I spent a good part of yesterday celebrating Father's Day at Aliso Beach in Laguna.
Most of you already know I'm a beach rat.
I grew up on beaches, I went to college at a campus overlooking the beach, and I've spent a good part of my adult life on the beach too.
Summer is upon us, and to be honest, it's the time of year I dislike most at many beaches.
Because summer is when we get inundated with tourists, many of whom have never seen a beach (!) or so much sand (!) or the ocean (!) with WAVES (!) before. And although, I hope each and every person on this earth has the opportunity to enjoy the beach at some point in their life, it would be so much more enjoyable for all of us, if someone taught a class in beach etiquette.
Such a class may not exist, but I'm here to offer a few tips for any of you who might find yourself at a beach ever this summer.
• Screaming at the waves gets old really fast and, surprisingly, isn't at all necessary. Anyone past the age of two gets a free pass to scream at ONE wave and then you're done. Because, guess what? After one wave – will come another! And another! And yet another! I doubt if you want to hear ME scream for hours on end, and I'd find my time at the beach so much more enjoyable if I didn't have to listen to you scream either.
• Letting your kids run over other people's beach blankets (or right next to them kicking sand all over them) is a beach no-no. Even harder to understand is why you stand there and watch this happen repeatedly and think it's okay? It's really not that hard to teach kids to walk (not run) around other people's stuff. My mom taught me, I taught my kids – it's a really easy thing to teach as a parent. I know you think sand in the face is adorable when it comes from your kids (or you?), but … you're wrong.
• It's not okay to announce loudly you are about to use the ocean as a toilet, or to tell your kids to either. I shouldn't have to explain this, should I? There are restrooms at the beach for a reason – use them. I don't want to swim in your piss and neither does anyone else.
• Don't surf in the areas designated for swimmers and don't swim in the areas designated for surfing. Think about it. Do you value having your head on your shoulders? Safety always comes first at the beach.
• If you aren't a strong swimmer, stay out of the ocean. Currents are often rough. Waves do unexpected things like crash right on you. If you aren't a strong swimmer, make a lifeguard's job easier and enjoy the view from the sand.
• Leave the marine life alone. Please give the baby seal space instead of scaring it to death if it takes a walk on the beach. Don't try to "catch" a dolphin when you see it playing. (It won't work – and where do you think you're going to put it anyway? In your bathtub?) Taking hermit crabs home results in their death within 24 hours. I'm glad you're excited by the marine life … enjoy it from a distance and leave it in it's natural habitat.
• Wear a bathing suit which fits. I think it's great to feel confident about your body no matter what size you happen to be, but wearing a suit five sizes too small for you is NOT an attractive look. This is true whether you're male or female and regardless of how thin/fat you are. Few of us have the bodies of models, but we are all capable of wearing a suit which fits.
• Playing catch, or football, or paddle ball, is great – but not when you're disrupting everyone else. Find a part of the beach with less foot traffic, or where you won't be in anyone's way. If the ball keeps hitting people in the head, you've picked the wrong spot.
• Don't litter on the beaches. There are trash cans everywhere – use them. If you litter at places as beautiful as our beaches you are, quite simply, a lazy asshole. (Burying your trash in the sand is still littering, by the way.)
• Discreetly checking someone out is okay, ogling is not. You really don't want to be the beach perv, do you?
• No sex on the beach. Well, no sex on a public beach during daylight hours. If you want to have sex on the beach, find an isolated/private beach or visit a beach at night when you won't be making a spectacle of yourself in front of the entire world and a lot of kids.
• If you want to listen to music, wear earbuds/headphones. The music you love and are cranking at full volume? Is the very music someone right next to you hates. If you're with a big group and want music for a beach party, keep the volume at a level that won't bother the people nearby. It's all about being considerate.
• The rules posted for each particular beach DO apply to you.
© Twenty Four At Heart