Jul 19


. . . And then
      you fry


Unless you wear lots of sunscreen. 

                              I love the beach, really I do.

But even I, sun worshipper that I am, and isn’t it good to worship something, have to admit that there are a few not-so-perfect aspects of sitting on the sand and swimming in the sea.

For one thing, there’s the sand.

So nice to look at. So nasty when it sticks to the sunscreen and gets in parts of your anatomy where it was never meant to be. So soft and warm and fun to curl your toes in. So hot “you wish your tired feet were fireproof.” You could go Under The Boardwalk, as first the Drifters and then Bette Midler have suggested, but then you wouldn’t get a tan, much less the perfect tan. Don’t forget: you may not be a perfect ten, but tanned flab looks better than white flab. Trust me.

Boardwalks are pretty wonderful, though.

Except, of course, for the splinters.

Getting a tan makes you feel healthy, even if the experts say it’s doing just the opposite.
In the latest issue of you-should-pardon-the-expression AARP, the adorable yet authoritative Dr. Oz warns that besides slathering on sunscreen, you’d better be careful not to take certain meds when you’re “having fun in the sun.” Especially if you’re you- should-also-pardon-the-expression older.

Oh dear. Maybe I should stay Under the Umbrella. Safe and shaded, reading my book, minding my own business. Until a strong wind comes along and blows it away and I have to run after it like a maniac before it does real damage to those two teenagers in a hammerlock on the next blanket. It would serve them right for being so cute. And young.

And that’s another problem with the beach. The people. Some of whom are not so cute . . .

FattyWHatOnBeachLike that woman over there wearing a bathing suit that creates more spillage than the Gulf Oil Disaster. Okay, it looks cute in the picture, but in real life, wear a one-piece like the rest of us, lady. How about that man who thinks he should be wearing a Speedo. Like anybody should be wearing a Speedo? Maybe on some beach in the Caribbean. But not him and not here.

The Jersey Shore

Which reminds me: All of the Jersey Shore is not The Jersey Shore, if you get my drift. It’s not just that the show gives New Jersey, Italians, and human beings a bad rap. It’s that when I tell people where I got this gorgeous color, and I say the Jersey Shore, they look at me funny. They were expecting, maybe, The Hamptons? Been there, done that.

VictorianHousesOGBesides, Ocean Grove, this little town on the Jersey Shore, is nothing like the show. I mean nothing. It’s full of old Victorian Houses and a Great Hall where they have religious services for those so inclined and nostalgia shows on Saturday night (Neil Sedaka, The Abba Tour, Smokey Robinson) for the rest of us.

The beach is just like the beach all along the shore, which is to say, terrific. Only here it’s quieter: no boom boxes aloud (sic) and less rowdy: no booze allowed. We go to Asbury Park for that. A lot.

But on the beach, ice cold water tastes great and is so much healthier. We drink lots of it, then negate all the health benefits by eating all those ice cream sandwiches I tramp across the hot sand to get, feeling like Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia, although in reality, I am much shorter. And have brown eyes. I’d walk a mile, with or without a Camel, for a good ice cream sandwich.
So creamy. So messy. So delicious. So sinful. So necessary.

So very like life itself.

PostcardBeachOGAnd then there’s the sea. I used to love the surf, the old “Over and under and then up for air” routine. These days, I can barely put my toes in without being nearly swept away. Besides, I still remember how it feels to get hit by a humongous wave and be dragged back to shore, bathing suit practically to my knees and sand up to my you know what. Dive right in? I think not.


No, I’m going to put on my cover-up, straw hat, and sunglasses and stroll down the boardwalk to Asbury Park, where I can get a Bloody Mary and look at the beach scene. The umbrellas make a great picture: all the greens and oranges, pastel patterns and crisp blue and white stripes. One of them is rolling across the beach, but that’s not my problem. The sea is as beautiful as it always is, and all the people look good — from a distance.

A day at the beach. Life is good.


For more beachy stuff right here at
I Can’t Believe I’m Not Bitter:

The Bathing Suit Blues

Sand, Sea, and . . . Shopping?


 The postcard shows the good old days at Ocean Grove before “The Jersey Shore.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *