Hearken, citizens of the Internet, for the warmer months approach, bringing with them tidings of beach weather! So, that’s kinda terrible.

Now I’m not against the joyous occasion that is the summer, but I do have a beef with the beach. For as long as I can remember, I’ve despised (or just disliked to a medium degree) the beach, and the culture that comes with it. Internet friends, you know I am normally a weirdly positive person, but all that optimism fades away in the bleached, sandy, lotion-y universe of a day at the beach.

There are many reasons why the beach is a place of true horror. For one thing, you come away from the beach either completely sizzled by an unforgiving sun, or smothered in lotion that may or may not work (but will make you feel all squicky). For goodness sakes, after a few hours you don’t know if that’s bacon you smell or the very body you inhabit. After “enjoying” the beach, the sun has beat down on you so hard that you can’t even function as a normal human due to utter exhaustion. Paradox thy name is a relaxing beach vacation.

Also, tanning is a useless, silly activity. All it affords the participant is a kinship to rubber. Of course, receiving an accidental tan via sunbeams is preferable to lying in an electric coffin that blasts you with UV until you develop the aforementioned rubber similarity. Tanning is a non-activity that deserves to be erased from the history and culture of humankind.

the beach

Although I hate to be too much like Anakin Skywalker (thank you Hayden Christensen for a lifetime of disappointment), I have to say, as well, that sand is a nightmare substance. It gets everywhere, responds real strangely to water (it’s impossible to truly clean without a deep soap cleanse in the comfort of your bathroom, away from the damn beach), and collects heat, delivering it straight to any exposed skin not enveloped in a sandal or beach towel. Sand is the principle reason why sex on the beach is actually pure lunacy, and the feel of it makes a chill run down my horror-stricken spine.

More than the material and physical madness that accompanies the seemingly simple pleasure that is the beach, are the mental changes. At least to me, people seem to lose a degree or two of intelligence once their feet hit sand and the sound of waves laps about the eardrums. No matter where I am in the world, the beach always seems to be a void of intellectual discourse and critical consciousness. Obviously, the beach is meant for anything but a rousing discussion of hermeneutics (actually, nowhere is meant for that; hermeneutics is a terrible thing), but the relentless onslaught of relaxation feels more like an “or else” situation than a legitimate source of tranquility (unless you are on your very own private beach or sunny inlet). The beach is a place where reading is limited to grocery store thrillers, and conversation filled to the brim with “bro” and “dude” and “oh my god look at that ass.” None of that is bad in isolation, but in beach droves it is rather cacophonous.

If you’ve read this and so far think I am filled with the proverbial droppings of others, then the beach may be the perfect place for you. You are a beach person if you enjoy wearing only shorts or small patches of fabric loosely tethered to your burnt frame via string. You are a beach person if the idea of seagulls puts a smile on your face. You are a beach person if doing absolutely nothing while surrounded by likeminded folk is preferable to any sort of productivity. And you are a beach person if you think scantily clad humans of your persuasion are more attractive than fully clothed or fully naked.

One thing I will never understand is the swimsuit. Truthfully, people should have the humility to simply bare it all, or not bother bathing in saltwater and harmful sunrays. Swim trunks and bikinis are really not that attractive, as they suggest far more than they reveal, and inspire more gawking than actual nakedness. The beach is rife with creepy behavior that is often less creepy when normal, humble nakedness is involved. Too bad I am American and this concept, which does derive more from European beach-going behavior, has not reached many of my shores. Anyhow, I prefer every other place to the beach, and I wish you Godspeed if you feel the need to brave that sandy purgatory in the future.

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