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Everything That's Cool Under the Sun

The rules and regulations that go with enjoying a day at the beach.

July 22, 2001|JIM SHEA | HARTFORD COURANT

This being the time of year for the masses to amass on sun-stroked stretches of burning sand in the name of relaxation, a review of proper beach etiquette is in order. To facilitate the examination, we have called upon our resident arbiter of good taste and social interaction, Mr. Mannerisms.

Mr. Mannerisms has agreed to answer your questions because Mr. Mannerisms will be going to the beach soon himself and does not wish to be annoyed.

Dear Mr. Mannerisms:

What are the rules concerning personal space at a crowded beach?

Slow Reader:

Outside of Greenwich, Conn., beaches do not enforce side-yard variances for blankets. So in the absence of regulations, here are the rules: Blankets may not touch, umbrellas may not shade beyond their borders, chairs may not interfere with access. It is also understood that one may not, under any circumstances, trod on the blanket of another.

Dear Mr. Mannerisms:

Is it OK to bring high-powered binoculars to a nude beach?

Slow Reader:

In your case, no. In Mr. Mannerisms' case, yes, because Mr. Mannerisms brings his binoculars only to watch passing ships and keep track of weak swimmers.

Dear Mr. Mannerisms:

What are the dos and don'ts of urinating in the water?

Slow Reader:

You are to be commended for asking this question. Finding relief in the water is one of those things that everyone does, but no one admits. It goes without saying that heeding nature's call in this way is always a last resort. However, when it is the only option, it should be exercised with due care. The first consideration, of course, is the current--never go with the flow. Crowds are to be avoided. Then there is the matter of discretion. Stealth should be employed, thus, one should neither sigh nor smile, no matter how liberating the experience. Finally, one should never use this natural function for revenge.

Dear Mr. Mannerisms:

Watching people slather on suntan lotion can be an unsettling experience. Are there any guidelines?

Slow Reader:

Yes. Suntan lotion should never be applied to areas that don't get any sun.

Dear Mr. Mannerisms:

This is an ethical question. If you notice the fat guy on the blanket next to you has fallen asleep and is being cooked by the sun, should you wake him up, or mind your own business?

Slow Reader:

You failed to mention a third option--basting him. However, given the original question you posed, I feel you should wake him up--unless, of course, he trod on your blanket.

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