I’LL never forget one particular ‘Marbella Moment’ back in the early 60’s when but a very young girl!
I was walking along the sea front in Marbella, holding my daddy’s hand when, as if from nowhere, a brown uniformed Spanish policeman appeared and shoved his gun under my dad’s nose and ‘requested’ he button up his shirt.
It was equally as shocking for my dad; unaccustomed to the heat and the Spanish customs of the time; it was all very militant and very scary.
In the 80’s Spain began to soften and Victor’s beach became infamous for the first topless sunbathing. Now, almost 30 years on, we seem to have come full-circle.
A new legislation is being introduced in Marbella regarding our dress code and although I don’t expect any shotguns to be shoved under anyone’s noses, fines and uncomfortable situations can certainly be expected for anyone walking around unclothed anywhere except at the beach or by a pool.
This incentive comes as a direct result of the cries of indignation by our local Spanish community who just cannot suffer the indignity of our ‘low-cost tourism’ as they classify the offenders, parading around in bikinis as if Marbella were one big holiday camp.
Until now, regardless of the hoards of tourists or resident foreigners, the local Spanish community has left us very much to our own devices. They know we’re here, some even work in our ‘worlds’ but on the whole, they keep themselves very much to themselves, as do we.
Until recently they didn’t even talk about us, let alone to us. We are and have been merely part of the scenery, a means to an end. No longer, now we’re literally the talk of the Spanish town.
As if to add insult to injury, the offence appears to be even greater as the half naked offenders also often stagger around drunk and disorderly at all times of day and night. The talk isn’t good.
Due to ‘popular’ demand therefore new legislations are now in place, which make wearing clothing ‘a necessity’ unless on the beach or by a pool at all times, or pay a fine.
If you are jogging along the promenade in the morning without a shirt that won’t be an offence but if you do so at ‘rush’ hour when folk are dressed for dinner for example, this could now be considered a fineable offence.
I don’t think that the police really want to start handing out fines to anyone, but our Spanish hosts really do want us to know that enough is enough and that there’s a standard to meet if you want to hang out with the rich kids!
Most of us can agree that one important factor that differentiates Marbella from the rest of the world is in fact our ‘class,’ so if wearing clothing is now officially on the list of the citizen conduct code to protect our reputation and appeal, please, no matter how hot it is, keep your clothes ON!