The beginning of summer is as much a pleasure as it is a sort of torture for me – once the first sign of hot weather arrives, I’m a little bit afraid to go out in the street.
It’s kind of like going from a dark room into a room filled with light – it might hurt your eyes. It always takes me a few days (ok, weeks) to get used to facing things like…
Other people’s feet.
Let’s start with the worst of the worst of the worst from hell: the others.
All of the sudden, a stranger offers you
flowers a panoramic view of his or her feet.
Somehow the most natural thing in the world (airing out your feet because it’s hot outside) seems to me to be a totally indecent act – I feel like telling people “Heeeellllpppppp!! Too much information! Put those feet away right nowwwwww” – and it’s even worse when it’s a man with hairy feet. When I see that, I’m totally outraged. How dare they?
[The fact that I’m wearing sandals myself and I don’t hesitate (actually, I do hesitate for about three seconds) to post a close-up of them on Instagram should not surprise you. When it comes to other people’s bodies, I’ve definitely got a double standard.]
Okay, so that was a little taste of my intolerant side, and it stops there – for everything else, I’m PERFECTLY fine with seeing people’s exposed bodies, traces of sweat, and smelling them in the metro. Perfectly fine. Especially since I, too, happen to…
Yes, that’s just the way it is – when it’s hot out, we sweat, and I’m not the type to use an antiperspirant, it makes me nervous (where does that awful sweat go if we keep it from coming out of our armpits, huh? huh?) and since my only exercise is to walk around the city, well, you see what I mean, I don’t have to spell it out for you.
The time it takes me to adapt to this natural phenomenon is about a few days. The idea is I just have to get used to wearing loose shirts that let some air through. And to find a good deodorant.
My friend Delphine, who’s super resourceful, takes short “Starbucks breaks” every twenty minutes when she’s on a walk. No need to order coffee – she just takes a break under the AC and waits until her human form comes back.
I stole this tip from her and I always use it before arriving at a meeting.
It also takes me a few weeks to switch to lighter summer meals. Sometimes when the hot weather first arrives, I forget, and I find myself in the FAC (= fatal air conditioning) (= a New York thing) (= You’re certain to experience thermal shock, they should do like our parents did when we were little and put a little water on the back of our necks before we get in the water) (I say there should be an airlock where they give us Canada Goose parkas before we go into restaurants), so I forget that outside, it’s extremely hot, and my brain tells me it’s a good idea to order lasagna.
So I do as it says, of course, and I end up out in the street an hour later, not understanding why I want to
lie down on the asphalt and die sleep.
Time it takes to adapt: three weeks.
How much cleavage should you show when you’re walking down the street?
At the beginning of summer, I’m not too sure. My friend Jenna always recommends undoing an extra button, and I generally listen to her – it’s sexy, it’s cool, etc. So I was walking down the street, minding my own business on some awesome day (ego level: 30/20) when suddenly a stranger offered me flowers his point of view:
The stranger in question was a messenger riding his bicycle at 2,000 miles an hour, and he nearly hit me (I always cross the street in Frenchie mode, anywhere as long as it’s not an actual crosswalk) and suddenly he says to me (at first I thought he was yelling at me because I wasn’t following the rules of the road, but he said):
“I caaaaaaaaaaan seeeeeeeeeee youuuuuuuuuur booooooooooooooooooooooooobs!!!”
So I put away my cleavage, re-buttoned my blouse, and put my ego back in it’s normal place, at 10/20. Time it took to adapt: one second.
My hair is not naturally straight, as you probably know.
I found my technique for life the day I cut my hair and tried drying it flat. It’s amazing, it works, and it doesn’t require much effort (which is the ultimate goal of my existence), but unfortunately the summer and its humidity are here to remind me of my true nature.
My hair curls up and poofs up and starts singing a chorus of “The sky is the limiiiit” like a balloon filled with helium, and there’s nothing I can do to avoid looking like a big ball.
I can’t pull my hair back like a any normal self-respecting girl – it’s too short. I can’t wear a hat — it doesn’t look good on me ever since I cut my hair. Ball caps are even worse – Help! Man alert.
So I have two solutions – extra strong gel or a sideways braid.
And since I have a boyfriend, gel (“Shit, my hand’s stuck in your orange Vivelle Dop (super strong hold) babe!!! I can’t get away babe!!!) (= not so sexy) is kind of out of the question, so I’m left with the sideways braid, which I have no idea how to do myself (I tried the other day, and it looked like a crepe (or a pancake, actually, given how thick it was) had landed on my forehead). It will probably take me about four weeks to adapt.
ALSO, THERE ARE SOME THINGS I WILL NEVER GET USED TO.
They say shiny skin is sexy, but the people who say that have probably never tried blotting papers. Have you seen what a blotting paper looks like after a good old-fashioned blotting? You call that sexy? You’re so weird.
Shorts are probably the best way to go about summer in the city, but unless you go around everywhere with a little towel or wet wipes, you’re never exactly sure where you’ve just put your butt (maybe you’ve put it right where another girl in shorts just put her butt?)(ouch) And going around everywhere with a little towel or wet wipes is like going around everywhere with a bag hook so you don’t ever have to set your bag down on the ground: it works great, but kind of kills your cool. Neva.
Taking the elevator.
At the Studio in the summer, you can either take the elevator pressed up against twenty sweaty people who are pretending to stare into space while they’re totally counting every one of your dilated pores, or you can take the stairs up sixteen floors.
I swear I sometimes take the stairs up all sixteen floors – without even taking a Starbucks break…
Other than that, I love summer. I’m almost ready for it, in fact: I’m wearing shorts.
Except that today, I won’t be sitting down anywhere. I won’t take the elevator. And I won’t look at the ground. Just in case anyone’s feet are showing. Ew.
What do you have a hard time getting used to during the first days of summer?
Translated by Andrea Perdue.