For those of us of northern European descent, a day at the beach is kind of like befriending a seemingly docile and innocuous hobo, who over the course of a day gets you unwittingly drunk by slowly spiking your Powerade. It’s all fun and games while you and Scraps O’Houlahan (for that is what you’ve named him) play at the park and skip through grassy fields, but pretty soon you wake up thirsty, disoriented, and covered in third degree burns.
Scandies have to be super careful at the beach for one reason only: their skin. And not just because they run the risk of burning, although that’s the obvious and most inconvenient consequence of spending too much time with Mother Nature. You’re also a huge imposition on the other inhabitants of the beach, all of whom have your tan bested by at least a factor of ten. Nobody wants to see a naked mole rat in a swimsuit. So how can you enjoy yourself at the beach without a) subjecting your fellow beach-goers to the visual equivalent of approaching the sun in a space ship, and b) leaving so burned that you can never make contact with another human ever again, you sad, sad, lonely individual?
1) Apologize via bullhorn. Upon arrival at the beach, before you even bother unrolling your giant beach towel, find the nearest large cooler and stand on it. Using the bullhorn you should have brought with you (because you’re at the beach, duh), apologize to anyone in your general vicinity. Here’s a good template: Hello, fellow beach attendants! My name is ____ and I will be sunning with you today! I just wanted to forewarn you that once I take my clothes off and am only in a swimsuit, you might think I have spontaneously burst into a white-hot flame. Fear not! I am not going supernova with the power of a thousand suns, I am merely very white. I will not be offended if you avert your eyes, or if your young children scream at the sight of me. Thank you for your understanding.
2) SPF 30^10 billion. No, blocking-it-up isn’t oodles of fun. Yeah, you get all goopy and have to wait a bit for it to dry before you can get in the water and sunblocky hands makes eating potato chips an endeavor in Seeing How Much Sunblock You Can Consume Before You Throw Up. Might I suggest making it fun for yourself? Sunblock like you normally would, but then roll yourself back and forth across the ground until you’re covered in sand. Then slowly sneak up on unsuspecting children and scream “BOOOOOO! I’M THE SAND MONSTER, COME TO DRINK ALL YOUR CAPRI SUNS!” As you watch them scatter in terror, nod and smile with the knowledge that you have not only managed to scare the shit out of some innocent children, but you’ve reduced your risk of skin cancer in the process. Two birds, one stone.
3) Don’t forget about your head, stupid! Scandy is one thing. But blonde and scandy is double trouble. If your hair is parted, your head can burn. And if you have short hair, your ears can burn. Don’t neglect your brain canister, guys! You’ve got two options here. Either buy the fancy pantsy new spray-on sunblock that was invented for those of us too afraid to ask other people to caress our skin sensually, or dig a hole in the sand next to you large enough to stick your head in and just ostrich it every ten minutes or so to give your scalp a break. You will regret not having taken better care of your noggin when you’re picking skin flakes out of your hair until Halloween.
4. Time is of the essence. We Scandies can be at the beach for approximately 1/32nd the amount of time of our non-melanin challenged brethren. So you need to get your fun-having in as quickly as possible. Just hack a watermelon in half and stick your face right in it, inhaling the contents seeds and all. Speed talk all conversation with your friends, making sure to hit all the prerequisite beach-time talking points: how you feel chunky, how you wish you had a tan, how the water is super cold, and how that chick over there with the flat stomach and the huge boobs makes you want to shoot her in the neck with a blow dart. But you’ve got twenty minutes tops to cover them all. Sprint into the water, scream when the cold hits your groin area, sprint back out, shove a couple of handfuls of chips down your throat, throw a cup of vodka lemonade in your face, and reapply sunblock for your fifty-foot walk from the beach to the car. Now run, damnit! RUN LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT BECAUSE IT DOES.
–Katie Sisneros is white. Very very white.