Day 29: Getting a tan at a beach in Cape Cod is BTS

This morning I woke up to the sun beating down mercilessly, the prickly July air begging for a change of plans. A.T., who had been keeping busy with chores for two hours downstairs, promptly stepped forward as its emissary, asking, “Do we really want to spend all day today inside a museum?” By the time he finished the (rhetorical) question, I had already pictured us baking lazily on the beach and sauntering down the streets of Provincetown, just A.T. and I (and my chastity belt and Laszlo). With that, the matter was settled; my date with El Greco and Diego Velazquez at the MFA would have to wait till Sunday.

An hour later, we were on Route 6 in his Trofeo Oldsmobile, beach towels, sandwiches and cans of tomato juice (another of my requests) stocked in the trunk, headed for Cape Cod. The drive took nearly three hours; we spent most of the time talking about random things like the fiasco in A.T.’s town involving a mailman who had been dumping letters for months in the lake before he was found out; A.T.’s next-door neighbor who had six young kids and decorated the front of their house on every major holiday without fail (including the Fourth of July celebration); and whether there was a nude section at Herring Cove Beach, where we would be going to. A couple of times I was lulled to sleep by the steady motion of the car and the dull humming of its engine and doing a bad job at pretending that I wasn’t. Really, moving to New York has made car rides (excepting cabs) such a novelty for me that I find myself having trouble telling a car seat from a hammock.

Around noon, we crossed the Sagamore Bridge to the Cape, an arm-shaped peninsula located on the Easternmost portion of Massachusetts. At its very tip lies P-Town, a resort town where the Pilgrims first landed in 1620 and modern-day urban pilgrims flock to every summer for the beach, art galleries and “Bear Week” (Note: not the hairy mammals National Geographic would typically be interested in). When we caught glimpses of the tip of a tall structure – I later found out it was the Pilgrim Monument in downtown P-Town – through rooftops, A.T. said that we should get to Herring Cove Beach in no time.

When we drove into the beach parking lot, the temperature was in the high 80s and I realized that I was one ill-prepared pilgrim. Cute underwear I brought but not cute swimwear (not that I was planning to swim). As if that weren’t enough, we both forgot to bring sunscreen. After lunching on turkey sandwich and egg salad, we headed for the right side of the beach with our towels; straight families and their kids were on the left side. I did my best to walk tall in my denim shorts and small-sized shirt as we passed by sparse groups of mostly beefy men in flower-print beach shorts.

The beach wasn’t too crowded as it was still the Third of July and, as soon as A.T. and I found a spot, I asked, “Do you mind if I strip down to my cute Speedo-inspired undies?” What a relief that he didn’t! I lay on my stomach to get some sun on my back and opened my copy of The New Yorker. It opened to a short story by Alice Munro called “Deep Holes”. I then read A.T. excerpts of a second piece, “Annals of Medicine: The Itch”, about people plagued by severe itching problems while he counted the number of gay couples who held hands while walking along the beach (his count came to 3). At one point, we noticed a man, probably in his fifties, stopped by two rangers; as far as A.T. and I could tell, he was the only one in the beach who had a gut.

By 4:30 PM, A.T. and I packed up, confident that we would be tan enough for tomorrow’s Fourth of July festivities. While changing, I pulled back my low-rise briefs ever so slightly and there it was, my first underwear tan line for the summer! We drove to downtown P-Town whose zip and bustle was a pleasant surprise to me (more on P-Town in an upcoming entry), checked out a couple of art galleries and found the perfect swimsuit at a shop, a light blue square cut trunk number with an orange vertical band on the right side (which A.T. gave both thumbs up to).  Walking along the district’s main street, Commercial Street, in my new sleeveless shirt and swimwear, I turned to A.T. with an expression half-imploring and half the seductive look of the prepubescent Kirsten Dunst in “Interview With The Vampire” as she licked her lips and meowed to Tom Cruise, “I want some more.”

And just like that, A.T. penciled in another day at P-Town on Saturday. Ah, the things that underwear tan lines make guys do. 




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