Welcome to the Beach: a Ladyguide

It’s summer! (Well, kind of.) Hooray! Time to enjoy all the wonderful things that June, July, and August have to offer, like delicious in-season fruit, finally letting your arms and legs see the light of day, and super-fun trips to the beach!

Let’s talk about those trips to the beach for a moment, shall we? Now, since not everyone is lucky enough to have a nice private alcove of undisturbed sand and shore where no other human being will set foot, the rest of us will spend our surf and sand time at a public beach. Beaches are great! They have parking and bathrooms and snack bars and lifeguards and all sorts of useful things. What do they also have? Assholes. Lots and lots of assholes.

I’ve composed a short but comprehensive list of things to avoid and ways to prevent your fellow beach-goers from wanting to kill you and hide your body in the ocean:

  1. No one wants to hear your music. You brought a BOOM BOX? SERIOUSLY? For fuck’s sake, iPods and MP3 players exist. They’re pretty cheap. Pop those earbuds in, and listen to all the easy listening or Top 40 you want. I cannot be held responsible for my actions if I hear your shitty-ass Nickleback crap assaulting my sense of hearing and, quite frankly, my sense of good taste.
  2. If you think you really need to bring footballs, kites, those Velcro sticky catch games – really, projectiles of any sort to the beach – keep them away from other people. I cannot stress that enough. It’s not funny if your ball lands directly in front of me, blasting sand into my face and somehow obligating me to give you “a little help” by throwing it back. It invades my space, you lose it. The end.
  3. Teach your kids to walk without kicking sand on people. Hell, give yourself a refresher course while you’re at it. It’s pretty easy.
  4. Guy with the guitar? Get the hell off my beach.
  5. In general, I’m not really a kid person. We’ll just get that out of the way. At the beach, though, whatever. They’re kids. It’s a beach. No big deal as long as they aren’t kicking sand or throwing things at me. I’ll never fully grasp the sheer volume of shit people need to haul with them for a few hours at the beach with kids, but if you’re cool with playing pack mule, no skin off my back. However. For some reason, I seem to know that your kid’s name is Hunter. (It’s seemingly always Hunter.) I know this because you’re yelling his goddamned name every five seconds. “Hunter, stay where Mommy can see you.” “Hunter, don’t touch that.” “Hunter, leave the birdie alone.” “Hunter, stay still while I put sunblock on you.” I guarantee you, Hunter is not having any fun, and neither are the people around you. Which leads me to:
  6. Beach acoustics are funny. Meaning, you can hear EVERYTHING. I can hear your dumb-ass cell phone conversation with Jack about the new what’s-it-called that’s going live and the guy from Who Cares, Inc. hasn’t gotten back to you with the figures and blah blah OH, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SHUT UP. I can hear you yelling at your kids. I can hear you talking shit about that guy with the mullet and the camo shirt with the sleeves ripped off. I CAN HEAR YOUR SHITTY NICKLEBACK. There is no privacy on the beach. You have no right to get offended when I start my own MST3K-style commentary on your conversation.
  7. Don’t feed the seagulls. What are you, new? You feed them, they never go away.
  8. Beach umbrellas need to be pounded into the sand. See all those people with mallets or heavy shoes or rocks? Yeah, they’re stabilizing their umbrellas. Half-assedly jamming it into the ground and thinking that piling a little mound of sand around it is going to work only results in your umbrella flying away at the first breeze and impaling the person sitting behind you.
  9. Crossing your arms conspicuously across your chest as you emerge from the water and make your way back to your towel draws about fifty billion times more attention than whatever situation you’ve got going on that you’re trying to hide. No one is fooled.
  10. Personal space is important. I don’t know why people feel the need to set up their makeshift tent cities directly on top of other people when there’s still plenty of available beach, but as a social courtesy, please assume a five foot no-fly radius around people unless the beach is too crowded otherwise to avoid it.

(A slightly more profane version of this post originally appeared on Nice Girls Don’t Swear.)

9 replies on “Welcome to the Beach: a Ladyguide”

Do you want to go to a beach that isn’t crowded, is open to the public and will have the most delicious ice-cream shops near by – guaranteed? Then, come on over the the Lovely Oregon Coast.

Of course, it will be windy and most likely rainy and 50 degrees. But still. Very few people. Oh, and the water is too cold to swim in. The ice-cream though! Think of all the ice-cream!

(fwiw, the coast is really nice and warm in August. But that’s about the only time.)

I’m in Oregon too, and was thinking the same thing! Going to the beach and not bringing a sweater is a foreign concept. I remember swimming in the ocean at Cannon Beach as a kid, but I’m pretty sure I was on the brink of hypothermia the whole time. Still, the Oregon coast is still one of my most favorite places, and not just because of the ice-cream.

I love it there also! It’s just so beautiful. Serene and calm. With it not being so crowded, sometimes all you hear is the water and the birds.

It’s the most magical place.

And omg, the food is always good. Even though Mo’s Chowder may not be “The Best,” it’s still a hearty bowl of warmth on a cold day. :)

Cannon Beach is one of the best spots. I was in Ireland a few years back and was talking to a nice old man about Oregon. He told me that he and his wife went to Cannon Beach for their honeymoon over 50 yrs ago. I was blown away. Two lovely Irish people chose Cannon Beach of all places to honeymoon.

But Seaside has a lot of attractions (and tourists) and the Netarts area has a lot of great houses to rent that are secluded and away from the tourist crowds. There’s a lot to choose from.

You can also go out for nice hikes (stay on the paths!) and camp in yurts. :D


11. If you’re going to be at the beach all day, look for the high tide line (usually marked by a quantity of debris/seaweed,etc) and then put your stuff/towel higher than that. And if you are with a group of people, debating where to settle down, and one of them is insisting that we put our stuff above the waterline, LISTEN TO ME HER. This will save all of your stuff from getting sopped when the tide comes in.

12. If you’ve got a boogey board, at least TRY to keep it from bashing into other people. Admittedly, this is not always possible, but a good faith effort is nice.

13. Do not comment on people’s bodies and bathing suit choices. See #6.

Number 10. A thousand times. The beach I go to is technically private, but it’s not enforced so we get public beach escapees pretty regularly, and they are very easy to recognize for this reason. You’re not at the public beach anymore, your towel doesn’t have to touch mine. Give me 10 feet, at least. Don’t sit directly in front of me, blocking my access to the water and then backing up into my space as high tide approaches. I may sound like a spoiled brat, but people sitting too close to me always gets under my skin. There is a lot of beach, take advantage and get away from me.

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