Because there is such a dearth (1) of beach bum pictures, I will attempt to define the species by taking a pragmatic approach using myself as an example. After fifty years of beach bumming (2), I proclaim myself an expert. I know the intricacies well, and I have successfully mastered the art. Let’s begin by donning figurative binoculars to identify a true beach bum.
· Slickened skin and a particular odor--Putting on sunscreen before brushing teeth is a
common practice since beach bums never know when they will go to the beach. Like the
most practiced Girl Scout, they are ever prepared. If an opportunity presents itself before
breakfast, the beach bum will forgo the Cheerios to watch the sunrise over the ocean (on
any east coast).
· Lack of hair styling—Blowing hair dry occurs naturally at the beach. Not only is there no need to style hair, but it would be a futile act. The salty humidity penetrates sleekly coiffured hair turning it into a jumbled thick mess.
1. The Pony Tail—Prevailing winds, especially on the Outer Banks are such that female beach bums with hair long enough to band do so. (See: jumbled thick mess)
2. Wolfgang Syndrome—Male beach bums’ hair also absorbs salt and humidity. Their hair usually sticks straight up resembling Beethoven’s.
· Lumpy, rumpled clothing (or the 12 hour bathing suit)—After applying sunscreen, the beach bum puts on a bathing suit even if no time has been set to go to the beach. (See: ever prepared) This causes varied issues, good and bad.
1. No underwear (3)—Beach bums distain underwear preferring to wear a bathing suit from sunrise to sunset. They have no problems whatsoever with the practice.
2. General disheveled appearance—Due to wearing bathing suits under clothing, their appearance, depending on the suit, may have unusual lumps and bumps. Although beach bums understand that clothing must be worn in certain establishments off the beach, their preference for no underwear and beach creed necessitate throwing on clothing over bathing suits. (See: ever prepared)
4. Fishy smell—While not all beach bums fish, many do. They seem not to notice the odor of fish on their clothing or skin.
· Skin colors—In the winter, you may have difficulty identifying a beach bum due to the color of their skin. However, if you were to examine a naked beach bum, his/her bathing suit lines would still be evident. This phenomenon increases with the age of the beach bum. In the summer, beach bums have raccoon eyes due to wearing sunglasses perpetually. Many are two toned because they favor laying or sitting on one side more than the other, such as readers who get more sun on the front of their bodies so that their backs are lighter, although tanned overall.
· Lack of make-up/nail polish—All beach bums wear sunscreen. Few wear make-up. Make-up doesn’t apply well over sunscreen, and this, too, is a futile practice. Most beach bums like to swim in the ocean, which will take most make-up off. Lip balms containing sunscreens may be used. Nail polish is of little value to beach bums because of the exfoliating action of sand, which wears or chips polish away. Nails are polished, but sand polishes the natural nail.
· Vehicles stuffed with beach paraphernalia—Chairs, coolers, boogie boards, surf boards, towels, beach bags, umbrellas, toys, etc., (See: jumbled, thick mess) can be found in the backseat, trunk or hatchback of the beach bums’ vehicle at all times. (See: ever prepared) For maintenance, the items may be rinsed of salt and sand, but then they are restored to their proper place in the beach bums’ vehicle.
· Beach pictures—Beach bums’ computer desktop and home are littered by pictures of the beach, such as the one below from my laptop.
(1) Although I’ve spelled this word correctly, the word should be spelled “dirth.” Beach bums are nothing if not practical people who use expedient language, such as “cowabunga” while surfing or boarding to explain their feelings. No matter how historic, any word that rhymes with “worth” or “Perth” should not have “ea” in its spelling.
(2) Beach bum is a noun, but it can also be an action verb—to bum, she/he bums, they are bumming. However, the verb is never subjectively passive as in “being bummed”—that is an entirely different, non-beach oriented verb.
(3) The term “underwear” includes socks.
(4) Rewear should be a word.