It’s hot. It seems as though the only way to survive this long hot summer is to take all of our clothes off if a new Surrey police warning is to be believed - the force has asked nude sunbathers to make sure they warn their neighbours before stripping off completely. But as we wallow in the first longest, hottest heatwave in what feels like forever, what's new in the world of sunbathing in 2018? Here’s how to stay chafe free and on the right side of the law.
Nude sunbathing: yes or no?
Technically, it’s not illegal to get naked in public – but it becomes illegal if your nudity causes distress or alarm to others, which effectively rules out most public places. However, if you really want to sunbathe in your birthday suit, the Beach Guide website has a list of naturist beaches. Just remember the Factor 50.
Context is everything. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden and your fence is low enough for neighbours to stick their heads over the top and invite you over for a gin and tonic, then it’s best to stick to a bikini. However, if you’ve got a tall herbaceous border and they’re complaining about your nipples from the top of a tree that they’ve climbed up, the ASBO is on them.
Within reason, the park is a bit like the beach. To be clear, when we say park, we mean any patch of grass that you can walk to from work, that’s big enough for you to get both buttocks on. Consider the vibe of the space. If you’re the only person flashing flesh in your lunch hour you might feel a bit uncomfortable, especially if you’re likely to bump into your boss – unless they’re wearing a bikini too. If you think you might spot a colleague, remember sunglasses and an engrossing book so you don’t have to make eye-contact. Also, standing up in a bikini feels more naked than lying down, and straps and clasps don’t always stay where they’re meant to. Every year, too many of us learn this the wrong way, when we leap to our feet after being startled by wasps. Once you’re up, you might as well get an ice cream. If you’re queuing up at a kiosk, it’s unlikely anyone will have bothered changing. But if you’re strolling all the way to the newsagent, safe to say it’ll be no shoes, no shirt, no Cornetto.
If you’re by the beach, at a festival or on the top deck of the yacht, none of the rules can really be applied – partly because you’re probably on holiday and don’t care, and partly because there will always be someone more naked than you. Yet, city sunbathing is all about finding windows of opportunity – and sometimes this is an actual window that you’re casually leaning out of in the middle of an afternoon sales report. You might need to sunbathe like a Picasso painting, exposing one limb to the elements at a time. Always be ready to roll up a sleeve or discreetly tuck your dress into your knickers. Never forget your knickers. And never plan the next day’s lunchtime sunbathing outfit after watching Love Island. Thong bottom bikinis and buttock baring jean shorts might fly if you’re making a video with Calvin Harris, but not if you might nip to M&S at lunch for a sandwich. Think about how cold you’ll get when you’re leaning into the chiller cabinet