"Jesus Christ, dude," my friend Ella told me the other day. "I don't know if you're on the good drugs or what, but I have never seen this side of you before."
"What?" I trilled at her. "This is how I always act!" I think I was vibrating in place at the time.
"Incorrect," she told me, but then left it at that.
In retrospect, she may have been talking about the fact that the minute I think about summer approaching, I start acting like even more of an insufferable doofball than usual. Everything seems a little bit funnier, a little sharper, a little more inconsequential.
I laugh at my own jokes way more in the summer, and those jokes generally consist of things like "Shave armpit hair, then pretend ensuing clump is the illegitimate son of a celebrity and text your loved ones paparazzi photos of it around the house." In my summer-head, this seems like a perfectly reasonable, very normal activity for a young woman on a Saturday night.
As you might guess, I also capslock. A LOT.
If any of you have ever been annoyed by my chattiness on paper, imagine that, but in person, wearing a sundress, and ten times worse. It is a goddamn Memorial Day miracle that none of my friends try to drown me in the river every time the sun comes out from behind a cloud.
It's no small wonder that the majority of women reportedly feel "sexier" in the summer; the Vitamin D kick just makes me want to touch my own freckles and then touch other people's.
Unfortunately for me, I live in San Francisco, where every sunshine-y weekend is bracketed by a full fortnight of miserable, gray weather. It actually might make me more horrible to be around, because I leap upon every pleasant day like a dog on an old tennis ball and then slide into a deep misanthropy the minute the temperature falls below 50. I start inventing childhood Junes full of sticky porch swings, friendly cats, and homoerotic pond-swimming, and actually become viscerally angry that these patently false moments have been lost to adulthood. It's bizarre, and it sucks, and it totally takes the joy out of those few hot days.
So, in the interest of not inviting my own bodily harm at the hands of my acquaintances, I have decided to approximate summer to the best of my ability even when the weather outside is driving me to listen to The National and brood about the void of human existence. Here's what I've started to do on the regular to keep my spirits up between sunny days; won't you join me?!
Eat Stone Fruit In A Highly Erotic Fashion
I grew up in California's Central Valley, where you couldn't drive more than 30 miles on a highway without hitting a fruit stand. There's one in particular, just outside of Davis, where you can buy local peaches bigger than your hand for about fifty cents, so ripe they make the paper bag they're cradled in a little bit damp. There's something about the act of biting into a peach and sucking the juice off my knuckles and wrist bone that totally takes me back to stopping at fruit stands just like those throughout my adolescence, sliding my sunglasses down over my nose and smearing sticky, friendly kisses across my friends' faces.
I know it's wrong to opt for the imports, but even if I can't get 'em local, even chomping on the tiny, hard plums or nectarines from the Safeway is enough to turn my mood right around.
(Also, if you somehow could not tell, eating peaches also unbearably reminds me of oral sex, to the degree that I once had to pull over to the side of the road while NPR aired a story about stone fruit experts. I am a cliche.)
Briefly Channel a Hummingbird, or Possibly a Grizzly Bear
While we're on the subject of fruit, Christ, does warm weather make me disinclined to put anything into my mouth that didn't grow straight out of the ground (or hang off a tree or bush or something, you get what I'm saying). It's not like I turn into a calm, celery-eating yoga maven the minute the weather turns; I think it's actually that I get really dehydrated and that eating a fuckton of blackberries is an easier way of getting liquid in my body than pouring water into a glass and drinking it (LOGIC). Julieanne came up with some great green juices a couple weeks ago, but I've also been surviving more or less on the following salad recipe:
- Handful of baby arugula
- As many ripe strawberries as you can stand
- Some kind of protein? An extra-firm tofu? I don't know, I'm not your mom. Almonds work really well here, too.
- Dressing made from finely chopping up a jalapeno pepper and mixing it with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, freshly ground pepper, and garlic salt
Chop strawberries (and tofu if you went that route). Put in bowl bigger than your head. Stick face in bowl. This will somehow trick you into believing that your body now runs on photosynthesis and that you are a sun-nymph. No need to thank me, I'm a genius.
