The Holy Grail

It has already started; the weather has gotten hot and the requests to go to the beach are starting to become a daily request. My wife, Stephanie, just got the beach sticker for the car and the children can’t wait to run and jump in the sand every single day of the summer vacation. And once again, I have renewed my annual quest to find one woman in the world that does not like the beach; just to prove a balance in the universe actually exists.

My search has taken me through many informal observations to find “the one!” I have spent years sifting through personal ads in the newspaper trying to prove that somewhere in the world there was a woman who couldn’t stand the beach. Her existence is crucial because it would be a sign that there may be a way for guys to escape the standard relationship trap of having to go through the sandy torture of the beach just to make a potential mate happy. But, alas, time and time again, in every personal ad I read, all I could find was the standard quote that stated without a doubt the simple fact that, “I (the woman) like romantic walks on the beach…” Yuck! Sickening! Gross!

What is romantic about walking on the beach? Sand gets on everything; on your feet, in your socks, in your shoes, and if we imagine for a moment where the “romantic walks” might lead to romantically, one could end up with sand in some very embarrassing and unpleasant places.

So I am left to wonder, “Where does the ‘romantic side’ of the walk on the beach come into play?” Could it be that people enjoy wading into water that will ultimately make their bodies stink as they try to enjoy the rest of their evening? If you ask me, I believe it is the smell of the salt water that forces people to go to dinner before a “romantic walk” on the beach because nobody wants the people at the tables around them to comment about the musty, salty smell that is now wafting around their food.

“Does it smell like low tide in here, dear, or is that just the broccoli?”

Trust me “musty and salty” is being polite. With the amount of pollutants in the water these days, the smell of low tide has become quite alarming. So I must ask, “How can this be considered “romantic?”

Sand is a permanent enemy because once sand has affixed itself to your body, it never goes away. It stays with you one way or another forever. If you wash sand off in the shower, it will stick to the tub floor like crazy glue. If you try and run water over the shower floor, the water goes down the drain but the beach sand remains. In the end, one must actually scoop it out with a paper towel or a sponge and throw it away before you can finally be rid of most of the sand in the shower. The operative word being “most” because you will never get rid of all of the sand, it will always be there! But I guess removing ninety-five percent of the sand is better than none at all.

Sand also gets into your house and stays forever! Vacuum cleaners never suck up sand. If you enter the house before you take off your socks and shoes, you will soon realize that there is sand all over the place. I do concede that a wet/dry Shop Vac may suck up most of the sand but not everyone has a Shop Vac in their home. And if you don’t have a Shop Vac, your ordinary vacuum cleaner just flings the sand around the room until you have to finally break down and get the sand out with an old fashioned broom and dust pan. If the beach sand gets into your rug, it’s almost impossible to clean it at all and get it out of your house.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I am not a beach guy and most of my friends are not beach guys. They admit this to me but not to their significant others. They have decided that going to the beach is just one of those duties that guys must agree to do as part of their “unwritten relationship agreement (URA).” An unwritten relationship agreement is an agreement between partners whereby person A agrees to do something that person B likes to do whether person A likes it or not because it will make their significant other upset if they don’t agree to the stipulation. So, for the sake of the relationship, person A submits to doing the activity they detest and he or she unilaterally agrees to the unwritten relationship agreement because “It’s easier to do then not to do, so just do it.”

Now that we have established the parameters of the unwritten relationship agreement, I have stated in all of my relationships that I am not a beach guy. I don’t like the beach. I will go if I have to go, but it’s not a necessarily enjoyable experience for either of us. Stephanie has accepted the fact that I do not like the beach and thankfully, she has released me from the URA provisions. I actually went with her once and I think she would have been happier if I hadn’t gone to the beach with her at all. But hindsight is 20/20 and to be honest, I don’t understand adults who love the beach. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

My children love to go to the beach. I can understand why kids love the beach but every time they come back from the beach, regardless of how much sun tan lotion we apply to them; one of them always comes home with a sun burn. Now, I would like to submit a new name for the common sun burn. I would like to call it the “zombie maker,” because sun burns don’t ever hurt during the day, they only seem to hurt at night.

Kids with sun burns run around and play happily all day long but in the middle of the night, when people would normally be sleeping, a sun burn hurts the most and kids demand constant attention from both of their parents, not just one of us. In the morning, there isn’t enough coffee in the world to replace hours of lost sleep before going to work. And when I finally make it to work, I have a blank expression on my face. Stumbling around the office like Frankenstein, it takes me twice as long to do everything; just like a zombie!

It’s not only the children that get burned by the sun, though. Have you ever slept next to a woman who has gotten a sun burn? If you haven’t, there are three rules I must strictly adhere to when my wife suffers from a sun burn. First, I am responsible for multiple applications of cold cream to help try and reduce the itching and burning. Secondly, unless I am following rule number one, I must never come in contact with my wife’s body. I mean never make contact with her body! Making contact is cause for severe retribution.

And, finally, I must be awake whenever my wife wants to talk. I can sleep when my wife decides to sleep but I better not be asleep when she is talking to me and I better not, for the love of God, make the mistake of touching her body in any way if our conversation leads to a tender moment. Tender moments followed by a hug or a tender, gentle touch will result in a full beating that would make any police unit in riot gear envious. Trust me; don’t touch your spouse when she is suffering from a sun burn!

I realize that sun burns do not happen on every visit to the beach, but when people spend a lot of time at the beach, they get complacent and that is when problems occur. It only takes one misstep to create a multi-night, sleep deprived situation. But, unlike sun burns, every time someone goes to the beach for the day, the sand comes back to my home in buckets. The last time my wife and kids came back from the beach, I was making sand castles on my kitchen floor for days. There was so much sand a week ago that I built a Condo Association for all of my kids’ dolls and action figures.

It baffles me at times to try and decipher the mystical powers involved with making people want to go to the beach. People drive to the beach in droves and sit there to burn in the intense heat of the sun, and somehow, they don’t care. It isn’t logical! What is it about sitting on the hot sand with a thousand people tripping over you, kicking sand all over your stuff and swimming in the salty, musty smell of the ocean that trumps just lounging around the comfort of the backyard, in the shade, with a sprinkler? I just don’t get it.

So imagine my amazement, surprise and sense of joy when my friend told me that his fiancé doesn’t like the beach; she can’t stand it! I felt like a kid in a candy shop! I felt like King Arthur finding the Holy Grail! I have been on this expedition for my entire life and finally, my journey has come to an end because godfather had found, proposed to and in a few weeks will marry “the one!”

I am as giddy as ever just thinking about what this means in the grand scheme of the universe because it could be the strand that unravels so many other mysteries that exist. “The one” is so rare and so sought after by just about every guy I know who would rather do anything else in their lives instead of going to the beach that I am elated just knowing that “the one” exists. For once, I have a friend who will never have to submit to the URA stipulations involving romantic walks on the beach or any other beach activity. This truly is the Holy Grail of mythology! Just knowing that “the one” actually exists and that she isn’t a figment of my imagination leaves me with one final question, “How cool is that?!”

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4 Responses to The Holy Grail

  1. Christine says:

    Doug,
    You never asked! I can’t stand going to the beach. I can count the number of times my kids have played at the beach on one hand. And I think they were all with your kids!

    You could do a whole seperate essay on the “zombie maker!” If you lack for stories with your own kids, I can share some of ours!

    Have a good one,
    C.

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