Do You Use Your Left Hand or Your Right?

March 5, 2009 at 9:04 am (Uncategorized)

Living so close to the beach, I commonly bear witness to a number of things I may otherwise never (or only very rarely) see. Some of these are a rare privilege to behold: a perfect sunrise, perhaps, or a pod of dolphins surfing the waves, occasionally so close I have seen water beading off their fins. The beach is also the great leveller. I have seen more than my share of exposed human flesh over the years, not all of it pretty. The normal rules of modesty don’t apply the second your feet touch the sand. Get your kit off, why don’t you, it’s the beach. That’s what it’s for. Near nudity on a mass scale. And it doesn’t matter what you look like under your clothes, you’ll still freely disrobe as soon as you’re on the golden sands of sweet and universal permission. Everyone’s invited to get very nearly naked, and if that gorilla man over there isn’t remotely embarrassed by his hairy back and shoulder carpet, why on earth should you be embarrassed about an unruly bikini line or a lopsided breast or a cellulite dimpled thigh? Well, you shouldn’t, so relax. If I worried about all my bodily imperfections, I’d be forced to make myself available for nightly viewing only, fully clothed and by candlelight. You’d have to make an appointment to stop by and chat to me through the curtain. But luckily it’s the beach and no one cares. Chances are no one’s even looking. Unless they happen to be male, of course, and then they don’t miss a trick. Even an old trick performed by a dying dog.

Anyway, it takes all sorts. Including people who are so sun orange that they look like Oompa Loompas (come on, surely you noticed that truly extraordinary make-up watching the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie as a child? I wonder what Roald Dahl made of that. Their bronzy complexion in the film is really so like that of the modern sun worshipper. A really thick, unnatural tangerine that looks like it would come off on the sheets). And volleyballers. Amateur beach volleyballers. What is it about ’em? I don’t know, but they make me laugh and cringe at the same time. 

I was walking home along the beachfront before, and all the nets were in use. The atmosphere was full of bouncy zeal. Most of them wore matching t-shirts, emblazoned with something or other SLAM! I couldn’t read it properly because they wouldn’t stand still. They were too busy being beach volleyballers. 

“Use me, hero, that’s it, use me!” cried one guy, leaping from foot to foot like he was standing on hot coals. The “hero” then threw the ball; the leaper fumbled and missed. The ball rolled away and everyone looked momentarily stumped. Silence briefly befell the team (I was laughing uncontrollably on the inside). But then the leaper decided to turn his dropped ball into an important lesson for them all, our hero in particular, so he started calling out future instructions even as he ran over to collect the offending ball (which clearly hadn’t behaved as it was supposed to). I admit I thought to myself “You doofas.” In fairness, it’s nothing personal. It’s nothing to do with the leaper himself. I tend to think “you doofas” whenever I wander past the beach volleyball nets, because generally speaking, there’ll be at least one guy there doing something that deserves all the scorn that passersby can silently heap upon him. Calling a teammate “hero” is a good start.

Then there’s the compulsive arse pat. This is ONLY acceptable – and even then, puh-lease! spare me! – if and only if you’ve actually won the point. If you’ve lost the point, patting your buddy’s arse isn’t fooling anyone. Just stop it. Keep your hands to yourself, or better yet, try and use them to help your game. They don’t give extra points for arse contact, although I had to check. At first I assumed they must. Why else was there such an arse grab every time the ball went out?

Then there’s always a bandanna dude. The guy who thinks he’s Matthew McConaughey. He’s always good fun too. He’s the one with his shirt off, doing Downward Dogs by the side of the net. A matted curl either way and he could almost be mistaken for someone who sleeps on the beach because he actually has nowhere else to go. Like a homeless guy. Almost. But not quite. Because you see, Bandanna Dude actually spends between four and eight hours on his appearance every day. It is extremely important to him. In fact, it’s the only thing that is. 

I do love the ones who can play without ever using their hands. That’s actually impressive to watch, and it’s seriously athletic. Head, knees, feet, chest…if they hit the sweet spot on the ball, over it goes, strong and true and controlled. But even then, you can see they’re just show ponies too, more of the same, proud peacocks strutting their stuff. And then I started to wonder exactly what it was they were saving their hands for… but gee, it sure made sense when I finally figured it out.



  1. Grad said,

    I still say that there are some things that should not be manufactured over a size 8.

  2. Lilian Nattel said,

    Nice description. I enjoyed reading that.

  3. doctordi said,

    Interesting you should say that, Grad. Judging from the miniscule size of the bikinis female players wear, you would honestly think swimwear wasn’t available beyond a size 6. Needless to say they always draw an enthusiastic crowd of drooling male onlookers.

    Lilian, are you just trying to make me feel better?! Thanks – that’s really all I could ever ask for!

  4. davidrochester said,

    Unless they happen to be male, of course, and then they don’t miss a trick. Even an old trick performed by a dying dog.

    *snort* Thanks for the chuckle!

  5. litlove said,

    Very funny, Di! When at my son’s parents’ evening a week or so ago, his teacher offered me a priceless description of young men as ‘testosterone-raddled puppies’. I’ve been in love with this phrase ever since and I humbly offer it to you as possibly appropriate to the occasion.

  6. doctordi said,

    David, it’s always lovely returning the favour.

    Litlove, that’s perfect!

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