You have full permission to mock the UK hard for what is to follow. Our heatwave is almost certainly less hot and less wavey than yours, probably wherever you are in the world. But complaining about the weather is a national sport, and this summer is, so far, one of the hottest on record. We’re melting. And facing that epiphany that if we’re totally honest, summer kind of sucks.
Only ‘kind of’, because there’s still that HUZZAH SUMMER HOLIDAYS feeling, especially when you’re a teacher… This advert from a few years ago is probably the most accurate depiction of the end of term that you’ll ever see:
And summer holidays are awesome! But if life is carrying on as normal during hot weather, summer really is the worst.
Summer nights are full of terrible choices. There is no cold side of the pillow. If you kick away the covers, then whatever monster is lurking under the bed will get you. If you open the windows, the mosquitos will get in and feast on your clammy flesh, then the fricking birds will wake you up with their dawn chorus. If you put a fan on, it sounds like a turbine, and only moves the hot air around anyway. Sigh.
If your body is trying to turn from a solid into a liquid, you’re not alone. Especially if it seems to be doing that in weird places. Summer is the season when you realise that you can sweat anywhere and everywhere. Jodi picked swamp ass as the worst part of summer; Roxana added boob sweat (or ‘humidititties’); Petr assured us that ball sweat isn’t fun either, and TK declared that batwing is the absolute worst. (Don’t Google ‘batwing’! Just trust us here; the ladies of Pajiba are thankful to not have testicles after ‘batwing’ was explained to us.) I’m going to add thigh chafing to our sweaty problems. Any season that makes your body do all these things is clearly not our friend. Oh, and that thing where sweat and suncream mix and get into your eyes? YOWZER.
Even the air is trying to turn into a liquid. On a really humid day, the air feels like soup. Jodi hates “opening the door and being slapped in the face with humidity and then needing a shower,” and “taking a walk in overcast conditions and still being hit with surprise humidity when you’re already in it. AND THEN NEEDING A SHOWER. Honestly, needing a shower every day is my nemesis.”
On holiday, the solution is to get in a pool and stay there. At home, in the absence of air-conditioning, I rely on a few things: the Nana Fan (a frilly hand fan), the hairdryer’s cold setting and a handy bottle of Magicool, which sprays cold air that smells of talcum powder. For chafing, you’ve got a few options: use a gel to make your thighs glide not rub, wear shorts or try something like Bandalettes. Baby powder works as well, but apparently one should not put that too close to one’s noo-noo.
There is no known cure for Humidity Hair, though.
Why Can’t I See Anything?
Roxana hates it when humidity makes your glasses steam up. Not cool, summer. And dry heat’s no good for those who wear contacts.
On holiday, contacts and water don’t mix (no-one wants eye-cooties), so it’s a choice between seeing stuff and doing watery stuff. It does, however, lead to new and exciting sports, like Mystery Snorkeling! What’s that swimming around? Don’t know! Does it matter? Probably not! Oh look, another colourful shape! As long as it’s not a shark, I’m OK!
From Genevieve: “I’m kind of a lizard person, so while there comes a point where the heat and humidity does get uncomfortable for me, it takes a lot. BUT, I will say that getting into a car that’s been parked outside when it’s already super hot? Feels like climbing into an oven.” Hot cars have a very particular smell as well, don’t they? A kind of suffocating leather stuffiness…
What The Chuff Should We Wear?
Ever had that moment where you’ve been sitting down in shorts and you get stuck to the chair and have to peel yourself off again? Summer, man.
Normal everyday clothes are not made for a heatwave. Holiday clothes might be. But you might blanche at wearing your holiday clothes when you’re not on holiday… Holiday clothes might expose a bit more of you than you would normally be OK with in your hometown. They are probably a bit brighter, even (whisper it) a bit garish. I have a whole set of holiday clothes that only really see the light of day abroad. This year, I’ve added something really special. It’s like a neon pink muumuu, and it serves 3 purposes: It covers the wobbly bits when wandering from the sunbed to the bar. It is voluminous enough to catch a breeze and encompass any new wobbly bits (inevitable when lying around all day eating and drinking). And it’s so bright, I can use it as a homing beacon to find my sunbed again when I get out of the pool, half-blind without glasses or contacts. PERFECT. Would I be caught dead wearing it in town? OH HELL NO.
