Being a very young kid in Southern California in the 1970s meant lots of beach time. It also meant minimal bathing suit wearing until around the age of 4 or so.
No one made anything of it. Maybe my grandparents had seen everything during the many summers spent in the crush of humanity on Coney Island, and a couple of naked small kids was par for the course. My parents have family photos of one particular beach excursion with visiting relatives, our smartly solar-phobic Great Aunt Lil completely covered up while my sister and I rocked our birthday suits. I love those faded, orange-hued pictures. (A teenager would probably ask which Instagram filter we used.)
That was then. This is now. Americans historically don’t have a laid back attitude when it comes to public nudity compared to say, Europe. But based on a couple recent experiences I had trying to quickly change my kids at public parks, I think our puritanical ways have hit new levels of intensity. Read the rest of this entry →