The savvy man knows the old rule about “bringing sand to the beach.” But there are other things to leave behind when packing for whichever cape, shore or playa you’re heading to this summer. Behold and be wary of these five totally inessential beach items. Should any of them find their way into that distressed canvas tote of yours, know that you are playing with fire—and the last thing you want to get at the beach is burned.
THE TANNING MIRROR
Let’s get an easy one out of the way first. Using a handheld reflective surface to get an “even” tan around the chin and neck not only looks ridiculous but actually is ridiculous. There’s a giant reflective surface called “the water” and it’s right there.
Exception: You’re the reigning Mahjong champion at your retirement community.
It is now 2016 and pretty much everyone is in agreement that it’s probably not a good idea to douse yourself in grease and sizzle in the sun like a slab of bacon. Aside from channeling a lubed-up Ray Winstone in the opening shots of Sexy Beast, you’re essentially begging for some not-great times at the dermatologist.
Exception: You are a Buick Skylark.
On the other side of the coin, there is such a thing as going overboard in terms of protection. Of course, even the casual beachgoer should apply a little SPF-15 a couple of times—and zinc is a fantastic ingredient to look for in sunscreen—but there’s no need to go painting your nose neon white. Sure it seems harmless at first, but it’s a remarkably short path to enrollment at clown college.
Exception: It’s 1954 and you’re surfing off the coast of Makaha—or your last name is “Spicoli.”
Cut-offs, jorts, Daniel Dukes (okay, we made that up) whatever you want to call jeans with no coverage below-the-knee, they are surely the world’s worst swim trunk this side of a cement diaper. They’re heavy when you’re in the water and take an impossibly long time to dry once you’re out. And that’s to say nothing of the form, which is amazingly even worse than the function.
And you thought this list was going to be all relics from bygone eras. But yes…your precious smartphone, too. We’ll spare the diatribe about how always being connected might actually make us more isolated and just say that if you are checking your email at the beach, then you have forgotten how to beach.
Exception: Said device is an Elta Master Blaster or similar boombox.