It’s the hottest day of the year. Humidity levels are high. Humility levels are higher.
I dived for a seat on my morning train in a desperate attempt to secure a space to breathe in the sauna that is South Eastern railway. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to me, my skirt got caught on the armrests, and I believe I displayed myself for between 7-10 minutes before realising. Not hot. Not cool.
When news of a heatwave hits London, I feel like running far, far away, or hiding in a fridge.
I’m not insane. In some ways I do love the summer. Vitamin D, picnics, light nights, light mornings, endorphins, strawberries, barbecues and cider for breakfast…I want it all.
But, the thing is, I also just hate it. And it hates me.
Every picnic has its wasp. Every sunbathe has a sweat patch. Every bargain strawberry has a pesticide (it’s true – I read it on The Guardian). Not to mention way too many photos of people kissing dolphins on Facebook. Just stop it, guys. They’re not happy.
Don’t get me wrong, as soon as we hit June (read: a tepid day in March) I am digging out the sandals, shaving my legs post-hibernation, freezing everything in sight, and spending as much time as possible outside, trying to grow more freckles and looking for dogs in hot cars I can rescue.
But I also realise about four minutes in that summer is bloody hard work, right? I am facing a constant battle to stop sneezing in fear of my internal organs falling out my nose. I overheat so many times in one day I think I could potentially become the newest source of renewable energy. I resent being inside every single moment it is sunny which makes me very impatient at work. Not to mention the impossible feat that is trying to look good. It is exceptionally traumatising trying to be, not even sexy, just merely recognisable, when you have a constant brain freeze from all the ice, potential septicaemia from this year’s sandal blisters, and a rash from sitting on the grass.
So I’ve been thinking to myself (today at work, when I should be outside, but I’m not, because life, but whatever) how to make it happen for me this year. I don’t think it’s realistic for me to expect this to be a totally sweat-free season, but I need to figure out how to stay cool, in all the senses of the word. This summer has to be cool because at the end of it I turn 25, which may be too old for slogan crop tops.
But how…just…how can one look hot…but not look hot?
London is full of exceptionally beautiful people. This can be demoralising when my beach waves look like hair I’ve just pulled out of the plug hole. I just seem to fall apart in extreme temperatures; my foundation slips off my face within about five minutes of being outside, and my eyes water so much from the pollen I’ve rubbed most of my mascara off before I get anywhere. But bare-faced chic is not an option. If I don’t wear make-up I resemble a blind mole seeing light for the first time. It’s the curse of the fair haired. We are reliant on eyebrow pencils and eyeliners so that other humans recognise we have eyes in the first place, therefore enabling us to communicate successfully.
Well, whilst our hair and features blend into one in the sunlight, as blondes, we do get away with not shaving our legs every day. That’s five whole minutes freed up each day that we can now spend necking Pimms (or a European stranger if it suits – as long as he doesn’t notice your leg stubble glittering in the sunlight). But most importantly, most importantly, I’ve realised (/am telling myself) that summer makes everyone a lot more vain. Every surface in the sunlight is automatically about five thousand times more reflective, which means we are all way too busy assessing our own apparel and beach hair or trying to find the sun cream at the bottom of our bags to worry about anyone else.
So we can ease the pressure off looking hot in the heat, right? No one can see anything anyway because of the sweat blinding their eyes. It’s time to chill and have fun.
It’s time for food al fresco at least once a day. I’m working all over the place right now and while temping is genuinely the opposite of cool it does mean I get to find somewhere new in the city to eat lunch every day and I love it. I really think I will remember this summer not only as that time I had to wear a suit in 35 degrees but more importantly, the time I fell back in love with London again.
It’s time to freeze everything. It’s about re-living your childhood with water fights, ice pop overdoses and sandcastles. It’s time to actually make the most of a weekend. There are outdoor cinemas on every street – the best ever place to hide if you’re worried about other human beings seeing your heat rash and the perfect place to lower your body temperature and slowly but surely increase your self-esteem. It’s time to learn a new language so you have an excuse to book another holiday and to eat as much tapas as possible just because. It’s about finding time just for you, a life-changing book, and all your tanning potential. And late night walks while it’s still light – even if you can’t see a sunset you might see a disorientated badger.
So I feel like I’m getting there. I haven’t seen a badger yet. But there’s still time. Happy holidays! XXXXX