Ah, the beach. You know, no matter what beach you go to (or try to avoid) there are seven distinct kinds of people there, just like with roommates and professors. Who knew?!
The Lost Child
This little booger knows what's up. Instead of getting sunscreen-ed every 30 minutes by his ma, begging his old man to play catch with him in the water because he's not allowed to swim alone, and getting bitched out by his older sister for getting sand on her towel, he gracefully bows out. He doesn't even make a scene, he just quietly goes on a search for a better family to hang out with. As he wanders across the beach, kicking sand up until it forms a paste with his poorly rubbed-in sunscreen coat, he may look as though he's zoning out and unaware that he is getting farther and farther from his family, but make no mistake: this kid is on a mission. So when he hears his name called from the lifeguard stand, it takes a few minutes worth of frantic yelping by his mother who stole the megaphone, for him to wander back to his kin and get bombarded by tears and and more SPF 45. His escape will just have to wait till the next beach outing.
This gang comes just short of U-Hauling onto the beach for the day. They arrive at eleven, dragging coolers, chairs, tents and a boom box on the thrones that are their boogy boards. They are the living embodiment of a sporting goods store display window. Every member of this six-person family has brought two friends; the ideal amount for a 7-on-7 football game. Whoops, their nerf ball just hit a woman reading in a chair. This is where the Camp Family's peace keeping mantra first rings out across the sand: "My bad." This is the motto that is embossed below the Camp Family Shield. At noon, this army of enthusiasm makes a mad dash into the water, selfishly splashing those "working their way into the water." After a loud game of Marco Polo that involves leading "Marco" into an old man floating on a noodle, the team gets out for lunch. Oh, is the smoke from their elaborate grill system blowing into your face? "My bad."
Like seriously, there IS an exact science to getting a nice, bronze, shiny case of Melanoma. Eleven to three is the minimum, sunglasses are a must, and white toe-nail polish is essential. Keep rotating positions every three Miley Cyrus songs, and reapply baby oil every two hours. And don't forget to untie your straps; tan lines are sooo trashy. A little sun-in goes a long way. Beer makes you bloated. Ocean water dries out your hair. But no worries, if you forget the rules, just ask a tanner; they're sprawled out in little clusters all over the beach in their strapless bikinis. Just make sure you don't stand in their sun, or they'll flip [outnot positions].
The Business Man
Well that's a smart idea. Bring your Blackberry to the beach. Get sand in every button, salt water on the screen. No? Okay. Just talk on your bluetooth the whole time with your assistant Donald, sounds hardly carry on the beach. Yeah. And bring your files so stray fax papers fly around, causing those actually relaxing on the beach to play fetch with your latest business proposal. Don't spend the beach day with your pubescent children, or your menopausal wife, after all, you're the one putting the food on the table. Wait, Don? Are you there? Can you hear me? Can you hear me?
The "Not a Beach Person"
"I'm just not a beach person," he shrugs, as he gets out of the car. Keeping his Reebok sneakers on, he says, "I don't like the feeling of sand." He gets to the beach and sits down, Indian-style, on the blanket, insisting that "chairs are too hard to get out of." When the rest of the group decides to go swimming, he remains; "salt water hurts my eyes." He should at least take off his Walk for Diabetes' T-Shirt shirt so he can get some color. Nope. He doesn't want to get burned. Does he want to read a book? No, the sand interferes with the integrity of the binding. Does he want to buy a snack from the vender? No, he doubts the cleanliness of the cart. Does he want to just go home? No, he wants to keep complaining.
The term "beach body" was invented by these people. They put your last-minute diet (ok, fine, you just skipped breakfast) to shame. These people are hot. And they know it. While you spend the whole day sucking in, awkwardly leaning back on your elbows while you sit so your gut looks (sort of) flatter, these people frolic with abandon. So you might as well put that giant t-shirt back on, because you've already lost. If you frolicked, you'd look like a Jello pudding cup, but these people know what they're doing. The men dive for frisbees and the women emerge from the water with the knowledge that they are going to be in your dreams tonight. Don't pretend they won't. Even the way these people pick their bathing suit wedgies is magic.
Point blank: hair plus water doesn't equal anything good. You know these guys (and some ladies), the helpless hairy bastards. They spend all winter growing these full-body coats, all spring contemplating the hair removal section of their local drugstore, and all summer trying to comb sand out of their tangled bodyhair. This hair doesn't just stay in the regular places either. This is top-of-the-shoulder, over-the-knuckles, above-the-ass-crack,back-of-the-thighs stuff. It's hopeless. You would feel bad for them if you weren't so busy trying not to puke.
Art by Owen Parsons