She Did What? Beach Etiquette
As beach season is officially upon us, I think it’s a good time to remind ourselves about how to behave properly on the beach. I’m not a nag and I don’t give sermons, unless it’s about how to make a proper Bloody Mary. But, seriously, we’ve all seen how some people can turn into complete fools when they set foot upon the sand. Clearly they haven’t grasped the concept that the beach isn’t their own private property, and, therefore, need our help. This OG has spent just about every summer of his life at a beach, be it in Florida, the Carolinas, or here in Delaware. Permit me, please, to share some good-spirited wisdom.
1. Don’t fence me in. Nobody likes to be crowded, be it on a plane, at the Bay Bridge toll plaza, or in a restaurant, but especially not on the beach. I realize it’s sometimes difficult to find that perfect place, but at least try to leave a couple of feet between your beach blanket and the other guy’s. Or better yet, go early to get a good spot. If a group with a premier location on the beach leaves, it’s perfectly fine to act like a seagull and swoop in and grab it. Just be careful not to fling sand everywhere in your rush to upgrade your property.
2. Speedos. Can you stare? Of course you can! If someone is bold enough to wear one, they’re really asking you to take a look at the goods. Just don’t drool. Act nonchalant, as if you’ve seen it before. That said, there are some instances where you probably are better served by turning your head….
3. Pick up your trash. Poodle Beach is consistently rated among the country’s top gay beaches. Why then are gay guys leaving so much trash on it? I’m not referring to the refuse stacked besides overflowing trash receptacles. Rather, I’m talking about the bottles and cups and cans left behind when a group walks off at the end of the day. One can make the argument that the city ought to provide more trash receptacles, but c’mon guys, why is it you can pick up trash in a bar but not on the beach? The right thing to do is to haul out what you haul in.
4. Shut the f—k up! Let’s face it; nobody likes to hear a loudmouth yakking away on his cell phone about office politics, his mother’s impending fourth nuptials, or his battle with toe fungus. Yet some people sit on the beach and talk nonstop about such mundane matters for hours. Seriously, if the people around you are quietly reading or napping, please stick to text messaging and email.
5. Headphones are a beautiful thing. It might be hard to believe, but not everybody likes Adele or Katie Perry. I know you’ve got ear buds. Use ‘em.
6. Paddleball. Yes, it’s a game tailor-made for the beach. But, the sound…. My god, the constant rat-tat rat-tat rat-tat is like Chinese water torture. Play if you will, but not for hours at a time. Better yet, seek out a less-crowded spot to play.
7. Control your dogs. This one will probably trigger some backlash, but I’m gonna go ahead and put it out there. If your dog is not well behaved, don’t let it off the damn leash! I’ve witnessed countless incidents of over-excited dogs jumping on people and running wild across beach blankets and towels. I once saw someone’s precious lift a leg on someone’s beach chair. While I did find that funny, not everyone thinks bad dog behavior is cute.
8. Smart drinking. Alcohol is not permitted on the beach. I’ll repeat myself: alcohol is not permitted on the beach. But if you are going to break the rules at least be smart about it. Don’t bring glass. Don’t get shitfaced. And don’t go around flaunting your big ass vodka bottle. This isn’t the Jersey shore.
9. Flashing. I’m personally okay with a little peekaboo, especially because it doesn’t make any noise. My advice, however, is to keep it on the down low or you might find yourself on the receiving end of a ticket for indecent exposure, which is a sex offense in Delaware. That goes for skinny-dipping too.
10. Flip ‘em. Spend enough time on a Delaware beach and the odds are good you’ll spot a live horseshoe crab stranded on its back. Don’t turn a callous eye. Would you do that to your grandmother? Give the horseshoe crab a helping hand and flip it over by the shell, though, and not the tail, which is delicate and easily damaged.
In closing, I just want to reiterate what everyone already knows. We’ve got some great beaches here in Rehoboth. And Poodle Beach in particular is a special place. Some of us remember the days when people lobbed eggs at the gay guys on Poodle Beach to try and drive them off. We just picked up the busted eggs and kept coming to the beach. It’s a good lesson to remember.