Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.


CP: When a 24-hour rain system moved across Cape Cod last week, there was loud grousing among vacationers about missing a beach day. For me, it was blessed relief from our frenemy, the sun.


RN: When I caught the East Coast’s sunny-and-hot weather reports, I was picturing you applying the No. 80 with a trowel.


CP: Wish that were true of our pal, John. We rented kayaks to paddle across the harbor to picturesque Long Point lighthouse. I warned everyone that this activity was a great way to get a sunburn. Pay special attention to the tops of your feet, I said. Did he listen?


RN: Does he ever?


CP: As youngsters, we were left alone to turn brown or red in direct violation of all modern skin-care standards. Nowadays I see the little ones running around and swimming in these long-sleeved, hooded rash guards. Sensible, but the family starts to resemble an outing of brightly colored Teletubbies.


RN: I’m not sure who garners more sympathy: the struggling kid who doesn’t want Mom or Dad to lather on the sunscreen, or the parents who are wrestling with their offspring like so many muddy pigs with the goal of protecting them from skin cancer.


CP: As teens, a peak summer day was a long sit in a hot yard with a Fresca, cigarettes and some zero-SPF bronzing oil.


RN: Or how about those early spring days when you’d take a double album — the Beach Boys’ “Endless Summer,” maybe — cover it in aluminum foil and use it as a mirror to concentrate even more tanning rays? The poor man’s tanning bed.


CP: There is a whole subset of dermatologists who’ve been enriched by zapping, freezing and removing suspicious dark spots caused by our generation’s reckless tanning.


RN: My neighborhood tanning parlor just went out of business.


CP: From what I have seen and heard, the modern tanning-booth biz succeeds mainly on the credit cards of millennials. When will we learn?


RN: About the same time people stop smoking, I imagine. I have a friend who has studiously ignored the sun’s rays for most of her adult life. This is how not-tan she is: She was once at the Lancôme counter looking for foundation, and one salesperson mortifyingly yelled across the counter to a co-worker, “Where’s the alabaster?” Of course, today my friend looks at least a decade younger than anyone our age.


CP: Hate her. I look increasingly like George Hamilton’s dad.


RN: Hey, at least you have that full and rather glorious mane of yours. Try being bald in this Damaged Ozone age in which we live. I spend 10 minutes in the sunshine without protection and my chrome dome glows red hot.


CP: I feel for you and my bald besties, suffering under a thick layer of SPF 75 cream. Living here, you at least can take comfort in the near disappearance of the sun for months at a time.


RN: Yeah, that’s when our protection frequently takes the form of a wool stocking cap. Cold comfort, indeed.


E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com

Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib