Like me, my friend Jane also lived a while at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast. Unlike me she actually went in the surf when she went to the beach. Even after having a son she still went down to the sand every weekend for a swim or surf with friends and took her little baby.
“One day I was chatting away at Main Beach and suddenly realized my son wasn’t sitting beside me on the towel,” she told me recently. She’d panicked a bit but almost instantly found her one year old a few meters away where a woman was topless bathing.
For me, the beach wasn’t about surf and sand, it was about furthering my education. When I was a young high school boy we didn’t have the internet so we learned life’s important lessons, like anatomy, at the beach.
While still around, topless bathing doesn’t seem as prevalent as it used to be thanks to the highly successful Slip Slop Slap campaign. The message is clear these days, don’t risk exposing yourself to too much sun. It’s dangerous.
You only have to look at the beaches on the Gold Coast to know the message is getting through – hats, zinc, sun shirts. It’s very different to when I grew up and you couldn’t go twenty meters along the beach at Surfers Paradise without spotting a couple of white pointers.
Only I suspect I know the real reason all the girls are tending to cover up these days and it has less to do with the sun safe message and more to do with my friend Jane and the day she briefly misplaced her son.
She’d looked over just as her son was bending down over the young lady.
“He must have been thirsty because he was so excited his little head was shaking,” she told me, laughing. “And before I could get a word out he’d latched on to this poor girl.”
Yep, I suspect when the young woman recovered from the initial shock and started to tell her topless friends what happened at the beach that day a whole subculture started to adjust its ways. This is the real reason women started covering up on what was once the topless capital of Queensland.
So on behalf of all the young women who have avoided skin cancers from too much sun baking, and all the young men who risked sunstroke but no longer see any value in going to the beach, thanks a lot, Jane. You’re a life saver.
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