It’s finally that time of year: the sun is shining bright and the Mediterranean is sparkling blue. Finals are over, and we all get to pretend like we’ve got nothing better to do than hit up the beach pretty much every single day. Here’s your guide to doing it the Lebanese way.
This is essential for that perfect beach-y look. You can’t be too comfortable in what you’re wearing, or else you’ll stick out. Make sure the bikini or boardshorts you end up selecting make you feel so self-conscious you’re forced to walk in a penguin-like waddle. Don’t be the fool who thinks the beach was made for relaxing.
To top off your uber-self-aware swimsuit, you’re going to need to wear something to take off before you get there, think summer dresses and tanktops. Again, your priority here is not practicality or comfort, it’s all about dressing to impress complete strangers and the friends who accompany you. Pick clothes that are wholly impractical to take off once you get poolside.
Top off your couture-d look with impossibly high heels, because it’s not like you’re going to be walking in the sand anytime soon. Leave the sandals for the commoners and pick tall and unsightly boosters to make sure you stand out. The off balance swaying becomes natural once you’re a few Coronas in, so don’t sweat it. Speaking of, full make-up is a must, just don’t let it melt off your face or get it wet.
In Lebanon, sunscreen is designed to be kept in one place and one place only: your bathroom drawer where you’ll “forget” it every time you head to the beach. You’re aiming for the deepest, darkest, baddest, burnt-est tan possible, and ain’t nobody got time for SPF’s and UV protection. Go one step further and lather yourself in an oil product that resembles crisco butter so you can fry your skin like a loaf of bread. You want this tan to last well into next summer.
The Lebanese beach scene wouldn’t be complete without music so loud you can feel the bass bumping in your bones. You’ll be constantly bombarded by whatever NRJ decides are this summer’s Top 20 hits again and again and again until your ears bleed. Leave the earphones at home and bring your best speakers along to add to the audio chaos we’ll all pretend is music.
You’re probably thinking that the most practical way to carry all your beach accessories would be a spacious, well-to-do canvas beach bag, but then you’d be just another face in the crowd. Go for the exclusivity of a designer bag on the beach and don’t be a worry wart about it getting damaged. Find comfort in the fact that you’re now the face in the crowd with the overpriced bag.
A quintessential activity at any Lebanese beach scene is the staring contest you’re automatically signed up for with every other beachgoer there. Whether it’s Joe Sixpack at the bar who thinks you’re eyeing his girl, or that Regina George tribute who’s giving you the stink eye, you’re in for a treat. Go for the reflective shades so their glares bounce back at them and weaken their powers.
Two sights you’ll feast your eyes on this summer lie on opposite ends of the spectrum. In this corner, and bringing with it potbellied twenty-somethings and men old enough to be your dad: the trademark beer belly, sponsored by Almaza. And in the other one, you’ve got single digit body fat percentages and infinite sit ups with the athletic six pack. Which six would you pick to win?
Even if “Mexican Beer” (Read Almaza with lemon juice and a salted rim or Corona with a lime wedge) is every Beiruti’s drink of the season, change is good. Especially if change means trying a smorgasbord of fruits and flavors all blended in a tall glass with an audacious color scheme and name to match. Note: Make sure you’re a female or prepare for the bartender’s inevitable double take.
The final step and probably the most integral to you preparing for a Lebanese beach day is picking your spot. Now keep in mind that you’ll want a sunbed near people but not anywhere too crowded. A little nook not too far from the bar but not too close to it either, with just enough sun but not too much. Oh and you’ll have to get there early enough to book one before all the good ones are taken. Happy hunting!