I recently posted a photo, sent to me by my RL & SL friend, Spanish girl Mercedes (also her RL name!) of her wearing a new skin (the photo was reconfigured by Harry and is reproduced further on in this post). And that led to me commencing a bit of an email conversation with Mercedes. Generally, my contact with Mercedes is inworld -even if we aren’t on the same sims…in fact, we mostly aren’t- and then I meet up with her every time I’m in Spain where we pick up as if last year’s holiday meeting was last night’s holiday meeting.
So we conducted a bit of an email ‘interview’ after I’d asked if she’d like to feature in an SL ‘Naturist Profile’.
¡Por supuesto! the email came back. ‘Of course’
And we also met up in SL, for a change, and I asked her about her life in Vera Playa, the Spanish naturist ‘village’ in Andalucia.
Ella: I jet into Vera Playa 2-3 times a year and it’s the highlight of my year. You live there, in a naturist setting, on a naturist urbanizacion, all year round. Your perspective of life as a theoretical 24/7, 365 days a year naturist must be very different from mine.
Mercedes: Of course! You come in summer. I experience it in the cold, hahaha.
Ella: Our experience of ‘cold’ is very different. I remember coming to Vera in February a few years back and happily skipping around the terrace of our apartment naked, while you looked at me in a strange way, wearing a scarf!
Mercedes: True. I remember that! It was so cold, yet you didn’t feel it, being from northern Europe. Really, naturism does not begin for me until April, maybe. Before that, for sure I’m wearing less and less clothes, but still clothes! If the weather is good I will think of April, Easter perhaps, as the beginning of the naturist season and I can keep that going until the schools return in mid-September. After that it depends, day to day. This year I’ve already had a sea swim down at Inna’s. (note: Inna’s was previously known as Tiggers, and it’s a focal point for social life amongst the Vera Playa naturist community. You can find a photo here.) The water was cold!
Ella: What’s life like on a day to day basis?
Mercedes: I work…I am an teacher in a Primary School. Children from 6-12 years.
Ella: Let me interrupt you there. Of course, I know this, and I’ve quizzed you about it before in RL, but perhaps you could explain to the SLN readers how you being a naturist plays with parents, school governors and management. Or do they know about it? Is it something you keep quiet?
Mercedes: No one cares about my lifestyle. It is for me alone to live. But one of my neighbours, just a few apartments away, is a school governor and also living in a naturist urbanisation. He is a parent. I have known his children before they went to school, while I taught them, hahaha, and still know them now they have left school.
Ella: So you taught them, as the teacher by day, and might run into them in the swimming pool, as a naturist, at night or weekends????
Mercedes: Yes. No big deal for me or them. Maybe a bigger deal for them in adolescence.
Ella: How idyllic is your lifestyle?
Mercedes: Hmmm. It’s the life I lead. Here in Andalucia it makes sense in the heat of summer to wear as little as possible. I have that choice, although I still must dress to go to the supermarket or into town. It just makes it more acceptable, on a naturist urbanisation, to wear nothing in the heat of summer. For me, I come home with the shopping and strip to be comfortable. I open my apartment and undress. Then I collect the groceries from the car, haha. People know what I do. They know I am a teacher. It’s not an issue for neighbours or friends, even those who live in town, in clothed areas. If they visit, they know I am naked. If they share the pool, even if they do not think of themselves as naturist, they will be naked anyway. I think most people accept nudity here in the zona naturista, or on the beach, as part of their lives. Visit the beach, go naked. Visit Mercedes, go naked. It’s just the way things are.
Ella: As I recall, you grew up naturist, even in the days of Franco.
Mercedes: Yes. Naturism was here in Vera Playa even when Franco was in power. My parents became naturist when they moved here. If they visit me, or the beach, they still are, but they have never lived in the zona naturista. When I was a child we would go to the beach and nudity was the way to be. We were not rich, so my mother saw it as not having to buy unnecessary clothes. Nudity was part of life. At home. On the beach. I think, even away from the zona naturista, many people will have seen their friends and neighbours naked. Not because we are exhibitionist. But because….when I was younger I shared a bedroom with my sister (Ella’s note: I have also met Mercedes’ sister in RL) and I would shower in the evening to cool down in the heat. We did not have air conditioning then! And I would go from the bathroom to the bedroom naked and I would maybe sit on my bed and the lights were on. We never closed the curtains because it was better to have some air in the room. So if the neighbours in the apartment opposite saw me naked….so what? And I would see the neighbours naked, regularly, because they did the same. It was no issue. My first boyfriend….I was at school with him. I saw him naked many times, in his bedroom across the street, before we dated. And I know he saw me because he told me. It was part of life in a hot part of Spain. Now…now things are maybe less free. We have shutters for windows now to reflect heat. We have air conditioning. Now I can and do close the windows to make my bedroom cooler. In summer the shutters are rarely open! So my bedroom nakedness is always unseen. Different times whn I was younger! It is not because I have become shy. It is because we have domestic progression! Haha.
