Sunday, March 19, 2006

Just Beachy

I spent this weekend at a friend's place in Rehoboth/Dewey Beach. It's Dewey Beach's "opening weekend," so we hopped over to hit the bars. Well, a bar. And have a party of sorts.

First, let me take a moment to bitch about office machines. By office machines, I'm referring to my work computer, as well as the one belonging to my boss and the receptionist. I'm also referring to the office copier, which doubles as a printer at times. Why is it that when I'm in a rush all these things choose to freeze up on me en masse? There's a word for this: resistentialism. (Check out the definitions here and here.) I wasn't so much running up against deadlines, but I of course wanted to get things done in order to leave the office just a tad early. And wouldn't you know, just as my friends are calling to tell me they're on their way to pick me up, my machine will no longer print. Nor will my document print from a different machine. Suddenly I'm frustrated and rushed and stressed and blah. Thankfully, eventually everything got taken care of and I grabbed my stuff and ran down to get the hell out of Dodge.

We stayed at my friend Chris's house. He lives just a few miles from the popular Dewey Beaches and we insisted on hitting up the Starboard to "start off" the beach season. This despite the fact that it was still well under 40 degrees out and we were all wearing long sleeves and jeans. (There were, of course, the handful of idiots wearing shorts and short sleeves and even flip-flops, but they were clearly, well, out of their minds.)

Completely apropos of my last post on this subject, every time I walk into the Starboard I have to ask myself why I'm there at all. Aren't I too old for this?, I wonder. Twenty-something frat boys and their corresponding Tri-Delt sisters getting drunk, engaging in sexual banter, and making fools of themselves surrounded me. Do I really need that?

I always think that, then I always look around and come to realize that, in fact, many of the people around me aren't twenty-something. There are thirty-somethings and even forty-somethings here. This is a beach community where time, and the maturity it usually brings, stands still. People who probably hold down perfectly respectable jobs and who earn quite good livings doing what they do reacquaint themselves with the part of their brains that still clamor to get shit-faced in public for the fun of it:

Too-tight t-shirts (on both men and women)? Check.
Far too much visible cleavage (on both men and women)? Check.
Dry humping on the dance floor? Check.
Adults who should know better barely able to stay on their feet at 12:30 a.m.? Check.
Public emitus? Check, and check. (Watch where you walk.)

Compounding this question is the fact that the environment at all the Dewey Beach bars is insanely heterosexual. Sexual tension pervades the air, sometimes to predatory levels. The men here have one thing on their minds, and it's not scintillating conversation. No one is looking for "Ms. Right," just "Ms. Right Now." This dynamic would suffer from an immense imbalance were it not for the fact that the women here more or less seek the same thing. The words of Toby Keith apply to everyone here:

I'm not talkin' 'bout locking down forever, baby that would be too demanding.
I'm just talkin' 'bout two lonely people who might reach a little understanding.
I'm not talkin' 'bout knockin' out heaven with whether we're wrong or we're right.
I'm not talkin' 'bout hookin' up, and hangin' out,
I'm just talkin' 'bout tonight.

One girlfriend of mine actually had the following "exchange" with a mildly attractive guy after a not-insignificant amount of time together dancing:

Guy: So would you be offended if I asked you to come back to my beach house?
Friend: I'm not offended, but the answer would be 'no.'
Guy: [Wordlessly walks off into the crowd, and is later spotted dancing with another good-looking woman.]

Don't get me wrong, there's usually some decent eye candy at these places. I swear, when you're 23 years old and remotely virile and masculine, sometimes it's not hard not to look totally doable. It doesn't take much (or maybe my standards are dropping the less sex I actually get). But these are straight boys we're talking about; much as I'd love to see them naked, I'm sure it's just not going to happen, and that's all for the best. I'd happily head over to the somewhat more gay-friendly Rehoboth Beach and hit the bar scene there, but the logistics of getting there and back to Chris's house is a bit more effort that I'm willing to coordinate.

Thankfully, at least one friend of mine this year agrees with me with respect to questioning why we keep going back to the Starboard over and over again despite our advancing years. Maybe next time she'll be willing to come with me to hang out at the gay bar(s).

On the flip side of that is my question about why my girlfriends still love going to the beach so much. They're usually not the type to really enjoy the hookup scene or the search for beach boys. By now they're really more interested in longer-term potential; why do they insist on continuing to go to a meat market set against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean? The mind kinda boggles.

In the end, though, the weekend for me was all about being with my friends, away from the city, in an environment that's bit more relaxing and away from the stress of city life. There wasn't much to worry about; we just hung out, enjoyed each others' company, ate a hell of a lot, had (quite) a few drinks, and relaxed. We'll be doing this again a few times this summer, I'm sure. Right now, though, I'm in it more for Chris's hot tub than the Starboard. I only wish he'd be willing to join me in it -- he's kinda cute.


Steve said...

Holy Crap! You just brought back a flood of memories. I spent a summer in Rehoboth Beach when I was, I think, 16, or so. I was so sunburned, I thought I was gonna have to go the hospital. I certainly wasn't into the club thing then, but I remember having a great time.

mysterygirl! said...

It sounds like a fun trip-- getting a break from here can always be a good thing. And I have a similar relationship with the beach-- I love to go, but I often feel weird about the meat market vibe, like I'm too old for this crap. And then I look at all the 40-somethings in cut-offs drinking Budweisers and remember, no, I'm really not too old for much of anything. :)

Ryan said...

That makes me think about the time the family went on vacation to Provicetown, Massachusetts. There was a moment when the when everybody split up and did their own thing, so I'm just walking around town alone - and I'm like 16, by the way. When the night started, I was really creeped out. I was getting a little too many looks from dudes. By midnight, I was on rollerblades and smiling from ear to ear. Being uncomforable in situations really doesn't last long with me - because I will eventually just throw myself in. In this case, I partyed with a bunch of gay dudes! I don't give a shit about it anymore. Is there room in the hottub for me?

Dennis! said...

Steve: I've always wondered how much fun it would be to work at a beach over a summer. Back when I was a teenager, of course. Not so much now.

MG: Do you go to Dewey often? I could totally wingman for you sometime. Gives me more of a sense of purpose at Starboard.

Ryan: Seeing as you are my one-night fuck fantasy, you are more than welcome to hang out sometime. Let me know. :)