I hate the beach. I always have. There is simply nothing for me there. I hate the sand that manages to get into every crook and crevice of my body. It gets in my teeth, my eyes, even in my food. I hate that no matter the beach, as soon as I stick a toe in the water I break out in hives. The underlying issue is that I despise prolonged exposure to the sun. It doesn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy or happy — it makes me feel cranky, hot and sweaty. I am a sunscreen junkie. I put it on all day every day, and will even put it on strangers if I feel they need it and haven’t applied it. I don’t understand tanning — it always looks so weirdly uncomfortable. I think that being porcelain skinned is beautiful, and by avoiding the sun you also avoid looking like a beaten-up leather handbag as you grow older.
My loathing of the beach is no secret; therefore, it should come as no surprise that Motif dared me to go there on opening weekend. Not only did I have to go there, I had to complete some dares. I was dared to wander the beach with a shark fin on my back. I also was dared to run along the beach in slo-mo like a “Baywatch” girl. My goal, if I was going to have to be miserable and sweaty on the beach all day, was to figure out what people love so much about spending time at this godforsaken place. I was going to randomly select and interview people at the beach to get to the bottom of this. Then, I’d quiz them on their sunscreen use and anyone found lacking would be lathered up by yours truly.
Cussing and whining all the way to Newport, I finally arrived at the beach. The wind was unbelievably strong on this particular day. The evil granules of sand did exactly what I anticipated and filled every indent of my molars as the wind blew. It found its way into my ears and my eyes I couldn’t have asked for a better reminder of just how much the waterfront annoys me.
I interviewed person after person and still couldn’t find a reason to enjoy the beach. They all spoke of the soft sand, the beautiful views and the sound of the ocean. They said how relaxing it is to lie in the sun all day.
ALL DAY? These people lie in the sun all day for fun? That sounds like a cruel type of torture.
Out of all the beach-goers I spoke to, not a single one had applied sunscreen (shame on you people!!!). And a lot more people rejected my sunscreen than I expected. I even had the special spray can kind so it wouldn’t be too awkward to lotion people up (Ed. Maybe she would have had better luck if she’d offered direct application. For their health. Sunburn’s no joke!).
At the end of the day I went home disappointed, sandy and genuinely uncomfortable. You may think I’m a curmudgeon for not being able to enjoy this beloved summer activity, but there is one thing that I do love about the beach. Seagulls. I think seagulls are pretty cool, but I don’t necessarily have to go to the beach to see them. I’d much rather go to a Mcdonald’s parking lot, sit in my air-conditioned car and throw fries out to the scavenging New England ocean wildlife.
Have a fantastic summer, beach-goers! I will be hibernating with my AC and Netflix. And remember: Only you can prevent sunburn. Apply, apply and reapply!