A Couch Surfer’s Guide to the Shore

How to mooch your way into the good graces of your more fortunate friends.

Still haven’t received that invite to your neighbor’s beachfront pad in Avalon? Is your CrossFit bestie not getting the hint about Beach Haven Follow these tips, and you’ll be sunning at the Shore in no time.

  • Don’t arrive empty-handed. Maybe it’s the Italian in me, but if I’m worthy of an invite, it warrants multiple courses. My “Norristown Buffet” includes zeps, cheesesteaks, barbecue from Zachary’s, a Corropolese tomato pie, crabs from Anastasi, Sarcone’s hoagies, and cannoli from Isgro Pasticceria.
  • Be entertaining. During stop-and-go rides to the Shore as a kid, my imitations of Forrest Gump and Mrs. Doubtfire kept the family amused. You don’t have to be a court jester—just don’t be a drag. 
  • No squatting. Even if the invitation is open-ended, clearly articulate an arrival and departure time. I recommend getting there Friday morning and leaving promptly on Sunday. Also realize that your invite doesn’t automatically include a “plus one.”
  • Don’t be Kate Upton. You won’t see me by the pool in a skimpy bikini. Sorry, fellas, a topless sunbather may be your fantasy guest, but your wife won’t be sabotaging my margarita.
  • Never expect turndown service. Also, don’t immediately ask for the Wi-Fi password—and, please, control that Instagram finger.
  • Learn how to adapt. If the hostess tells her children to wait a half-hour after eating to go swimming, follow suit. Imagine how your brood would react if they had to watch other kids playing in the pool. 
  • Provide a pleasant surprise. Take the host family out to dinner. Have bagels waiting for them in the morning. For extra brownie points, offer to watch the kids for a night.
  • Live with the fact that some invites aren’t forthcoming. Stop dropping hints, and set your sights on another friend (victim).

Illustration by Michele Melcher

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