Hey, you. I see you. I know you. I am you.

You’re the pale girl on the beach. No, don’t get embarrassed! It’s ok! I would tell you not to be so paranoid, but we’re on the beaches of New Jersey, so there’s no chance that everyone isn’t staring at you. But that’s just fine, because help has arrived – my years of experience in reflecting the sunlight off my glaring white epidermis have rendered me an expert at being the pale girl on the beach, so I’mma tell you how to be the best south-of-the-wall White Walker you can be. Strap yourself in, doll, your white ass is about to be helped.

Preparations start long before the trip arrives. You have to shop. A lot. A sun shelter, a large floppy hat, a floaty-yet-protective coverup, sunglasses with lenses so big they could be used as ping pong paddles in a pinch. These are all things you need. And the sunscreen… so much sunscreen. I would advise getting a range of SPF levels, anywhere from a modest 35 to the liquid drywall-level SPF that’s basically the equivalent of massaging a room onto yourself. Plan to offer all of these aggressively to all of your friends, mela-toned (get it?) or not, because safety.

Now that your beach bag is filled with enough sun barricades to pull off a Lex Luther plot to steal the weather, it’s time to select a bathing suit. Now, most of you are probably expecting me to advise finding a full coverage one-piece complete with rash guard and leg warmers, but that might lead some to believe you are embarrassed of your color and/or shape. Hell no, baby! You put your alabaster body on display loud and proud in whatever suit you like best, whether you’re a thick chick or a string bean. Ain’t nobody got time for body-shamers! Besides, your paleness just makes them seem tanner in comparison, so they should really be thanking you.

Finally, it’s time to head off to the beach. Get yourself a cooler full of beer and wine water, pack yourself some nutrient-free junk food healthy, processed-sugar-free snacks, and boogie on down to the sand. Once you’re there, you have every right to a perfect spot in the sun, even if you’re going to build a UVA/UVB-proof fort around yourself within it, so get aggressive and snag that patch of sand with the clear ocean view and proximity to the snack bar. Whip off your floaty-yet-protective coverup and lather up with your various creams and pastes. Pro tip: the thickest sunscreens are the best sunscreens. If you find your sunscreen is impossible to full rub in and leaves swipes of unabsorbed white goop all over your person, congratulations – you’ve found the best one.

The last step is simply to enjoy yourself. You want to veg out in your shelter and read Harry Potter? Petrificus Totalus, girl! You want to romp around in the surf? Romp to your unpigmented heart’s content! (The unexpected bonus to swimming is that all the pesky sea creatures will likely see your pallid lower half, assume you’re a ghost, and keep their creepy distance!)

Light skin or dark, there is no “right” color for enjoying the seaside, and there’s no “right” way to enjoy it. Just remember to be safe and reapply when needed, and for god’s sake, get into the shade if your lilywhite extremities start to smoke. Being unembarrassed is one thing, being the girl that spontaneously-combusted is quite another. And if anyone ever makes a comment disparaging your or anyone else’s skin color, body shape, or style, remember that only douchebags waste a beautiful day at the beach making negative comments about others.

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