This may come as a shock to many of you, but I am an awkward dude. Every day is a struggle to not embarrass myself with some sort of social faux pas or physical gaffe or an ill timed fart. Needless to say, it’s exhausting, but that’s okay. I have a lot of experience with awkwardness, so I’ve learned a few things along the way. Thus, for people who are just coming to the startling realization that they too are awkward, I can offer advice and tips. As such, I am beginning something dubbed The Awkward Dude’s Survival Guide. In this addition of The Awkward Dude’s Survival Guide, I celebrate my trip to Wildwood this weekend by exploring what it’s like to be an awkward dude visiting the beach.
To the non awkward, the beach is a wondrous place. Beach volleyball, wonderfully cool water to refresh yourself in, the ability to make dong shaped sand castles. It’s a perfect place to go on a warm summer day and just unwind. However, for the awkward (read: me), it is a place full of pitfalls and obstacles that can take a normally awkward day into a super awkward day. For example…
-Wearing Shoes On The Beach-
Got a pair of feet that would make Grendel shiver in disgust? Your little piggies looking more like little Gamorreans? Or did you forget that you haven’t clipped your toenails in over a month and you now sport a velociraptor talon on your big toe? All of these things result in an unwillingness to wear flip flops or sandals or any sort of open toed stiletto out on the beach.
The obvious solution to this is to wear shoes or sneakers whilst out on your beach escapade. This looks, of course, retarded. So don’t be surprised when you’re repping a two year old pair of Vans with no socks that you get some stares. There will be looks of disgust, puzzlement and someone may legitimately may call the cops on you.
Be calm. It’s nothing you can’t get out of with a good old fashioned lie. If you notice someone’s eyes drift to your shoes, or someone has the audacity to ask “Why the sneakers?” simply tell them you are keepingthem warm for someone. Explain that, like a seat filler at the Emmys who makes sure no empty seats are caught on camera, your friend/family member/pimp is elsewhere and not wearing that pair of shoes. It just so happens your friend/family member/pimp hates sticking his/her/its feet into a cold pair of shoes, so you are obliging them by keeping the shoes warm. Then make a comment about, “I mean, who wears shoes on the beach!?” and hope the person goes away.
This should do the trick. When the person does walk away, just make sure you never run into them ever again in your life.
Of course, shoes are the least important article of clothing to worry about. What happens when you have to worry about taking off that pesky T-Shirt…
This is perhaps the most obvious terrible thing about being on the beach for an awkward person. I suppose this is more for self conscious people, but I imagine most awkward people are also self conscious so it’s part of the list. Your average beach is like an oil painting of Ancient Greece; it’s nothing but musclebound men and beautifully shaped women, sauntering around like they don’t have a care in the world, except for wondering what time the next Perfect Person Orgy begins. That thing everyone else has? That’s self confidence, a mythological beast that you have yet to wrangle. As a self defense mechanism, your skin starts to fuse with whatever shirt you’re wearing so that even if you want to take it off, you ain’t doing shit. Everybody has their reasons for being self conscious. Perhaps you have a body covered in enough acne and grease that Pizza Hut wants to contract you to rub their pan pizzas all over your body. Maybe you are a little paunchy or soft around the middle. Or maybe you’re like me, and have so. Much. Hair.
There are plenty of solutions for this. For the acne, simply lower yourself into a vat of acne cream and stay there for three days. Be sure to change out the vat’s contents every hour. If you are having issues with weight, you’re in luck. You have two options: begin taking in only 250 calories per day so that you have the body fat content of an Auschwitz prisoner OR do 500 crunches every hour so that you can get some slick washboard abs that you could ricochet a bullet off of. If you are hairy, such as yours truly, simply shaving the offending area and avoiding full moons should do the trick.
If none of these work, just keep the shirt on. Let it be known that everyone will be staring at the jackass who kept his shirt on.
-Applying Sunscreen…TO YOUR BACK!-
So you made it past the being topless stage. Congratulations! It only gets worse from here.
You know that big, yellow ball in the sky? That’s the sun, and it’s trying to kill you every single day. Slowly but surely, its UV rays attack your skin and cause all sorts of unsavory things like blisters, skin cancer or, worse, sunburn in hard to reach places.
So how do you avoid sunburn in hard to reach places? By putting sunscreen on those hard to reach places? Of course, when you take that bottle of sunscreen and squirt a little dollop into your hand, you soon realize that, despite all those days of cosplaying in front of a mirror, you are not Dhalsim from Street Fighter and therefore do not have his stretching ability. So you are in a bit of a pickle. Either try to apply sun screen to your own back and look like a turtle trying to tear a “Kick Me!” sign off its shell OR ask for someone to apply it for you.
Social interaction is to the awkward dude what Kryptonite is to Superman or what good tasting burgers are to McDonald’s. It’s something you tend to avoid. But in this case, looks like you either man up and ask someone to apply some sunscreen on your back or you deal with red, irritated skin for a solid 4-5 days.
