Observations from a sunlounge…an irreverant take on the Italian Beach…

IMG_8797 Only bikinis shall be worn. The one piece does not exist. The bigger the woman the smaller the bikini should be…preferably the G-string variety.

The “small bathers principal” also applies to men. Your beer gut should completely obscure your swimming costume so that when you face someone front on it actually appears as if you are totally naked (in Australia we call this the ‘verandah over the tool shed syndrome.’) My European friends are welcome to ask me to define both ‘verandah’ and ‘toolshed’…preferably over a drink.

Men should either shave their entire bodies or look like chimpanzees. No middle ground acceptable.

It is compulsory for all men to totally ignore their wives, girlfriends and mistresses to stare blatantly at women exiting and entering the water and say in an exaggerated undertone “mamma mia, mio dio, che bella!” You do this automatically regardless of whether the subject is bella or not. Because we can’t see your toolshed (it’s obscured by your verandah), we will thankfully never know if you are genuine or not. PS…don’t worry, you will be forgiven for this behaviour. We know you are religious because your medallion, when not obscured by a forest of chest hair, is brighter and more dazzling than the sun.

Children should run around all day in the extreme summer heat without a hat, protective clothing or sunscreen. In fact naked is best. The ‘slip, slop, slap’ campaign has not reached Southern Italy (in any case slipping, slopping and slapping would make you look unattractive and that is unacceptable). Skin cancer doesn’t exist in the Northern Hemisphere anyway.

When a child needs to wee pick them up and encourage them to piddle into the moat of their sandcastle or into their plastic bucket. Convenience is best. In fact, if your child’s sandcastle or bucket is not available then encourage them to piddle in/on someone else’s. I mean, if you move away from your chosen spot someone might come and steal it…or a sudden move (admittedly quite difficult in high heels) might cause your suntan to become uneven…and that is sooooo uncool.

Beach buskers…ummmm…if you are going to serenade a woman on her sun-lounge with the most appalling, excruciating and terrible rendition of ‘O Sole Mio’ (with guitar accompaniment), you may want to check first that she is not an opera singer. But thanks all the same for the entertainment. You were so very, very bad that I almost enjoyed your performance. Note to self; if I sing really, really badly in the future will I get paid more because people feel sorry for me??!!

Polignano a Mare

Polignano a Mare

If you are a non Italian speaker the most important phrase you can learn is “NO, I don’t want to buy a sarong.” If you are really studious you could expand this phrase to “NO, I don’t want to buy a sarong in black, a bracelet, a sarong in green, an umbrella, a sarong in purple, a dog that can say ‘ti amo’ while it’s ears flap up and down, a blue sarong, a yellow submarine, a sarong in any f’ing colour.” The really clever should learn all the above in French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Russian and Urdu…because the salesman’s linguistic abilities know no limits. Better still, forget the above and pretend you are deaf and blind, thereby avoiding a raised blood pressure on vacation. And try not to constantly think what a pity it is that no one is trying to sell you a nice, cold bottle of pinot grigio!

The smaller and rockier the beach the more money it will cost to spend the day there. Foreigners will be charged more on principal. The man who rents the sun beds will randomly decide a price based on the size of your bikini.

The ocean is not for swimming. It is in fact for standing in chatting on your i-phone or in large family groups in your designer sunglasses, preferably whilst eating focaccia or pizza.

Water sports are forbidden. Bats, balls and frisbees ruffle the mirror-like surface of the water causing you to momentarily lose sight of your reflection.

And finally, it is acceptable to laugh at the foreign girl from Australia when she jumps out of the water every time a piece of seaweed floats by and says, “Shit. Sorry. I thought that was a shark!”

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