1. Don’t bring your entire house to the beach with you. Dragging four chairs, two umbrellas, the air- conditioner-sized cooler, towels, extra towels, suntan lotions in three different SPF levels, a few thousand pages of reading material, plus enough food and drink to sustain everyone on the sand through a hurricane will not only make you seem old, it will make you feel it.
2. Don’t wear a hat as big as a tent. Remember the enormous hat Samantha wore in the first Sex and the City movie? Hilarious. Effective, even. But wearing one in real life – make that any wide-brimmed straw hat – will make you seem old.
3. Quit slathering suntan lotion on everyone within reach. It’s probably a mom thing, but younger women endlessly oil their own bodacious bodies, and older women oil everybody else’s. Keep your hands, and your suntan lotion, to yourself.
4. Drop the heavy reading. My husband takes perverse pleasure in reading heavy books on the beach. Really heavy books, like Les Miserables, or War and Peace. But no one under 40 is reading anything heavier than last week’s celebrity gossip.
5. Don’t stand at the edge of the water forever. You know those old people who wade in up to their ankles, and then stand there, and stand there, and stand there, sometimes splashing a little water on their chests, their arms, yet never actually submerging themselves? Don’t be one of those people.
6. Ignore those broken seashells. Seashell collecting is only for people under seven and over 70, so stop strolling along the waterfront, stopping every two feet to bend over and examine a cracked clamshell.
7. Don’t plant your chair in the surf. This is one of those old-people things that I really enjoy doing and am not going to give up. Plant chair at waterline. Stretch out legs. Let surf wash up over your feet and butt. Look like you’re 112. Don’t care.
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