The Midults’ guide to…
KEEP YOUR DISTANCE
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.
THE MINE GAME
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…
THE TIPPING POINT
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??’
THE POSSESSION PRINCIPLE
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.
THE LOUDNESS RULE
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