The People on the Gay Beach
Happy Pride, Letters readers! Poodle Beach. Fire Island Pines. Provincetown. Sebastian Beach. South Beach. These are our favorite gay beaches up and down the East Coast. My happy place is anywhere there is sand and water. I was lucky enough to spend many summers (and definitely this summer) going to Poodle Beach almost daily.
At any gay beach you see the same “type” of people. And Poodle is no exception.
First and foremost, there are the two types of chair people—those facing the water and those with their back to the water tracking the sun like a sundial. And you are either one or the other. No in between! Robby from Brooklyn is a chair-facing-the-water person. It’s like our very own Jets vs. the Sharks. It’s a gay beach—Broadway reference mandatory!
Next, there are the committed, serious beach goers who pack everything and anything. They usually have a huge tent, boogie boards, coolers, kites, lunch, and dinner. They do not mess around. They come to slay. Usually, they are the ladies. If you want something done and done right, get a lesbian to do it!
Then, there are the prancers—the ones that want to be ogled and fantasized about. They might be leisurely walking up and down the beach pretending to gaze out on the horizon. They might be doing acrobatics, handstands, cartwheels. You name it, these guys are wanting to be seen. Of course, they are hot AF so yes, we stop and stare. Give the people what they want is their motto.
Also on the athletic side are the Kadima players. We call it Paddle in NYC. Or maybe I just call it that. More often than not, the Kadima players are hardcore and extremely competitive. Their bodies are ripped and they hit that ball back and forth with an amazing amount of strength, matched with grunts. Watching them you would think you are watching Venus take on Serena at the US Open.
My favorite people are the boyfriend twins. They wear matching swimsuits. Now before you stop reading and delete me from your contacts let me explain. The suits aren’t identical matches. They might be from the same designer, they might be the same suit but in a different color. But they definitely “match” in other aspects as well. These couples have hats that match—again, different hats from the same company. The boyfriend twins do have identical beach chairs. You know what—I am here for it. Super cute. Maybe this explains why I am still single.
My least favorite people are what I call music philanthropists—people who designate themselves to provide music for the entire beach. They show up with their Bluetooth speakers and play house music at the loudest volume possible. Gurl, let me tell you this in case no one else has: no one else at the beach wants to hear your music. People come to the beach to relax, to listen to waves crashing, to talk to their friends. Do everyone a favor, DJ Ocean, turn down the volume on the latest Dua Lipa remix.
As the afternoon hits 5 p.m., the dynamics of the beach shift. The people who have been there all day start to head out and the second wave hits. These are the people who have been working from home, looking for a few hours of sun before it sets. I straddle both groups. That sounded way dirtier than I intended it to. I arrive around 2 p.m. and stay until 6 p.m. or later. Late-day beach time is my favorite beach time.
Lastly, true to its name, Poodle beach, after 5 p.m., turns into a makeshift dog park. Dogs and their owners are playing, running, frolicking—happy to be outside and in the sun—everyone off leash!
A gay beach is like Disney, one of the happiest places on Earth. For many, it’s a safe place. Couples walk hand in hand; kiss without fear of ridicule or harm. Many have marched and protested and fought for our right to live life openly and proudly on any gay beach we want. So take advantage of this, take yourself to the beach, and be any type of beach goer you want. Wherever you celebrate Pride, whether dancing on a float in the big parade or eschewing the crowds and escaping to the beach for the day, be GAY AF and be PROUD AF!
See you on Poodle Beach! ▼
Robert Dominic splits his time between Brooklyn and Rehoboth Beach. He writes for publications including Instinct Magazine and his own blog “The Gays of our Lives.” When he is not writing he is probably at Poodle Beach.