April 26, 2016

If Life Isn't a Beach, It Probably Should Be

Just another day at the beach, right?
May all your seaside adventures work out just like this one.

By Alexa Day

I’m enjoying a transitional period between the last job and the next job. Actually, it’s more accurate to say that I’m enjoying it now. I was not having such a good time with it last week.

Anyway, now that I’ve lightened up a little, I’ve realized that this brief (I hope) interval might be the ideal time for a trip to the beach. Sure, I could go whenever I wanted, strictly speaking, even when I was not in the transitional period. But now, I can go on a weekday morning, during the school year. That’s pretty close to perfect.

I’ve read that most people are drawn to the beach because our bodies are mostly water. The soothing sound of the waves does have a special pull. There’s a stillness on an empty beach, a sense that the world has distilled itself to this place where the water meets the earth. Because of all that, the beach is a great place to work. Indeed, Yorktown Beach, Buckroe Beach, and even Virginia Beach probably prevented me from sliding into insanity during law school. I found myself rescued by the knowledge that I could slip away after (cough, instead of, cough) class to sit on a blanket with a stack of notes or books.

If the serenity of solitude isn’t the right solution, though, the beach is still seductive.

I’ve been camping on the beach with a lover, far from the strip and the boardwalk and all those lights and sounds. Beneath the dazzling cover of the stars, we’d just sit there and watch and listen. We were together where the sky met the sea and the sea met the sand, looking out toward the horizon. It’s hard to be in a place like that without feeling tiny. Just two people on a huge planet. Just two people who happened to find each other and share a blanket. Perhaps across an ocean from two other people staring toward us and thinking the same thing.

The beach is a little different for a single girl, in my experience, but no less awe-inspiring.

I don’t generally cotton to the big beachside resort. I have family in Jamaica, and my experience of the island beach makes me want something a little more organic, I guess. But being a local on a busy island beach presents a beautiful blend of society and solitude. Parked on a chair or a blanket with the beloved beach read, I have enjoyed many a sunny afternoon watching good-looking men pass by, on their way to a bar or a boat trip or whatever. Sunbathing is kind of a spectator sport, right? A quick peek over one’s book to check out the traffic, and then back down to the story at hand. Personally, I like to be near the lifeguard. They’re not supposed to be paying attention to that innocuous person on the blanket below them, which frees me to leer at them to my heart’s content.

And let’s remember the beachside bar. Tough to pick a favorite, right? Such friendly places, filled with people who’ve spent the whole day relaxing near the water. It’s a great place to meet that guy who strolled by the blanket a while ago. I have to admit that I’ve never found the lifeguard bar, but I know there must be one. Maybe someday, when I’m not really trying, I’ll stumble across it just in time for happy hour, and I’ll finally get to see what those tanned, age-inappropriate fellows talk about when they’re not way up on the chair.

A girl’s got to have goals, after all.

Whether you actually make it to the beach this year or not, you will want to secure a copy of my colleague Kiersten Hallie Krum’s novel, WILD ON THE ROCKS, posthaste. It’s got most of what we want from the beach — expertly made cocktails,  a super-hot Navy SEAL, and loads of excitement. And you will not have to deal with the giant annoyance of tracked-in sand. Now you tell me what’s not to love about something like that.

Go get yours and then try to get by some water!

And follow Lady Smut.

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  • Post authormadeline iva

    Leering at the lifeguard indeed! I like the more romantic beaches up in the Northeast. The sand is flat and clean, the bay like a giant pavilion under a sky so icy deep blue it smotes the eye. When there are the towering puffy white clouds on top of that, it’s so perfect I could cry.

    But it’s also frickin’ cold in the water. I’ve yet to go in all the way in a swim suit. Usually just going in up to my ankles or mid shins is enough to drive all the color from my feet. It’s bracing! You know, one time when it was especially hot, we *did* go to the beach, and even if I didn’t get all the way in, I got pretty wet — up to my shoulders at least. And this beach had public showers you could use. When I went into the ladies shower, it turned out that it was open to the sky. Like the shower part was covered, but there was a giant open roof in the center. I think that was my best semi-outdoor bathing experience ever. Everyone naked and relaxed after a day at the beach, little girls scampering about. It was peaceful and made me feel threaded into the good side of humanity in a most amazing way Sigh.

    But you’re right–for single women, a beach at night is not a good place to hang out alone. Kinda even dangerous, if you ask me.

    Reply to madeline iva
    • Post authorAlexa Day

      That sounds like the best shower ever. I should look into having one of those built into the retirement home. 🙂 You know, as much as I love the beach, I rarely go into the water. No particular reason — you certainly make it sound exhilarating. I should think that over next time.

      I must have misspoken elsewhere, though. I don’t know that being single and female after dark on the beach is any more or less dangerous than being single and female after dark anywhere else on Earth. It’s certainly not keeping me from going. The alternative puts us back on the highway to the cloisters. Besides, being single after dark is the only way to chat up those lifeguards.

      Reply to Alexa Day

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