Here’s how you approach this social situation without pissing your pants and bringing shame to your family name:
Approach someone with sunscreen tube in hand. It is preferable to be someone you know, but if you have to resort to a stranger, then so be it. Do NOT make eye contact with this person as they will take this as a threat and scurry away. If he/she is a big horn ram, they will take this as an invitation to butt heads with you.
Once you get their attention, without eye contact, ask in as polite a tone as possible if they would kindly put sunscreen on your back. If they answer, “No”, then move onto the next closest person. If they answer “Yes”, hand them the sunscreen, turn your back to them and try not to enjoy it too much.
Oh, and remember when I mentioned eye contact? More on that…
-Making Eye Contact With An Attractive Female-
So you took your shirt off, got sunscreen on your back, and averted any questions about your shoes. Good job for making it 5 minutes without a disaster, only 8 more hours on the beach to go!
Now as I mentioned earlier, the beach is chock full of attractive people to catch your eye. Therein lies the next trap the awkward dude will fall into like Joe Pesci in Home Alone. While this trap won’t result in a paint can to the face or a blowtorch to the scalp, this one will result in you being embarrassed and you will blush and everyone will laugh at you (probably).
There you are, sitting on your beach towel, basking in the early success of your beach visit. If this keeps up, you may come out in public more often! Suddenly you look to the left and see a stunning girl in a red bikini. Your heart skips a beat and you quickly glance away. Then slowly, but surely, your eyes creep back over to her as she makes a sandcastle or plays volleyball or does push ups or whatever girls do on the beach (I don’t really spend time with girls).
Then.. it happens.
Your wandering eyes have made base camp on her body for far too long, and she catches you. Her eyes widen, an exclamation point appears above her head like she is a Metal gear Solid guard and you know the jig is up.
Quiz time! What do you do?
A) Smile and naturally look away as if it was pure happenstance that she caught your glance.
B) Slightly shift your eyes to the top left of her head to make it look like you aren’t looking at her.
C) Panic and look away quickly, like you just walked in on your grandparents having sex.
D) Get a boner.
If you are like me, you picked C. The key here is to train yourself to do A. This takes years of practice (I’m assuming) to act this natural and confident, so it might be best to clear your schedule for a while. Don’t worry though. This is only really awkward when she catches your staring at her again and then again.
Which, she will do. At this point, just leave the beach and hope for better luck next year.
And what happens if you picked D? Don’t worry, I got that covered in the next section, you sick, depraved son of a bitch.
–Getting A Boner–
One of the most frightening aspects of the beach is that all that separates you and your naught bits from the rest of Earth is a thin layer of mesh and polyester. Naturally, the human male is going to get excited and some point and in swimsuits, oh boy, will it show. Will it show.
The old boner in public dilemma is something you have to deal with in any setting. It can happen anywhere, from the movies to the store to a funeral. So really, boner hiding tactics are something every man should learn.
One way to combat this is to avoid beaches with scantily clad women. However, if you find yourself on one of the thousands of beaches that doesn’t fit this category, here are some tips:
-Books are a common item on the beach, as they are fun to read and pass time with in a peaceful setting. But did you know they are excellent boner disguises? Yep, when you feel Mr. Happy becoming Mr. Happier, pop that book over it like a tent and voila! Your boner is both hidden and well read!
-Keep a large hole dug up nearby. It should be deep enough to hide everything below your midsection. When your foul beast begins to awaken from its slumber, jump on into the hole and suddenly your boner is in the Witness Protection Program. If people pass by, make a comment like, “How about this heat?” and that should deflect suspicion.
-Simple turn over onto your stomach and hide that bad boy in the sand like a frightened ostrich. Watch out for crabs, though! And watch out for crabs of the crustacean variety too, their pincers will hurt.
So you’ve paid attention to all my strategies and you are brimming with confidence and self assurance. You go into the water and see a girl bobbing all by her lonesome. Armed with your new found bravery, you doggy paddle on over to her and start a conversation when it happens: A shark comes over and bites onto your legs.
Nothing is more awkward than having your flirt attempts interrupted by a shark attack. At this point, the girl will roll her eyes, mutter, “Dork,” and swim back to shore. However, her rejection is the least of your problems. You are fighting for your life!
Your 1st instinct is probably to scream a lot and bleed. Go ahead and do that. Next, if your intestines haven’t spilled out, you will want to hit the shark in a sensitive spot. You would think this would be its dick, but sharks don’t have dicks. It is common knowledge that sharks don’t have reproductive organs since they don’t reproduce. Sharks are simply born by swimming out of Satan’s asshole when he presses it against the bottom of the ocean.
So knowing this, you probably think sharks are without a weakness. You are right. You will probably die. But try hitting it on the nose, maybe? I think I heard that works. Whether or not it makes a humorous BONK noise like a clown’s horn is a mystery, but let me know if it does.
If you made it to the end of your trip to the beach and successfully navigated all these scenarios the you should feel proud you did something for once that didn’t involve playing Skyrim while nibbling pretzel crumbs off your lap. Enjoy your victory before your next awkward moment which, if you are like me, will probably me two minutes from now.