The Midults’ guide to…

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Sunbed pol­i­tics


It’s still early. The sun is sooth­ing rather than scorching and, as the only per­son pop­u­lat­ing the snaking line of sunbeds, you are ador­ing the sense of… space. You have cho­sen one on the very end, be­cause you do not like to be flanked in any area of your life. And then an­other early bird ap­pears. And sits next to you. Just to be clear, all the sunbeds are empty and yet this psy­chotic stranger sits NEXT TO YOU. There is some­thing very, very wrong with this be­hav­iour. It is a creepy act of ag­gres­sion. It is not nor­mal. By the way, in this sit­u­a­tion Em­i­lie makes friends. Annabel moves.


No, you can’t bor­row my se­cond towel. I didn’t lug it here in my beach bag out of the goodness of my heart. I am not a re­source for those of you too full of JOY to re­mem­ber your own towel. Not at all. I brought it so that no part of my body has to touch the hot plas­tic of the sunbed and so that, when my bot­tom wets a large (oh, do stop go­ing on) sec­tion of one towel, I can swap it and re­main dry and el­e­gant. Go away.


If you lie on a par­tic­u­lar sun­lounger at the be­gin­ning of the hol­i­day, then it’s yours for the du­ra­tion of your stay. This is the hill we will die on. Sure, there may be some peo­ple who like to move around try­ing dif­fer­ent views (weirdos) and we ad­mire their free spir­its (do we, though?), but we Midults are pro­foundly ter­ri­to­rial. Also, why don’t peo­ple who have only just ar­rived in­stinc­tively know that the bed is ours? They should be able to tell by the way we are star­ing.


If we are ly­ing read­ing, or just supine star­ing at the wa­ter, pos­si­bly drib­bling or rock­ing a lit­tle, or try­ing to ma­noeu­vre our­selves into the most flat­ter­ing yet com­fort­able po­si­tion, DO NOT SPEAK TO US. We are not avail­able for con­ver­sa­tion. Just be­cause they don’t have walls, doesn’t mean they don’t have walls. Capeesh? Which brings us to…


Some­one de­cides to be cosy. ‘Time for a lit­tle chat,’ they think. ‘I’ll just perch on the end of your sunbed. For a nat­ter, cosy-style.’ This is an­noy­ing be­cause it crunches your legs, blocks your sun and in­ter­rupts your pod­cast (maybe you are lis­ten­ing to I’m Ab­so­lutely Fine! They say it’s ex­cel­lent). But it also turns you into a kind of mad pixie who wants to per­form odd, jerky pranks, like throw­ing cold wa­ter over the chat­terer, all the while won­der­ing, ‘What if I just leap to my feet? What then? This whole sit­u­a­tion tips up and… boom! One ir­repara­bly shat­tered coc­cyx. Shall I? SHALL I??’


Once we are in pos­ses­sion of a sun­lounger, we can do what­ever we like with it. We can an­gle it up, down, mid­way, shade it, half-shade it, full-sun it, find the dap­ples, put it in the pool, drag it into the sea or take it to the bar. Pos­ses­sion is 10/10ths of the law.


Hav­ing fi­nally achieved the afore­men­tioned com­fort­able yet flat­ter­ing po­si­tion (if any­one finds it please send di­a­grams of how to get it into it, thank you very much), we ex­pect a level of mu­tual seren­ity from our loung­ing neigh­bours. So get off your phone and also stop be­ing friendly to every­one around you. This is not a cock­tail party. In­stead imag­ine you are in a cinema and sexy Mark Strong is firmly telling you not to chew loudly or wave your de­vices around. In fact, every­body just lie back and think of Mark Strong.


If you bring an ex­tra cush­ion to your sunbed, it doesn’t mean you are old and achey. It means you are bril­liant and wise. You will re­main pert and rather grand, now you come to think about it. The cush­ion is a dec­la­ra­tion of sta­tus. Let the pub­lic ap­proach you… if they dare. This is the only con­text in which an ex­tra cush­ion makes you look fierce. Bey­oncé, with­out a doubt, has an ex­tra cush­ion.

If we are ly­ing read­ing, or just supine, star­ing at the wa­ter, pos­si­bly drib­bling or rock­ing a lit­tle, DO NOT SPEAK TO US

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