An Ode to Beach Bums
I think of myself as a beach bum because I love being at the beach more than anywhere else. Unfortunately, the reality for me — as well as most adults — is that I’m more of a beach bum in attitude than reality since most of the time I’m stuck doing mundane things like working.
It’s kind of a funny term “beach bums,” yet we’re all familiar with it. Nonetheless, for curiosity’s sake, I decided to look up the definition on dictionary.com. Here’s their definition: “an idle person who habitually spends time on or near a beach.” As I said, more of a dream than reality for most people. Interestingly, the term’s origin only dates to 1965.
The Dictionary of American Slang (Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D., Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.) is even more specific — and sexist — writing, “A man who frequents beaches, esp one who is a surfer, who conspicuously shows his muscles, etc (1960s+)” Have they never watched a 60s beach movie? Never heard of Gidget?
Curiosity kept me going, so I turned to modern times’ greatest gift to research, Google. A simple search of the term “beach bums” turned up a ton of businesses with beach bum or beach bums in their titles. Interesting. I didn’t expect that. Apparently, I’m not the only one with hopes of being a beach bum if you include the following businesses who are obviously marketing to all of us aspiring beach bums.
Google Search Results
Beach Bum Tanning — “An award winning (Who knew tanning salons could win awards? Not me.) tanning salon franchise” with over 50 locations and 30+ years of experience. They’re in New York, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia and Westchester areas if you want to check them out.
Traverse City Beach Bums — The Traverse City Beach Bums are a professional baseball team located in Traverse City, Michigan.
Beach Bums Bar — So generic a name that when I did a separate search I found 8 of them: one in Spring TX; one in Napili Maui; one in Wailuku Maui that’s apparently not related to the one in Napili; one in Ma’alaea Maui (I’m not sure about 3 bars on one island with the same name not being part of one larger business); one in Panama City Beach FL; one in North Topsail Beach NC; one in Battle Lake MN; and even one in Durban South Africa.
Beach Bums Maui — Be still my heart. Two of my life goals in one business name.
Beach Bum Motel Ocean City MD — A hotel in Ocean City that’s 4 blocks from the beach and waterfront boardwalk.
Beach bum prices — Huh? Does a life of blissful leisure mean we should pay more or less for things? In reality, results from my search of this term are all about Beach Bum Tanning’s prices.
Beach Bums menu — Pretty standard results, although this turned up one more Beach Bums in Fort Myers Beach FL.
Beach Bum Seafood — Apparently, Beach Bum is a popular restaurant name too.
Beach Bum costume — I didn’t think I needed a costume. Any swimsuit will do.
Beach Bum Vacations — Beach Bum Vacation is an online travel company that specializes in — wait for it — beach vacations including destination weddings, honeymoons, and family vacations.
With the clear popularity of the term beach bum, I’m going to ask Hallmark Cards to create a holiday especially for us. No. On second thought that sounds like too much work. I’m just gonna go to the beach.
To many joyful beach experiences!
— Lisa Dworkin