I mean, this is something everybody talks about, right? The minute the weather gets warmer, out come the titties. Even if you live in a city where the temperature changes no more than ten degrees from summer to winter, showing off the cleave is a great way to trick yourself into thinking you're on the way to the beach rather than the office or Bed, Bath, and Beyond to buy an electric blanket. This is even further enhanced if the fabric around said cleave is covered in adorable patterns.
Had my debit card not just been stolen, for example, I would already be buying this little coral number from ModCloth, this owl shirtdress or this weirdo Western cut with cartoon wolves all over it, slapping on garter tights, and pretending I was going to go drink a bottle of Riesling in the park instead of balancing my checkbook.
Nobody's come up with a perfume that smells like bug spray yet, right? (At least not on purpose?) What about tennis balls? Hot astroturf? I recognize that it's kind of weird that these are my go-to summer scents and not, like, coconut or whatever, but I grew up soft-butch in the suburbs and sometimes you just imprint on things.
I will say, however, that I just discovered Demeter's Swimming Pool and it makes me feel like Blake Lively in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movie (i.e., fifteen and ready to have sex with a soccer coach, who in my brain looks like Hugh Dancy). For less jailbait-y days, I also love the jasmine notes in Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's New Orleans scent or Sula Beauty's spicy Champagne Sugar roll-on.
Most days, though, I just end up absentmindedly crushing handfuls of eucalyptus on my way to work. When I get to my train station, I'm then always delighted by the cloud of tree-smell that surrounds me. If you don't happen to walk by a eucalyptus grove/don't want to alarm passersby by deeply inhaling the smell of leaves from your own palms, I recommend washing with a tea tree oil shampoo. It turns your bathroom into a jungle, at least from an olfactory perspective.
I'm not exactly qualified to write a bronzer write-up, being a fairly five-product medicine cabinet girl myself, but I've been wearing Physician's Formula bronzer on my cheekbones and forehead for years and it seems to be working fine. It definitely does a lot to take away that spring-sad sallowness that tends to lurk around my eyes when there hasn't been any natural daylight for weeks.
I mean, you guys knew this was coming, right? I like to think of myself as having pretty decent taste in music, but this is not exactly an example of that. Still, every time I've gotten the least bit cranky in the last few months, I've put on this mix and within ten minutes I've been silent-chair-dancing hard enough to alarm my intern.
The trick is, I think, to forget the fact that you once saw Neon Indian in concert and instead just allow the four-chord sequences to wash over you as you mentally play back a friendship montage of you and your number-one partner in crime holding hands and running through a fountain and laughing and pushing each other over in the dappled summer light. Brain off, smile on. Satisfaction guaranteed!*
- Billie the Vision and the Dancers -- I'm a Cuckoo
- George Barnett -- Get Lucky
- College ft. Electric Youth -- A Real Hero
- Grouplove -- Tongue Tied (Gigamesh Remix)
- Zebra Katz -- Hey Ladies
- Fall Out Boy -- Young Volcanoes
- The Mowgli's -- San Francisco
- LFO -- Summer Girls
- Rednex -- Cotton Eye Joe (Before you remind me that we all heard this song in seventh grade, have you listened to it since? No? DO IT NOW)
- Adam Lambert -- Fever
- Ke$ha -- Gold Trans Am
- Kreayshawn -- Gucci Gucci
- Carly Rae Jepsen -- Tiny Little Bows
- Katy Perry -- Firework
- Rihanna -- We Found Love
- Little Mix -- Wings
- Azealia Banks -- 1991
- Robyn -- Konichiwa, Bitches
- Chairlift -- I Belong in Your Arms
- OK Go -- This Will Be Our Year
*Satisfaction not guaranteed.
Am I totally delusional, here? Do any of you go through such elaborate self-deception to maintain a positive, near-manic attitude in those almost-summer days? Lay 'em on me, make me a monster!
Kate is stealing your honey like she stole your bike: @katchatters.