The beach is only about sand and sea for a small number of people. For the rest, it’s either a catwalk, or a meat market, or a voyeuristic peephole. It’s a place to see and be seen, where less is most definitely more. No matter which beach you’re on this summer, you will find at least one of the following characters. Bring this list along and tick them off when spotted.
The man thong seems to have gathered cult appeal lately, particularly among rangy 60-year-olds who, absurdly, finish the outfit off with a pair of sandals. You wouldn’t wear just underpants with shoes, would you?
You know you’ve found a true bell-end when he holds his pose after throwing a Frisbee. When he starts catching it between his legs, you know it is time to find another beach. Particularly if you’re female, because that errant throw that lands next to your towel is not a mistake. Watch him flex as he stoops to pick it up.
They come out as the sun goes down, swinging their fireballs around while trying to avoid igniting their dreadlocks. A day at the beach is hard for the hippie – all day playing hacky sack and practicing Kapoeira followed by a night of fire spinning. Small wonder they do nothing the rest of the time.
She tans topless and reads Sartre, while he paces the beach in small shorts looking for someone to recruit for the evening ménage-a-tois. In France he’s a banker and she’s a librarian, but because locals swoon for their accent, they sound exotic even when talking about skin cancer. Neither can believe their luck.
Fingernails long and painted red, skin like stained leather, and breasts that, as Chesterton put it, “fall like hanged men”. She sits under a vast umbrella smoking vogue slims, devouring a Danielle Steele book called something like ‘The Greek Captain’ and waiting for that Shirley Valentine moment.