Monday, July 02, 2007

I Love the Beach OR Why It Took Me So Long to Get on Board

Since Sarah opened the door, I feel it is confession time for me now.

I have never liked the beach.

I know, I know, sacrilege. I have been to beaches literally all over the world, including even Hawaii (I can hear Jo's wrath now) and just never really enjoyed myself.

Reasons Why I Used to Dislike the Beach:

1) The bathing suit issue. I know very few women who feel like they look great in a suit, even if they do, in fact, look great in a suit. I have a fairly good understanding of how I look in a suit and the thought of parading myself in one, does not thrill. Unfortunately, the beach requires such a suit unless you go to a nude beach (shudder).

2) Closely related to #1 is the "sandy butt issue." I don't know how you feel about the mass of sand that accumulates in certain bodily regions, but I for one, do not enjoy it. I can not wait to get out of the suit after I've been in the water.

3) The hair factor. Some of you have a great beach hair. You know what I mean, looks great wet, dry, in between. I have the antithesis of great beach hair. I frankly have hair that should never be exposed to the out of doors. The combination of sand, humidity and water turns my hair into dreads in minutes. And not cool dreads (like the one the random girl in Texas had who Jo took a picture of), but frizzy hair in front sticking straight up and in impossible to get out dreads in the back.

4) The sun. If you've seen me, you know of which I speak. Skin like mine again, should not be exposed to the out of doors. If I lived in a pre-sunscreen world I think I would probably not have survived to this advanced age as all my skin would have fallen off thus making people uncomfortable to see me, turning me into a lonely social pariah who would have eventually died of sadness (or my internal organs falling out might have caused some significant problems as well). Closely related to the sun burn issue is the heat issue. One thing I like to do on the beach is to read. But, much like my dislike for bubble baths, I find myself too hot and uncomfortable to enjoy the reading and the whole time I'm fantasizing about a couch in the AC.

5) The water. I know, I know, I am hard to please. A lot of the beaches I have been to, especially in California, the water is so cold! I don't know about you, but I like my water like a bathtub. The water is cold and kind of scary (sharks, anyone?) and I would much rather be in the pool.

6) The BIG production. This is really the heart of the matter for me. You get all your gear together, trying to make sure you won't forget something. You make a pb and j sandwich because you know you're going to get hungry, but that you probably won't eat it anyway because it is going to get sandy. You have to remember the sunscreen that must be reapplied every fifteen seconds (not on a boat deck!) or you will turn into a lobster (after being cooked of course, a pre-cooked lobster is actually sort of tan looking). You drive a long way, search for parking, finally park, lug all your stuff, try to fight the crowds to find your little free square of sand and then finally you're there. And then you've got to watch the stuff too, gotta worry about someone stealing your keys, cell phone or sandy sandwich. With all that production, when I'm hot, tired, bored, etc. you can't leave!! You have to stay to "make it worthwhile." This clearly translates to at least three hours. By then I'm ready to kill myself and I'm mentally making a list called 100 Things I'd Rather Clean Than Be at the Beach (#75 is my belly button).

I know this list is pretty comprehensive. How could an unrepentent beach loather such as myself be converted?

Why I Now Love the Beach
1) The bathing suit issue. I bought a three piece suit. A halter tankini, bottom, and little skirt covers a multitude of sins. Rachel a few years ago bought me a swim suit cover up that helps with any other wobbly bits. If things got really bad, I could always consider this.

2) The sandy butt issue. This year we stayed in a gorgeous house in North Carolina that was right on the beach. Now I realize I was a bit slow to realize this, but the beach house is a fabulous invention. Now when I got sandy butt, I got up, walked home and showered. Radical concept, I know.

3) The hair issue. Here's where the Dazzle headband once again swooped in and saved me. The headband held back the party in the front of my scalp. It still wasn't what I would call attractive, but it did help. Also when things got desperate I put on the giant straw hat. My hair could have been on fire and no one would have been the wiser!

4) The sun. I still don't have a great solution for this, although I've gotten a lot smarter. I use SPF 50 and reapply often. I don't enjoy this process, but at least I don't get burned. (My sister and I have designed a new service, instead of spray on tan, you can go and get spray on sunscreen, I would pay for such a service). But for the heat, once again, the beach house plays a pivotal role. When I'd get hot, now pay attention here because it gets a little complicated- I go inside.

5) The water. People, people, people. Have you heard of the Atlantic Ocean???? If everyone felt as strongly as I did, the California beaches would be absolutely empty. Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina- all of them have gorgeous warm water. Have you ever heard of such a thing? It's like being in a pool, but slightly more wavey. I'm still a little scared of sharks, but was reassured by the man at the aquarium that the sharks have plenty to eat in the water so they probably won't eat me. It's probably his job to reassure people like me, but I'm choosing to believe him. But, just in case, I always make sure I am in the water with someone I'm pretty sure I can outswim.

6) The big production. With the beach house, there's no production. Roll out of bed, put on the suit, walk outside, enjoy the beach for as long as you want, and then go inside, shower, eat and enjoy the airconditioning. Repeat over and over. I could totally get used to this.

So I just got back from a fabulous, relaxing beach vacation with my family and my mom's relatives. I won't disclose our exact location because one of the reasons it was so fun was that there weren't too many people on the beach and I don't want to be the one who lets the cat out of the bag. I am just going to keep it my little secret.

Here are some pics:

On the left: from the front- my step grandma Sonnie, Lindsay, Mom, cousin Charlie, Uncle Chuck's girlfriend Chris, Uncle Chuck. One the right: Aunt Lisa, cousin Katie (wearing the fabulous Dazzle headband), me, Aunt Barb, cousin Alison, cousin Jen. And little Jack is at the end, but alas he is too short. So I'll add another one of him:

This is Jack, my cousin Jen's almost one year old. That would make him my second cousin or first cousin twice removed (I have no idea!! Does anyone?). He has unfortunately picked up some vices on this trip.*

*Should anyone be offended, it was a candy cigarette. Although it would probably still be toxic if lit.

1 comment:

Jo said...

First cousin once removed.

And I'm glad that you've found a way to enjoy the beach.