I don’t like Summer. There. I said it. You can look aghast at me all you like. You with your fruity Kopparberg and your bronzed shoulders and your RayBans on the roof gardens of pubs, getting high off those sweet al fresco vibes.
Some people love Summer. I’m not one of them. Sure, I like the sunshine, providing it’s not more than 25 degrees, I don’t have to walk far and I can have regular shade-breaks to stop my scalp going pink. But Summer brings with it a whole new, odious rule book. Shouty ads on the Underground demand to know if we are bikini-body ready – I am the lucky owner of both Body + Bikini (and more than one bikini at that, although I don’t like to boast), so I am sorted, thanks. Wanky Veet adverts on TV show me how much happier and more fulfilled I would be if I was able to slide a silk scarf without snagging it down one of my pine-needled limbs. Jumpers, coats and all things that give comfort suddenly become a massive no-no.
I am one-hundred percent a Winter baby. I love getting wrapped up and going on long frosty walks, cosying-up in coffee shops with a good book and steaming lattes, coming in from the cold to the welcome embrace of blankets and comforting hot food. Give me Winter, layers of wool, gratuitous numbers of gargantuan polo-necks and temperatures which allow you to wear copious amounts of black, any day of the week. Summer, on the other hand, is something I regard with mild horror, whenever it appears.
Each year, Summer follows a similar pattern for me. I usually first remember that I strongly dislike Summer when temperatures require me to leave the house with bare legs, but I haven’t remembered to shave them in weeks. I also realise that my limbs resemble the sun-starved, purple-tinged corpses you see in Scandi Noir programs. This poses a problem. I either exhibit my pale, foresty limbs to the general public or I wear jeans.
The jeans option always wins out; and so it goes that I spend the day sweating and swearing into them until I can finally go home and end the clammy, sad, denim-y torture.
Shaving/waxing/plucking/whatever-ing your legs is so bloody boring. I resent doing it at the best of times, but then Summer comes along and demands that you must begin doing this with military precision on a regular basis, no negotiation allowed. If you’re a proper woman, you should probably deign to slap on some fake tan too, and start hitting the gym to tone up that unsightly flab. I could probably have written a novel in the total hours I’ve wasted depilating to within an inch of my life from age 13, just so as to look socially acceptable when I leave the house.
And also, I live in the UK. A month or so back, I cajoled myself into spending valuable time waxing, ahead of a sunny spell, only for my smooth, unstubbly legs to remained covered up for the entirety of the following four hair-free weeks because it fucking rained every day. Sigh.
Plus, what do you wear? Everything is sheer, skimpy, shapeless and looks good on very few people (read: 16 year olds and models at Coachella). I refer you back to my previous point: Summer clothes usually equal the showing of oodles of palid, flesh, therefore rendering shaving and fake tanning non-negotiable.
It seems to be a rule that Summer clothes must also have no practical element whatsoever. Sheer, backless chiffon dresses may look beautiful and ethereal on the pages of a magazine, however flashing your nipples next to the photocopier doesn’t translate quite so well into work situations, I find. There is something so utterly galling about switching those comforting Winter layers for the barely-thereness of lightweight Summer garms. The efficiency of Summer clothing is to me what a Tampax mini is to a heavy menstrual cycle.
There is another thing I also need to complain about here. Sandals. I have never seen a foot that I would describe as ‘an attractive foot’. No one looks at somebody’s feet and comments, “Hey, cute foot. Did you cut your toenails last night?” Aside from a small minority of the population who seem to be big fans of feet, feet are largely uncommented upon and left to be, well, ugly old feet.
This is something my own are excellent at. Crammed into inappropriately pointy boots for the vast majority of the year, bashed about when errands turn into small marathons, my feet are like miniature warriors, gathering scars, lumps and bumps, brought about by the hard knocks of everyday life. In short, they are not a joy to behold.
For most of the year, this is fine. They remain hidden in their little ankle-booty sanctuary, coming out only in the comfort of my own home, and occasionally to annoy my horrified boyfriend by putting them on his head when he starts falling asleep. Suddenly in the harsh glow of Summer sun and the requisite toe-heel-and-sole-baring footwear, these previously hidden little secrets of mine are required to be on full show. Hard skin, knobbly toes, grown-out nail varnish and all.
“That’s OK,” cajole Scholl, Pretty Feet and other brands on a trip to Boots. “Moisturise away that rough skin. Slough it off in the shower.”
For these brands, I have only one thing to say. Short of being the kind of person who sits on their arse all day being fed grapes, moisturising one’s feet is rarely a practical option. And also, I’m already quite busy plucking away rogue hairs and slathering on fake tan elsewhere, the suggestion that I am now supposed to be worried by what my feet look like is not one I’m happy about.
And why do sandals always, without fail, give the most horrendous blisters? Cleaning blood off shoes becomes a new hobby of mine as soon as Summer arrives. And thus the cycle of ugly feet, out and about continues. An endless battle, never to be won.
I don’t mean to be a moany bitch, really I don’t. It’s just that, for a pale, bizarrely sweaty and maintenance-phobic person such as myself, Summer just feels like a chore. But don’t worry – I won’t come along and be a Debbie Downer on your fun.
If you need me, I’ll be indoors, complaining bitterly about the heat, fanning my cleavage with a handful of A4 paper.