And then there is the Boob Conundrum. Bras, especially the bigger ones, are feats of engineering. They are clever. They are also evil. Wearing a bra in hot weather is not nice. Wearing a strapless bra is worse; Satan’s Undergarments, indeed. The whole rest of the year, the bra can do its job quietly and stealthily. This time of year, it finds itself suddenly visible and in the way. In the day, you can sneakily replace it with its swimwear cousin, the bikini top. But unless you fork out money for one that is sized like a bra, you will end up with a couple of postage stamps and some string, and that’s not going to do very much…
Roxana: “When you wax your mustache, and it’s so sunny outside that your upper lip burns. I learned this the hard way.” Petr’s suffered post-wax burn too. Incessant battles with body hair were a popular choice on Slack, as was working out the exact moment to say ‘sod it’ and stop fighting the follicles.
Tori’s pick was the smell of other people, and then “other people in general”, and ugh, yeah, other people, sweating and generating more heat. My patience evaporates when it’s hot, and going somewhere full of people, queuing, standing too close… ugh. A special shout out here to that moment when your sweaty, sticky flesh touches that of a stranger. Like on public transport. Manspreading is bad enough when everyone’s fully clothed, but gross when you end up with Strange Knee pressing against yours.
Does this gif make you shudder?
That’s not a pool. That’s claustrophobic sweat soup.
From TK: “Even the smallest thing feels fucking Sisyphean. ‘Shit. I left my keys in the car. No way am I going back out in this. Fuck it, let’s hope no-one steals my car and gets all my shit because I left the windows open too because it’s so fucking hot.’ I took out the trash last night and when I was done I needed a fucking shower.” This is not the weather for activity of any kind. This is the weather for a nice sit down. In the shade. Speaking of which…
The sun hates us and wants us to die. Or it’s involved in some conspiracy with the sunscreen companies. Sunscreen is brilliant and clever, but it kind of sucks too. It’s greasy and so damn needy; “REAPPLY ME EVERY 10 MINUTES OR YOU’LL FRY!” If you miss a spot, or apply haphazardly, you’re in trouble. Even if you don’t get burnt, chances are you’ll still end up covered in lines, as if your skin is haunted by everything you wore. And as someone who could get burnt in the shade, avoiding sunburn is another Sisyphean task. Some people seem to like it — turning in the sun like rotisserie chickens, until their skin is crispy. My kind of sunbathing is lying under a parasol, reading a book. But the damn sun moves. Just when you’ve got the bed perfectly in the shade, suddenly the sun creeps over, like the exact opposite of the alien ship’s shadow in Independence Day. I’ll take the sun for a little while, but you can bet I’m counting down the seconds until the shade is back. Or I’ll go and submerge myself in the pool again. But then you have to reapply sunscreen afterwards…
And submerging yourself in water still leaves parts of you exposed to the death rays, as I found out to my cost when I spent ages Mystery Snorkeling one day in the Caribbean and ended up with a sunburned arse.
The end of the day, when you can finally shower off the sunscreen, is a definite high point. For a few minutes anyway, until you realise that means it’s time to put a bra on again.
Also: Fake Tan is stupid and smells of biscuits. For everyone who’s ended up with streaky patches, orange ankles, and other tanning related mishaps: I share your pain.
Bitey, Stingy and Itchy Things
Mosquitos are evil. So are wasps. And horseflies. Damn you all. And damn you, heat rash.
I know there are high points to summer. Iced everything! Cheery music! Beer gardens! Barbecues! Flip flops! But let’s be honest, heatwaves suck. Heatwaves are just summer in its purest form, ergo summer sucks too.
Anyway, I have to go pack for my holiday! I’m off for a fortnight of sunshine and… DAMMIT. I DID NOT THINK THIS THROUGH. BRING ME MY MUUMUU, A PARASOL, AND A LARGE PINA COLADA.
Don’t worry, I’ll be complaining about winter weather again soon.
What do you hate about the summer? Do you have any heatwave endurance tips?