"...the Girls of Topanga Beach"
The girls of Topanga Beach find air-brushed navels and the word tomorrow the products of a decadent society, they would rather sing of the natural "body electric" today and now for they are proud of their bodies. Dark brown and glowing with a health that comes only with constant exposure to the elements of Pacific and golden sun—they love solitude and hate towner crowds. Sand menagerie of dogs and 12-months-a-year wave-riders are excluded and welcome. All they want and need is here and here is Topanga. The emphasis is natural—shamming is forbidden and beauty is all. The Topanga girls find make-up ridiculous, hairdressers absurd and falsies sacrilegious. Their hair is set by the sea and wind and the sun is the only facial applied. It is this girl on whom the nation depends—she is the image the masses demand. The town girl from Brooklyn to Bodega Bay with hair once teased—nay raped into shape—has let it down—she has been transformed (so she thinks) into the nymphet supreme—even at 35. The single-piece bathing suit is gone and the thousands of Lolas in town are now lolling around their apartment court pools with stretch marks on their white stomachs displayed for all to see. Lolas now have navels and broadcast their omphaloskepsis as fact. The Topanga girl is the American Dream (not Mr. Mailer's although he would approve). She is the girl next door, the apple pie with wispy hints of sex, bitch'n surf and pot parties in the crust—the Kelvinator refrigerator average—the anti-frigid. She is the model for the young, natural look fashions—yet she deplores them. Will she last? Will there be a high tide tomorrow?
Bunny Fuchs is 18 years old and a swimming champion with more than 130 championship medals in her trophy room. She loves the outdoors and is an avid surfer, water skier and horseback rider. Says Bunny:
"To me the beach represents privacy and health."
"I date mostly boys from the beach because they are usually more athletic and good-looking—also a lot of fun!"
"The beach is more like a home to me where I know everyone—and vice-versa, and can feel at ease with no worries except getting out of the shade."
"I feel that, sure, most of the guys I know love to surf—but you can't tell me that they like it more than girls."
"I love all water sports and swam from the age of 6-15 for the Santa Monica Swim Club."
"My biggest goals are being a success in the fields of art and travel."
"I think that beach living is fine but I feel that at my age I should mix both town and city. There is a lot to offer in both areas."
Sue Lilley is 17 years old and attending school. She has always lived near the water, but until she moved to Topanga Beach was terrified of the surf. Then she started to surf and now is out in the water without a wet suit on 50 degree days—rain or shine. Says Sue:
"Girls down here seem to be more career-conscious—at least the girls my age are."
"Here girls never try to compete with surfing for a boy's attention. There's no comparison."
"Most of the beach girls are looking for happiness, for acceptance. They are not trying to escape from anything, just find it."
"Topanga people are more liberal and you become liberal right along with them. I think we have more people in the arts living on this beach than on any other along Pacific Coast Hwy."
"I think that keeping one's individuality is most important. I'm not trying to be one of the boys or one of the girls, just me! People can take me or leave me. I've got to be me."
"When I'm out in the water on a board, even though I'm a beginner, I get this feeling that I'm all I've got to rely on. I think more girls should surf just to get this feeling. I think more people should have this feeling, don't you?"
Liza Saenz is 16 years old and has eight brothers and no sisters. She attended Santa Monica High School, and says that she would not like to live in Los Angeles because it's too crowded. Says Liza:
"I like privacy. That's what Topanga is to me."
"I feel more like myself on the beach. Here is the only place you can just walk up to anybody on the beach and talk to them. You see everyone knows everyone here and that's always the way it should be."
"I feel that guys like surfing here first, and girls second. I've been surfing for five years, but don't compete with boys. I think I'm a good surfer, but I'm still second."
"Parents are easier with us down here. They place less restrictions on us because there is nothing for them to worry about."
"Kids down here are quieter as a rule—but they do like to bust out every once in a while. I do too."
"I don't mind people from town and I don't mind going into town. I'm always happy to get back to the beach though. Everything is here."
"Sure I guess I'll have to leave the beach sooner or later. I want to be a stewardess or a model—but I also want to get married—preferably to a guy from the beach."
Ninette Maria Cleary is 21. She is married. She is originally from the Valley. She surfs, cooks and sands windows of her apartment which is right on the sands of Topanga. She and her young writer husband, Bill, own a moody, soulful-eyed "Lab" named Pollo. Maria loves Rocky Mountain Red wine at 50 cents a quart and reads Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales. She is also an up and coming fashion model who refuses to pose nude. Says Maria:
"We can't stand other young marrieds. They bore us. We are together in being bored."
"All people who live in town are ugly—they're not healthy inside so they're ugly outside."
"I'm not concerned with status symbols—but I'd like a turntable to connect to our stereo radio setup."
"I love to sail but my husband is too cheap to buy a boat."
"Out here we're away from the rat race. We go into the city as little as possible."
"I'm not too interested in newspapers. I know the world is in a mess—but I don't know strategically where the mess is located."
"I wear no makeup here and spend most of my time in a bathing suit when the sun is out."
"We like the beach for solitude and the people—they leave us alone."
"I have two brothers—one is a poetic anthropologist—the other is an A student—he'll be going to UCLA."
"Happiness is hyperbolic (did I say that?)"
"Beach people are like rats—they're always on the run. Masses of people seem to be getting closer and closer. I don't know where we'll go when it reaches the sea."
Pam Gaughan is 20 and married to student-civil service worker Mike. Pam is attending UCLA and majoring in bacteriology. She and Mike share a 20 feet by 15 feet apartment on the beach with an over-sensitive golden "Lab" named Tempo. They cook in a communal kitchen frequented by intense flotsam and jetsam, and shower in an outside stall shower.
"I've lived on the beach since the age of four. I love Topanga and all quiet beaches."
"I like to surf and run with the dogs on the beach. Beach dogs are individuals."
"We usually go to bed at 8 p.m. and get up at 5 a.m. My husband goes to work at 6 a.m. and goes to school four nights a week. He wants to be a geologist."
"People on the beach are more conscientious about life. They've got more time to think about it here."
"In-town represents distraction to Mike and me. Topanga is getting more and more in-town to me. It's like the city is moving closer and closer to us and there's nowhere to go."
"There are no age barriers here—anybody can be our friends from 13 to 60."
"Our only status symbols are our surf boards. The only material things I really want are those which I can use my hands on—like paints and clay. I would also like a microscope."
"I feel very uneasy in crowd in town—we both do. But being in a crowd here is different—one can still be alone or with the prison he or she wants to be with."
"I wear clothes for convention's sake in town. I always wear a bathing suit when it's warm here."
"Our parents were down here recently to visit. They're not beach people anymore and they felt a little uneasy. We have no TV here. Maybe they felt strange because they had to use conversation for entertainment."