Friday, February 10, 2012


I keep seeing women in the Big Corp office wearing halternecks and strappy sundresses. Today I commented, not without a sniff of judgement, that 'Some of these women look as if they're going to the beach'. (For reference, I was wearing a cute faux-Chanel jacket with bracelet sleeves, and a pleated skirt.)

My Brazilian colleague agreed. 'Yes - the beach, or a party,' he laughed, nodding appreciatively. I suppose he didn't mind all that bare tanned skin on show. Funny that.

On reflection, I decided, they probably were. Going to the beach or a party, that is. Or better still, both: a beach party. This is Rio after all.

Living by the beach turns everyone a little scruffy. I rarely got out of soft jersey and battered denim back in Malibu. And that beachy style is not just superficial. Something about the sound of surf, the smell of salt air, and a prospect involving sand and a watery horizon, just forces you to unwind. Being by the sea is just simply, purely, happy-making.

Maybe I'm a bit skewed, because my childhood was spent in a house on a cliff, and even when we moved inland, we were just 4 miles away from the beach. And then, TLOML and I had the happiest of times, living in bliss in our little surf shack in Malibu. For me, by the seaside is my happy place.

So I was trying to develop a theory about how people are happier if they live by the sea. I haven't got far on the mental health benefits, despite rigourous research much Googling. One of the top five 'happiest countries in the world' doesn't even have a coastline (Switzerland, if you're interested).

There's plenty of gubbins about the physical health benefits, though. Fresh air and the outdoor lifestyle that a beach beckons you into, are good for your heart, weight, and so on. That's clearly true - but I'm thinking not of my waistline but of that skip the seaside puts in my step.
What is that haze that lies over Rio? I think it's just the dust caused by the friction of many goodlooking people living by the sea. Happiness dust, I'd call it.

1 comment:

  1. It's little wonder you were so happy by the UK seaside. Your home-town happiness dust was generated by the iron & steel industry and created a similar canopy as it wafted across the North Sea to mainland Europe.