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Monday, August 5, 2013

Manic Punday: Travel Au Naturel

What nationality is most likely to be naked on a beach? Expedia’s Flip Flop Report provides the naked truth. Germans top the list. Given my experiences at naked German spas, this comes as no surprise to me.

The Flip Flop Report resulted from a poll of 8,000 beach-goers worldwide. While topics ranged from safety concerns to favorite beach activity, I was most interested in the skinny on skinny dipping. The general findings--Europeans are most likely to bare it all, while Americans and Asians are more modest. In studying the results, it does seem that this "worldwide" poll skips South America. If that's the case, the omission of Brazilians may leave the results out of wax.

Archive Photo from the 1970s
 DDR Museum, Berlin
Nonetheless, let's dive into the numbers. Germans are the most brazen when it comes to baring it all.. Nearly one-fifth of all Germans polled report having gone Full Monty on the beach. While nearly half of the Americans surveyed say they feel either comfortable or neutral about beach nudity, the fact is, in real life, they are prudes. Only five percent of American beach-goers report letting it all hang out while hanging five or indulging in other water play. Meanwhile, only eight percent have ever sunbathed topless.
And who is most likely to go topless? Although the survey doesn’t make this clear, I assume this question was asked only of females. The survey says 40% of Danes are happy to go without tops or Danish pasties.  One-third of Italian women feel comfortable saying “arrivederci” to their bra*, while 31% of Norwegian women are happy to titillate.

While 73% of French beach-goers report being somewhat or very comfortable with topless beaches, they are among the least likely Europeans to go au naturel. Forty-two percent say they would never go out without a maillot or Speedo.

Ah, the Speedo. Let me be brief  No, no and NO. But 65% of those polled disagree with me. The French are most approving, with nine out of 10 saying oui oui to the wee wee frock. Italians are equally meatballs about the saucy suits**. Among those most disapproving of the Speedo (aside from me) are the Japanese and the Norwegians. According to the poll, American beach-goers are 50-50 when it comes to considering Speedos acceptable beachwear. However, I would deign to say that the pool of actual Speedos wearers in the U.S. of A. contains but a single digit..

*Explanation of double d'entendre: Bra is also a town in Italy, best known as the home of the Slow Food Movement.

**Baggy swim trunks are banned in French public pools as a matter of hygiene. According to a head pool attendant from Paris's 11th arrondissement,. only small, tight trunks (read Speedos) can be worn for swimming. The theory is that loose swimming shorts can collect sand, dust or beg bugs, all of which have the potential to disturb the water quality.. 

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