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Nora always makes me think...

By Nora Simone

Here is a failed attempt to stifle the curiosity of onlookers behind me at an Atlantic Ocean beach.

I figured that blocking their view with the lifeguard shack and my pareo, would neutralize their curiosity and prevent staring.

I know looks by others at the beach should be expected while in public, yet I felt uncomfortably ogled (I always wanted to use that word!). That was just my fear and paranoia – but still. Yikes!

In retrospect, my steps for, modesty, concealment, and privacy had the opposite effect. If anything, curiosity was amplified.

People came over to ask “What are you doing?”

In these situations I often pretend to not speak English, or Spanish, and motion them to my friends for an explanation.

Whew! Those friends are great at explanations.

Since then, I’ve learned research indicates curiosity is created and stimulated by a handful of stimuli. Notably:

1. Novelty – things we haven’t seen or heard of before

2. Complexity – things that don’t follow expected patterns

3. Conflicting information or evidence- things that don’t fit into what we think we know of the world

4. Surprise – the unexpected

So, I’ve also learned that a tall cross dresser in heavy makeup, seeking cover at a public beach, while a professional photographer clicked away yelling over the sound of waves to “work it” is a powerful way to cause curiosity. Lot’s of curiosity. The opposite of what was desired. Sigh.

Lessons learned: Hiding something makes people curious. 

So now I seek to hide in plain sight. 

So obvious. 



Photo by Cassandra Storm


3 Responses

  1. In my opinion, there’s something to be said for not so much hiding but blending in – with style. Judging from the pic you included, I’d say you did that in a most lovely way. The photography session is what got the notice. Just taking pictures gets people curious, so maybe the thing for everyone to remember is that beach or no, swimwear or casual if you are going to be taking pictures folks are going to notice – be ready for that!

  2. Nora,
    I feel Kris is right and as a professional photographer for many years I know we do attract attention , people often want to know why you’re taking the pictures and are they likely to see the end result .

    As far as your look is concerned , I can’t see a problem and it begs the question why wouldn’t the photographer want to take pictures of an attractive model ?

    If I may ask did you hire the photographer or did he ask you to model for him ?

  3. Kris and Teresa,

    Your POV is reasonable.

    In retrospect, the issue was only in my head.

    I was so very self-conscious, even the perception of a sideways glance by a stranger set off alarms in my mind.

    Silly of course, but that didn’t make my feelings less true.

    More background: I hired a professional photographer. With her giant Nikon, she definitely drew attention to our activity. Plus a bombshell companion only added more interest. However I figured there would be few others around at sunset. O well! lesson learned and no harm done.

    Following is a link to a YT slideshow featuring more images from that day.

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