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Let’s Get Half-Naked!

How to Get Beach Ready for the Season without Cardio, Crunches or Caring

I can’t wait to lose my pants. Pants are my least favorite thing about winter and fall. As soon as the weather gets warm enough for short shirt sleeves, the pants sleeves go too. I’ve desperately missed my cargo shorts throughout this long and ridiculous winter. My poor lower legs need air.

The first day of shorts is a big deal around my house for at least one person. Unfortunately, my wife does not share my enthusiasm. And she isn’t shy about sharing her opinions.

“You think anybody wants to see those hairy ghost calves?” she says. “You need to keep that horror show covered until after Memorial Day.”

Hilarious, right? It’s hilarious every year. Hilariously annoying. But I shrug off her comments and enjoy the cool breeze that only a good short pant can deliver. Her teasing isn’t a big deal. It could be worse. I could be a lady shopping for a swimsuit. 

Full disclosure: I’m not a lady and I’ve never shopped for a lady swimsuit. But from what I understand, it’s not fun. I’ve heard it described as a unique kind of self-torture where human females lock themselves in small dressing closets and are forced to face their physical flaws in front of a three way mirror under very bright lights. Yikes. No thanks.

Me, I gave up worrying about my beach body a long time ago. And the older I get the less I care. My grandma used to say that every person’s body is beautiful and “God doesn’t make mistakes.” But she hasn’t seen me dripping wet, naked as a jaybird and just out of the shower. God made plenty of mistakes and he made them all on me. I’m sure my love for chimichangas didn’t help, but looking at my body you’d think I did something to make God angry.

But like I said, I don’t really care anymore. I did when I was younger because I wanted to be dancing in the foreground on the MTV Spring Break special. I wanted the camera to zoom in on my undulating, rock-hard abs. I wanted millions of viewers at home to drop plates, spit take their drinks or just plain faint from astonishment.

Unfortunately, that dream never came true, so I moved on. I learned to accept reality instead of an impossible, techno-music-teased-hair-Fort-Lauderdale fantasy. 

Now you have a choice of your own to make. I could take up this space with a whole bunch of expert fitness advice and high-impact cardio routines designed to tighten up your core and burn fat like an industrial furnace. I could give you secret tips and tricks for transforming yourself before that first trip to the seashore or the neighborhood pool. I could fill your head with false hope and empty promises, but I’d rather not waste your time.

I’d rather take a moment to get real.

Yes, it will soon be time to stand half-naked among friends, neighbors and strangers. It will be uncomfortable and awkward. You will wish you hadn’t ordered pizza three times last month. You will regret the layer of dust that you let settle on your treadmill through those cold winter weekends. But those are the breaks. Suck it up and suck it in. The body you have is the body you deserve and nobody cares about it half as much as you anyway.

Forget about exercising. Diets are dumb. Sit-ups are for suckers. Your last best hope is absolute and uncompromising acceptance. Let yourself flop, jiggle and bounce. Embrace your paleness, your hairiness and your lack of muscle tone. Enjoy yourself and don’t spend a second worrying about what other people are thinking about you… because odds are, they aren’t thinking about you at all.

This lesson of surrender and acceptance is gleaned from wisdom that I’ve obtained through decades of trial and error. Your leisure time is much better spent thinking about leisure than worrying about which position on the deck chair makes you look more like an Abercrombie model. Who cares? I’ll take fun people over fit people any day. Which would you rather have at a pool party: six pack abs or an ACTUAL six-pack?

I just call things as I see them. In my opinion, the world has become so focused on appearance that it has forgotten all about substance. Personally, I embrace the chance to flaunt my imperfect body on those balmy sunny days. Because when we’re all half-naked on the beach, we’re all exposed and vulnerable. We’re all stripped down and showcased in our natural and unfiltered glory. Some of us look fabulous in a thong, and some of us will give the small children nightmares… that’s just the way life goes.

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