Not sure of its status today, but in the swinging ‘70s Black’s was a large nude beach in San Diego. I was a weekend disc jockey at B100 in 1976 and even though I had lived in San Diego a few years before (when I was full-time at another station) I had never made the pilgrimage. But I was always curious. Who wouldn’t be? You can see vaginas without a cover charge!
I was discussing the Middle East crisis with one of the other jocks from the station one night over tequila shooters and the conversation logically turned to Black’s Beach. Finally, he shrugged and said, “Well, let’s just go.” Damn! Why didn’t I ever think of that? I had to be on the air the next afternoon at 3:00 so we decided to go at noon; giving us a good couple of hours of sunning and ogling.
Black’s Beach is located in La Jolla and -- not surprising -- it’s very secluded. To access it you had to negotiate a half-mile steep path down a sharp cliff. That five-dollar cover charge was looking pretty good to me.
We finally reached the bottom and oh my God. It was as advertised. Filled with naked people, most of them young, many of them girls.
We set down a blanket and it was showdown time. Now understand that I had a hard time in junior high taking showers after gym. That’s just embedded in Jewish DNA. My people tend not to “streak”. We’re not, by nature, a “let it all hang out and frolic” culture. But the DJ who was with me stripped down in seconds. He obviously wasn’t Jewish, which was visually apparent the minute he lowered his pants.
So I figured, what the hell? I was actually very proud of myself. I took off all my clothes. I figured, if I can eat pork I can do this.
I was surprisingly less self-conscious than I thought I would be. We tried to play it very cool. At first I noticed a few guys checking us out as they walked by. I thought, “How juvenile. Still cComparing sizes like schoolboys.” Then it occurred to me -- my friend and I lying on this blanket – we could not have looked more gay if we tried. And it didn’t help that we put sunscreen lotion on each other’s back. What a couple of idiots.
So I grabbed my towel and set it on the sand a safe distance away. The scene itself was rather remarkable. Gorgeous naked college coeds, some oldsters far more comfortable with their saggy flesh than anyone viewing them were, and a number of athletic-looking dudes on the shore tossing the Frisbee around, trying to get noticed. Ironically, there were no blacks at Black’s. My guess is the Frisbee flingers would have been far less proud of themselves if there were.
I decided to take a walk along the beach. I figured that was the most discreet way to check out the scene without seeming obvious. Y’know, I’m walking to the snack stand or the restrooms or the lifeguard station. Except… there were no snack stands or restrooms or lifeguard stations. The only reason to walk along the beach was to scope people out.
There was one girl lying flat on her back on a towel, reading PORTNOY’S COMPLAINT with her legs spread wide apart. Talk about the perfect Philip Roth moment!
I didn’t approach her. What was I going to say? “Have you ever seen so much masturbation in a book in your life?” Besides, I rationalized that even if we had hit it off and she invited me to call her, where could she write the number?
We’re climbing and climbing and I finally check my watch and shit! It’s 2:30 already. We’re only halfway up.
So now we had to essentially sprint. I thought my lungs were going to burst. Got to his car, exhausted, and completely out of breath, and sped to the station; arriving two minutes before I had to go on the air. I’m wearing nothing but a bathing suit. I sign on by gasping. By 4:00 the sunburn below kicked in. I did the last three hours of my show with Popsicles on my lap that I bought from the vending machine.
Things I learned from the experience:
Wear sunglasses. No one can tell you’re staring.
Pack a sandwich and rappelling gear.
This is what Justin Timberlake’s home pool area must look like every Sunday.
Level 60 sunblock protection means nothing to areas never before exposed to the sun. You might as well just squat over a lit bar-b-que pit.
Without wearing a cup, a Frisbee becomes a potential lethal weapon.
Women read PORTNOY’S COMPLAINT.
That was my one and only time at Black's Beach. And even to this day, if someone hands me a Popsicle my natural urge is to jam it down my pants.