Ella: As a teacher you have long summer holidays.
Mercedes: Yes. End of June until mid-September. A whole summer to do…nothing, if I wish.
Ella: A whole summer where your life revolves around your terrace.
Mercedes: Yes. Morning until late at night. I breakfast there…I have my evenings there. And I socialise, meet friends throughout the summer.
Ella: With that wonderful beach nearby I’d have thought it was a magnet, but you aren’t a beach person to any great degree.
Mercedes: No. You know the winds we have here….it can be very windy. I prefer the quiet of life on the urbanisation. You know…during school time, I spend a lot of time marking homeworks and there are evening events, so it is just a normal life and in March, when you would have your clothes off, I am still on the terrace in my coat! For you it could be all year naturism, almost, but for me it’s much more only the summer months.
Ella: I recently blogged about St Juan’s Day (June 23rd) and I read that was the traditional start of the summer, beach season here.
Mercedes: Not necessarily true, but that’s a reasonable idea. By the festival of St.Juan, we’re at the end of the school year, so summer begins! Yes, when I was at school, we would see St.Juan as signalling the beginning of summer.
Ella: What about the ritual of the midnight skinny dip on St.Juan’s night?
Mercedes: It depends. I don’t think you will find much of that in Garrucha or Villaricos (towns a couple of miles in either direction of Vera Playa) because they are not naturist. Here, maybe, it is different and part of the culture. When I was a teenager my preference was for finding the right beach bonfire with good music. Going into the sea was part of the culture, but not naked as I recall. Topless, yes, but I mostly remember always having panties on in my youthful days.
Ella: Ha! I remember the first time I ever visited here school was still on, the kids got out in the afternoon and a few of them went to the beach…school uniforms off and girls sitting around doing homework, topless. I found that…incredible!
Mercedes: You have a British approach to the body, Ella, hahaha!
Ella: I do! It’s an image that stuck with me. At that age I wouldn’t have had the body confidence to do that.
Mercedes: Your culture wasn’t built around the beach. Ours is. Even away from the naturist zone, toplessness is normal. It is the culture. It is no big deal.
Mercedes: No. Naturism…on the beach…was normal when I grew up. Nakedness at home was normal also. I didn’t think of myself as naturist when growing up. We just didn’t wear swimming costumes! It was just normal. I still don’t think of myself as naturist. For me, ‘naturism’ is a chosen lifestyle. People come here to embrace a lifestyle they cannot get elsewhere. I just think of myself who doesn’t need to dress for life on a daily basis. I bought in the zone because I liked the house and it was at a price I liked! You will note that my house is south-facing (I have to confess I’d never noticed: Ella). No sun during the day! So it was cheaper because naturists prefer a south facing house where the sun is. So this was affordable. In winter, I dress. In Spring, I dress. If I’m going into Garrucha to meet friends, I dress. If I’m at home and it’s warm, I do not need to dress. It’s a logic thing, not a lifestyle thing.
Ella: Something else I’ve just remembered from our trip out in January! We were in the car, driving up to Mojacar, in T-shirts, and we passed a cyclist who was in full winter gear, including a full ski-mask!!!!
Mercedes: It was cold.
Ella: It was mild!
Mercedes: It will be warm for both of us when you’re out here in June. Why is xxxxxx (the RL Mr Keng’s real name redacted) not coming?
Ella: Work pressures. I’m bringing a friend out with me, but she’s not a naturist.
Mercedes: We shall see. Do you like a bet?
Ella: I’m not a betting person. I don’t do the Lottery.
Mercedes: Make a bet with me. Your non-naturist friend will be naturist by Day 4. Loser pays for dinner at (name redacted)….
Mercedes: In Villaricos. You and I both know the owner from a previous restaurant. It’s now run by (name redacted).
So there we have it….a bet is on, and I’ll have further updates in June on whether I’ve won or lost! 🙂