The time I got official permission for topless sunbathing

When I was 19, my lovely friend Mark (who is still a good friend) took me on my first proper holiday: four days of soaking up the sun in Cyprus. Like most people, I go darker in serious heat  – and the marks take ages to fade.

Being a very body-conscious and slightly exhibitionist teenager, I decided the best way to avoid getting tan lines on holiday would be to sunbathe topless. I’d never done it before though, and I didn’t want to get in trouble for it. I searched online to see whether you were allowed to sunbathe topless in Cyprus, but in the year 2000 the internet wasn’t what it is today, and I couldn’t find an answer.

So I decided there was only one thing for it: I would have to call the Cypriot High Commission.

I dialled the number, and a man with a very deep voice and Greek accent picked up: ‘Hello, Cypriot High Commission?’

‘Hi,’ I said. ‘I’m about to go on holiday to Cyprus, and I want to know if I’m allowed to sunbathe topless on the beach?’

‘Yes, you are,’ the man said, ‘but there is one thing you must do first.’

Get a visa or an official letter of permission, I wondered?

‘What?’ I asked.

‘Let me know when and where you are going, so I can come along!’ the man joked.

I’m pretty sure this exchange would never happen these days, but I laughed.



Day 5

Me: 12st 9.4lbs (total loss: 4.8lbs in five days).

John: 14st 5.5lbs (total loss: 2lbs in five days).


I surge even further into the lead! Something tells me John isn’t taking this entirely seriously…

I am, though, as I want to look like this again.

This post has been made possible by my awesome Patreon supporters Peter Weilgony, Ricky Steer, Marc Alexander, Sammy and Jelly, Charlie Brooker, Mary and Tim Fowler, Steve Richards, Alan Brookland, Mark Ormandy, Oliver Vass, Keith Bell, John Fleming, Mark Bailey, Rebekah Bennetch, Matthew Sylvester, Brian Engler, Jack Scanlan, Aragorn Strider, Lucy Spencer, Dave Nattriss,, Mark White, Dave Cross, Graham Nunn, David Conrad, Rob Turner, Shane Jarvis, Emily Hill and Marcus P Knight.

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6 thoughts on “The time I got official permission for topless sunbathing”

  1. Aww, c’mon – I’m sure he was just concerned that you might not be using the correct factor of sun lotion.

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