MASPALOMAS WITHOUT HANG-UPS
A trip there and back
On the way to Gran Canaria I kept asking myself over and over “What’s a guy like me doing flying to a place like this?”
The real matter, obviously, was the “like me” bit: city guy to the core, no fan of the beach and zero inclination to do physical activity. My mates had virtually hauled me off the sofa with the excuse of going on holiday together. Peer group pressure, they called it.
So I packed my bag, making room for my prejudices. My hang-ups came along too, of course. When I saw there was no turning back, my insecurities set in. How was someone like me going to sit on the sand like an albino beached whale in front of the finest specimens of international gay tourism?
Well I did it. Boy did I do it!
I made my début at the gay-exclusive villas where we stayed. That divine pool was the scene of my coming out party… rather an appropriate expression, because I ended up naked. After a while I felt totally at ease in the friendly, laid back setting, just with my mates and the guys around us, listening to music and eating like a king.
The real test came on our first trip to Maspalomas beach. I was really nervous when we left the safety of the sunbed and ventured into unknown territory. We launched ourselves onto the sand from the solid surface of the walkway, leaving behind the first rows of sunbeds and the family beach atmosphere. To our left, the famous dunes looked about as hospitable as the sands of Tatooine. But they could wait. One thing at a time. As we walked on, we came across the first naked tourists unashamedly toasting their bodies in the sun. If they had no hang-ups, why should I?
Our destination was a bit further on, marked by the rainbow flag flying over beach bar number 7. We got there without mishap. The earth didn’t open up before me, I wasn’t kicked out for being a misfit and no huddle formed around me to laugh at my flab.
That day, after doing something as trivial – and yet so special – as lying naked on a sunbed for six hours, I danced my way home. While the latest pop diva thundered in my headphones, I danced in time with the waves, enjoying the feel of the wet sand under my feet and the cold water up to my calves.
Since that first time, I’ve been back to Maspalomas, naturally. The difference is that I don’t just dance on the way back from the beach bar: I dance on the way there too.