The Origin Of “Long Walks On The Beach” Phrase

It’s instantaneous. The moment you hear the words “long walks on the beach,” your mind opens up its music videos file and clicks on Escape by Rupert Holmes…… “If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain…..” You’re convinced that the line is in the lyrics somewhere. It fits the theme exactly. But it isn’t, so where do the “long walks on the beach” phrase come from then?

The phrase “long walks on the beach” originates from how many people searching for marriage partners or companions would describe their likes in the Personal Ads column in the newspapers of days gone by. This was the antiquated form of online dating, and today many people still use this cliché.

A long walk on the beach could be just that. It could be so windy that every exposed part of your body would be getting sandblasted. It could be your daily exercise. Or it could be that picture in your mind of you walking hand in hand with the love of your life (to be, because you haven’t met them yet), under the moonlit sky. It’s this romantic fantasy that inspires the use of the age-old phrase.

Long Walks On The Beach

It’s impossible to pinpoint the exact era when the phrase became popular, or should we say clichéic, as a symbol for seeking romance. It was common in the Personal Ads columns of yesteryear, and the online dating circles love-seekers still use it.

In most cultures, by a certain age, it’s expected that people will begin to find life partners and historically, a large proportion of partnerships were arranged marriages, usually based on how much each family could benefit from the deal.

Though the traditions have changed in modern society, the bulk of the world’s single population is looking for love. Sadly, it never happens for some, but many take the matter into their own hands if the partner pool is a little small and they begin to shine up their images to attract the best possible catch.

The History Of The Hunt For Romance

As old world traditions faded, people began to see the appeal of choosing their spouses themselves for love. Or any other reason, but they wanted it on their own terms. But how would you achieve that in a young nation on a vast continent? The answer, as always, was to advertise.

Evidence of personal advertisements for romance dates back to the eighteenth century in the USA. In 1759 an easy-going young man placed an advertisement for a young lady, to paraphrase, between the ages of 18 and 23, with a medium build, brown hair, and she should have good morals.

Feeling the need to be the masters or mistresses of their destinies, both men and women placed ads like this in the local newspapers, usually with the intent of finding a spouse. By the 1780s, the population had grown in leaps and bounds, and finding a mate by advertising often seemed like a business deal, all about looks and function.

One man wrote to “the fair sex,” describing himself as good-looking and wealthy, wanting to “engage in happy and holy matrimony.” But there was a condition: the lady should not be deformed, be under 40 years of age, and possess at least 1000 pounds. Some even advertised for women with sweet breath and good teeth!

As the decades passed, people frequently went off to meet and marry strangers through connections they made via these advertisements. As the nation grew, men often headed off to the frontiers, while women lived mainly in the Eastern towns. It became common for women to leave their homes and marry strangers halfway across the country.

Many of those marriages lasted. Many didn’t. The problem that many have with online dating these days was the same that many people had then: false advertising. A lady could travel hundreds of miles to meet a man and, on arrival, she could be very disillusioned. There are even recorded cases of murder arising from these advertised unions. It could and did happen the other way around too.

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The Meaning Of “Long Walks On The Beach”

Singles looking for dates or lifelong partners don’t use newspaper columns anymore. It’s easy enough to download an app, upload your profile and start swiping through the millions of possible love matches.

When people include this old phrase on their online dating profile, they may be trying to describe their love of nature, relaxation, and intimacy. It’s a traditional way of saying, “I’m romantic and sensitive, and I’m looking for someone equally so to share my life with.” But online dating coaches say that it is so unoriginal that possible matches would have seen it hundreds of times and look past it.

“Liking long walks on the beach” is certainly a cliché, mainly when people are looking for a date or a permanent partner or spouse. Clichés lose their significance, in this case, the cry for love, peace, and intimacy. The essence of this phrase is a person’s search for true love, their happily ever after.

Long Walks On The Beach Can Attract Sharks

Although many people who participate in online dating, or in days gone by advertised in the newspaper, are probably fairly honest and trustworthy, this isn’t always the case. Swiping your way through the fish in the sea can also attract sharks!

It has happened over the centuries, and still does in online dating circles, that people pretend to look for love and prey on those desperate for it. At the beginning of the 20th century, Carl Mueller preyed on lonely women. He married them, got his friend Henry Meyer to poison them, and then collected life insurance payouts at their deaths. Sadly there are many stories like this.


The phrase “long walks on the beach” is entrenched in the search for true love, undoubtedly coined in the personal ads columns. It has become a cliché, but it highlights the human need for love and companionship. After all, “no man is an island” and “we are better together.”