Sunday, 31 March 2013

Looking like a crab stick is not a sexy thing


I'm writing this on the plane on the way home from my first beach holiday in over five years. I haven't been sitting at home, twiddling my thumbs in this time. I've travelled, I've visited friends and family, I've also followed certain bands on tour at various times. But it's definitely been a while since I laid on a beach with nothing else to do.

My sister joked that I'd be running up daily agendas and lists of action points for the holiday. I was also slightly worried that I wasn't going to be able to cope being on a beach with a schedule ruled by nothing more pressing than whether I want another cocktail or not.

It turned out that I coped fine, once I'd remembered that I had nowhere else to be and that beach holidays tend to follow certain rules. What I realized is that it doesn't matter where in the world you are, or what nationality the majority of the beach goers are, there are some universal truths which apply regardless. If you're planning a beach holiday this year, see if these ring true with wherever you go...

Firstly, there will always be an awkward looking teenager, resentful at being dragged along on another family holiday. They can usually be spotted by a constant attachment to their phone, or being bribed by a parent to participate in an activity. "If you come to mini-golf with us I'll put another $20 credit on for you..." Depending on musical choice, they might also be hiding under an umbrella. If you've seen the goths in hot weather meme, you know what I mean.

I personally think you aren't getting a full beach experience unless you get knocked off your feet a few times by the waves and got sand in all your crevices. I'm never more taken aback by the few women who come down to the beach in full make up, with their hair perfectly coiffured. Have a look on your beach and you'll be able to spot at least a couple. What with my naturally frizzy hair, I spend my time on the beach looking like the love child of Keith Richards and Cousin It. 'Put together' are not words associated with my beach look.

No matter what beach you go to, there will be at least one posh, high-pitched, obnoxious child nearby. If you're really unlucky a whole collection of them will decide to set up camp on the bit of sand in front of you as happened to us on our penultimate afternoon. (PS I've decided a collection of obnoxious kids is now known as a brattery of children).

Under other circumstances I would have some sympathy for their parents, but as my wiser half pointed out, you blame a dog's bad behaviour on the owners not on the dog itself. Kicking sand at each other and subsequently everyone else in the vicinity is not ok. I don't care what you were allowed to do on your last holiday, you just added an unwanted ingredient to my mojito. And as these parents were mainly ignoring their demanding offspring they get very little sympathy from me. We decided to move before my internal supernanny took over and I had words.

Whilst on the subject of children on the beach, see if you're as shocked as I was by the number who sat there the entire time playing on their handheld devices. My parents always instilled in us an appreciation for our holiday as time the family ordinarily wouldn't get to be in each other's company. and we would enjoy each other's company on pain of death.

I wanted to invite these goggle-eyed kids to build a sandcastle or play catch or anything they couldn't do at home or inside. Needless to say my judgmental invitation wouldn't have necessarily have gone down well with the parents and so I stayed quiet.



Finally, keep an eye out for the small number of sun worshippers who ruin their holiday by getting stupidly sunburnt on the first or second day. I used to be one of these people. I have had holidays in the past where I couldn't wear a bra for the rest of the trip because the straps cut in so badly to my very sore skin. As a girl who needed maximum support in that department, this was not a good development to the holiday wardrobe.

Before this week, I was such a pasty white girl that I became used to comments about my milk bottle legs and their incandescent nature. I was also conscious that there were parts of my body which hadn't had direct sunlight on them in over five years. This was the holiday all of my bad sun habits were going to change. Armed with sun block for the tattoos and enough sun cream to get through a test match, I was determined not to burn on this holiday.

Despite my constant reapplication and best intentions, I inevitably missed a few bits and burnt on the last day we were there. So as I sit here on the airplane (with the back of my bra undone for maximum comfort) reflecting on my final beach holiday truth, I have to conclude that I look a bit like a crab stick. Pink and white stripes are not a look, and I've never heard anyone say looking like a crab stick is sexy.


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