has been designated beach day lately. Yesterday we headed out at about 2pm after one of my girl friends finished working. We piled into her car, not anticipating a lot of traffic as most people head out early in the morning. We were right about the traffic, but upon reaching our destination, there was not a parking space to be had near our normal beach.

Italy has some beautiful, pristine beaches some which could rival the Caribbean for purity of sand and water. None of them are within easy driving distance of Rome. The closest beach near Rome is at the city of Ostia, 30 minutes from Rome's center. In Ostia, all the beaches have been divvied up into stabilimenti, private beach clubs where you pay to have access to facilities and generally dirty beaches and water. In between Ostia and the next town, Tor Vaianica, are i cancelli, a stretch of national preserves that are cleaner and free to the public. The nickname springs from the numbered gates at the entrances off of the main road (cancello means 'gate'). When the gates are closed, the parking lots at that location are full.

We normally end up at the first cancello, but yesterday the gates closed two cars ahead of us. Cazzo che sfortuna! We continued on down the main drag, hoping to find a space on the shoulder or space at the next gate. Nope. Nothing. I got distracted and lost count of how many gates we'd passed. We finally found a space on the shoulder of the drag and double parked the car, blocking two other vehicles. After some debate about whether to leave the keys with a self-appointed attendant or a note with our cell phone numbers on the windshield, we opt for the attendant and hope the car is still there at 6pm when we have to collect our keys from the attendant before he leaves for the night.

We walk down the board walk to the privately owned bar and bathrooms. Out of the bathrooms walk two people. The boobs had been done, faces reshaped and lips over-injected with silicone. They wore more make up than I've owned in my entire life and Brazilian-style bikinis, otherwise known as butt-floss. As they walked away from us, I silently mused on how there are some things I don't need to know in my life, one of them being how a partial transsexual does the old tuck-n-hide.

On the other hand, I always did wonder where the skanky transsexual/transvestite whores who sometimes hang around the train station went on their days off. Now I know which beach they go to, as I recognised a couple of them.

After having sat in the unair-conditioned car for 45 minutes, we said "Fuck It" and pulled up a spare patch of beach. Once we arranged ourselves, we realised that the normal beach pastime of people watching was going to prove, ah, interesting to say the least.

Behind us was a group of early-20ish coatti, the Italian equivalent of uneducated trailer trash and an obvious friend of theirs, an obese older guy wearing a thong who had not one speck of hair on his body and kept flirting loudly with said, ah, buddies. We considered asking him what his method of depilation was, as he had some baby smooth looking skin. To our left was a sun wrinkled woman who had the bronchial cough of some one who has smoke 3 packs of Pall Malls a day for the past 40 years; we had a bit of a quiet debate as to whether her mannish rasp of a voice was due to the fact that she was a heavy smoker or if in fact she was a man. Not to mention a fair share of nudists. The lone (semi-freaked out) male in our group off 5 decided to take a run down the beach. We girls doffed our bikini tops and began to soak up some sun.

I've had my share of freaks as friends, from gays to lessies to trannies to swingers to...well, lets just say there is not a whole lot that surprises me when surfing for porn on the internet. They have all been intelligent, polite, fascinating people who I am proud to know or have known. They have shared many stories and experiences with little ol' me, and always respected when I would blurt out "hey wait a minute, I don't need to know *every* little detail" just as I respected the fact that certain details of my life weren't exactly captivating for them, either. Mutual respect for certain boundaries, right? Not at this beach.

Maybe it was the wrinkled noses and freaked out expressions of my friends. Maybe it was the fact that we were just about the only group of unattached females (and one obviously straight male) our age. Or the fact that we were there to relax instead of socialise and politely rebuffed offers to chat. Whatever it was, there might as well have been a sign above our heads with the words "Let's have some fun with the straight people" Our male friend returned from his jog after a while, reporting that he jogged into more aggressive gay meat-market territory. We took the occasional dip to cool off, avoiding the nude older couples snogging and groping in the waves, dozed off or quietly chatted amongst ourselves under the afternoon sun. The wrinkled smoker to our left had friends join her, and they proceeded to discuss their swinging sex lives very loudly and in very crude terms, every once in a while sniggering at my very Catholic friend's look of revulsion and proceeding to espouse even more graphic details. The group of boys and their drag queen friend commented on the sizes and shapes of our tits and our male friend's physique at every turn - well, in between their flirting sessions at least. Around 7pm we gathered our stuff, much to the disappointment of our neighbours.

"Are you coming back next week?"

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