The Cub Scout
You are deaf to the sound of an elbow-pressed horn after countless summers of being the last one ready, but the last laugh is always yours; you’re better prepared for the beach than a lifeguard.
In your possession are the following: Cooler. Ice. Cups. Towels — more than one. Multiple sunscreens to even out various tan lines, plus beach games, portable speakers, a portable charger, the aux chord!, snacks, trash bags, magazines, a change of clothes, a change of swimwear, hair ties, tampons and probably your great aunt’s dead parrot.
Yea, it’s annoying and that #schleplife takes a toll. But you’ve never had to leave the beach on a perfect day for anything, not even the bathroom. It’s called the motion of the ocean for a reason, you know.
The Umbrella Chaser
You can’t seem to figure out how the stupid folding chair works. Or how to keep an umbrella stake planted firmly in the ground. Your towel always has sand on it so you’re constantly trying to shake it out — which gets in your mouth, your neighbors eyes, or does that annoying thing with the wind where you can’t get the towel back the fuck down.
You’re also always chasing something — a child, a sibling, a loose dog, a shirt. But you kind of look at this way: chasing counts as working out, right?
The only shade you don’t mind is the kind thrown at you from those who stand upon their soap boxes and present, for the thousandth time, the dangers of UV rays and the benefits of sunscreen.
First of all, you know.
Second, hello, you’re wearing SPF 4.
Third, you’re a quarter Mediterranean.
Yes, exposed sunrays are “bad for you,” but what life pleasure isn’t? Sugar. Deodorant. Zumba. Water. Nothing’s safe! You spend the majority of your year living like a Hall Monitor and declare this your one indulgent thing.
And P.S. The sun just changed. Time to rotate.
The Beach Napper
A less brazen cousin to the sun worshipper, you simply love a good nap. Where others find it impossible to stay awake in a moving vehicle, the beach knocks you out faster than a frisbee to the head. Sometimes you’re properly SPF’d up, other times you don’t even remember sitting down on your towel — just straight Zzz-ing before your friend has the chance to ask you, “Hey! You don’t mind if we bury you in sand then Instagram it, do you?”
The Sun Avoider
You’ve been burned before, and you won’t let it happen again. Off to the beach you go with your giant hat, long sleeved rash guard, Zinc-covered nose and SPF-I-didn’t-even-know-that-exists. Though sensitive to the sun, you’re immune to such quips as, “What’s the point of going to the beach?” The point, you remind the haters, is to enjoy the shit out of summer. And if you want to do it in Morph Suit, so be it.
(That you’re the only one not glowing a fine shade of tomato red in all the group pictures hasn’t escaped you, either.)
The Beach Athlete
First of all, you’re superhuman. Or you’re a toddler. But to have the energy to run, jump, bump, set and spike despite 90 degree heat and friction and sand is truly something of a marvel. But you beach athletes simply cannot sit still. Naps are a waste of time. You’d rather play Can Jam. Or that trampoline thing. Or football. Any casualty is counted as a badge of honor, and yea, you’ve gotten into an argument with a 10-year-old over an alleged foul. But per your motto: you snooze, you lose.
The Party Crew
You don’t have “squad goals” because you are squad goals. Your crew rolls 10 deep at all times. You’re never not surrounded by a cloud of Spotify Summer Playlists and you’re all remarkably generous with one another over music despite the constant possessive declarations: this is my song!
Team Motto: will you take our picture?
The Early Riser
Despite the fact that your summer share is packed with not just one Cub Scout but the entire Boys and Girls Club of America, you have zero time to wait because there’s only so many sunny hours in the day. But truly, it’s not about the sun for you — you’d go to the beach in a tear-away track suit if the occasion called. Rather, it’s about the real estate, and you, like my ex boyfriend, just need space.
Illustrations by Autumn Kimball